Andy Reid got a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd before the game. Reid will get a few cheers in Kansas City, as well.
Reid had a heck of a night in his return to Philadelphia, where he spent 14 mostly successful seasons before being fired at the end of last season. The Chiefs, given a couple days to get ready before they jumped on a plane for a difficult Thursday night road game, were very well prepared and it showed in a 26-16 win against the Eagles.
It wasn't all too pretty, but Reid's game plan worked perfectly. The Chiefs, who were a NFL-worst 2-14 a year ago, are 3-0.
The Chiefs kept it extremely safe on offense. Quarterback Alex Smith refused to make a dangerous throw, which was maddening at times. He constantly checked it down to the safe pass, working the Eagles underneath. That was good enough. It helped the Chiefs defense, which didn't have any short fields to contend with, or any quick changes after a turnover. Kansas City – remember, it had just two days of practice before traveling – did a fantastic job against Chip Kelly's complicated and unique offense. A lot of credit goes to the coaching.
Near the end there were hugs on the sideline from seemingly every assistant to Reid, and Reid allowed himself a wide smile. Some fans could be heard chanting Reid's name from the stands (not many Eagles fans were left, so it's likely those were Chiefs fans) as he enjoyed the clock ticking down on the sideline, and then the players gave him a Gatorade bath. He earned all those moments.
"It's good to have come back like this," Reid told NFL Network after the game. "You never think you're going to be in these shoes, where you're back in this stadium. But nowhere has red felt better than today."
He didn't gloat after the game. He said he appreciated the ovation and said Philadelphia has great fans. He praised Kelly and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, showed affection for the Eagles players, and said they had a good thing going in Philadelphia. A lot of his heart is obviously still with the Eagles.
"That part is the tough part," Reid told NFL Network after the game. "But this is sweet right here."
Reid did a lot of good things in Philadelphia. He didn't win a Super Bowl, but that doesn't erase the 140 wins, five NFC championship game appearances and one conference title. Chip Kelly is a very smart coach and will do fine in the NFL, but he's dealing with the same issues Reid dealt with during a really disappointing final season in Philadelphia. Kelly, the hot coach of the offseason and after his Week 1 win, is 1-2. Old boring Andy Reid is 3-0, coaching a team that hit the lowest of lows last season.
Reid has maximized the talent that he inherited. And there was some talent, it was just wasted on an all-time poor coaching job by Romeo Crennel last season. Still, you don't pass the previous season's win total on Sept. 19 without a great coaching job.
Reid might have just needed a fresh start. There's a lot of pressure that comes from being in Philadelphia for 14 years. Kansas City needed a shot in the arm too. A proud franchise reached rock bottom last year.
Eagles fans were able to give Reid a nice welcome back on Thursday night. They're smart fans. They realize that Reid is a pretty good coach. Kansas City is probably catching onto that by now, as well.