In sports, certain relationships are special. A pitcher and catcher need to be on the same page. In his worst moment, a goaltender needs to trust in his goalie coach. And, on the football field, a quarterback and his head coach have to agree on a game plan. For the Kansas City Chiefs, there’s no doubt that quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid have impeccable chemistry.
And while we’ve all seen the pair working together on the sidelines, every relationship has its ups and downs; losses can put a strain on even the best connection. But, when push comes to shove, how strong is the bond between Mahomes and Reid?
Reid had faith in Mahomes from the beginning
Coming out of Texas Tech, Patrick Mahomes was expected to be a solid NFL quarterback. While he had put up eye-popping numbers in college, there were some concerns about his technical transition to the professional game. Andy Reid, however, wasn’t concerned.
The Chiefs selected Mahomes with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft but didn’t give him the starting job right away. The young quarterback spent a year behind Alex Smith; when the team felt Mahomes was ready, they traded the veteran to Washington. Even when others were skeptical, Reid knew it was time.
“I asked him about the Alex Smith trade,” former BYU quarterback Jim McMahon remembered. I said, “Hey, do you have a guy to fill his shoes?” And he looks at me and goes, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be just fine.”
Andy Reid breaks from tradition
Even though Mahomes had been named the starter, Reid’s work was far from over. In fact, the head coach even did one unusual thing that surprised the Chief’s athletic trainer during one of his young quarterback’s first starts.
I’ve never seen Andy sit down during a game, so the first time he went and sat down with Mahomes on the bench during a game, as a medical guy, my immediate thinking was, “Is there something wrong with him?” trainer Rick Burkholder remembered.
“I just watch him, and he’s teaching this kid like when I was a little kid, and my dad sat down with me after baseball practice,” the trainer continued. “That’s the grandfather part of Andy.”
Workshopping with Patrick Mahomes
The relationship between Reid and Mahomes isn’t a one-way street, however. The quarterback and head coach are always bouncing ideas back and forth, hoping to come up with the next game-breaking play.
“We meet every Friday in his office, and it’s just the two of us, and we go through the whole game plan, play by play. He might give me ideas from games he just watched, or I’ll give him ideas,” Mahomes explained. “It’s a favorite time of the week.”
The pair also work together on the practice field, asking each other for feedback on specific ideas; someone will suggest a play, then they’ll test it out. While Reid still holds veto power, it’s a collaborative effort. “We’re always adding news plays together.”
Unlocking each other’s potential
While Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have only been working together for a few years, it’s impossible to miss their chemistry. The head coach was visibly fatigued by his time in Philadelphia; working with an exciting quarterback has put the fun back in football.
As for Mahomes, it’s never easy taking the weight of the franchise on your shoulders. Reid, however, has been a partner and a mentor for the QB; he can be a stern grandfather when needed, but he’s also unafraid to loosen the shackles and let Mahomes just play.
The Kansas City Chiefs have decades without postseason success, but the relationship between Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes has them back on the road to the promised land.