Dear Andy Reid,
You are now a two-time champion with one of the most unimpeachable regular season resumes in the history of the National Football League. There's a case to be made that you're among the five greatest head coaches of all time. With such unassailable accolades, you no longer have to be the "smartest man in the room." Coach, you've forgotten more about football than I'll ever know so it's not lost on you that sometimes football is more about execution than the element of surprise.
Sometimes, the trick isn't catching your opponent off-guard with an unexpected play call; it's making the call everyone in the stadium expects and executing despite the predictability of the play. In your season opener on Thursday night, your offense floundered in short-yardage situations. That's due partly to the play calls you dialed up for those 3rd-and-Short scenarios. I'm sure fans would argue the offense isn't well-suited for those moments, but I think there's a deeper issue. How does one succeed at something with no faith in their own abilities?
Time and again, when a simple run play is necessary, fans are left scratching their heads at calls for an end-around or a quarterback sneak-turned-jet sweep. In situations where you absolutely have to convert, occasionally you have to just line up and beat the man across from you. You're aware that this is a game of imposing your own will. At the very least, don't take the ball out of your best player's hands, coach.
We all know you're an innovator and arguably the finest offensive mind in the NFL. You've cemented your legacy as a play designer. No one can ever take that from you now, Big Red. Do yourself a favor and stop overplaying your hand. It's bold of me to say, but even the best of the best are periodically felled by complicating the simple things. The really smart people call this complexity bias, coach. Complex or advanced solutions aren't always preferable to a simpler alternative. We assume that executing a basic task requires an elaborate reasoning process.
I once nearly burned down my kitchen trying to flip a pancake. I blame TikTok, coach. One night, I was up late doom-scrolling and saw someone turn the entire skillet over instead of simply flipping the pancake. It looked cool so I thought I'd try it. In so doing, the butter slid out of the pan onto the induction cooktop. It caught fire and I flailed about trying to remember how to put a fire out without fueling the flame. It was a regrettable domestic day for me. In fact, I'd argue making pancakes is perhaps the simplest thing people overcomplicate. We've been led to believe it's a difficult task that demands unnecessarily creative steps. Really, it's just a matter of moderate heat, patience, and a 180-degree turn at just the right time.
I'm convinced your defending world champion squad will be fine as the 2023 season wears on. You're too good at your job for them not to be. Help them and simplify short-yardage situations. You've got an upgraded offensive line and a hard-nosed, physical runner in Isiah Pacheco. Line it up and impose your will, at least in those moments where you have the opportunity to seize control of a game. Or if all else fails, take your shiny Ferrari out of the garage for a spin. Patrick Mahomes is one of the most reliable players in the league in third-down situations. No one will ever fault you for failing with the ball in your best football player's hands.
Talk soon, coach. Good luck next week.