Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Andy Reid is trying to bring a championship mentality to his version of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ask any NFL player and they will likely tell you that their goal every season is to win the Super Bowl but despite all the lip service, not every NFL team carries itself like champions. Team executives and coaches are even so brash as to tell fans that the organization is “rebuilding” (see Edwards, Herm and Peterson, Carl), which is somewhat surprising considering the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of league.
Despite the fact that his team had the worst record in the NFL in 2012, Reid isn’t talking about rebuilding in Kansa City. He’s talking about winning championships.
And the head coach’s high expectations are rubbing off on his players.
“High expectations,” said Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson after the team’s first mandatory minicamp practice. “Andy Reid, he put a standard on us when he first walked into the meeting room – it’s winning a championship. If you play for anything else, you’re not doing justice to the game. He’s been winning, Andy Reid’s been winning for awhile in Philadelphia. To get him here and get that winning attitude around this Chiefs organization, it’s going to be great for us. Offensively and defensively, we’re competing. We’re doing a heck of a job out there. I was a little winded today because coming off a weekend, but we’ve done a lot of good things.”
It isn’t just Johnson who is laser-focused on the Lombardi Trophy. The entire team, when they break a huddle at practice, says one word in unison.
“That’s a good thing,” said Reid.= about his team’s new mantra. “That’s the way you need to think, and then that’s the way you need to prepare yourself as coaches and as players. We’re all in this together. One not less than the other. That’s the way you prepare.”
Talk is one thing but the Chiefs have a lot of work to do before they can take their place among the NFL’s elite. Still, teams like the San Francisco 49ers have taught us that with the right coach, an organization can go from bottom-feeder to contender very quickly. Despite the fact the Chiefs are rebounding from a 2-14 season, Johnson says they aren’t rebuilding, they’re reloading.
“No, you never look at it as a rebuilding year,” said Johnson. “That’s college talk. You always reload. Even though we didn’t win a lot of games last year, this team that we have already had some good core players here – something we could build off of or we could reload off, I should say, by bringing Alex Smith in and bringing a few other guys in to help us win.”
Alex Smith nearly took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2011. In fact, had it not been for some special teams blunders that he had nothing to do with, Smith might very well still be in San Francisco, with a ring on his finger.
Chiefs fans have to hope the team can make its new rallying cry a reality.