2013 K.C. Chiefs: Reed For Meaning

When the Chiefs decided to bring Andre Reed aboard for the summer as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program, it was, generally speaking, a publicly well accepted idea. However, the reality of the addition of ex-wideout Reed may have much, much more meaning.

First, consider what Andre Reed has accomplished: only one wide receiver in the history of the NFL has started more playoff games than Reed (who is tied with Drew Pearson at 21) and that’s Jerry Rice at 29. Reed went to 4 straight Super Bowls (1990-1993) and 7 straight Pro Bowls (1988-1994) and had 87 career TDs ranking him 12th all-time. His 27 Super Bowl receptions (in 4 Super Bowls) is second only to Jerry Rice (33). Reed’s career covered 16 seasons, 217 total game (35th all-time) and he currently is ranked 10th among all wide receivers in NFL history in career receptions with 951. Reed’s 323 yards in the Super Bowls he appeared in are 3rd behind only Jerry Rice and Lynn Swann.

Andre Reed has been up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for many years and been passed by but, many believe his day is not far off and that he truly belongs in Canton with the rest of the best. I would concur.

Reed is not only known for his post season accomplishments but, is recognized for his contributions to the game many refer to as the greatest comeback in NFL history: the Buffalo Bill vs. Houston Oilers on January 3, 1993. I watched that game on TV when it happened and I couldn’t believe what was happening before my very eyes. Andre Reed had 8 receptions for 136 yards and 3 huge TDs, all in the 2nd half, including the go ahead TD for Buffalo’s first lead in the game, 38-35, with barely three minutes to play. It’s even more significant when you consider that the Oilers had been up by 28-3 at halftime. Warren Moon then executed a game tying drive ending in a field goal but, the Bills eventually won out in overtime. When you’re part of a game like that — it never leaves you.

Off the field Andre Reed has been one classy gentleman not only appearing on television shows such as Spikes’ Pros vs. Joes and as an analyst for Fox Sports but, he also has his own foundation called, The Andre Reed Foundation which assists underprivileged children in becoming responsible contributors in their communities.

So, what does this mean for the Kansas City Chiefs?

First of all, it means that Andre Reed gets his day in the sun and hopefully some doors open up for him as he takes advantage of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship. Then, for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chiefs players, it means… it’s time to click their Red Slipper heels together because Dorothy wants to go home.

The flip side of what Reed may mean to the Chiefs and their players can be felt by looking no further than your own heart. Well, to the story we all hold dear to our hearts, the “Wizard of Oz.” Near the end of the story the Wizard, having already bestowed Cowardly Lion a medal for courage and the Tin Man (no, not that Tin Man) a shinny red ticking clock for a heart, turns to Scarecrow and states,

They have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma. Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD. The Scarecrow asks, ThD? The Wizard states, that’s… Doctor of Thinkology, and goes on to say, back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila… er, phila… er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers.

The point is, Andre Reed could be that wizard.

If you’re playing for the Ravens, Steelers, Giants, Packers or Patriots right now, you already have players on your squad who have their Super Bowl “hearts, medals and T-h-ds.”

In the 47 year long history of the Super Bowl — 10 teams — have appeared as 60 of the 94 (47 x 2) possible contestants. That’s 10 teams taking up 64% of the Super Bowl entries. Conversely, only 36% of the other Super Bowl contestants have been filled by 22 teams, or 69% of the teams in the league (that’s not completely accurate because there’s not always been 32 teams).

Examine the current “winning cultures” of the NFL. Below is a chart showing all contestants in each Super Bowl game for the past 25 years. As they say, “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

Getting to the Super Bowl is so predominately a “been there done that” event for successful teams, that it has been rare for two teams, within a 25 year period, to show up in the big game for the first time, in the same year. Look at numbers 3, 9 and 15 and each time you’ll see a pair of teams in the Super Bowl who are new to the party… they haven’t been there before that during this 25 year span. Actually, it’s difficult to include the #3 New York Giants because they had been there just a few years previously. That’s why I left the #1 pairing… off of the red list because both the 49ers and the Bears had been there in the 80’s.

Please note: the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t come into the league until 1995 so their absence during the first six years of the chart below are not represented. However, the disparity in these figures is not significant enough that recalibrating them to take the Panthers and the Jags presence into account would matter but by approximately ½ a percentage point.

