July 23, 2024

Almost instantaneously as Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco was losing a fumble in the first half of the Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday night — as you’ve seen over and over by now — tight end Travis Kelce went berserk on coach Andy Reid on the sideline.

It was an appalling scene, really, and Kelce might well have toppled the 65-year-old Reid with his juvenile rampage, presumably over not being on the field for the crucial play.

But Reid merely was jostled, not knocked off his moorings — a metaphor for how his unflappable and resolute persona helped Reid absorb a season of immense challenges and crazy twists and channel it all into one of the great feats in the history of the game.

After a instant classic 25-22 overtime victory over San Francisco made the Chiefs the first team to repeat as champions in nearly two decades, Patrick Mahomes called the game a microcosm of the season.

He meant it in terms of the team’s struggles along the way, particularly a foreboding 11-6 regular-season marked by self-destructive offensive lapses. But his words also spoke to the rock that is Reid … and how he stilled turbulent waters to navigate a flawed and vulnerable team to a third Super Bowl crown in five seasons — a dynamic nicely capped by overcoming a double-digit deficit on Sunday. In the process, the win didn’t simply reflect Reid’s prodigious acumen as an innovator and tactician.

Watch this video slideshow of the action from Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The Kansas City Chiefs battled the San Francisco 49ers for the NFL Championship.

It reflected who he is to the utmost. A coach who keeps his head (almost always) when all about him are losing theirs … whose greatest fulfillment truly comes from what he brings out in others … who stays with players scorned by many fans (the Chiefs’ touchdowns on Sunday were scored by much-maligned Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman) … and who understands at the heart of it all is seeing each player as his own person.

Take it from Mahomes, the personification of Reid’s vision, who after the game called Reid the greatest coach of all-time. “He brings out the best in me because he lets me be me,” Mahomes said after earning his third Super Bowl MVP honor. “I think that’s important; he doesn’t try to make me anyone else … I don’t think I’d be the quarterback that I am if I didn’t have Coach Reid being my head coach.”Who's on the Chiefs 53-man roster in the Arizona Super Bowl?

Kelce will tell you the same even if he looked less than grateful in the cauldron of the moment — one of a number of his altercations with Reid over the years. No one has pushed Reid more than Kelce on his mantra of “let your personality show,” but Reid also has cuffed Kelce at times and has a keen grasp of what he’s dealing with. “As much as he bumps into me, I get after him. And we understand that,” Reid said, smiling and adding,

“He just caught me off-balance.” Even so, Reid scarcely reacted in the moment that he later kiddingly called a “cheap shot.” Kelce, whom Reid said apologized shortly thereafter, was back on the field immediately the next time the Chiefs had the ball.

After the game, Reid was quick to joke about what had happened even before being asked about it. He appreciated the passion of his team, he’d say, “even if they chest bump me to the other side of the 50-yard line. Kelce, he added, “makes me feel young.”

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