When Andy Reid leads Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs into the Super Bowl, Chiefs fans know they’ll be in the hands of one of football’s best coaches. But what is it about Reid that makes him so great?
There’s one statistic in particular that proves Reid’s presence on the sideline gives the Chiefs something of a secret advantage. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what that is.
Andy Reid’s strengths as a coach
Before last year’s Super Bowl victory, Reid was known in some circles as a great coach who couldn’t quite get his teams over the championship hump. Whether this was fair or not, it did ring true.
Reid had been to a Super Bowl without a victory. In Philadelphia, he turned them into a perennial title contender with no championship to show for it. Likewise in Kansas City, he moved from mediocrity to being a consistent playoff threat.
While Reid is sometimes criticized for his clock management, where he really shines is in working with quarterbacks and play calling. Reid developed and worked with great quarterbacks such as Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Alex Smith, and Mahomes. He’s also in charge of play-calling duties, a role he’s shown himself quite adept at.
Brilliant work with Patrick Mahomes
As a play-caller in Kansas City, Reid has excelled. He’s turned Mahomes into one of the league’s best quarterbacks in a very short time. Consider that Mahomes is in his fourth season. He sat his entire rookie year to learn and develop behind Smith. Since he’s taken over, here are the results he’s achieved with Reid:
- 2018-2019: AFC title game appearance
- 2019-2020: A Super Bowl victory
- 2020-2021: A Super Bowl appearance
There’s no question that Mahomes is an exceptionally talented quarterback who likely would have played well no matter where he ended up. But it’s almost impossible to discount the impact Reid has had on Mahomes’ development as a passer and an overall NFL player.
Reid possesses an intimate understanding of how to get the best out of Mahomes as well as the many offensive weapons the Chiefs have at their disposal. While Mahomes can often improvise with the best of them, it’s Reid who calls plays that can put Mahomes in a position to improvise.
So why is it that Reid’s style is such a good fit for Mahomes and the Chiefs offense? What secret advantage does Reid give the team?
The secret advantage Andy Reid gives his teams
A recent piece on Five Thirty Eight argues that while many coaches tend to become more conservative come playoff time, Reid is quite the opposite. In fact, Reid has a tendency to embrace risk in the postseason.
For an example of this, look at one statistic Five Thirty Eight compiled comparing him to other coaches with similar experience levels.
The study compared “go for it” rates on fourth down between the regular and postseason among the six coaches who have been coaching since 2013. Of those coaches, all of them have negative differentials — meaning they tend to go for it on fourth much more during the regular season. The only outlier is Reid, who has a differential of a whopping +30.5%.
What does this mean? It means that Reid has a potent offense and he isn’t afraid to unleash it, even when the conventional wisdom tells him not to risk it.
Reid is willing to take chances with his offense, and it’s clearly paid off. There’s a reason the team has advanced to three straight AFC championship games and two straight Super Bowls. Reid has been around the league long enough to know that to win big games, sometimes you need to take big risks.