There are several reasons why Andy Reid is seventh all-time in regular season wins and sixth all-time in postseason wins by an NFL head coach. Along with having a great offensive mind, Reid, who on Sunday punched his second Super Bowl ticket as a head coach and first since joining the Chiefs in 2013, is also one of the NFL‘s best coaches when it comes to setting his players up for success. Reid offered an example of this on Monday when he was asked how he feels that his team will cope with Miami’s humid conditions upon arriving in the Sunshine State for Super Bowl LIV.
Not only has Reid been keeping an eye on Miami’s weather reports, but he also began preparing his players to play in a warm climate weeks earlier.
“Suns sets (in Miami) at like 5: 55 and the game (will start shortly after) 6,” Reid said. “It’s been like averaging 73 degrees and it’s supposed to be that way for the next few weeks… .I think we’re going to be OK that way. I’ve reminded the guys over the next month or so here, ‘Keep yourselves in warm weather shape,’ and they were probably looking at me crazy for saying that, but this is the reason why. Everybody was doing a little running and conditioning after practice, so I’ll think we’ll be OK.”
This isn’t Reid’s first rodeo when it comes to preparing a team to play in a warm-weathered Super Bowl. As an offensive assistant in Green Bay, Reid was part of two Packers teams that headed south to prepare and play in warm-weathered Super Bowl climates. While Super Bowl XXXI was played indoors, Green Bay practiced in the Louisiana heat on several instances before defeating Bill Parcells’ Patriots inside the Super Dome.
Reid and the Packers didn’t fare as well the following year in Super Bowl XXXII which was played in San Diego. While the Packers jumped out to an early lead, Green Bay’s defense wore down in the second half, as the Broncos‘ lighter offensive line (utilizing a zone-blocking scheme) carved out running lanes for running back Terrell Davis, whose 157 yards and three touchdowns in Denver’s 31-24 victory earned him the game’s MVP award. Ironically, the Broncos’ coach that night, Mike Shanahan, is the father of current 49ers‘ head coach Mike Shanahan. And while this will be his first Super Bowl as a head coach, it’s a safe bet that the younger Shanahan has already begun asking his father about the best ways to handle the two weeks leading up to the Big Game.
In Super Bowl XXXIX (played at night inside Jacksonville’s Alltell Stadium), Reid’s first as a head coach, the Eagles appeared to run out of steam as they attempted to mount a late-game comeback. While Philadelphia did put together a late scoring drive to pull to within three points of the Patriots, the 79-yard drive, which took nearly four minutes off the clock, lacked the usual pace and sense of urgency of a team that is trailing by two scores with less than a half a quarter remaining. Reports later surfaced following Philadelphia’s 24-21 questioning the fitness level of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who appeared lethargic at times while directing the Eagles’ offense late in the game.
While preparing for the weather is one challenge, another challenge Super Bowl head coaches face is the distractions that come with playing in the biggest spectacle in sports. For Reid, he said that it’s crucial to take advantage of the time his team has at home before the Chiefs take their act to Miami.
“You try to get as much done as you possibly can right here, so that’s what we’ll do,” Reid said. “Get most of the game plan in while you’re in your own environment here. Try to keep it as normal as possible. And then once we get down there, all the other media obligations that you have and all the other things that go on, you try to keep it as normal as you can.”