From the moment he turns a news conference over to reporters with his signature “time’s yours” phrase, Andy Reid always sticks by his players.
The man affectionately known as Big Red has never been a coach who criticizes his guys publicly, even when they play poorly. That hasn’t happened often in Kansas City. The Chiefs (16-2) are aiming for their second straight Super Bowl title when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-5) next Sunday.
On the opposite side, Bruce Arians is more willing to call out a guy, as Tom Brady experienced this season, but players like his tough-love style.
“He’s going to coach you hard, but he’s also going to love you hard,” Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen said.
Both Reid and Arians are considered players’ coaches, though they do it in different ways. It’s a quality that’s helped them reach the big game.
“He’s got almost like a father figure kind of role in the building and it’s because everyone loves him so much,” Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said of Reid. “He’s got an unbelievable way of getting the best out of everybody that is relating to all different aspects and all different forms of life. … This game is not won with one guy. That’s the beauty about the game is that that it takes everyone. Coach Reid does an unbelievable job of relating to everybody and getting the best out of everybody. And he’s the ultimate leader.”
Reid had more wins than any coach in NFL history without a championship until the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers last year. Before arriving in Kansas City in 2013, Reid won more games than any head coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles.
“He knows how to get the best out of individuals and make them come together for one common cause,” said former three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Hugh Douglas, who played five seasons for Reid in Philadelphia.
Whenever his team lost, Reid would say: “I have to do a better job. I need to put them in a better position to succeed.”
Fans and media were critical but players appreciated it.
“We loved it,” Douglas said. “I know y’all hated that. He didn’t say much in press conferences.”
The 62-year-old Reid has a self-deprecating sense of humor. He’s known as much for wearing floral shirts as he is for poking fun at his weight and proclaiming his love for cheeseburgers.
Throughout his coaching career, Reid has given players opportunities for redemption, from Michael Vick to Tyreek Hill. Reid understands the importance of second chances. His two oldest sons were arrested in 2007. Britt Reid is Kansas City’s linebackers coach. Garrett Reid, the oldest son, died of an accidental heroin overdose in 2012 at age 29.
This time last year, Chiefs players talked about how much they wanted to win to give Reid his first ring as head coach. The Buccaneers feel the same about Arians, the 68-year-old coach who was part of two championship teams as an assistant in Pittsburgh.
“He’s a great man. He’s a great leader. He’s a great person. He’s a great friend,” Brady said. “He’s very loyal. He’s just got a great way of communicating effectively with everybody around here. Everybody has a great affection for him for the person that he is. There’s nobody that would ever say a bad thing about B.A., he’s just so endearing to everybody and I think everyone wants to win for him.
“I think that is what you want to do for a coach — you want to get out there and you want to win for him. He puts a lot into it, expects a lot out of it. (He has) high expectations for us every day of practice.
“Just really excited for him to be recognized the way that he is. I know he’s a two-time Coach of the Year,” Brady adds of the awards Arians took in 2012 with Indianapolis as an interim coach while Chuck Pagano was ill, and in 2014 for Arizona. “But just done an amazing job this year with the team and really adverse situations and just love playing for him.”
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