The last time Andy Reid coached a game in Philadelphia was in 2013.
It was only his third game as Kansas City Chiefs head coach — and just nine months removed from being let go after coaching the Philidelphia Eagles for 14 years.
At the time, the "City of Brotherly Love" treated Reid to a hero's welcome, giving him a standing ovation. The Chiefs went on to win that game 26-16 on the back of a solid defensive performance that featured five turnovers, including a pair of picks by Sean Smith and Eric Berry.
It must have felt great for Reid to defeat the team that let him go.
"I can tell you I enjoyed every minute here," Reid said of Philadelphia at the time. "I'm enjoying my time in Kansas City. It's all kind of settling in right now, I guess. I'm not really sure how I feel other than we won the game... I can tell you I wasn't caught up in that part. I was so busy trying to make sure we had the offense and defense and special teams going right. I didn't have enough time to think about the other stuff that goes along with it."
Back to the future
Fast forward to 2021, and things have worked out pretty well for "Big Red." The Chiefs are back-to-back defending AFC champions, meaning appearances in two straight Super Bowls. With the good comes the bad, and things have not started as well in 2021 as Reid and the Chiefs would have liked.
After winning the season-opener against the Cleveland Browns, the Chiefs have dropped their last two games, and for the first time since 2015, they find themselves at 1-2 and in last place in the AFC West.
One thing that hasn't changed is that Reid doesn't like being in the headlines, which is exactly where he found himself this week when news broke that he was hospitalized after the Chiefs' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday.
When asked early Wednesday afternoon about returning to his former team, Reid sounded back to his usual self.
"They're a good football team," he said, quickly deflecting the topic back to the football. "I obviously know a lot of people there... they're well-coached, Nick (Sirianni) has done a nice job there... They've got good players and we just got to make sure we go through the whole prep this week of getting ourselves ready. Take it day by day here and situation by situation and get it ourselves right."
To get themselves right, the Chiefs will have to improve in multiple facets of the game — and specifically in turnover differential, which ranks near the bottom of the league at minus-2. In addition, the Chiefs' red-zone defense is allowing opponents to score a touchdown on 92.3% of their trips.
The Eagles find themselves in a similar situation. After winning their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, they also have lost two in a row, including a 41-21 blowout to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football this past week.
Reid allowed himself to briefly reflect on his past on Wednesday, reiterating his love for the city of Philadelphia and the Eagles organization.
"I loved my time there. Great organization. I mean, they were tremendous to me and my family," and then, as reliably as the sun setting in the West, he shifted attention back to football. "We're there to play this game and to do well. And so when it's all said and done, that's where my focus, my time, my mind and everything else is."
Reid concluded Wednesday's press conference with what may have been his most candid answer all day, when he was asked where to find his favorite Philadelphia cheesesteak.
"I'll tell you, there wasn't a cheesesteak that I didn't like there."
Wait a minute. That sounds familiar.