On Tuesday, CBS Sports writer John Breech came up with a list of what he considered to be the NFL’s 10-best coaching matchups in 2021. Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will be on the sidelines for two of them.
6. Andy Reid vs. Sean McDermott
Week 5: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
One thing that makes this matchup so fascinating is that McDermott actually got his NFL coaching start under Reid. Back in 2001 when Reid was coaching the Eagles, he hired McDermott to serve as an assistant to the head coach. After that, McDermott was steadily promoted over the next few years before being moved up to defensive coordinator in 2009.
Overall, McDermott spent 10 years with Reid in Philadelphia, so if anyone can figure out how to stop the Chiefs’ offense, it might be the Bills head coach. That being said, being highly familiar with the Chiefs’ offense hasn’t helped McDermott over the past two years as Buffalo has lost its past two games against Kansas City by an average of 11.5 points per game. Despite that, any time you get one of the best offensive minds in football going up against one of the best defensive minds, it’s must-see TV, so I’ll definitely be watching.
2. Andy Reid vs. John Harbaugh
Week 2: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
You could make the argument that this matchup should be at the top of the list, but we’re not going to put it there until John Harbaugh can figure out how to beat Andy Reid. The Ravens and Chiefs have met a total of four times since Reid was hired by the Chiefs in 2013 and Harbaugh has come out on the losing end in each of those games. Having Lamar Jackson as his quarterback hasn’t even helped Harbaugh, who’s 0-3 against the Chiefs WITH Jackson. Harbaugh is absolutely one of the best coaches in the league, but Baltimore is going to have a tough time getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012 if Harbaugh can’t figure out a way to beat the Chiefs. This matchup is especially juicy because Harbaugh actually coached for nine years under Reid. During Reid’s time in Philadelphia, Harbaugh served as the special teams coordinator from 1999 until 2007. Harbaugh finally left in 2008 when he was hired to become coach of the Ravens.
After another CBS writer identified Reid as the league’s top coach on Monday, it stands to reason that a couple of his games will be ones to watch this season. And it’s hard to argue with these two choices; both Harbaugh and McDermott were also listed among the top NFL coaches.
But just the same, Breech doesn't seem to be giving either coach (or their team) much chance to win their matchups with Reid. As he noted, neither has had much recent success against their former mentor.
That’s a little surprising. You would think — as Breech says — that a former assistant would have a better chance against Reid than another coach. But in recent years, Reid has been pretty dominant against former assistants; it’s as if the master continues to have the advantage over the student.
So these games will certainly be interesting to watch. But whether they turn out to be the best coaching matchups of the season might be another matter.