Super Bowl Judgements: Why this win was so significant for Chiefs' Andy Reid
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Twenty five years later, it happened again.
It was at this stadium … on this field … and in this game … that San Francisco quarterback Steve Young became a Hall of Famer. The successor to Joe Montana, Young hadn’t won a Super Bowl … in fact, hadn’t led a team to a Super Bowl … until Jan. 29, 1995.
But then he did. And he not only won. He set a Super-Bowl record by throwing six touchdown passes in Super Bowl XXIX.
“Take the monkey off my back,” he yelled to teammate Gary Plummer as they celebrated on the sidelines. So Plummer did, lifting an imaginary load from Young’s shoulders.
The monkey was back Sunday, and wouldn’t you know it? So were the 49ers, here for their seventh Super Bowl. But it wasn’t the team’s quarterback who had to have a load lifted. It was the opponent’s head coach, Kansas City’s Andy Reid.
One of the game’s all-time winningest coaches, Reid had a reputation – much like Young – of winning a lot of games but not winning a lot of big games. And the record underscored it. Until Sunday, he ranked sixth among NFL coaches with 221 career victories, including the playoffs. The five coaches ahead of him combined for 29 league championships. But Reid? He never won one.
Until now. Which is why Sunday’s 31-20 defeat of San Francisco is so significant. Because Andy Reid won more than a big game. He lost a reputation.
“Nobody,” said Chiefs’ owner Clark Hunt, “deserves this trophy more than Andy Reid.”
He’s right about that. Reid has taken two teams to seven conference championship games, which is good. But until two weeks ago, he was 1-5 in those games with Philadelphia and Kansas City, and that’s not. Which is why the Chiefs’ defeat of Tennessee two weeks ago was big and Sunday’s victory was bigger. Because had he not won … had he failed in his second Super Bowl appearance … Reid would’ve been known as the big engine that couldn’t.
“I don’t care about that,” he said. “I really don’t. This is a pure team sport. That’s why I got into it. I didn’t get into for any other reason than to win games.
“That’s the part that I think needs respect. The other stuff will take care of itself.”
With the win, Reid will be mentioned as something … or someone … he wasn’t before: And that’s a Hall-of-Famer waiting to happen. And maybe it does happen. It did for Steve Young. And maybe it doesn’t. But at least he’s where he hasn’t been until now: In the conversation.
“That’s really the last thing on my mind,” he said.
Understood. But it wasn’t the last thing on the mind of the Chiefs’ owner or their players. And it wasn’t the last thing on the minds of a national TV audience that saw Reid demonstrate what Young did 25 years earlier: That he’s more, much more, than what we thought.
“He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “But I don’t think he needed the Lombardi Trophy to prove that.”
He didn’t. But it sure helps. Ask Steve Young.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. Kansas City should reserve a game ball for San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan. I thought he learned a lesson from Super Bowl LI. He didn’t. With a 10-point fourth-quarter lead … when he should be burning the clock … he strayed from the run again. And it cost him again. Best example: Ahead 20-17 with six minutes to go, he calls a run on first down and gains 5. No problem. But on second, he throws. The pass is batted down. And on third down, another incompletion. What in the world? Then, behind 24-20 and driving in the last two minutes, he forgets about the run again after gaining 17 yards on first down. Why? Don't ask me. He had all three time outs. When he took over the 49ers in 2017, he said he was haunted by Super Bowl LI. He should be haunted by this one, too.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo is no Joe Montana. He had the last two-and-a-half minutes to win a Super Bowl, and he couldn’t.
3. It’s an AFC world. We’re just living in it. With the victory, the conference has won five of the last six Super Bowls and six of the past eight. Of course, New England is responsible for three of those victories.
4. Even when Patrick Mahomes is less-than-extraordinary, he’s better than anyone on the field. He threw two interceptions for the first time in five playoff games … yet still was the game MVP. He’s only the second MVP under 25 years old and the first quarterback.
5. The Chiefs are never, ever, ever out of a playoff game. They overcame deficits of 24 and 10 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs … but in the first half. Here they were down 10 with under seven minutes to go and won by 11, scoring on their last three possessions.
THIRD AND 20
1. Best trick play of the day: Tom Brady’s reverse on that Hulu commercial.
2. Key play of the game: Down 20-10 with just over seven minutes left, the Chiefs faced a third-and-15 at their own 35. Under pressure, Mahomes steps back to loft a bomb toward the left side of the field … where somehow, some way, Tyreek Hill is all alone. He catches it for a 44-yard gain, the Chiefs score three plays later and, suddenly, they’re back in business.
