Let’s take a trip down memory lane by reliving the very first game in Andy Reid’s tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs.
As we’re into late July and training camp is just around the corner, it’s starting to feel like the new NFL season isn’t too far away. But even as the new season slowly edges closer, the first Kansas City Chiefs regular season game is still more than six weeks away.
With more than a month and a half still left to wait before week one of the new season, I have started taking a trip down memory lane by rewatching Chiefs games from recent history to fill in the football-sized hole in my week.
Last week, I went back and rewatched Patrick Mahomes’ first career start against the Denver Broncos and I was surprised by what I noticed—not just things about Mahomes, but stuff about the Chiefs in general that I’d either forgotten, hadn’t picked up on at the time, or moments that—in hindsight—now seem far more significant.
This week, I watched Andy Reid’s first game as Kansas City’s head coach.
It was a sunny day in Jacksonville for the opening week of the 2013 NFL season when Big Red took to the Chiefs sideline for the first time, and I wanted to see what sort of changes, if any, were noticeable in his first game calling the shots. After rewatching the game, these are some of the things that stood out to me—not just about Reid but the entire Chiefs organization.
An immediate impact
In his first game in charge, Andy Reid had a clear and immediate impact on the Chiefs. After an awful 2-14 season the year prior, Reid and Kansas City powered past the Jacksonville Jaguars to win 28-2.
It was, frankly, a demolition—even if things got off to a shaky start. Kansas City went three-and-out on their opening drive of the game, and Dustin Colquitt’s ensuing punt was blocked before bouncing out the back of the end zone for a Jaguars safety. It was almost a worst-case scenario start, but those two points be be the only ones Jacksonville would score on the day, with Kansas City dominating after that.
In his first game as head coach, Reid’s Chiefs put up 28 points—more points than they’d managed in a game the season prior. After being the lowest-scoring team in the league in 2012, Reid’s team scored the sixth-most points in the league in 2013, and their defense went from 25th overall in points allowed up to fifth, while also forcing the second-most turnovers.
K.C. would go on to begin the 2013 season an incredible 9-0. Despite just two wins in their last eight games, they made the playoffs for just the second time in seven years. It really was an almost instantaneous change with Reid at the helm. The Chiefs probably weren’t truly as bad as their record suggested in 2012, but Big Red certainly managed to get as much out of the team as possible straight away.
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A dark past and a bright future
Reid took over after a dark period in Chiefs history. I knew Kansas City had been bad, since I remember watching the Chiefs back then, but revisiting some of the stats had been startling.
Kansas City was coming off a run of an awful few seasons when Reid became head coach, including a torrid 2012 campaign that saw the team win just two games as they would slump to the worst record in the NFL.
The Chiefs’ offense was woeful that season. They averaged 13 points per game, the lowest in the NFL. They found the end zone a total of just 17 times, and they only scored 20 or more points four times all season. In contrast, the winless 2008 Detroit Lions still managed to score 20 or more points eight times in that season and had 28 offensive touchdowns.
The Chiefs had just one winning season in the previous six years – in 2010 – and after the messy ending of Todd Hayley’s tenure and the bleak rein of Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs desperately needed someone to salvage their sinking ship. And that is exactly what Reid did.
Since Reid has been at the helm, Kansas City has had a winning record every year, and they have made the playoffs eight times in nine seasons. The 11 wins K.C. had in 2013 were more than in they had in the two previous seasons combined. The Chiefs have won six consecutive AFC West division titles, the most in AFC West history, became the only team in NFL history to host four straight conference championship games, and, of course, won a Super Bowl.
When Reid took over it was hard to imagine that things could have gone any better than they have.