How Andy Reid's path to Super Bowl 54 began at San Francisco State

How Andy Reid's path to Super Bowl 54 began at San Francisco State

It's been a long road back to the Super Bowl for Andy Reid.

The Kansas City Chiefs head coach is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history but was 1-5 in conference championship games before Patrick Mahomes led KC to the Super Bowl with a 35-24 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game. Reid only has one other Super Bowl appearance, a loss to the New England Patriots as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

But long before he was calling plays for Mahomes or Donovan McNabb, Reid's coaching career truly began in the home of the team that awaits his Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV -- the 49ers.

After he spending time as a graduate assistant at BYU in 1982, Reid was hired by Vic Rowen to be part of a three-man coaching staff at San Francisco State University. Reid's job at SFSU not only was as a coach, but also to teach classes, sell hot dogs to fundraise for the football program and travel to games by bus, with some of the trips being 10 hours away. And he did it all for $22,000 a year, according to The Miami Herald.

Reid was part of the staff for the now-defunct program from 1983-1985 before moving onto Northern Arizona University as the offensive line coach.

The Chiefs coach is aware that his time spent in The City helped launch his coaching career and send him on a path that saw him coach at Missouri, the Green Bay Packers and the Eagles before landing in KC.

“It gives you that respect factor (for) where you are now. And you appreciate it. You don’t take it for granted,” Reid said in a 2016 interview with the Kansas City Star. “You feel very privileged to be in this position.”

Reid's rise through the coaching ranks can be tied to his time at San Francisco State. Rowen was a mentor to famed BYU head coach LaVell Edwards and he got Mike Holmgren hired onto the BYU staff while Reid was still a grad assistant for the Cougars. Holmgren later would pluck Reid from the staff at Missouri to be an offensive assistant with the Packers. 

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[RELATED: Five moments that defined 49ers' road to Super Bowl LIV]

Reid has come a long way from his time selling hot dogs and coaching in the Bay Area. Now, he has the Chiefs in their first Super Bowl in 50 years, something that might not have happened if it weren't for his time with the Gators.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

The NFL’s playoff structure is expected to change to reportedly include seven teams in both conferences to advance to the postseason.

The current proposal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, would add one playoff team in each conference and only the top seed in the AFC and NFC would be rewarded with byes in the first round of the playoffs.

The changes to the playoff format would take effect this season when the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. ESPN reports there is “mounting optimism” the new CBA will be agreed upon within the week.

Through last season, the top six teams in both conferences made the playoffs. If the playoff proposal had been in effect last season, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have advanced to the playoffs as the Nos. 7 seeds.

As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the 49ers would have still earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. But the Green Bay Packers, the No. 2 seed, would have played in the extra game against the Rams. If the Rams were to have upset the Packers in the wild-card round, the 49ers would have played Los Angeles in the NFC Divisional Playoff instead of the Minnesota Vikings.

But the new proposal would have had an even more major impact in the AFC, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have been forced to win three games in the playoffs just to advance to the Super Bowl.

"That's been agreed to for a long time," one source familiar with the CBA talks told ESPN about the NFL's new playoff structure. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

[RELATED49ers roster analysis: More receiver depth needed around Deebo Samuel]

Players on the top team in each conference will receive postseason pay for the bye weekend, unlike years past, according to the report.

Also, ESPN reported that the sides are also trying to work through a proposal for a 17-game regular season, while the exhibition season is shortened to three games. The earliest that change could occur would be the 2021 season, according to the report.

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Before the 49ers officially had lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, tight end George Kittle was already preaching they would be back next year.

But it didn't stop with him.

49ers players throughout the roster already are thinking of everything they can do to make another run at it, and that includes bringing back free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel made it clear Wednesday on Twitter that he wants to see the 49ers bring back the 32-year-old veteran.

Sanders showed his appreciation later Wednesday morning.

After coming over from the Denver Broncos via trade in October, Sanders excelled with the 49ers. He caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season, and added five receptions for 71 yards in the postseason.

But Sanders could have been an even more critical part of 49ers lore, had it not been for Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrown pass with less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl LIV. But it was not meant to be.

Sanders has been open about his love for the team that had just barely missed the championship and has spoken out about those second-guessing him due to his age. 

The receiver laughed at the fact that he has been "flying past 23-year-olds," and exhorted that he still has plenty of good years left in him.

[RELATED: Sanders offers advice to teammates playing in first Super Bowl]

He also embraced the youth the other wide receivers brought to the team, such as Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. Sanders loved the loose vibes of the 49ers' locker room and assisted the younger players in prepping for the big moments of the Super Bowl. 

Deebo surely noticed that and knows he wants his teammate back for the team's quest to make another Super Bowl run next season.