Any team in bold demarks the first time they made it to the Super Bowl in the 25 years. Teams not bolded, had made it to the Super Bowl previously, during this 25 year period.

Every off season… every team… makes a claim to their chance at making it to the big game… when the reality is much more sobering. As you can see by this chart, in the past 25 years, of the 50 available slots in the Super Bowl, only 20 teams have filled those positions. 12 of those teams were there multiple times, leaving a scant few slots for other teams to vie for.

The point of this is to show that there are only a handful of teams, in any given year, who are operating within the “culture of winning (or at least getting to) the big game.” And, that means there’s a limited number of players in the league who know about how that truly feels, first hand.

Andre Reed is one of those men. He’s been there four times. He’s done it all… except come out on top in the final game. From looking at the record book… that wasn’t Reed’s fault. Plus, he’s been a part of a team that fought for a trophy four straight years in a row. That kind of consisteny is preciously invaluable.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Chiefs wide receiving corp have the best season any Chiefs wide receiving crop has ever had. I believe Reed’s influence could be that far reaching. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Zeus, err, I mean Alex Smith, throwing them some lightning bolts.

The Chiefs don’t have a plethora of players like that on their current roster. Only Alex Smith and Chase Daniel have been on teams (San Francisco, 2013 and New Orleans, 2010) that played for a Super Bowl Trophy but, neither made it onto the field.

However, just making it to the big game changes a player. Listen to what QB Alex Smith had to say in a recent Sports Radio 810 interview,

I feel like the last couple years, having been close, kind of having seen it and not gotten it and in a sense, what happened last year with an injury and then not playing at the end of the year…no question a bitter taste in my mouth. It’s something I feel only winning will get rid of.

When we hear people talking about making a “culture change” or the “culture of winning” perhaps it would be better to think of “culture” in terms of “farming.” Teams, like farms, are constantly “breeding” flocks or “re-seeding” their fields.

If all you’ve known for 25 years is failure, then it’s hard to break the pattern of perpetuating motions that breed frustration, inadequacy and doubt. In that case… everything your personal “knows” is rupture, not rapture: it’s the lineage of losing. They are walking talking diaries spouting their diarrhea of defeatism, at worst … instead of being tellers of well being and soothsayers of success… which is spawned by players who project a positive future from harvesting a victorious past.

I often wonder what it’s been like for Len Dawson all these years. Once you’ve stood at the pinnacle, it’s so much easier to claim a winning vision. Yet, that’s not what he’s witnessed in K.C. since 1970.

Andre Reed can open the hearts and minds of Chiefs players to a culture (farming system) of…

  • being there and understanding what it feels like to “be there”…

  • envisioning the prize and realizing you’re worthy of it…

  • paying attention to the particulars of preparing for success…

  • never giving up, no matter how far down you get…

  • set your sights and you will scale the heights…

  • transcending limitations and overcoming obstacles…

  • winning by changing the game, the blame game…

  • feeling like you belong.

And… much, much more. Winning begets winning. Otherwise, you better hang out with a winner.

Andre Reed is that guy. And Andy Reid knows that Andre Reed knows it. Andy Reid has been to the big show too so, you can bet he knows the value of having a player, though he’s a former player, around to show, share and shine his light.

It’s one thing to talk the talk… such as the Chiefs have been doing this off season… but, to walk the walk with someone who has already walked the walk… side by side… can make a huge difference and help to bring about a full frontal-lobe quixotic revolution.

Having actual winning experiences… can totally alter the meaning of… saying all the right things.

John Dorsey knows the feeling. Andy Reid knows the feeling. Alex Smith and Chase Daniel know too. The Chiefs are bringing in more and more people who know what it feels like to get there. The plan is for the rest of the squad can join them soon.

Andre Reed may be there in training camp to help himself. But, don’t blame me if I “read” the situation… allegorically.

Of such is the parenthetical parody of a paradox. Don’t worry, I’m just stuck in that vacuum and it sucks sometimes.

What do you think Addict fans? Can Reed’s presence make a meaningful difference for the Chiefs?

Go Chiefs!

Tags: KC Chiefs

  • Stacy D. Smith

    You can never go wrong having people in your organization that know how to win. We now have personnel with past success on the roster, on the coaching staff, and in the front office. All of this will aid the process of building a winning culture in Kansas City.

