He helped me get every job I've ever had. I always told them, call Coach Edwards. —Andy Reid
KANSAS CITY — Somebody is missing from Andy Reid's game prep this week.
The Kansas City Chiefs head coach is getting ready for Sunday's playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers without the customary weekly phone call from his former BYU coach and mentor, LaVell Edwards, who died Dec. 29 at age 86.
"He followed the team," Reid said immediately after the Jan. 7 funeral for the College Football Hall of Fame coach in Provo, Utah. "He'd ask everything from what injuries we had to what we'd do that week. Then he asked about the other team. He got the whole scouting report, basically."
Reid was able to attend his mentor's funeral, which fell on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, because the Chiefs won the AFC West and earned a bye after the Denver Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders on the season's final day.
"It's the only time I'll probably thank the Denver Broncos for anything," he said with a laugh.
Edwards recognized the coach in Reid, now the 10th winningest coach in NFL history, while Reid played offensive line for the Hall of Fame coach at BYU from 1978-80.
"We'd be out there practicing and working, and there'd be questions coming up on how to pick up a certain blitz," Edwards told Chiefs.com before the 2016 season. "I noticed a lot of times he was helping the guard, the tackle or the center next to him, to make sure they understood what to do if there was some kind of stunt or whatever they did.
"I remember saying at the time that this guy's got an unusual feel and knowledge of the game. He not only learned and knew what his assignment was, but also the reasons why and the concept of what you're trying to do. A lot of players didn't have that concept or ability, but Andy did. He had a feel for it. That's one of the things I admire most about him, and it made me think the more I was around him, the more I watched him, I realized this guy could be a very good coach."
Reid had never considered the idea before Edwards approached him prior to his senior season. Edwards hired Reid as a graduate assistant in 1982, then got him a job at as the offensive line coach at San Francisco State.
"He called me every week from that day on like he put me in a bad position or something," Reid said after Edwards died. "He was always checking on me."
A call from Edwards also helped Reid get his next job, at Northern Arizona.
"He helped me get every job I've ever had," Reid said. "I always told them, call Coach Edwards."
Reid coached the offensive line at UTEP and Missouri before moving to the NFL with Green Bay in 1992. He was the Packers tight ends coach and assistant offensive line coach until 1997.
The Philadelphia Eagles hired Reid as their head coach in 1999. In 14 years, Reid led the franchise to nine playoff appearances, six NFC East Division titles, five NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXXIX. Reid is the franchise's all-time winningest coach, with a record of 130-93-1.
The Chiefs hired Reid in 2013, and he has taken them to the playoffs three times in four seasons. They won the AFC West this year and are 43-21 under Reid.
Reid, 58, has won 173 regular season games as an NFL head coach, ahead of Hall of Famers Vince Lombardi, Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs. Overall, Reid is 173-114-1 as a head coach in the regular season, 11-11 in the playoffs.
The Edwards coaching tree includes men who have 29 NFL playoff victories — Mike Holmgren has 13 wins, good for sixth all-time), Reid has 11 wins, which is ninth all-time, and Brian Billick won five playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXV. Those three coaches have won 414 regular seasons games — Holmgren won 161 and Billick won 80.
A win Sunday would give Reid 12 playoff wins in his career, tying him with Bill Cowher and Tom Coughlin for seventh all-time.
Edwards himself won 257 games at BYU, seventh all-time among Division I/Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, a national championship in 1984 and 19 conference championships.