Will Reid blow another chance to beat Brady in a Super Bowl?

Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs veteran leader, is one of the best coaches of his time, but he also belongs to a club that no coach wants on his resume.

He is one of the six coaches who have lost to Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. And he didn’t just lose. Like the other five, he was the victim of gaffes or mistakes in the game that helped Brady win it.

If the six losing coaches had coached better, Brady would not have six Super Bowl wins. The perception is that Brady has been lights out in the Super Bowl, but he had an 86.2 QB rating in his first Super Bowl win and a 71.4 QB rating in his sixth.

He has been above QB 101 only once in the six Super Bowl wins. His best Super Bowl was the second one against the Eagles when he threw for 505 yards with three touchdowns and a 115.4 QB rating and lost.

But the Patriots and Brady were able to take advantage of mistakes by the losers in the six Super Bowl wins. They took advantage of the opportunities there were presented to them.

And now Reid is the first of the six to get a second crack at Brady in the Super Bowl after facing him in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville in 2005.

The other five are Mike Martz, John Fox, Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn and Sean McVay. Fox and Reid made it back to the Super Bowl, and Reid became the only one of the five to win the Super Bowl after losing one to the Brady and the Patriots when the Chiefs beat the 49ers last year. 

And Fox became the only one of the six to beat Brady in the playoffs after losing to his team in the Super Bowl. Fox’s Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC title game at the end of the 2013 season, 26-16,  but lost the Super Bowl to the Seahawks, 43-6, in the Super Bowl. 

Fox and Reid made it back to the Super Bowl and won it with different teams, but not against the Patriots. Martz, Carroll and Quinn haven’t made it back and Martz is now retired and Quinn was recently hired by the Cowboys as their defensive coordinator after being fired by Atlanta.

And Fox became the only one of the six to beat Brady in the playoffs after losing to his team in the Super Bowl. Fox did it twice as the Denver coach, beating the Patriots in the AFC title game 26-16 at the end of the 2013 season and 20-18 two years later. The Broncos were routed in the Super Bowl by the Seahawks 43-6 at the end of the 2013 season but beat his former Carolina team, 24-10 in the Super Bowl two years later.

Reid has lost twice to Brady in the playoffs – at the end of the 2015 and 2018 seasons — since his only Super Bowl coaching experience against him. The Chiefs 2018 loss when Dee Ford jumped offsides to nullify a Brady interception that would have clinched the game for the Chiefs was their last playoff loss.

So he goes into Sunday’s game with a three-game losing streak against Brady in the playoffs.

Reid first faced Brady when he coached the Eagles on Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville in 2005. The Eagles tied the game 14-14 late in the third period before the Patriots scored on consecutive drives to take a 10-point lead.

After Donovan McNabb threw an interception and the Eagles forced the Patriots to punt, the Eagles got the ball back trailing by 10 with 5:40 left. They went 79 yards in 13 plays, but didn’t use the hurry-up or the no-huddle and didn’t score until there was 1:48 left.

They then forced the Patriots to punt but they were pinned back on their own 4 with 46 seconds left. Game over.

Why the Eagles didn’t go to the no huddle remains a mystery. Reid said after the game, “Well, we were trying to hurry up. I don’t know what happened.” Even the Patriots were puzzled. Rodney Harrison told the Philadelphia Inquirer years later, “I’m looking at Tedy Bruschi and I’m like, “What the heck are they doing? Why aren’t they going to the hurry-up offense?”

Harrison said Bruschi said it was the dumbest thing he had ever seen. And that wasn’t Reid’s only gaffe. Reid also left two time outs in his pocket at the end of the first half, which ended with the Eagles on their own 41. They got the ball on their 19 with 1:10 left. McNabb threw 10 and 14 yard passes to get to the 41 before Reid called his first time out of the half. Another wasted opportunity.

And he had McNabb throw 51 passes in a three-point game, but then Reid has always leaned on the passing game. There has been talk that McNabb threw up on the final drive, but even if he did, he did end the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass. McNabb denied he threw up.

Thirteen years later, the Eagles handed Brady one of his three Super Bowl losses with Doug Pederson as the head coach and this time it was the Eagles who came up with the big play with the Philly Special.

And now Reid gets another chance at Brady in his first year with the Bucs. This time, Reid has Patrick Mahomes on his side and he’s favored. But Reid has a beat-up offensive line after losing tackle Eric Fisher in the AFC title game, and the Bucs have a good pass rush.

And he faces veteran coach Bruce Arians, who is the oldest coach to make a Super Bowl debut at age 68 years 127 days.

Reid, who is 62 years and 325 days old, can become the oldest coach to repeat. Vince Lombardi was 54 when he won the first two.

“I’m still part of the Geritol crew,” Reid said this week. “We are a little bit older and there is experience that comes with that and I guess you could say wisdom with age.”

Reid did show some wisdom when he joined the Chiefs in 2013 after being fired by the Eagles. He said he didn’t want to be the GM so he could concentrate on coaching. That turned out to be a good move. Now Reid gets a chance to avenge that Super Bowl loss when he was outcoached and end a three-game playoff loss string to Brady.