  • steve james

    You have me confused. “Andre Reed is one of those men. He’s been there four times. He’s done it all… except come out on top in the final game. ”

    Didn’t they win that comeback game? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comeback_%28American_football%29

    • Lyle Graversen

      That game wasn’t a Super Bowl.

      • steve james

        I knew I was confused lol Been low on sleep can you tell?

    • berttheclock

      Interesting fact about that comeback win. It was led by Frank Reich who subbed for Kelly. FR had been taken in the 3rd round and Reed in the 4th round of the ’85 NFL draft. Combine that with Bruce Smith taken in the 1st round and Marv Levy didn’t do badly at drafting, eh?

      BTW, that was the same draft where KC took Ethan Horton and left Jerry Rice to be taken with the next pick.

  • berttheclock

    Yes, he should be in the Hall. Of course, he has been up against some tough competition in past years when voting was counted. However, consider the fact he is second only to Jerry Rice for receptions in SB games, and third in yardage after both Rice and Lynn Swann.
    When, you consider his coach and QB are in the Hall, he should be, also.
    But, I really like the fact that he accomplished this after coming from such a small university, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he had enrolled to play QB. Combine that with the Coe College graduate, Marv Levy, and hail to small schools. So much ballyhoo over the majors, but, there is some fine talent to be found in the hinterlands.

  • jimfromkcj

    I have no problem with the hiring of Reed, but I do have a problem with the mistaken idea that star players make good head coaches. Start naming the stars who have been successful head coaches, and you can use almost any team sport you want. It just doesn’t happen. Guys who are stars usually have God given talent that isn’t possible to pass on and they don’t have the patience to teach players who aren’t capable of playing without a whole lot of coaching. Of course that is just my observation after over 60 years of playing and watching sports events.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Hard to say what he’ll amount to as a coaching assistant. Good thing is, he’ll probably only be asked to work under David Culley with just the wide receivers. That’s something he knows at least. He’s played the position well in the NFL. Well enough to warrant HOF consdieration. What will it hurt to have him on board for the next 2.5 months?

      • jimfromkcj

        Bert and Stacy, For one thing I don’t think there is a need for a program to groom minorities for position coaches. There are lots of minority position coaches already. It is a program to promote more black head coaches. And again I have to say that none of the coachs mentioned above were what I would call stars. Wooden never played pro bowl, Torre did pretty well, but I never thought he was a star while playing. Baylor wasn’t a good head coach, and none of the Celtics who were what I would call stars did very well as head coaches. Bill Russell was probably the best of them, But when they start talking about him it is always about him as a player and never as a coach. So I still think I will stand by my premise that stars don’t make good head coaches. It take guys who had to work their tails off in order to succeed that make the best head coaches. They have the patience and understanding to know what players are going through in order to play.

        • berttheclock

          John Wooden was an All-American basketball player three years in a row and is only one of three to be in the College Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. BTW, Lenny Wilkins and Bill Sharman were the other two. Check out their careers. Wilt wrote that Sharman was one of the three best athletes he had ever met. Wilkins and Sharman, both, were HCs for NBA championship teams. When Sharman played for the Celtics, he combined with Cousey for a great backcourt duo.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I was only thinking about what he’ll do to serve this football team. He’s got a long way to go before he’ll get serious consideration as a head coach. I’m guessing he’ll probably trek through several organizations along the way. Here, he won’t even be a position coach. It’ll probably be more of an assistant role.

          I don’t think being a star player necessarily spoils your ability to coach. That level of experience and knowledge CAN aid you, but only if you’re adept at teaching the game. Not everybody has that skillset (former player or otherwise).

          • jimfromkcj

            Stacy, this is just another way to try and promote minority head coaches. The rule that owners must interview a minority for a head coaching job failed miserably and so we have a new program with a respected name coach in it’s name. I think the main reason that more minority coaches aren’t hired is because the owners know the pressure they will come under if the guy doesn’t work out and you are forced to fire him. If you really want to promote minorities as head coaches the political climate would have to change and you could hire and fire them the same way that you would a white guy. As long as the climate in this country is that minorities are entitled because of what happened 200 years ago, there will be no better relations between the people and always suspicion on every level.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The Rooney Rule and Walsh’s Minority Fellowship Program serve two different ends of the same spectrum. The fellowship is a first step training program designed to help coaches get on-the-job training. The Rooney Rule looks out for coaches who are already in position for HC gigs.

