Photo: Chuck Cook USA Today Sports
If there was one game on the Chiefs 2013 NFL schedule that caught the attention of KC’s fan base, it was Thursday nights contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s going to be a homecoming for Andy Reid and I argue one that players want to win for their new head coach.
Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, can downplay Thursday Night’s NFL match up against his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, all he wants too at this point. But this game means everything to him.
Not only is it a chance for his Chiefs to rise to a 3-0 record to start the 2013 NFL season but he can erase the stench of his departure from the city of brotherly love.
Mid-year last season it became apparent that Eagles meddling ownership wasn’t going to retain Andy Reid in 2013. Even back then reports surfaced that Owner, Jeff Lurie, wanted to bring in a young hot shot college coach to revive his franchise.
Under Reid the last couple of seasons, Lurie dictated the roster and signed free agents that didn’t fit his head coach. Ultimately those decisions got Reid the boot at the end of last season.
After one week of the NFL season, Eagles fans felt they’d hit a home run with new head coach, Chip Kelly after they held off the Washington Redskins. But when the San Diego Chargers kicked the game winning field goal at Philadelphia on Sunday, the bloom quickly fell off the former Oregon Head Coach.
The issue in Philly is the same one that plagued Reid in 2011 and 2012 – the Eagles can’t play defense. I argue after watching the Chargers rewind, that Philly has by far the worst secondary in the NFL.
But that’s nitpicking and piling on. What matters now is how Reid’s primetime Chiefs can perform in what could be the most pivotal opportunity they face in this young season.
Not many people expected the Chiefs to rise to a 2-0 start but they did. Right now they’re quickly becoming a team that believes it can win every Sunday. Now defeating the hapless Jaguars on the road and the slightly better than average Dallas Cowboys at home may not be a true test of KC’s winning abilities this season.
But those games were played with more X’s and O’s. This match up on Thursday is going to be played with the heartbeat of Reid’s current players. They want to win this game for their new boss as badly as Reid does.
Should the Chiefs prevail on Thursday night they’ll make a statement to the Denver Broncos that they’re not going to go quietly in the night and hand the division to arguably (for now) the NFL’s top team.
Instead, they intend to do whatever it takes in the months of September and October to fine tune their record so when the two teams battle twice in November, they’ll be ready for AFC West War.
That’s why this contest Thursday is so important to this franchise. The Chiefs can’t let off the gas right now. They have to show they can win consistently on the road when there’s more at stake than a victory in week three. They must show they believe in their head coach and deliver the goods for their leader.
From all accounts since he was hired, that’s been the case by the players. After the Cowboys victory, many of them in the locker room expressed their desire to win this game for Reid. They understand, with the tragic loss of his son a year ago, the way he left the Eagles and the opportunity to show the city of Philadelphia, they collectively made a mistake in pushing him to the curb. Should that transpire a win could ultimately unite this Chiefs team into a division winning caliber group.
Granted I’m ecstatic Lurie made the stupid decision dumping Reid for a college coach who may have been creative in regards to recruiting and other things, so he could guide his program into a regional and marginal national powerhouse.
To his credit, Reid hasn’t taken any shortcuts during his NFL tenure. He’s already received national praise for his work in Kansas City. On the flip side, fans in Philly, after just two games, are beginning wonder why he’s no longer patrolling their sidelines. Kelly may be an offensive genius but he can’t coach defense.
In the NFL, winning and losing generally is guided by ego. It takes an incredible amount of it to play this game but even more of it to coach the darn thing. Reid is a class guy. His drive and passion for the game is fueled by his singular belief that when he arrived in Kansas City, he felt with some changes to personnel, he could win this season.
In order to believe and execute that task after a miserable 2-14 season, his ego had to be pretty big. Now some egos are misplaced but all Reid wants is for his new team is to continue to adhere to his teachings. So far I’d say, that’s exactly what has taken place in Kansas City.
In turn, if the players believe and do win this game against the Eagles, that’s swimming with a world of emotion and deep-rooted meaning behind it, the Broncos may have a train headed their direction that could run through the Mile High City and leave Kansas City atop the AFC West at seasons end.
That’s how big this game is for Reid’s new players versus his old players. In fact, this could be the point of the season where Chiefs fans look back and remember what happened in Philadelphia in September as the catalyst for what might take place in November.
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