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Ranking the 10 most significant moments of the Andy Reid era

As “Big Red” approaches a decade in Kansas City, a look back on the marks of his success.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs OTA Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid enters his 10th campaign with the team in 2022. Calling his first nine seasons a success would be a gross understatement. After inheriting a 2-14 team and the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, Reid has never had a losing season in Kansas City. While winning Super Bowl LIV — the franchise’s first title in 50 years — speaks for itself, Reid’s instant success and near-decade of winning football is nearly unprecedented.

Let’s take a look back at ten moments that have defined the Reid era:

10. September 29, 2014: The Chiefs put the New England Patriots “On to Cincinnati”

New England Patriots Vs. Kansas City Chiefs At Arrowhead Stadium Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Little went right in Reid’s second season with the Chiefs — his only without a playoff appearance. Early on, however, the Chiefs absolutely dominated a Tom Brady-led Patriots squad with a 41-14 win on Monday Night Football. Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s postgame response that his team was “on to Cincinnati” has since become an NFL catchphrase. Yes, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl while the Chiefs spent that postseason at home. But after years of mediocrity, a dominant primetime victory over one of the best teams in football merited celebration.

9. December 15, 2013: Jamaal Charles runs wild as Chiefs sweep the Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders

While Reid’s first season in Kansas City saw a 9-0 start, there were signs that the team was not as good as its record indicated. Late in the season, however, Reid’s Chiefs gave the biggest preview of the offensive fireworks to come with a 56-31 victory against the Oakland Raiders. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles turned in the best game of his career with 215 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns. Quarterback Alex Smith finished with a perfect passer rating as the Chiefs clinched a playoff berth a season after they had the top pick in the draft. While the Chiefs suffered a familiar frustrating first-round postseason exit, this offensive showcase — and the first sweep of the Raiders in six seasons — left no doubt Reid was the correct hire

8. July 10, 2017: The Chiefs choose Brett Veach as GM

Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Chiefs made a curiously timed, unexpected change at general manager in the summer of 2017. John Dorsey — who arrived with Reid and assembled the talent that made three playoff appearances in four seasons — was reported to have mutually parted ways with the team. Then-director of player personnel Brett Veach replaced Dorsey — and has enjoyed an even more successful tenure. While professionalism by all parties has kept the details of the change mostly private, Veach’s ascent has been more productive in aligning coaching and personnel priorities, bringing the Chiefs from playoff to championship contender.

7. January 9, 2016: 22 years of playoff misery come to an end

Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs, 2016 AFC Wild Card Playoffs Set Number: SI-166 TK1

Reid’s 2015 Chiefs season may be the greatest coaching performance possible without winning a championship. After a 1-5 start — and key season-ending injuries, including Charles — the Chiefs ran the tables to finish 11-5 and return to the playoffs. The Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 30-0 in the Wild Card round — the franchise’s first playoff victory since 1994. While Chiefs fans are now accustomed to even higher postseason highs, Reid’s first postseason victory marked a key turning point in team history.

6. April 27, 2017: The Chiefs make the most important draft selection in franchise history

NFL: APR 27 2017 NFL Draft Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Reid has never worn the personnel hat in Kansas City, but significant moves have clearly required his blessing. In the 2017 Draft, the Chiefs made an aggressive trade-up with the Buffalo Bills — surrendering their next first-round pick — to select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. While Mahomes is now the face of not only the Chiefs but the entire NFL, he was widely seen at the time as a system quarterback unlikely to succeed professionally. The pairing of Reid with Mahomes, however, already ranks among the best in history after a mere half-decade.

5. September 16, 2018: Mahomes breaks out in his third career start

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After a mostly redshirt rookie year, it didn’t take long for Mahomes to reward Reid’s faith when he became the starter. He was dominant from the start of the 2018 season — delivering the best statistical game of his career in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mahomes threw for six touchdowns — and the Chiefs outdueled a loaded Steelers offense for a 42-37 win. This game put Mahomes on a superstar trajectory — and essentially ended questions for Reid and the front office about the trade.

4. January 23, 2022: 13 seconds

Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills, 2022 AFC Divisional Playoffs Set Number: X163914 TK1

This is a moment Chiefs fans will need to learn to let stand on its own — even with full knowledge of the disappointment a week later. In last season’s Divisional Round, the league watched in awe as Mahomes and Reid managed a game-tying drive — despite taking the field with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation. The Chiefs would win 42-36 in overtime to advance to their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game. Kansas City will forever be on the winning side of one of the greatest games in NFL history — one that will be referenced years from now at Reid’s Hall of Fame inductions.

3. January 24, 2021: Lamar Hunt’s team wins its second consecutive Lamar Hunt Trophy

AFC Championship - Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Another moment that historically must stand on its own was the previous season’s AFC Championship Game victory against the Bills. After five decades without a Super Bowl appearance, the Chiefs clinched their second straight trip with a 38-24 victory. While Reid did not get the result he wanted in Tampa two weeks later, consecutive conference championships remain an accomplishment on its own. The franchise’s previous 11 head coaches combined for only a single conference championship game appearance. At the end of Reid’s career — longer removed from the pain of losing Super Bowl LV — this moment will be more appreciated.

2. January 12, 2020: Reid and Mahomes rip the heart out of Houston

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

24-0. It is still unimaginable to remember that Reid’s Chiefs won a playoff game facing that deficit in the second quarter. A year after advancing to the AFC Championship, it appeared the Chiefs were set to return to their ways of playoff disappointment. In the blink of an eye, however, it was halftime and Mahomes, and the offense had put up 28 unanswered — ultimately winning 51-31. Mahomes officially reached legendary status — and the greatest month of Reid’s career began.

1. February 2, 2020: ‘How ‘bout those CHIEFS

San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl LIV Set Number: X163165 TK1

And there can be no argument on the top moment. In his 21st season as an NFL head coach — now with his second team — Reid hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV. Kansas City celebrated a Super Bowl victory for the first time in half a century. Reid was able to coach the Chiefs through double-digit deficits in all three postseason contests, and he appeared to finally reach the level of acclaim his coaching career deserves. However long he remains on the Chiefs sideline, his only possibility of topping this moment is to win a second title in a more dominant fashion.

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