Between the inexplicable time-management glitches, glimpsed again on Sunday, and his remarkable ability to fashion an offense that somehow can be both infuriatingly conservative and absurdly unorthodox (see: Hungry Pig Right, perhaps to become the most memorable play name in Chiefs history after 65 Toss Power Trap), Chiefs coach Andy Reid has his detractors.
They are easily found on Twitter, and in my mailbox, both online and via snail mail.
One ardent Chiefs fan texted recently that Reid must be fired for “his inability to prepare a team and his terrible play calling.”
Friends from back home in the Philadelphia area, where Reid coached for 14 years, still frequently chime in about how frustrated they were/are with him.
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The other day, we got a thank-you note for a wedding gift in which the Philly-raised groom was compelled to take a little jab at Reid.
It’s indeed a shame Reid isn’t perfect, and there are plenty of times his thinking seems peculiar to me, too.
But when you get right down to it, the perfectly reasonable objections really are a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees.
As of the Chiefs rather prototypical 26-10 stifling of Oakland on Sunday, Reid is the 14th-winningest coach in NFL history with 175 victories.
He now has surpassed Mike Holmgren, the man who plucked him away from Reid’s job as University of Missouri offensive line coach 25 years ago this coming offseason.
If Reid wins nine more games in his career, a fairly safe notion, he’ll move past Bill Parcells into the top 10.
And, heck, at 58 years old, it’s perfectly plausible he’ll win 35 more games and move past Chuck Noll into sixth place behind only Don Shula (347), George Halas (324), Tom Landry (270), Bill Belichick (251) and Curly Lambeau (229).
Of course, the ultimate measure of an NFL coach now is the so-called ultimate game, and Reid has yet to win a Super Bowl … even as his next playoff win will be his 12th and tie him for eighth on the NFL career list.
It’s still hard to know where this season is going, of course, considering the Chiefs were wretched in their first two road games and had been dreary offensively most of their first four games.
The Raiders game looks like a fresh start, but we won’t know for weeks if that’s true or a mere blip.
Moreover, if one of many things that could have gone wrong on Hungry Pig Right had gone wrong — when running backs Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles might have simply been handed the ball — we all would be mocking Reid’s coaching sanity, or lack thereof.
But it worked perfectly, and it was great fun.
And however you might want to quibble with Reid’s quirks or tactics or the befuddling clock thing, it’s more notable — and not to be easily shrugged away — that Reid along with general manager John Dorsey has revived a dormant franchise and seems to have made it a perennial contender again.
The Chiefs, you might recall, were in tatters on every level when Reid and Dorsey took over after the 2-14 2012 season, and last season they earned their first playoff win in 22 years … after a 1-5 start.
It also bears remembering that Reid’s best work is in the stuff we never see: being a player’s coach who has an uncanny feel for when to enable personalities and when to reel them in and knowing how to mend the pure dysfunction he inherited.
So get frustrated with Reid, sure, and vent as needed.
But appreciate the context, too.
Because what he’s done for the Chiefs, on his way to a meaningful profile in NFL history, shouldn’t be taken for granted … even if it’s not always transparent.
Oh, and here’s that all-time NFL head-coaching wins list:
1. Don Shula 347
2. George Halas 324
3. Tom Landry 270
4. Bill Belichick 251
5. Curly Lambeau 229
6. Chuck Noll 209
7. Marty Schottenheimer 205
8. Dan Reeves 201
9. Chuck Knox 193
10. Bill Parcells 183
11. Tom Coughlin 182
12. Mike Shanahan 178
13. Jeff Fisher 177
14. Andy Reid 175
15. Mike Holmgren 174
▪ Hated getting up at 3:45 a.m. for a flight back today. But swear I was laughing to myself within minutes thinking of how absolutely thrilled Sam Mellinger was to be writing about Dontari Poe’s touchdown and rewinding in my mind colleague Terez Paylor’s excitement to start our postgame Facebook live chat by reciting “The Autumn Wind” with playful audio-visual prompts from Star sports MVP Blair Kerkhoff. Special people I’m lucky to spend these days with.
▪ Knowing what we know now about concussions and CTE, etc., I often find myself cringing at big hits in football these days. But have to say I was pretty good with Derrick Johnson’s steamrolling of Oakland’s Jalen Richard, since it was entirely clean. Didn’t like seeing Richard rolling around afterward, but nice to see he says he’s fine.
▪ Was suddenly struck the other day by an interesting contrast between Royals manager Ned Yost and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self.
Quite often when asked a question by the media, Yost will instantly dismiss the premise before giving his full answers — which frequently are more interesting and insightful than people believe he provides.
Meanwhile, Self almost always receives a question agreeably before getting to full answers that actually just as often as not might disagree with the contention of the question … but almost always are golden answers for the media.
Don’t know what it means. Just saying.
▪ Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is fun to watch play, but it’s just bad form to crave attention the way he does and then be so petulant after a loss. Still, better he go ahead and walk out of a news conference than stand there acting out and saying nothing.
▪ Last week in this space, I dug into my top 10 Bruce Springsteen songs since I’d just gotten his autobiography, “Born To Run.”
In the wake of Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature last week, here’s a look at my top 10 songs by Dylan, another musician I listened to constantly for years and had in my car CD player when the announcement came.
(In fact, I suddenly recall that for a creative writing class in high school I wrote a poem composed entirely of Dylan song titles. I don’t think it went over well with Miss Baker, but maybe she had mercy on me.)
For what it’s worth, I don’t imagine this concept will be too regular a thing here since my true musical passion is pretty finite and basically ranges from Springsteen and Dylan to the Kinks, Tom Petty, The Pretenders and Bob Seger.
Once again with the caveat that this list might look entirely different on another day, or even later today:
Like A Rolling Stone
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
If Not For You
Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
You’re Going To Make Me Lonesome When You Go
The Times They Are a-Changin’