Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Kansas City offense had been unable to keep up with the Eagles — and had very few opportunities to even get on the field. To make matters worse, quarterback Patrick Mahomes had re-injured his ankle during the Chiefs’ final first-half drive.
But Kansas City safety Justin Reid knew from experience that the Chiefs should never be counted out.
Reid — who joined Kansas City in 2022 after four seasons with the Houston Texans — was on the opposing sideline for one of Mahomes’ most legendary playoff moments. In 2019’s Divisional round, the Texans had jumped to a 24-0 lead at Arrowhead Stadium — only to watch the Chiefs pull ahead by halftime en route to a 52-31 comeback victory. The Chiefs would go on to win Super Bowl LIV.
On Friday, The Pivot Podcast released a conversation with Reid and hosts Ryan Clark and Fred Taylor. During the interview — recorded last month at the NFL Draft in Kansas City — the five-year veteran discussed the lessons he learned from being on the other side of what Chiefs fans consider one of the team’s greatest moments — and taking those lessons to the Super Bowl.
“That playoff game, we were up by 24 points — and then we ended up losing by 20 points,” he recalled. “The only way it made it better for me is it made me a better leader; I got to tell the story about it to other players. It was like, we’re at a message like halftime of the Super Bowl. We’re talking about we’re down ten at that point. We talk about, ‘The game’s never over.’
“We were up 24 and the other team came back. No matter what the lead is, no matter if there’s time on the clock, on both sides of it. If you’re ahead, you’ve got to step on their throats and finish the game out. And if you’re behind, you’ve got to fight and believe and come back.”
The loss was a turning point for the Texans. The team had been a regular playoff contender for almost a decade but became one of the league’s worst teams. Justin Reid immediately noticed the difference between his last two seasons with the Texans and the Chiefs under head coach Andy Reid.
“From where we started in Houston [with] the first two years there going so well — having such high hopes [and] felt like we had a squad there — then to the next two years being what it was being 4-12,” he noted. “Then coming to an organization like the Kansas City Chiefs? The first thing I noticed when I first got here was the difference in just how the teams are run, organizationally.
“Everything bleeds from the top down. There is so much structure here with the way Coach Reid runs his ship — it kind of bleeds into the culture of the whole team and how guys buy into the program. There is no ego. Faculty and staff are willing to do jobs that are not necessarily their job description. But anything to help the collective team do better — and that attitude bled into everything.”
After seeing Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo boast of Super Bowl ambitions, he realized that subject is more taboo among some teams than in others.
“I remember in Houston,” Reid explained, “sometimes we’d have conversations where it was like we didn’t want to bring up the Super Bowl. We didn’t want to jinx it or something. But in Kansas City — from Day 1 — it was Super Bowl. Training camp, OTAs, the message was, ‘We’re here to win a Super Bowl.’ That’s it.
“That just happened throughout the season. I still remember Week 1 in Arizona — in the defensive room — Coach Spagnuolo had a picture he put up. It was like, ‘We’re going to finish the season exactly in the spot we started the season. First game’s in Arizona — we’re going to finish in Arizona.’ That was the slide. Fast forward, we ended up doing that. Battled adversity throughout the way but came out on top. It’s a hell of a deal being on the top.”
But Chiefs fans should not be concerned about Reid being satisfied with only one title. After playing on a pair of 4-win teams in Houston, he knows the only way to have the offseason he wants is to repeat as champions.
“That’s the goal,” he declared. “At this point, everything now is for glory. Glory, legacy — it’s not like that hunger goes away. I can get used to the parades and being on top...Everything’s good when you’re on top. Everything folds into it. You get more opportunities. You meet more people. You have things you want to do in the community or in business. Things just fall in your lap when you’re on top.
“Honestly, I want more of it. The whole team does.”