NFL

Andy Reid Believes Pandemic Gives Kansas City Chiefs Advantage in 2020

The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl in February, and a month later the sports world shut down. The NFL dodged having the pandemic affect its playing schedule, but it has adversely altered the NFL draft and numerous other off-season team activities. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said the pandemic has had minimal impact on his team and thinks it will actually work in the Chiefs’ favor in 2020.

Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl

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The 2019 NFL season was a storybook run for the Kansas City Chiefs. With quarterback and 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes leading the way, the Chiefs were expected to contend for the Super Bowl after losing in the AFC title game a year earlier to the New England Patriots. 

The Chiefs started the season strong winning their first four games. Like any team, Kansas City struggled at times, in particular, one six-game stretch in the middle of the season losing four games. After a defeat to the Tennessee Titans on November 18, the Chiefs never lost another game the rest of the season.

The Kansas City Chiefs avenged their last loss of the regular season in the AFC Championship defeating the Titans in a slugfest 34-24 and advancing to the Super Bowl. In the Super Bowl, Mahomes directed the Chiefs’ offensive attack and overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit scoring 21 unanswered points and earning a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Kansas City Chiefs limited in offseason moves

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When the offseason started, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach had a specific approach in mind. With a Super Bowl title fresh on his mind, he wanted to retain as many players from the Super Bowl-winning roster as possible. Veach achieved just that. In most cases, the Chiefs signed its players to one-year contracts and lesser-paying deals. 

On the offensive side of the ball, Kansas City retained backup quarterback Chad Henne and convinced receiver Sammy Watkins to take a pay cut. Defensively, the team signed cornerback and Super Bowl star Bashaud Breeland, and put a franchise-tag on star defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Another key offseason move wasn’t a move at all. The Chiefs retained the 2019 coaching staff. 

How the pandemic helps the Chiefs

In an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said the entire organization is so well structured from top to bottom that the pandemic hasn’t been much of an issue.

We get on the Webex (online meeting software) and the app to talk to our players, but at the same time do our installs, and watch tape. We do it all. The only thing we don’t do is have the guys on the field. We’ll have a chance to do that hopefully in the near future.

Andy Reid

Reid said he feels bad for teams that have brought in new coaching staffs like Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland because it’s a challenge by itself just installing a new system and getting the players and coaching staff acclimated with each other. Working remotely only magnifies those challenges.

Reid said with much of last year’s Chiefs lineup returning in 2020, thanks in large part to Veach’s activity in the offseason, combined with keeping all the coaching staff together, he feels good about the prospects for the 2020 season. He said it doesn’t hurt to have Mahomes.

“He wants to be great and wants everyone around him to be great. As a coach, what more can you ask for. The kid comes to work every day with a smile on his face and wants to get better. I appreciate that. He’s a tremendous leader. Players believe in him. When you come in, and you’re that young, and you can capture the attention of a whole football team the way he has, you’ve got something special going.”

And nothing, not even a pandemic, can change that.