Andy Reid speaks publicly before any of the players or assistant coaches as the Chiefs prepare for the next game, so the head coach gets to set the tone.
That seems important this week, not because of the next opponent — the Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday — but the previous one.
The Chiefs’ 42-27 thumping of the New England Patriots last Thursday in the NFL’s kickoff game, is the type of outcome that changes a team’s narrative.
Are the Chiefs now the Super Bowl favorites after beating the defending champion? Alex Smith had perhaps his best day as a pro. Kareem Hunt’s debut unfolded beyond anyone’s imagination. How does a team come down from this high and find the even-keel approach required in the NFL?
Reid said there’s no choice, and the downplaying of the achievement has begun.
“Unfortunately in this business you get to enjoy these things (momentarily), then you have to move on,” Reid said. “Now that it’s over, it’s probably the most overrated game of the year because it gets so much publicity. Everyone is so fired up to start the season and get this thing underway, coaches, players, media, fans.”
Reid reminded that the Chiefs are loaded with veterans who can provide leadership here, and although the Chiefs have laid eggs in the Reid era, there doesn’t appear to be a pattern of letdowns after big victories.
In 2014, after throttling the Patriots in Arrowhead, the Chiefs played tough in a loss at San Francisco, a team coming off a Super Bowl season.
Last season, they followed a dramatic overtime victory at Denver with another heart-stopping victory at Atlanta. A few days later, the Chiefs beat the Raiders in a division showdown.
The Chiefs under Reid have looked lethargic in early-season games. Their 0-2 start in 2014 started with a flat performance against Tennessee. After winning the 2015 opener, the Chiefs lost five straight.
Last year’s team dropped to 2-2 with a blowout loss in Pittsburgh. All of those teams finished with winning records, and the 2015 and 2016 squads reached the postseason.
How will this team respond to the rousing start? By remembering it’s over, Reid said.
“It’s done,” he said. “Now we’re on to the Eagles.”