He’s 63 years old, he just spent a night in the hospital and he says he no longer even has any red hair.
Andy Reid has been doing this for 23 years now and it’s fair to wonder just how much longer he’ll be a head coach and what his legacy will be when he’s done.
Only four men in NFL history have been a head coach without a break longer than Reid – Don Shula, Curly Lambeau, Tom Landry and Steve Owen. All Hall of Famers.
Only Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick, Landry and Lambeau have won more games. And Reid is only four wins behind Lambeau.
And only Belichick, Landry and Shula have won more playoff games.
With a win Sunday at the Linc, Reid will become the first coach in NFL history to win 100 games (including postseason) with two different teams.
How long can Reid keep this up?
It’s a great question and it probably depends more than anything on his health. Reid wouldn't disclose why he was hospitalized in Kansas City Sunday night after a loss to the Chargers, but it's never good news when you go to the hospital.
There've been a number of coaches who’ve done it into their 70s. Romeo Crennel – who Reid replaced with the Chiefs in 2013 – was an interim coach with the Texans for 12 games last year at 73. Marvy Levy coached until he was 72, Dick Vermeil until he was 69. Three current coaches are older than Reid – Bruce Arians and Bill Belichick are 68 and Pete Carroll is 69.
I asked Big Red this week how long he wants to continue coaching, and he gave a typically vague Andy Reid answer:
“I don’t know. I feel good, so I don’t know that. We’ll just have to see how it goes here.”
As successful as Reid was with the Eagles – he averaged 9.3 wins per season, reached a Super Bowl and won 10 playoff games – he’s taken things to a new level with the Chiefs, averaging 11.5 wins per year, reached two more Super Bowls, won one and reached the playoffs six straight years.
Big Red was typically self deprecating when asked how he’s a better or different coach today than he was during his 14 years with the Eagles.
“That’s hard to tell when you’re walking in your own shoes,” he said. “I’m older, I have less hair. I have no red hair at all anymore and my moustache has turned white. And I’ve probably lost some weight since I got here.”
Pat Mahomes is only 26 and is already an all-time great. That alone could be enough to keep Reid going. He’s coached Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick, but Mahomes allows Reid to run the sort of innovative, dynamic, high-powered offense he’s always dreamed of and will make the Chiefs a Super Bowl contender every year he plays.
What if Reid coaches until he’s 70? That would give him eight more seasons, including the current one, and bring us to 2028. At his career rate of 9.6 wins per year and factored for a 17-game season, that would increase his career total over 300 wins, a milestone only Shula and Halas have reached. Belichick is at 281 and still going.
Four more playoff wins would give him 21 and would be 2nd-most in history, behind Belichick, whose 31 are untouchable.
But Reid’s legacy goes beyond just wins and losses. His coaching tree is now up to 10 former assistants who’ve become head coaches, including two – John Harbaugh and Doug Pederson – who’ve won Super Bowls. Five of them - Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, Matt Nagy and David Culley – are coaching this year. Eric Bieniemy, who played for Reid in Philly in 1999, is bound to join that list soon.
That’s a remarkable impact on the game just in terms of the young coaches he's developed. Consider how many young coaches those 10 guys brought into the league and you see why Reid is so revered in NFL coaching circles.
Where does Reid rank all-time?
He’s got the 6th-most wins, but NFL head coaches are ultimately ranked in large part by how many championships they’ve won, and his first 22 years have produced just one, Super Bowl LIV over the 49ers after the 2019 season. Some 25 head coaches have won two championships and in the modern era 13 have won at least two Super Bowls.
He’s a 1st-ballot Hall of Famer, but to truly cement his legacy, he needs another Super Bowl or two. As long as Mahomes is his quarterback, he’ll always have the chance.
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