On Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will coach his 27th postseason game since becoming a head coach in 1999. In 100 years of league history, only three coaches have led their teams through more postseason games: Tom Landry, Don Shula and Bill Belichick.
While Reid has a reputation for “trusting the process” by sticking as closely as possible to an established routine in preparation for every game — even in the playoffs — you still might think he sees the playoffs as kind of a different animal.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, he acknowledged that.
”You understand that the game’s faster,” he said. “It’s hard to explain that — but there’s a certain urgency that comes with it. It’s not that the guys aren’t playing hard; that’s not what it is. It’s a step up. Every level you take in the playoffs, [the game is] just that much faster.”
Reid said that both coaches and players have to be on their games — but that is the part of what they do that they love the most.
”This is what we do,” he said. “We’re fortunate to be in this position. You love that opportunity — and you know is doesn’t happen every year. So when you’re there, it’s the ultimate challenge: ‘Let’s go!’”
While Reid’s process has been enough to give him the best regular-season record of any Chiefs head coach, the team has been only 2-5 under Reid in the postseason.
But the Chiefs are coming into this postseason hoping to extend a six-game winning streak. It elevated them from a 6-4 record — one that some believed wouldn’t be good enough to make the playoffs — to a 12-4 mark and the AFC’s second seed. It’s the third time during Reid’s seven-year Kansas City tenure that his team has finished the season with a string of four or more wins. Four years ago — the last time the Chiefs entered the playoffs with a steak this long — they demolished the Houston Texans 30-0 on the road, winning the team’s first playoff game since 1993.
But Reid — the man of routine — didn’t want to say the team’s streak would add to its motivation when it faces the Texans at home on Sunday.
”You’re in the playoffs. So you play. You just get in and go. When you’re in the moment, you’re not thinking about [anything else]. You’re thinking about winning your one-on-one battle and how you’re going to do that. If you win it, you want to win it again. If you get beat on it, then you’re going to come back and figure it out — and get busy to do it the right way.”
Reminded by reporters of his amazing record when playing after a bye week — Reid now has an 18-3 record after a week off — he said he doesn’t know why.
”I don’t know that,” he shrugged. “I don’t necessarily know what other people do. I always say I’ve got good coaches and good players — and I think that’s probably it — [but] I don’t know why that’s happened. It’s just one of those things, I think.”
Unfortunately for Reid, his postseason record is also one of those things. Of the seven coaches who have led their teams in 24 or more playoff games, Reid is the only one who has not won a championship. There have been 25 coaches with 15 or more postseason games. Reid’s playoff record is worse than all but three of them: Bud Grant, Chuck Knox and Marty Schottenheimer.
But during the next three and a half weeks — now running a team that might just be the best the Chiefs has fielded since its glory days five decades ago — Reid could get out of both of those corners, moving his Chiefs (and career) postseason record to .500 and above.
All it will take is focusing on winning his one-on-one battle.