The Chiefs began evolving on January 7th, 2013, and have been evolving ever since. That was the day they hired future Hall of Fame coach Andy Reid. Before Reid, the Chiefs were stuck in a sea of mediocracy. They would have a good defense, but the offense was nowhere to be found. Then, they would have a good offense, but the defense was the laughingstock of the NFL. Andy Reid was the long-awaited paddle that began the turning of the ship.
What did coach Reid bring to Kanas City that they hadn’t seen since the early 90s? A winning culture! Before becoming the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagle from 1999 to 2012. During his fourteen-year stint as the Eagles’ head coach, Reid only had three losing seasons. During that same period, the Kansas City Chiefs recorded seven losing seasons. That is more than twice the amount that Reid had during that time. He has proven that winning is infectious.
Coach Reid being an offensive mastermind has something to do with the turnaround, as well. His ability to evaluate talent and put players in a position to succeed has allowed Reid to sustain success throughout his tenure as a coach in the National Football League. Coach Reid can get the most out of his players regardless of their talent level. Then, he can identify the areas of weakness in a team and identify and add the personnel necessary to be competitive. A good example of this was during his first few seasons with Kansas City. He turned Jamaal Charles into a home run threat every time he touched the football and into a fantasy football juggernaut. With a great deficiency at the quarterback position, he was instrumental in organizing a trade to acquire Alex Smith to solidify the position. The increase in competitive play was undeniable.
Even though Reid had brought the Kansas City Chiefs’ franchise back from the dead, he knew that evolution would have to be a mainstay to get his team to where he wanted to go. The Chiefs had improved in so many areas but still would come up short in the playoffs against the NFL’s elite franchises at the time. There is no doubt that Alex Smith was a solid and respectable quarterback for the Chiefs, but the elite franchises had game-changers at the quarterback position. In the eyes of Andy Reid, this was the next level of evolution necessary for the Chiefs to reach the mountaintop.
That evolution would come in the 2017 NFL draft. The Chiefs and Coach Reid were scouting a junior gunslinger in West Texas. There were many NFL executives and media personnel that were expecting the Chiefs to take Deshaun Watson from the University of Clemson, but Reid and company stuck to their guns and their evaluation process. With the addition of Mahomes, the Chiefs’ offense could evolve into an offense that would stretch the field and put stress on the opposition’s defense. After trading away Alex Smith to Washington and handing the reins over to Mahomes, the Chiefs’ offense evolved alright. It became the most powerful offense in the National Football League.
After two consecutive Super Bowl appearances, the league would find a way to slow the mighty offense of the Chiefs and force coach Reid to evolve once again. This time evolution would need to be on multiple levels. The Chiefs would have to figure out how to adapt to the defensive scheme the entire NFL had adopted to slow down their offense and do it while trading away their number one deep threat at wide receiver. After losing in the AFC title game the previous season and losing Hill to free agency, seemingly every media outlet had conceded the Chiefs’ 2022 season. Once again, Andy Reid and the Chiefs’ front office continued to evolve by picking-up Ju Ju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to help replace the production of Hill. Then the Chiefs spent some draft picks and money on the defensive side of the ball, as well.
The last level of evolution led to a Super Bowl victory this past season. With changes to the starting offensive line and the wide receiver core, it appears that Andy Reid and the Chiefs are entering another cycle of evolution. The question is what will it be this time, and what will the results be? All these answers are sure to come to fruition during the upcoming season. With Reid’s track record, I am putting my money on Reid to successfully evolve this team to the next level.