MIAMI – It's unfair. Has always been the case that nobody really cares.
Outside perception of Andy Reid always felt unfair, even though he was a better head coach than his reputation would make you think.
But not anymore.
Not after Reids Chefs won the Super Bowl 2020 with a gripping 31:20 comeback against the 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium before 62,417 Kansas City spectators competed.
Reid is now a Super Bowl champion and nobody – not even the cynical critics in Philadelphia – can take that away from him.
After all, Reid, one of the game's most respected and popular coaches, can die a man credited for the great coach he is and always was, despite the dubious shortcomings imposed on him like a cruel wart from the end his nose.
Now, when his time has come, he will go to the Hall of Fame without hinting of an argument.
Good for Reid.
Bad for the critics who made it a sport to pinch him for the gaping hole in his coaching résumé for all the years before Sunday night at Hard Rock Stadium.
When the clock bled at 12 a.m., a horde of Chief Reid's players and assistant coaches crushed everyone to hug him. He thought that much in Kansas City.
The most powerful testimony to the work Reid did in this game was as follows: he won without his superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes doing his best. Mahomes, who completed 26-of-41 for 286 yards with two TDs and INTs, was bothered by the 49ers defense almost all night, and looked nervous at the start of the game and hurried to play.
Mahomes ended up leading the chiefs after surviving a deficit in the second half of 20:10. He will receive most of the "SportsCenter" performance for this title, which ended a 50-year non-championship drought in Kansas City. But a survey of players and people who know better will accumulate the largest portion of credit on Reid's plate.
If we want to criticize Reid's teams for blowing out the big leads in previous seasons, we have to blame him for the leaders overcoming a Texan 24-0 deficit to win 51:31 in the division round ,
And for winning the AFC championship against the titans after a 17-7 deficit in the first half.
And for Sunday night – a third comeback after a gap of at least 10 points in the second half of this magical postseason trip for the Chiefs, an NFL record.
What is fair, right?
In Reid's Super Bowl loss to the Patriots 15 years ago when he was training in Philadelphia, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw three INTs and was released four times, but the Eagles only lost 24-21. Was it fair to hold Reid responsible? You can actually make the argument that it was remarkable that the Eagles only lost through a field goal after flipping the ball four times in this game.
Forgotten in the "He can't win the big game" conversation is the fact that Reid took over a 3-13 Eagles team in 1999 and had them in the playoffs after one season. Then he inherited a 2-14 Chiefs team in 2013 and won 11 games in his first season.
Before Sunday evening, the time had come: Reid would never silence his critics until he won a Super Bowl.
And now he has. Therefore, from now on he will rightly hear the nice cricket sounds of the critics.
Reid no longer has to hear that he won more games than any other coach (221 before Sunday) without a Super Bowl title. He no longer has to answer questions about:
– His inability to win the big game.
– Played 1-4 in conference title games in Philadelphia for 14 seasons and lost this Super Bowl to the Patriots in the 2004 season.
– His questionable watch management in the Super Bowl loss to New England.
– His first playoff game in Kansas City, in which the Chiefs had a 28-point advantage in a 45-44 loss to the Colts, the second largest playoff comeback in NFL playoff history.
– The home defeat in the playoffs against the titans when the chiefs took the lead at 21:10 in the fourth quarter and lost at 22:21 in 2017.
All of these things will of course stay with Reed. But after Sunday evening, his reputation is no longer dominated by the negative undertones. A Super Bowl win is everything. The rest have been reduced to a series of footnotes.
Andy Reid is a Super Bowl champion.
And that's the most beautiful thing Super Bowl LIV has to offer on a perfect football night in South Florida.