Why can’t the Eagles quit Andy Reid? Chiefs head coach’s fingerprints are still all over Philadelphia
All roads lead to Reid.
Andy Reid has been the head coach of the Chiefs since 2013, but long after his departure from the “City of Brotherly Love,” Reid’s fingerprints are still all over the Eagles. In some way, shape or form, Reid has been something of an invisible hand in the hiring of the team’s three head coaches since then — and its current starting quarterback.
Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson and now Nick Sirianni all have some sort of weird six degrees of Reid separation: While not a “coaching tree” per se, there’s some kind of Reid connection between the last three head coaches and Reid, which leads to the question: Why can’t the Eagles just can’t quit Reid?
Here’s the weird Reid connection which has been present since he departed as head coach following the 2012 season.
The Reid relation? Followed Reid as Eagles head coach in 2013
Keeping with the theme of offensive innovation, Chip Kelly took over the Eagles in 2013 before being fired following the 2015 season, emerging out of a field of nearly a dozen coaching candidates to lead the Eagles into the post-Reid era.
Kelly, an incredibly hot coaching commodity from Oregon, was heralded for his advanced, high-tempo offenses coming out of college, losing just seven games as Ducks head coach between 2009 and 2012. The NFL was shifting more and more towards a college-style game, and Kelly was, seemingly, a good fit at the time.
While the Chiefs and Reid split after 13 seasons together, the divorce was anything but acrimonious: In fact, Reid helped vet top coaching candidates for the vacant Eagles job during the process, including Kelly, who eventually landed the gig.
Kelly took the time to thank Reid in his introductory press conference.
“One person I want to thank, in terms of advice in this whole thing, is Andy Reid,” said Kelly at the time of his hiring. “And the fact that Andy reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization is all about. There’s not a classier guy.
“When Andy texted me (Wednesday) when I accepted the job, I told him I had really, really, really big shoes to fill. And in typical Andy fashion he said, ‘Just be yourself and you’ll be fine.’ So I publicly just want to thank Andy, because that really spoke to me about what this organization is all about.”
“I have a close enough relationship with Andy where I can probably eliminate some candidates if Andy felt that they weren’t good enough in that sense,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said during the coaching search. “That’s how close we are. I know what he feels about Chip Kelly and it’s outstanding.”
While the Kelly era didn’t last long — nor was it particularly successful — the Eagles again leaned on the Reid touch with their next hire.
The Reid relation? Chiefs OC under Reid (2013-15); Coached with Eagles between 2009-12; played with Eagles in 1999 as Reid’s QB
Record as head coach: 42-37-1, won Super Bowl 52
A decade after he took snaps for the Eagles, Pederson was hired as Eagles offensive quality control coach in 2009, eventually working his way up the ranks to offensive coordinator, following Reid to the Chiefs in 2013.
In 2015, the Chiefs went on a 10-game streak to end the season after starting 1-5, thanks largely to Reid turning over playcalling duties to Pederson. Pederson would interview for, and get, the Eagles head coaching job.
The Eagles hiring a Reid disciple wasn’t exactly a shock, as the team tried to rekindle some of the consistency and winning ways they had under Reid. It would turn out to be pretty successful, too. The Eagles would do something under Pederson that they had not done under Reid: Win a Super Bowl.
The Reid relation? Served under Pederson as OC between 2016 and 2017. Pederson served as Reid’s OC between 2013 and 2015.
Record as head coach: N/A
Reich was the Eagles’ OC for their Super Bowl winning season in 2016 underneath Pederson and stuck with the team through 2017, eventually getting the Colts head coaching job after Patriots OC Josh McDaniels backed out at the last second.
Reich’s coaching career began in Indy, making jumps to Arizona and San Diego before landing with the Eagles in 2016. The current Indy head coach brought with him a former co-worker from San Diego to the Colts: current Eagles coach Nick Sirianni.
While Reich never directly worked under Reid, working under a Reid disciple is the next best thing.
The Reid relation? Fired by Reid in 2013; Coached with Frank Reich in San Diego; hired by Reich as OC in Indianapolis in 2018
Record as head coach: 2-3
…Which brings us back to the current head coach of the Eagles.
Sirianni served under Reich as the Colts offensive coordinator between 2018 and 2020, eventually being hired as Eagles head coach. Filling Reid’s (and to a different extent, Pederson’s) shoes as head coach isn’t the only link between the two.
Coincidentally, he Sirianni had crossed paths with Reid before: He was fired by “Big Red” when Reid took over the reins in Kansas City in 2013. Sirianni would later land with the Chargers in 2013, working alongside Reich. Sirianni has mentioned in the past that he’s only meeting with Reid was, coincidentally, when he was handed his walking papers.
“Coach Reid was charged with the task of telling me I wasn’t working there anymore,” Sirianni said recently. “So, you know, but he was awesome. It was actually an awesome conversation I had with him. And I really respected the fact that he took time to meet with me, tell me what he had heard about me.”
And now he’s walked all the way into Reid’s former job in Philadelphia.
Wait … Jalen Hurts?
The Reid relation? Scouted by Chiefs, Reid before the draft.
Oh, but it doesn’t end with the coaching ranks.
Current Eagles starting quarterback was drafted by Philadelphia in 2020, but before he was selected by the Philly front office, brass reached out to a third party to get an opinion on the Oklahoma passer. Who was it?
You guessed it — Andy Reid.
According to ESPN’s Tim McManus, the Eagles sought out Reid’s opinion on Hurts, and to also get his thoughts on drafting a quarterback while having an established starter on the roster. That’s a situation which Reid had faced on several occasions in Philadelphia (drafting Kevin Kolb, signing Michael Vick with Donovan McNabb) as well as in Kansas City (drafting someone named Patrick Mahomes to sit behind Alex Smith).
McManus also reports that the Eagles have “long valued Reid’s opinion” — something that’s pretty apparent, if you’ve stuck it out this far.
What a tangled web we weave.