            I’d hate to derail the thread with a discussion about racial politics. Let me just clarify a few things. Slavery ended 148 years ago. By my count, that’s about 5 generations. Legalized discrimination; however, ended less than 50 years ago. We have a complex history in America. One we can’t parse in a comment section.

            These programs aren’t about entitlement though, they’re about inclusion.

        • ladner morse

          Jim… I disagree with you about the need for a minority coaching program. There is still a major disparity between the percentage of black players in the league and the percentage of black coaches. Now, many may believe there needs to be no parity there but, I have worked for so many years with inner city Kansas City youth and if you think there is an equal opportunity for all blacks — you would would be tremendously mistaken — and that begins at the earliest stages of people’s lives across our culture… and not someone else’s culture, Kansas City’s culture.

          • jimfromkcj

            Lad, what leads you to believe that there is equal opportunity for all whites? Taking your premise to a final conclusion would be to limit the number of blacks on an NFL team to 12%, as that is generally quoted as to the black population. If you are going to use percentages as to the coaching staff numbers we just as well might use it as the sole criteria. The inner city schools are overfunded in comparison to the schools in the rural areas of the state and I submit that this country has bankrupted itself trying to make itself into what doesn’t exist in the rest of the world and I seriously doubt it will work here. The biggest share of any group of people prefer to associate with like people and I don’t think it is going to change. In this country those who want to assimilate have every opportunity to do so, but in a free society each person has the right to do it or not.

    • berttheclock

      Hmm, I’ll start with John Wooden, but, I do agree the list is very limited following him. Joe Torre didn’t do badly, but, when, you consider Elgin Baylor… However, look at the several former stars for the Celtics who went on to, either head coaching and/or upper management. Plus, Tom Landry was an excellent player making the All-Pro list in 1954.

    • ladner morse

      John Madden, Mike Ditka, Herman Edwards, and George Halas come to mind right off… I’m sure there are many others but, having this debate is means the point of the post is lost.

      Once someone has a winning experience — they can impart that feeling to those who are mostly their peers. Reed is young enough that many Chiefs players can understand and respect what his experience is.

      This post was not aimed to address the idea that Reed would be a great coach and that this is the reason why his presence would be beneficial. Although… knowing what I know of Reed… he may turn out to be a really good one.

      BTW… John Wooden was not only a great coach, perhaps the greatest ever but, he was an all-star player.

      • jimfromkcj

        Lad, Madden was never a star player and Mike Ditka was a terrible coach, Herm was neither a star or a good coach and Halas is a whole other story as he was from an era when Pro football was not very popular. His greatest feat was getting Red Grange to play for the Bears and putting pro football on the front pages of news papers around the country. The start of making pro football on a par with college football. John Wooden was my all time favorite coach, but he was undersized to ever make it in the pros, I also think he coached basketball when I thought it was the most exciting time to watch. I have loved Basketball all my life, but I can’t stand to watch a game as it is played today.

        • ladner morse

          Jim,,, I agree,,, I enjoyed basketball way more back then than I do now. Not sure what the solution is… but, the “teamwork” aspect that Wooden used to talk about appears nearly lost becasue everyone focuses on individual talent and skills. When Kid retired he was the last of a dying breed.

  • KCPauly

    Wow good read, however all your big words, got my head hurting, lol…Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!

    • ladner morse

      You should be the one who has those words flying into your head — I know exactly what you mean!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      • KCPauly

        how do you sleep at night? ;~)) Go Chiefs!!!!

  • KcNdaRock

    I know this article is kinda old gotta say though big words on my small phone (4s) did start to hurt.. Lol great article .. You’re exactly right okay I play on the pro circuit for paintball.. I played on a team that had top out they had won big tourneys in the past and were still on riding that high but weren’t working towards getting back to that level this season I was picked up by another team. They have not been denied the podium for the last 2 season.. The way we practice the intensity of practice is a whole diff feel and it makes you play better to live up to there expectations it’s amazing how you can feed off of the players that have been there A d knows what it takes

  • KcNdaRock

    I don’t wanna offend anyone on this touchy subject but from reading the comments.. I don’t believe blacks are minority’s I think people use that as a free ride now days America is suppose to be equal but with rules like these it won’t ever be equal.. In the nfl I think Asians (which I am) are very scares cause most of us are to little lol and the Hispanics because there damn hard workers and are a little to small to play.. If we keep bringing up racism it will never go away.. It’s 2013 lets move on…