The 2023 National Football League season is in full swing, and once again the Kansas City Chiefs are favorites to take home the Lombardi Trophy as champions. With the discipline and leadership skills he learned growing up in a military family, Head Coach Andy Reid is looking to bring home a third championship since he joined the Chiefs in 2013.
Reid’s father, Walter (or Wally), a World War II Navy veteran, was a first responder at Pearl Harbor. He kept Reid disciplined as a young man.
"I can't tell you I didn't get spanked," Reid told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Dad would have the razor strap and go, 'Better take care of business.' So I tried to stay away from the razor strap, and tried to be smarter than that razor strap."
Walter was originally from Cape Cod. After his service, he and Reid’s mother moved to California to raise Reid and his older brother Reggie. They lived in a house where they could see the lights of the Dodgers Stadium.
Walter went on to work in scene design in Hollywood and though he was strict, he also liked to poke fun. Reggie told the Kansas City Star that their father had a prankster side, and that Reid inherited it. He said it wasn’t unusual for Walter to use props from the film studio, including wigs, for fun at home.
Reid’s uncle also served in World War II and his ship was hit by a torpedo.
Though his dad died of cancer in 1992, his father, together with his uncle, and brother set Reid up for success. He is one of the most successful head coaches in NFL history. His teams have won 238 games over a 21-year head coaching career. He has won 13 division championships and won a playoff game in over 10 different seasons.
He also lives through his father’s legacy by still driving a 90+ year old Model A Ford that his father bought for $25 and drove for five decades, and Reid has worked to restore.
After attending BYU, Reid began his coaching career the year his dad passed, as an offensive assistant for the Green Bay Packers. He won a title with them in Super Bowl XXXI. In 1999, he then became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, where he stayed for 13 years, winning the NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2002. In 2013, he moved to the Chiefs and led them to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years in his victory over the San Francisco 49ers in February 2020.
In February 2024, he hopes for another big win.
Reid no doubt has a world-class supporting cast. Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, that impact has been chronicled in great detail with the recent Netflix series “Quarterback.” The documentary gave a behind the scenes glimpse into training, personal development, and leadership of the All Pro quarterback who was also part of the two championships with Reid.
"He's meant the world to me. He's just the best," Mahomes said of Reid in the AP Pro Football Podcast with Rob Maaddi. "He's the best coach, obviously, one of the best coaches of all time, but he's just one of the best people of all time. He's learned how to get the most out of me every day. He doesn't let me be satisfied with where I'm at. He teaches me a ton.
"Not only the quarterback position, but how to be a leader and how to be a great dad and how to be a great husband. He lets me be who I am every single day,” he added.
Reid has had the military visit the team before as a source of inspiration. Most recently last month as the team broke training camp, five soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division joined the team.
“I am extremely grateful,” said Sgt. Collin Modlin, a combat medic assigned to the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “It’s an experience that I’m probably not going to have again, so I’m just grateful and honored to be able to be a part of this.”
Going into week three, the Chiefs are 1-and-1, and ready to take on the Chicago Bears.