One thing I have come to appreciate, even as a media member, over the years with Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is his ability to temper expectations when things could get away from his team.
I think back to the 1-5 start in 2015, and I remember Reid’s approach—one game at a time. Reid kept a similar attitude last season when the Chiefs, after starting a perfect 5-0, dropped to 6-6. Many, including yours truly, said at the time the Chiefs should bench Alex Smith in favor of Patrick Mahomes. Reid instead made it very clear the problems the Chiefs were having were a team issue and not an Alex issue, and he shifted focus to the next game.
In both years, it seemed like the Chiefs were broken and destined to miss the playoffs, and in both years, Reid kept the focus on the task at hand and the Chiefs won out.
You’re seeing something similar in 2018, but in the other direction. The Chiefs are 4-0, Patrick Mahomes is an MVP candidate and the Chiefs only trail the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in odds to win the Super Bowl. But Reid isn’t thinking about the end of the season—all he cares about right now is defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars, who the Chiefs take on Sunday.
I asked Reid about this approach earlier this week.
“I was kind of raised that way,” Reid said. “Not that it’s coach-talk, but it’s an important element of the game. You start getting out in front of yourself in this thing and it’s a humbling business. You’re playing against the best in the world, so you’ve got to make sure that you’re sharp. There are not a lot of secrets anymore with the access, so you’ve got to really hone in and make sure that you’re at the top of your game. It’s not just me, it’s everybody here on the football team, coaches and players. It’s real, it’s not something I just throw out there as coach-talk, it’s a real thing, so we try to do that, the best we can, we try to do that.”
Pay attention close enough, and the word real is something you’ll notice a lot when it comes to Reid.
Reid could care less about power rankings and steers his players away from stories like this.
He is an enemy of speculation, and I find it to be one of the reasons he’s managed to become so successful over his 20 years as an NFL head coach.