Andy Reid: Charting the Course for NFL History

By Stephen Juza

April 29th, 2024

Last week, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid signed a new contract extension, which ranks among the wealthiest in US sports history. The new contract will keep him tied to the Chiefs through the 2029 season, along with general manager Brett Veach. Having been paired together for many years, spanning both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chiefs, they will continue their efforts to lead the Chiefs in a historic fashion.

In the midst of an incredible run of four Super Bowl appearances, and three wins, in five seasons, the Chiefs are poised to make a run for the first-ever three-peat in the modern era of the NFL. While competition is always steep in the NFL, coming out of the draft, the NFL betting lines favor a repeat of the Chiefs vs. 49ers Super Bowl at the end of the upcoming season.

While the Chiefs are working for one type of history in 2024, the contract extension lines Reid up for another type of history -- the career wins record. Sitting at 258 regular season wins, he is 70 wins behind Don Shula's record. Although the record is within reach, it will take a continuation of the historic run to reach the record. In today’s article, let’s examine how Reid got within striking distance of history, and what the Chiefs need to go their way in the several years.

Reid's Career

One potential roadblock that will prevent Reid from achieving the wins record is his age. He is already 66 years old, and will need to be coaching into his 70s to top Shula. However, many of his fellow coaches in the Top-10 on the career wins chart stopped coaching long before their 70th birthday.

Only two coaches in the top ten coached into their 70s, George Halas and Bill Belichick. If Reid maintains his current pace, he would break the record when he’s 71. Does he want to coach that long? He’s clearly enjoying life at the top of the NFL mountain, but even so much as one underperforming season would mean that he needs to coach another season, until he’s 72.

What’s unusual about Reid’s career trajectory is that he got his start much later than his coaching rivals. His first head coaching job was at the age of 41, later in life than all but one other top coach (Marty Schottenheimer, who was also 41). During a very different NFL era, Curly Lambeau got his start at the young age of 23, shortly followed by Halas at 25. While Reid benefits from more games a season, many others benefited from having more seasons to rack up wins.

Chiefs Front Office

At the same time as the franchise extended Reid, they also extended two other key members of the franchise: general manager Brett Veach and team president Mark Donovan. While Reid has had the team excelling on the field, Veach has been key at constructing the roster that has enabled them to successfully replace top players like Tyreek Hill.

The team traded Hill to the Dolphins following the 2021 season when he wanted a new contract. Since the trade, Hill has been arguably the top wide receiver in the league, but the Dolphins have not been able to achieve much team success. Contrast this with the Chiefs, that while they may have struggled to replace Hill’s production, they won back-to-back Super Bowls.

The Chiefs also hope to have found the replacement to the speedy Hill in this month’s NFL draft, taking Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy in the first round. He will be paired with new free agent wide receiver, and fellow speedster, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Both new players will hopefully help take the stress off of Travis Kelce in the passing game, and hopefully limit any loss from a potential suspension for wide receiver Rashee Rice.

Chiefs Immediate Future

While Reid has had remarkable consistency as the Chiefs’ coach, the team will have some big shoes to replace in the very near future if Reid is to maintain the necessary pace of twelve or more wins a season. One of the biggest challenges will be replacing tight end Kelce. At 34, Kelce’s days as a top weapon in the NFL are numbered.

While he is still the safety blanket for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, his days as a number one receiving option may be behind him. 2023 saw his fewest receiving yards since 2015 and his fewest touchdowns since 2019. However, he’s still Mr. Reliable in the postseason where he averaged eight catches a game in the latest Super Bowl run.

The Chiefs addressed one of the top concerns of the offseason last month when they signed defensive tackle Chris Jones to a new five year contract. Jones has been a vital part of the Chiefs defense for many years, and last year the defense finished second overall in both yards and points allowed. The stout defense allowed the offense to work through various issues throughout the season without losing ground in the AFC West, and having Jones for many more years will give opponents headaches for years to come.

Likelihood of the Record

Ultimately, I think it comes down to if Reid wants to coach into his 70s. There’s no sure thing in the NFL, and two or three years ago, it looked like Belichick had the record within his grasp. However, the inability to replace Tom Brady at quarterback led to the team sputtering, and ultimately led to his firing. With Mahomes at quarterback for likely the remainder of Reid’s career, the team will likely always be in line for ten or more wins a season.

If the Veach can continue to find successful players in the draft, look for Reid to break the wins record toward the end of the 2029 season.

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