Reid, though, has a lot of company in coaches making bad moves while losing to Brady in the Super Bowl.

Here is a look at the other five:

–Mike Martz and the St. Louis Cardinals were two touchdown favorites to beat the Patriots in Brady’s first Super Bowl at the end of the first 2001 season. It was Brady’s first season of playing and he passed for only 145 yards with one touchdown and no picks and an 86.2 quarterback rating in the game. But Martz was outcoached by Belichick and that was the difference. He played a nickel defense to stop the Rams’ passing game. Martz should have countered by running Marshall Faulk, but he gave him only 17 carries. Meanwhile, Kurt Warner passed 44 times and 365 yards but threw two picks. The Greatest Show on Turf scored only three points the first three quarters and fell behind 17-3. Warner finally rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter with 1:30 left but Brady then directed a drive to put Adam Vinatieri in position for the game winning 48-yard field goal.

–John Fox coached the Panthers in Brady’s second Super Bowl after the 2003 season. The Panthers fell behind 21-10 early in the fourth quarter. The Panthers then came back for a touchdown to make it 21-16 with 12:39 left. Fox then made the decision to go for two and didn’t make it. So, the score was 21-16 instead of 21-17 if he had kicked the extra point. With 6:53 left, Jake Delhomme thew an 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad to give Carolina a 22-21 lead. And he went for two again and didn’t make it. So he was only ahead 22-21 instead of 24-21 if he had kicked both extra points. The Patriots then scored with 2:51 left to take a 27-22 lead and Belichick decided to go for two, which he said he wouldn’t have done if the score was 27-24. The Patriots got the two points for a 29-22 lead. The Patriots lead would have been 28-24 if Fox had kicked two extra points and Belichick kicked one.The Panthers then scored a touchdown and went for one to tie the game 29-29 with 1:08 left. If Fox had just kicked extra points after the two previous touchdowns and Belichick had kicked one, the Panthers would have been ahead 31-28.The Patriots took over on their 17 and drove to the Carolina 23 and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 41-yard field to win the game. If Fox hadn’t gone for two twice, which caused Belichick to go for it once and make it, the field goal would have tied the game and they would have gone into overtime. The fact that Fox cost the Panthers a shot in overtime has been almost forgotten, but the decision helped Brady win his second Super Bowl.

–As we discussed earlier, Reid then failed to go to the no huddle in the Super Bowl after the 2004 season as Brady won his third Super Bowl in five years.–Brady didn’t win another Super Bowl the next nine years and made it only twice, losing both times to the Giants. And he appeared to be on the cusp of losing Super Bowl XLIX after the 2014 season when the Seahawks had second down and one time out at the New England one in the final minute. Instead of running Marshawn Lynch, Seahawk coach Pete Carroll decided to call a pass and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called a pass in traffic in the middle of the field and Malcolm Butler intercepted it and Brady had his fourth Super Bowl win. Seattle hasn’t been back in the Super Bowl since. 

–Two years later, the Patriots were trailing Atlanta 28-3 and you know what happened then. The Falcons still led 28-20 with 4:40 left and had a first down at the Patriots 22. All they had to do was run three plays and kick a field goal for an 11-point lead and even Brady probably couldn’t overcome that. But after Devonta Freeman lost a yard on first down, Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator, called a pass and Matt Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. On third down, a holding call pushed the Falcons back to the New England 45. The Falcons punted and Brady led them to a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game 28-28. In overtime, the Patriots won the toss and drove for the game winning touchdown and Brady had his fifth Super Bowl win. The Falcons haven’t returned to the Super Bowl since and Quinn was fired last season. If the Falcons had kicked the field goal, they probably would have won by three.–The following year, the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Eagles for Brady’s third Super Bowl loss.

–New England then made the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season after the 2018 and beat an overmatched Ram team, 13-3, that only got into the game because of their win over New Orleans in the NFC title game. They won it because of a non-call on what should have been a pass interference penalty on the Rams. The odds are that the Saints would have scored more than three points if they had made the Super Bowl. The Rams-Patriots game was tied 3-3 after three quarters before the Patriots scored 10 points in the fourth period. Brady completed 21 of 35 passes for 262 yards with one pick and no TD passes and a pedestrian 71.4 quarterback rating. Even though there wasn’t a big single gaffe, McVay later admitted he didn’t prepare well for the game. “I’d be lying if I said that if things go a little off track, you probably have too many thoughts in your head,” he said later in a podcast. The moment seemed too big for both McVay and quarterback Jared Goff, who was recently traded. McVay told SI that he “over-prepared” and lost perspective. Whatever it was, Goff had a 57.9 quarterback rating. The bottom line is Brady got his sixth Super Bowl win.

So that’s the story of his 6-3 Super Bowl record that has earned him GOAT status. But he easily could have lost two or three more if not for gaffes by the opposing team and a 4-5 or 3-6 Super Bowl record wouldn’t look as gaudy. So many ifs. If Fox hadn’t gone for two, if Seattle had run from the one, if the Falcons had a kicked a field goal. Now he goes for his seventh win against a coach who knows what it is like to lose a Super Bowl to Brady.

Will Reid be ready to make up for last time? We find out Sunday.   

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