I have had the opportunity to cover Andy Reid the last five seasons, which makes me feel especially blessed when I talk to some of my elder media colleagues in Kansas City. I fully understand by now that it was not always this fun.
In covering Reid, among other things, I’ve realized he is a man of two creeds: realness and routine. When I say realness, what I mean is he not is a man of hypotheticals or projections. If a Chief plays extraordinarily well in one game, it means nothing for the next game. Inside the locker room, he expects his players to always be up front and forthcoming—earlier this season, we saw what can happen when you aren’t real with Reid.
But let’s save creed one for another day. In this post, I want to quickly address the routine. I find that routine is a commonality among most NFL coaches, but Reid lives by the idea. I believe it’s because it keeps both him and his players grounded.
Ask any Chiefs player last week what was different heading into the game against the Colts, and he would tell you that nothing was different. And that is by design. During off-weeks, like when a game is on Saturday, each day is considered a different day. Since the routine is built on a Sunday game, Tuesday is Wednesday, Wednesday is Thursday, and so on.
The point is that Reid rarely strays from his norm. The last time I noticed him do so was in a post-game press conference earlier this season after the 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Considering that he was coming out on the wrong side, Reid was much happier than usual. I figured he must have learned something about his team that night.
It happened again on Saturday.
Let’s head inside the Chiefs locker room, courtesy of the team’s excellent Twitter account:
Reid entered the locker room and held up his hands, holding two fingers in the air.
“Anybody know what that is?” he asked. “Two more, baby, two more. I’m proud of you, men, I’m proud of you.”
In all my time covering Reid, it has always been about one game, one day at a time.
On a Thursday during training camp in St. Joseph, I made the mistake of asking Reid about putting pads on for the first time on the upcoming Saturday.
Reid had a full day of non-padded practice to get through on Friday, and didn’t want to talk about what would happen on Saturday. I was served a non-answer for lunch. It tasted gross.
Back to Saturday and Reid’s opening press statement:
REID: “Listen, our fans were unbelievable today. So proud of them. As far as the injuries, we really didn’t get anyone injured in this game. Everyone, knock on wood, came out okay. The grounds crew, my hat goes off to them for the job they did. They’ve been up all night getting ready here with Mark Donovan, getting ready for this thing and they did a phenomenal job. To the Hunt family, phenomenal. We have two more. Two more. We are going to take it one at a time here, which is very important as we go. I thought it was a great all-around effort. I thought our defense stepped up and did a heck of a job against what I think is a good offense. Great quarterback, receivers, tight ends, a running back who’s been on fire. I thought they did a very nice job. The offense I thought did some good things too and special teams likewise. All the way around everyone contributed. It’s important this time of the year that you do that. When you bring that and the fans into Arrowhead it’s tough on other teams and we appreciate it and will see you next Sunday. Time’s yours.”
I realize that shortly after his two-more press drop, he followed with the usual “one at a time here,” but the point is that it was already so far off Reid’s routine, it had to be intentional.
On a day the Colts rode into Arrowhead Stadium pushing the idea of “1-0” and lost, Reid asked his team for two.
Of course, I have a theory.
If you thought the hype leading up to the Colts game was unlike any Chiefs game in recent memory, imagine the hype we’re about to experience leading up to the first-ever AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium. It is going to feel like the Super Bowl.
And that is why Reid is decided to get ahead of that false mindset.
It is not the Super Bowl, and it shouldn’t be considered as such.
Reid has been doing this head-coaching thing for 20 seasons, and in that span, he was a part of five NFC championship games. He went 1-4, and in the one he did win, in 2004, his Philadelphia Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.
Heading into the sixth time in his life he has made it this far, he did not walk into the locker room with initial words of congratulations. Instead, he provided a challenge.
He is not satisfied, nor should the Chiefs be after the win against the Colts, nor should the Chiefs be if they win the AFC title next Sunday.