There’s something different about Andy Reid these days. The mustache seems a little fuller. The midsection seems a little slimmer. The brow seems a little less furrowed.
Even if none of those things are true, there’s a freshness to him that belongs to a man who needed something new and had the fortune of getting exactly that. After 14 years in Philadelphia–and for all their passion, let’s make no mistake about it, 14 years in Philadelphia translates to thousands of years in some place warmer and more light-hearted–it became evident that it was time for a change.
The 4-12 record may have been precursory to Andy Reid’s actual firing, but to most, it became obvious that Reid needed something new long before losses 10, 11 and 12. Philadelphia had begun to weigh on him like Philadelphia does, and for all the success and joy he’d had in the City of Brotherly Love, Andy Reid was unhappy.
He’d experienced sadness in Philadelphia. The kind of sadness no parent should ever have to experience when his son passed away of an overdose at Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp on Aug. 5, 2012.
From then on, the 2012 season was little more than a perfunctory exercise for Andy Reid. Now, that’s not to insinuate that Andy Reid didn’t try, because, in the face of utter despair, he persevered and there’s no doubt that he tried, but anguish and pain has a way of affecting people in ways they never truly intended.
After the season, Andy Reid was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles. The act itself, however, was more semantic than anything because Andy Reid was already gone.
Four days later he resurfaced in Missouri as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, and he looked like a new man. It’s funny how a fresh start can rejuvenate somebody.
Now, four days didn’t allow Andy Reid to grieve any more than five months did. Yet, distancing yourself from a painful memory sometimes can add perspective and clarity.
Now, with Kansas City set to kick off their first season under Reid, the scowling 55-year old head coach seems jovial in the sense that his well-documented scowl just seems generally less scowl-y.
However, with a blank canvas comes new challenges. He had to assemble a staff–albeit one that features a few familiar names–and adjust to a new role within the organization that gives personnel power to newly hired general manager John Dorsey (Reid served as his own de facto GM in Philly). He’s got an entirely new roster that is foreign to his ways–methods that had been firmly entrenched in the Eagles organization for parts of three decades.
But Reid still has to like his chances, even with his franchise is coming off a two-win season.
After all, he is just three years removed from a 10-win team that made the playoffs, and at the skill positions, with Jamal Charles (if Charles is healthy), Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki, he has to feel comfortable. Add in a hungry quarterback who helped pilot the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers before losing his job late in the year in Alex Smith, and you’ve got a talented young offense that could come into their own under Reid, an undisputed offensive guru.
With any luck, talented young stars on defense like Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will all round into form as well and make this a year to remember for Reid.
Yet, regardless of what the Chiefs do on the field, as they toil through the Western Missouri heat with eyes on pulling off a miraculous turnaround and challenging the Denver Broncos for AFC West supremacy, it’s hard not to be happy for Andy Reid.
You can never really say that a record is erroneous to a head coach, but if you’re Andy Reid, how can you not already chock 2013 and a fresh start up as a win in the book of life.