Whether or not the Associated Press agrees with me, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is clearly the NFL’s Coach of the Year. He’s orchestrated a nine-game turnaround, the largest in franchise history, for the league’s worst team in 2012. The Chiefs’ 56-31 victory over the Oakland Raiders earned them a spot in the 2013 NFL playoffs. Kansas City will at least be the AFC’s #5 seed in the postseason tournament.
The Chiefs are also still in position to win the AFC West now that they’re 11-3 like the division-leading Denver Broncos (who remain atop the West due to the tiebreaker). If the Chiefs win out and the Broncos drop one of their remaining games, the Chiefs would claim the division and have a shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Only New England could stand in the way of them owning the top seed in the postseason tournament.
Reid’s brought strong winds of change with him from South Philadelphia. Let’s be honest though, the Chiefs were historically bad in 2012. It’s tough to imagine a team so talented not making significant strides one year following perhaps the worst in franchise history. Consider what Reid’s done with runningback Jamaal Charles. Charles had already established himself as one of the league’s premier backs. What more could he make of him? I’m glad you asked.
Coming into the 2013 season, Jamaal Charles had just 24 career touchdowns. He has 18 in 2013. With 164 more offensive yards and just 2 more TD’s, he’ll have 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns on the season. That kind of production warrants MVP consideration. Charles has been good thus far in his career, but he’s never made a real case for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.
Reid has also guided first-year Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith to his best NFL season. Here’s Smith’s stat line for the year:
Smith is a nine-year pro who appeared to be maxed out, but Reid’s gotten more out of him than any coach in his career. He’s on pace to throw the ball more than 540 times this season (the most single-season attempts of his NFL tenure). There was some trepidation about whether or not Alex Smith could continue to be as efficient in an offense that asked him to throw that often. It hasn’t been an issue for him. He has a nearly 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
I suppose we could also talk about Reid’s foresight in bringing special teams coordinator Dave Toub to Kansas City. The Chiefs have four special teams return touchdowns in 2013 (that leads the league). They average 30.5 yards per kick return, also tops in the NFL. Dustin Colquitt has more punts downed inside of the 20-yard line than any punter in the NFL (33). Ryan Succop has made 84% of his field goal attempts in 2013 (the second-most accurate season of his career). Kansas City’s “third phase” has been as important to its success as any other unit in 2013.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been in this position before, but haven’t had a viable playoff contender in a decade. The 2003 team finished the season 13-3, but quickly exited the postseason when it surrendered 38 points to a Colts team it couldn’t force into a single punt. I believe this group to be most capable of making a run in the postseason since another transplanted quarterback from San Francisco was at the helm (Joe Montana).
Chiefs Kingdom should be cautiously optimistic about this bunch the rest of the way. The team’s posted 101 points in two consecutive road wins, but the Redskins and Raiders are two of the worst teams in the league this year. Kansas City will get a real test of its postseason preparedness next week when the AFC South-leading Colts come to town. It’s possible that they could face Indianapolis again the in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs.
The Chiefs are in the midst of one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in NFL history. For that, Reid deserves to be named AP’s NFL Coach of the Year. Panthers coach Ron Rivera and Saints coach Sean Payton warrant COTY consideration as well, but both of them have been with their respective organizations for several years. Furthermore, all of the working parts were already in place. Reid’s turned the Chiefs franchise around with a new quarterback, a new offensive scheme, and a new coaching staff. The case is closed in my mind.
Does Andy Reid deserve to be named NFL Coach of the Year? Are there any other head coaches more deserving? Use the comment section below to have your say. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.
Until next time, Addicts!
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