by Rick Istvan
It’s no surprise that the Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl. What may be a surprise is why Chiefs fan should be thanking the state of Utah.
A Master Chief is the highest rank an enlisted soldier can earn in the US Coast Guard or US Navy. They are considered the top one percent, because only one percent earn this title. There are four main jobs of a Master Chief.
1. Take care of your sailors
2. Train your relief
3. Prepare your officers for command
4. Know when it is time to go home.
Andy Reid encompasses all of these roles.
1. Takes care of the “officers”
The Kansas City Chiefs don’t select their captains in the beginning of the season. There are too many unknowns at that point. Instead, the Chiefs pick their captains just before the postseason. The Chiefs 2021 season were picked on Friday January 15, 2021. The captains are voted on by the players and not assigned by the coaching staff. The Chiefs have elected six members as their captains. The 2021 Kansas City Chiefs captains are as follows: Patrick Mahomes (QB), Travis Kelce (TE), Harrison Butker (K), Anthony Hitchens (LB), Daniel Sorensen (DB), and Tyrann Mathieu (DB). Andy Reid believes letting the team choose their own captains is the best way for the team to choose who they follow. Choosing captains before the postseason also allows the team to see who is going to be there next season and who earned that title.
2. Train your relief
Andy Reid has been referred to by many as a mentor. Every place that Reid has coached, he has helped someone, most likely many people, become better. Sean McDermott the, Buffalo Bills Head Coach, is an Andy Reid mentee.
“You know I learned a lot from Andy and we could talk for hours about what I learned from Andy,” said McDermott. “I mean he’s probably, professionally my biggest mentor in the business. A lot of people have a vision for where they want to go but the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month plan to accomplish that vision, I think, was probably the biggest thing that I learned from Reid. I also learned how to execute that and adjust as need be.”
We all witnessed how Reid can adjust on January 17, 2021 when Chad Henne would come into the game for Patrick Mahomes.
2. Prepare your officers for command
Andy Reid is a call it as he sees it kind of guy. He believes in treating people how you want to be treated and being honest.
“Tell the person the truth,” Reid said. “Whether it’s a positive with their personality or play, or a negative with their personality or their play.”
Andy Reid is known as one of the best coaches in the NFL. Not only because of the teams he produces, but because of the people he produces. Reid believes it’s more than coach and player. He believes it’s about the relationships you establish and how they are built.
“I think if you just keep it open and real, I think that’s the best way to roll with it,” Reid said. “That’s how I’ve done with Patrick (Mahomes).”
4. Know when it’s time to go home
Andy Reid established a players leadership committee consisting of one member from each position group as a way for players to air their concerns. Reid knows when you listen to and respect a player, they will listen to and respect you. Andy Reid is old school. During training camps he likes long physical practices, as well as watching film. The players felt practices were too long and there was too much hitting involved. They felt there was a high risk of injury and they didn’t want to be in that position. The players committee approached Reid and addressed their concerns. Reid, being a reasonable man, told the players give me a solid three hours in the morning and the other two practices will be walkthroughs. The players agreed. For the first three hours the players gave it everything they had. Reid kept his word and the next two practices were helmets only and walkthroughs. The compromise obviously worked.
Different Bees from the same Hive
So why should Chiefs fans be thankful to the State of Utah? Andy Reid played his college football at BYU. It was at BYU were LaVell Edwards convinced Reid that he should become a coach. After he graduated in 1981, Reid became a graduate assistant at BYU under head coach LaVell Edwards. This is where Reid met Mike Holmgren and the rest is history.
Reid isn’t the only administrator for the Chiefs that is a former Cougar. Porter Ellett is in his first season as the offensive quality control coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Prior to this position, Ellet spent three seasons as the Senior Assistant to the Head Coach for the Chiefs. During this time, Ellett worked closely with Reid and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Porter also assisted with the development of the quarterbacks. Porter Elliot graduated from BYU and also attended Wayne High School in Bicknell, Utah.
Alex Whittingham in entering his third season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is the defensive quality control coach. This will be Whittingham’s second year as a defensive quality control coach after he was a defensive assistant during the 2018 season. Whittingham worked with the defensive line in 2019. He worked with players including Pro Bowl DT Chris Jones and DE Frank Clark who were ranked first and second on the team in sacks. Whittingham is from Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, and would then become a walk on at the University of Utah.
Darwin Thompson has what the Chiefs need when they call his number. The former Utah State Aggie has been patiently waiting for his time to shine. In week 17 against the Ravens, Thompson gave us a glimpse of his capabilities. Thompson had 14 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also had seven receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. With a combined 110 yards and 2 touchdowns, Thompson showed the Chiefs when his number was called he would deliver. The Chiefs have depth at running back with Edwards-Helaire, Le Vian Bell and Darrel Williams. However, in only his second year, Thompson has shown he deserves a place in the Chiefs backfield.
Last but not least is Daniel Sorensen. The former BYU Cougar is not only a starting DB for the Chiefs, he is also a Captain. Sorensen has earned the respect of his teammates. He is a hard-nosed player who gets the job done. In the postseason, Sorensen has 12 tackles. He tallied six against the Browns and another six against the Bills in the AFC Championship game. The last time Kansas City played the Buccaneers, Sorensen recorded seven tackles. Today, Sorensen might have to make more than that. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are coming ready to play. The Chiefs are on the road and Tampa is at home. The last time they played each other was in Tampa as well. The difference is, there is a lot more at stake this time. Sorensen is a very talented player and will give everything he has. On Sunday he needs to leave it all on the field and bring that Cougar ferocity to Tampa.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Andy Reid. I think he is an incredible coach and I was delighted when he won Super Bowl LIV. With that said, the Chiefs are without their two starting offensive tackles. Andy Reid’s son, who is an assistant coach, is under investigation for his involvement in a motor vehicle accident. Sammy Watkins is listed as questionable. There are a lot of issues surrounding the Chiefs right now.
The last time these teams played, the Chiefs only won by a field goal. Brady threw two interceptions and he didn’t have Antonio Brown. Otherwise the statistics where very similar. Mahomes had 462 yards on 37 completions in 49 attempts. The 49 attempts is an interesting number. Tampa can stop the run. Vita Vea will be playing in the Super Bowl which adds pressure to an already depleted offensive line. It’s worrisome having Mahomes looking at over 50 passing attempts with a makeshift offensive line.
Mahomes recently suffered a concussion. How many hits does he want to, or will he be able to take? Tampa knows what to expect. Bruce Arians is going into the Super Bowl with a “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” attitude. This will undoubtedly will be a great game: the best to ever do it in Tom Brady versus the young phenom. The classic unstoppable force meets the immovable object debate. Will Tom Brady win his seventh Super Bowl in his tenth appearance, or will Patrick Mahomes be the first quarterback to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies since Brady (2004-2005)?
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 32 Kansas City 27
Featured image courtesy Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images