Andy Reid is part of an amazing NFL coaching ring.
Reid, a former BYU offensive lineman, was unemployed for just four days after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles. He subsequently signed a powerful contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reid is a survivor. He is a very good coach. He is also another example of how NFL coaches shuffle around the league, always finding work, changing hats and jackets and teams. Like the NBA, the coaches in these leagues rarely fade away; they're just refitted to another ZIP code.
Washington Post columnist Tracee Hamilton described this phenomenon this week: "It is almost impossible for an NFL coach to draw unemployment — not because of the fiscal cliff, but because it's almost impossible for an NFL coach to remain unemployed. The league's coaches are all part of one big game of musical chairs. Occasionally one doesn't find a spot when the music ends, but most do, sometimes almost immediately."
Folks with a lot of time on their hands said Reid was rumored to be considered for a job at BYU in some shape or fashion after being fired by the Eagles. But as a member of the NFL's coaching club, he had many options, including interviews scheduled with Arizona and San Diego as well as with the Chiefs.
In Kansas City, Reid is easily a beacon of hope for a franchise that has wandered around like a confused man in a dark room. Fans are hungry for wins, for a playoff appearance. Check that — they are starved. Reid is a pond at a newfound oasis.
Because he's been there. He's won.
In 14 seasons with the Eagles, amid much personal tragedy, he took his team to the playoffs nine times and compiled a 130-93-1 record. Chiefs fans would take half of that success, even a third of it, and consider themselves given a treat. After all, the last time Kansas City tasted playoff sugar, fans who are now in college weren't even born yet.
Reid took the Eagles to the NFC championship game five times and to the Super Bowl once. But this season, his team hit a cement wall. In Philly, fans ravage coaches, players, personnel directors. The media slices and dices its sports figures like a food processor. Reid found this out early and late. It's a wonder he made it through 14 years in that acid bath.
But still, he survived.
And no sooner than the Eagles canned him, he found a job a thousand times quicker than a politician on the stump.
Reid is a good guy, a brilliant coach, a great offensive mind. He didn't stage the dramatic, scripted press conferences folks in Philly wanted with their cheese steaks, but he mowed through personnel changes, injuries, player contracts and created winning teams through a decade and a half.
I remember back in the day when I worked at the Provo Daily Herald and, as an intern in communications, he wrote a freelance column for our sports section entitled "French's Legion," after his coach, offensive line and co-offensive coordinator Roger French. It was funny, entertaining and typical Reid.
He'll do fine in Kansas City after he gets a quarterback and shores up the roster. The bar is set pretty low for him because of annual failures by the franchise. Reports say Reid will be given a lot of power and can help choose some of the key people in the decision-making food chain.
Good for him.
He's one of the good guys.
And he's lucky to be on the NFL treadmill that simply recycles its coaches like an assembly line on a circle belt loop.
What a country. What a sport. What a guy.
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