For Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, training camp signals a time to toughen his team, prepare for another Super Bowl run, and further, teach the new kids on the roster, there is only one way to reach the promised land, the Andy Reid way.
In 2013, I met Andy Reid for the first time. It was at his introductory press conference that I found his words and vision very enlightening to hear. Before he was hired the Kansas City Chiefs won just two games, Jovan Belcher committed suicide in the parking lot, and this organization was spiraling to a place it had never been.
Thankfully, Clark Hunt told then General Manager, Scott Pioli, he intended to hire the right man to right the Chiefs ship. When Pioli was hired, he wanted the disaster known as Todd Haley. Hunt had heard Mike Shanahan had an interest in the Chiefs job but agreed with this wunderkind General Manager. Lesson learned; Pioli sat this hire out, and days later, he was fired.
Entering his 11th training camp in Kansas City, Reid had already established himself as a Hall of Fame NFL Head Coach. He has two Lombardi Trophies on his resume, endless playoff wins, an innovative offense that shows no signs of stagnation, and endless drive. To top that, with a quartet of wins, he’ll surpass, Dallas Cowboys Head Coach, Tom Landry as the fourth-winningest NFL head coach of all time!
Though at times, Reid’s win totals were erased by disappointing playoff losses that had many people wondering if he could win the big one, he never wavered. Despite fans wondering the same, Reid kept sawing wood, and when Patrick Mahomes arrived, he started chopping down the competition and his critics with an unprecedented AFC Championship playoff run in Kansas City, seven straight division titles, because Reid had conviction.
He’s done all this despite the fact coaches left, players left, and the other 31 NFL teams draft and build their rosters, to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Reid has been the hunted ever since Mahomes rung up his first Super Bowl title three seasons ago.
So, what’s the magic sauce?
It all starts in training camp.
For those that participate in the dog days of camp, it doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie, a veteran or a recently signed free agent, they all say the same thing about Andy Reid’s regiment in St. Joe is hard and grueling, but it gets his team ready to play a 17-game schedule, and still have a spark in the playoffs.
In the old days, players had to endure two-a-day padded practices. Nowadays, even Reid recognizes that after three straight days of pads, the fourth day should be used to lighten the physical load. On the flip side, some NFL Coaches don’t adhere to Reid’s method. They don’t have the discipline, or in some cases, the understanding that the pain in August delivers titles in February.
Case in point, the week of Super Bowl LVII preparation, Reid had his players in pads and worked them to the bone getting each member ready for the big game. On the flip side, the Philadelphia Eagles reportedly didn’t work as diligently as Reid’s players. For Reid, it was boot camp 2.0 and during that prep week, the Eagles seemed happy to be in Arizona.
Heading into the 2023 season, Reid had an additional message for his players. They are attempting to join the (2013 & 2014) New England Patriots in registering back-to-back Super Bowl victories.
Listen, Reid doesn’t need to pad his hall-of-fame career, but he loves doing things that are difficult. He’s also been here before. In the covid year, the Chiefs played in consecutive super bowls, but injuries to the offensive line, an off-the-field incident surrounding his son, and the brilliance of Tom Brady, and his defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers derailed Reid’s hope to join that historic club.
This year, he has no such worries.
Mahomes is entering the prime of his career, he has youth all over this roster, who he allows to grow into their roles. He has a stable coaching staff, but further, he has a steadiness to right any shipping ships.
Kansas City Chiefs fans understand the organization knows winning the AFC West each year means they get to open the playoffs at home. It’s a stepping stone to the Super Bowl. Reid also knows what it takes to get 53 men to be on the same page as the head coach.
This year will be no different because he’s in charge and they know it!