Andy Reid brings his Kansas City Chiefs to Philadelphia on Thursday night, after 14 years and five NFC championship games here. Here’s what’s being said:
Andy Reid won’t say it. It’s not his style. He is a process guy. Next day, next practice, next game.
But the Kansas City Chiefs‘ next game means something a little bit more, even if Reid won’t admit it. It is Reid’s homecoming. On Thursday night in Philadelphia, he will be the Eagles’ opponent, instead of their leader, which he had been the previous 14 seasons. He will prepare in the sparse confines of the visitors’ locker room at Lincoln Financial Field instead of inside the Eagles’ plush, spacious quarters.
Reid will be cheered. He will be booed. He will be appreciated by some and vilified by others. That’s just how it is. Reid knows it. It was 14 mostly good years — 130 regular-season wins, six NFC East titles, nine playoff appearances, five NFC Championship Games, one glorious Super Bowl run — but ultimately Reid did not bring home the Lombardi Trophy. In Philadelphia, a city with a rich sports history and a passionate fan base, winning a Super Bowl is all that matters.
He is the only man having already made the same trip down memory lane that Andy Reid faces this week in his much-anticipated return to Philadelphia, and somewhat predictably, he predicted cheers will greet his fellow former Eagles coach Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Of course Dick Vermeil did. Vermeil, the perpetually positive thinker who has spent a lifetime appealing to the better angels of our nature, believes that a wave of appreciation will roll over Reid when he leads his undefeated Kansas City Chiefs onto the field against Chip Kelly’s 1-1 Eagles. Even if the frustration felt by Philly fans at the dismal end of Reid’s long, 14-year coaching era remains painfully fresh.
“I think you’re going to hear mostly cheers for Andy Reid,” said Vermeil, from his home near Philadelphia. “I’ll be surprised and disappointed if that’s not the case. Because these fans know football, and they know he did a good job. They know it withered the last two years, but I think they’ll show they really appreciate what he did do well while he was here. I really believe Andy will get a very positive reception from the fans.”
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has already said that he wants to win the game for his coach, but Reid said on a Tuesday conference call with Philly reporters that football is the only thing on his mind.
“Once you’re in this thing and you’re grinding and you’re getting ready for a football team, a good football team, you put all of that aside,” Reid said. “I know all of the questions and all of that. … It’s not very fluffy, but that’s what’s real.”