3. Officials still don’t know what pass interference looks like. I’m sorry, but if that was an OPI on George Kittle at the end of the first half, the New Orleans Saints are still playing Minnesota in OT. “Ref made the call. I gotta live with it,” said Kittle. We don’t.
4. San Francisco GM John Lynch wondered if this would be a dream weekend. It wasn’t. More like a nightmare. He wasn’t elected to the Hall, and his team choked away a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.
5. The 49ers had 144 yards rushing on 22 carries, a 6.4-yard per-carry average. So why do you throw 31 times? The 49ers’ defense didn’t lose this game. Kyle Shanahan did.
6. Not sure I wouldn't have made Kansas City's Damien Williams the game MVP. All he did was run for 104 yards, catch four passes for another 29 and score twice, including the game-winning TD.
7. What happened to to Deebo Samuel? He touched the ball twice in the second half.
8. Shakira won halftime … and it wasn’t close.
9. Jerry Green of the Detroit News established a record that will never be broken. At 91, he attended his 54th consecutive Super Bowl.
10. That makes another defeat of San Francisco for Seattle’s Russell Wilson. He’s the guy who prior to Sunday predicted the Chiefs would win.
11. Richard Sherman is right – sort of – when he says, “We’re still a great defense, but you got to execute at the end.” Great defenses do execute at the end.
12. Nobody should forget Matt Moore’s role in this championship. He’s the guy who took over for the injured Mahomes this season and was 1-1. Had the Chiefs not won that one game, they wouldn’t have gained the second-seed and a first-round bye. And maybe, just maybe, not be here.
13. No surprise it was an NFC West team that lost. The division is 1-7 in its last eight Super Bowl appearances.
14. The Chiefs saved the best for last: Their three biggest plays – gains of 44, 38 and 38 yards not only occurred in the fourth quarter but in the last 7:13.
15. In case you forgot, the Eagles fired Andy Reid to hire Chip Kelly. Just sayin.'
16. Somebody get me rewrite. President Trump congratulated “the great state of Kansas” after the Chiefs’ win. One problem: They play in Kansas City, Missouri.
17. Biggest offseason move for the Chiefs wasn’t hiring safety Tyrann Mathieu; it was hiring defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He’s the coach whose defense thwarted Tom Brady and the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
18. The 49ers say they’ll be back to the Super Bowl next year, but history says they won’t. Only one of the last 25 Super Bowl losers returned … and it was New England.
19. Great Super Bowl fact, courtesy of the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero: The Dolphins actually lose money when they host Super Bowls because owner Stephen Ross has to pay the NFL to lease a suite for the game … in the stadium that he owns.
20. It was deja vu all over again for 49ers' running back Tevin Coleman. He was with Atlanta when the Falcons blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead, and he's with the 49ers now.
STAT THAT MAY ONLY INTEREST ME
There have been three teams to lose Super Bowls with 10-point fourth-quarter leads. Kyle Shanahan called the offensive plays for two of them. After the 10:00 mark of the fourth quarter, Shanahan’s teams were outscored 46-0.
AND ONE THAT MAY INTEREST YOU
Mahomes won five games this season after overcoming five double-digit deficits, including 3-0 in the playoffs.
SUNDAY’S GOLD JACKET WINNER
QB Patrick Mahomes. Just when you think he’s mortal, this happens. He leads the Chiefs to three touchdowns in seven minutes, wins a Super Bowl and is the first player in NFL history to score 12 playoff TDs running and passing. Oh, yeah, he won a Super Bowl MVP, too, becoming the youngest quarterback to ever win the award. “It’s magic Mahomes,” said tight end Travis Kelce. “It’s Showtime Mahomes. He’s going to be himself no matter what the scenario is, and you know what? I love him. He willed this team back into the game.”
SUNDAY’S GOLD JACKET QUOTES
“I just try to be the best Patrick Mahomes I can be and win with the people I have around me.” – Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes.
"We're like Golden State (Warriors) in their prime, baby. We do what it do. Sack nation." -- Kansas City DT Chris Jones on the Chiefs' pass rush.
“The defense put us in position multiple times to win the game, but as an offense we just didn’t get it done. -- San Francisco TE George Kittle.
“It sucks. You know what I mean? “ – 49ers’ DL DeForest Buckner.
Follow on Twitter @ClarkJudgeTOF