Quarterbacks are judged harshly if they never win a Super Bowl. Someone sane will always point to Dan Marino or Dan Fouts and explain that some quarterbacks who never won a ring were still great.
For coaches? It’s championship or else.
Among the 12 winningest coaches in NFL history, seven won at least one championship. Six are in the Hall of Fame, and the seventh is Bill Belichick. Of the five who never won a ring, none are in the Hall of Fame. One of them is Andy Reid.
It’s arguable that of all the people who will participate in this season’s NFL playoffs, Reid’s legacy would be affected most by a Super Bowl win. His Kansas City Chiefs can clinch an AFC West championship and take a big step toward the No. 1 seed in the playoffs with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers — whose quarterback Philip Rivers would also see his legacy change forever with one championship — on Thursday night in Kansas City, a game that can be livestreamed on the Yahoo Sports mobile app (IOS and Android).
Maybe Reid will make the Hall of Fame anyway. He has a great case. But a Super Bowl title would seemingly make him a lock. And this season might be his best shot.
Andy Reid has a great resume with one hole
Reid is a great coach. Let’s get that out of the way first. He is in his 20th season. He has posted just three losing seasons. The Chiefs were 2-14 the season before he arrived. They’re 64-29 since. Reid is eighth in NFL history with 194 wins. His .614 win percentage is better than Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Parcells, Marv Levy, Hank Stram and Bill Walsh, to name just a few Hall of Famers. Reid has lost great assistants like Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy and it hasn’t mattered. He just wins.
And for all of the good teams Reid has fielded, this Chiefs team could have the best chance to deliver a Super Bowl. His Chiefs are 11-2. Reid’s only team that started better was the 2004 Eagles, who won the NFC. They reached 13-1. They also had to face a great Patriots team in the Super Bowl, and lost. This season’s Rams and Saints are good, but probably not 2004 Patriots good. And Kansas City is clearly the best team in the AFC. With no disrespect to Donovan McNabb, Reid has also never had a game-changing quarterback like Patrick Mahomes.
The AFC’s second-best team, record-wise, is the one Kansas City faces Thursday night. The Chargers have the second-best record in the NFL at 10-3. A Chargers win on Thursday night wouldn’t flip the AFC West because the Chiefs would still hold the tiebreaker due to record in divisional games. A win for the Chiefs clinches the AFC West. A Chiefs win combined with a Patriots loss or tie at Pittsburgh on Sunday clinches the top seed in the AFC for Kansas City.
And then Reid would be in great position to change the perception of him.
Chiefs can take big step with win on Thursday
There are only three modern-era head coaches who are in the Hall of Fame without a championship: George Allen, Bud Grant and Marv Levy. Grant and Levy got in largely because they won four conference championships.
Could Reid be the fourth in that group if he doesn’t win a championship? Maybe. But the memories of blown playoff games, including last season when the Chiefs led the Tennessee Titans 21-3 at halftime and somehow lost, are a part of his resume too. Coaches need to win big in the playoffs, or they get forgotten. It has been that way for more than 50 years.
Reid can change everything with one Super Bowl win. Ask Bill Cowher how a reputation can change with one title. Jon Gruden parlayed one title into years of legend-building and a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, Don Coryell changed the way offensive football is played, but he didn’t win a ring so he hasn’t gotten in the Hall of Fame.
The 2018 Chiefs, with an explosive offense and an MVP favorite at quarterback, could be the difference in Reid being remembered as one of the all-time greats. First things first: Beat the Chargers on Thursday night, and the road to the Super Bowl will look a lot easier.
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