Where Does Andy Reid Rank Among NFL Head Coaches?


Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is a stout, jovial man who gets no respect. He’s the NFL’s Rodney Dangerfield.

Despite a track record that oozes with excellence, one can argue that Reid is primarily known for his defects. And that, in turn, tends to blight his genius in the court of public opinion.

For once, though, let’s take a minute to look at his successes rather than his failures.

In 1999, the then-rookie head coach inherited the Philadelphia Eagles—a 3-13 train wreck whose leading passer was Koy Detmer (a rookie at the time) and leading receiver was Jeff Graham. However, in five of the next six seasons, the franchise racked up double-digit wins.

In 2013, the then-seasoned head coach took over the NFL equivalent of Snowpiercer; a 2-14 traveling circus whose offense had as many passing touchdowns as the Chicago Bears defense. A year later, the Kansas City Chiefs matched the second-biggest one-season turnaround in NFL history.

Yet, at some point within the last three years, a sliver of local expectations leapfrogged from “We’d beat the Jags” to “How many rings tho?”

The same truth stretches beyond Kansas City. By and large, the national media showers Reid with praise. However, as with anything, there are outliers.

On the heels of Super Bowl XLIX, Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty, who I’m sure is a swell human being, published his latest rankings of NFL head coaches. The criteria? “If you had to win a game tomorrow, who do you want coaching your team? Not five years from now, not five years ago. Tomorrow.”

Let me preface this by saying that if “rankings” cause you to lose your mind, pound caps lock and spam someone’s mentions with “Seven days…”-like threats, hug something and eat a Snickers. Nobody likes that guy/girl.

Daugherty’s top 10 reads as follows:

[table id=66 /]

A few things:

  • As a member of the of the Chiefs, Reid is 4-1 versus the nine coaches ahead of him. (No, that doesn’t mean he’s better, but he’s obviously doing something right.)
  • Over the past two seasons, Chip Kelly and Reid share identical records. The latter bested the former in their only meeting (at Philadelphia), and within that same season, the Chiefs swept the Eagles’ division 4-0.
  • Reid has won more games in the playoffs than O’Brien has in the regular season.

Look, does the man have shortcomings? Without a doubt. His clock management is spotty, and he’ll abandon the run on a whim.

That being said, Reid has finished with a .500 or better record in 13 of his 16 seasons. And while Kansas City hasn’t notched a playoff victory since 1993, Reid has scored 10 of them since 1999.

Year after year, players and coaches are effusive in their praise for him.

Even Terrell Owens—whom Reid once suspended and ultimately deactivated, causing him to miss the remaining nine games of the 2005 season—gushes about his former coach.

Thursday, Breakfast on Broad‘s Rob Ellis and Barrett Brooks asked the once-dominating wideout what he, in his prime, could’ve done in Chip Kelly’s offense. Owens replied:

"Again, just as what I did with Andy Reid’s system—and like I said, I don’t know, in terms of comparison, how they are as head coaches because I’ve never been under the coaching and tutelage of Chip Kelly—but for myself, Andy Reid is the best head coach I’ve ever played for. …I can’t say enough about Andy and what he did, really, for my career."

All things considered, that’s no small compliment. As CSN’s Ian Wenik notes, Owens, outside of Reid, has played for the likes of George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, Dennis Erickson, Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips, Dick Jauron, Perry Fewell and Marvin Lewis.

If using the same yardstick—winning one game tomorrow—I don’t know how I’d rank the current lineup of head coaches. I do know, however, that I’d feel confident with Andy Reid at the helm, and Bill O’Brien would be on page two.

Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Next: Are Donald Stephenson And Jeff Allen Good Enough?

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