Given the recent success of the Chiefs, we take a look at what was ultimately the franchise changing decision for the Chiefs.
There is no debating on who the two most important people are when it comes to the success of this franchise, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Getting these two into the Chiefs building were both franchise altering decisions. The Chiefs were mediocre at best before Andy Reid came into town in 2013 and before the Chiefs drafted Mahomes, they had trouble getting themselves over the top in the playoffs. They both complement each other well, obviously the genius that is Andy Reid elevates Mahomes game, but Mahomes ultimately got Andy Reid something he has been chasing his whole career, the Super Bowl victory.
Who ultimately was the better decision for the Chiefs? Let’s take a look here and see the case that could be made for both and who I ultimately think was the better decision.
First, the case for Andy Reid.
Since 2007, the Chiefs were decent at times, but for the majority a below average football team. Kansas City made the playoffs once in those 6 seasons before Reid arrived and averaged 5 wins per season. That is obviously nothing to be proud of. This is the part that is the craziest to me, in 2012 the Chiefs were an NFL worst 2-14 and picked 1st overall in the NFL Draft. The very next year, Andy Reid took the Chiefs to an 11-5 record. I know the Chiefs did trade for Alex Smith that off-season, but Alex Smith wasn’t considered a great QB at the time when leaving San Fransisco. You could immediately tell that Andy Reid was the answer to the Chiefs ineptness to find a head coach since Dick Vermeil.
A crazy fact about the Chiefs since Andy Reid has arrived is that they’ve never been under .500 and they’ve had 5 straight 10+ win seasons, including 4 straight AFC West titles. These marks already have him 3rd all-time in wins in Chiefs history and already has the most playoff wins in the teams history as well. The Chiefs haven’t seen this precedent for winning in a long time and should continue to see it for the next few years.
We all know how important team chemistry is in the NFL and nobody I can recall ever has said they didn’t like playing for Coach Reid. He is a player’s coach first hand, would do anything for his guys, and ultimately wants them to succeed. You see this by how the players react when asked about what he means to them and how much they appreciate him. When dealing with 53 grown men every year to get their respect and have them play their hearts out for you and their teammates is just something not every coach brings to the table.
Another thing to consider when thinking about Reid being the better decision is how much his offensive mind elevates the play of his QBs. As I said previously, Alex Smith before he came to Kansas City wasn’t considered even an average quarterback in most circles. After he came to Kansas City he was a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career after his first season under Reid and made it two more times after that. He had his best year of his career in 2017 also when he threw for 4042 yards and 26 TDs, both career highs. There is no denying Andy Reid is a QB whisperer and can elevate anybody’s play at that position, which makes him incredibly valuable to the franchise.
Lets now look at the case for Patrick Mahomes.
We can all think about the horrific playoff losses the Chiefs have had. I won’t name all of them, but there are two that come to mind when talking about Andy Reid. The first one is in 2016 when the Chiefs lost to the Steelers in which Kansas City scored two touchdowns and Pittsburgh scored zero and the Chiefs somehow lost that game. The second, is the very next year against the Titans in which the Chiefs had a 21-3 lead at halftime and lost that game as well. The constant black eye in those games was the play of the QB. When you only score 16 and 21 points in playoff games, it is hard to expect wins. Now enter Patrick Mahomes.
You would’ve never been able to guess the amount of production this guy would bring in his first year as a starter unless you were in the building watching him every day. The Chiefs hit an absolute home run. He did something his first year as a starter in throwing for 5,000 yards and 50 TDs that only one person in the NFL History had done before him, and oh yeah, that guy’s name is Peyton Manning. The only way to top that is winning a Super Bowl the next year right? Well, consider that done. Mahomes became the only player in NFL history to win a MVP and Super Bowl MVP before the age of 25. Everyone knew the Chiefs would need a perfect storm for Alex Smith to get them over the hump in the playoffs, but you could tell after Mahomes’s first couple of starts that the Chiefs found a guy that could eventually elevate this franchise to another level.
Mahomes was considered a project coming out of Texas Tech by most people as he had that gunslinger like mentality and had trouble with his decision making at times, but Andy Reid had coached a guy just like him before in Brett Favre and knew exactly what he was getting his hands on. I’ll be honest, I thought when the Chiefs traded up in the draft in 2017 that they were going to draft Deshaun Watson. l think a lot of people did. Little did we know that the Chiefs were that team that was willing to take a chance on Patrick Mahomes and it more than worked out. Mahomes was able to deliver the franchise and Andy Reid something that was eluding them for so long and for Andy Reid, something he was chasing his whole career, that being the Super Bowl title.
Now, what was the better decision, hiring Andy Reid, or drafting Patrick Mahomes?
I believe hiring Andy Reid was the best decision in franchise history. He brought stability the Chiefs haven’t had since Marty Schottenheimer and created a culture that is just unmatched in today’s NFL. I believe without him, there is no Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. Andy Reid saw first hand what a caliber of player like Mahomes can do. Reid got to Green Bay the same time Favre arrived in 1992 and coached on the staff there till 1998. There is no doubt in my mind Andy Reid thought Mahomes was Favre like and just had to have him on his football team. Without the culture he created, the trust he developed with the front office and ownership, there is no doubt on my mind that he is the main reason Mahomes is playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and not for someone else. With that considered, that is why I think hiring Andy Reid was the best decision in Chiefs history.