Next Sunday, Super Bowl LV (55) kicks off from the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. And the man leading the Kansas City Chiefs to defend last year’s Super Bowl win comes from a military family. Head Coach Andy Reid has been with the Chiefs since 2013 and will lead the team against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend.
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, 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 by 10 years, 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 10 division championships and won a playoff game in 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. Thanks to Reid’s restoration work, the car continues on the road today.
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 last year led them to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years in his victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Next weekend he hopes for another big win.
Interestingly, the head coach of his competition also comes from a military family. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’s Bruce Arians also had a father and uncles who served. He told a local radio station, “I can’t say enough about our Armed Forces and what they mean to us. Thank God we have them.”
Super Bowl LV airs Sunday, February 7 at 6:30pm on CBS Sports with a limited in-person crowd due to COVID-19.