Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid met with the media through a Zoom conference call on Monday, less than 24 hours after the team’s AFC Championship win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Listen to the full presser above or click here.
In his opening statement, Reid shared that he was proud of the Chiefs for pushing through for the win — especially considering they were down three receivers and playing three rookies at cornerback. Reid mentioned both punt returner Skyy Moore and placekicker Harrison Butker by name, admitting Butker has been bothered by a high-ankle sprain all season and he has continued to perform. Reid highlighted Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce on offense and Frank Clark and Chris Jones on defense, emphasizing that Jones had an unbelievable game for the Chiefs.
Then the head coach took questions, which we have rounded up in four takeaways:
Asked again about the significant offseason decision to move on from wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Reid again credited the personnel staff.
Hill — now with the Miami Dolphins — finished second in the league in receiving yards. Yet even without him, the Chiefs still managed to make it to the Super Bowl.
“I would start with (general manager) Brett Veach and the way that he and his guys have gone about putting this thing together for the coaches — giving the coaches an opportunity to coach good players,” said Reid. “It includes everybody. It includes (president) Mark [Donovan], it includes (owner, chairman & CEO) Clark [Hunt]. I mean they’re all part of that: giving us the opportunity to do what Brett can do by bringing these guys in.”
Veach said on Sunday night the Chiefs just didn’t simply go into the offseason “throwing darts.” Reid agreed with the GM.
“[Veach’s] process, the process that he goes through you guys have gotten to know him now — the process that he goes through — he’s relentless, he’s committed, he’s got a great eye for talent,” continued Reid. “He’s fearless when it comes to trades and drafts and all those things. It’s been fun for me to watch and watch him grow.”
Reid’s plan for the “Super Bowl bye week” is the same as previous AFC Title seasons — it’s a work week for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs will install the game plan for the Philadelphia Eagles as if they were playing the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5. Reid’s reasoning is that it’s much easier to lock in on the hard work in Kansas City than in Arizona, where there might be a few distractions for the players.
“I think it’s important: I think before you get down to Arizona with the distractions and the different events that go on, you’d like to at least have the base part in where you’ve got a good foundation of the game plan,” explained Reid. “If you have to tweak it here or there you can do that. But you’re really [thinking] — while it’s relatively calm here and normal — then let’s get it done. I mean, it’s really that simple.”
Welcome to the “New Heights” Bowl.
The two prevailing storylines for Super Bowl LVII are the “Andy Reid” Bowl — because the Chiefs will be playing the Eagles, the team for which Reid served as the head coach for 14 years. But there is also the “New Heights” Bowl, which features the two Kelce brothers going up against each other for the championship.
Reid drafted Jason in 2011 before selecting Travis in 2013 — so he knows both of them well.
“Travis is the little brother — and I think big brother probably protected him so Travis could do some crazy things. He probably talked him from jumping off a ladder into the raked-up leaves once or twice, you know?” laughed Reid. “They’re both, at heart, very competitive and compassionate, I think is the biggest thing. They care. They care about people — and they care about their game, their trade and their podcast. It looks like it’s unbelievable.
“They’ve got a good mesh there and a good relationship between the two of them. I think Travis has grown up a lot. I think Jason came in probably more mature — [the] big brother. And Travis was a little more immature — but he’s really grown and [is] a good person.”
Reid discussed a key part of the game.
With the AFC Championship tied at 20 all in the fourth quarter, Reid and the Chiefs faced fourth-and-8 at the Cincinnati 37-yard line. The head coach chose to forego a 54-yard field goal attempt — and the option of keeping Mahomes and the offense on for a fourth-and-long try.
Reid sent Tommy Townsend out to punt with less than three minutes left, creating nerve-wracking times for Chiefs fans.
“You go off your gut feeling,” said Reid. “You’re right at the area where some would say go for it and some would say kick it. I thought our defense was playing well enough where we surely could punt the ball — and with probably minimal seconds [or] more time on the clock, get the ball back. We’ve been able to do some good things with limited time, so you have that in the back of your mind.
“And as far as the players go, we trusted the guys that were in there. They did a marvelous job for us. So, I’m proud of them and the coaches for at least having all these guys knowing the plays when they always don’t get that amount of reps — especially at different positions there.”
Reid was right: the Chiefs’ defense stood tall — and the rest, as they say, is history.