This week, each of DBB’s writers – myself, Andrew, Data and Emily – will be writing their own Super Bowl preview post. Then Friday we’ll culminate the week with a gambling guide, as no sporting contest played all year presents this many opportunities to lose money.
Legacies in the NFL are a tricky thing, for quarterbacks and coaches.
Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are two of the most prolifically-talented winners in the history of the NFL. But as each approach the twilight of their careers, their legacies are complicated by only appearing in one Super Bowl a piece.
Eli Manning is, by every conceivable metric, a quarterbacking mediocrity. But for two months, for two playoff runs, he was an immortal. And now, no Giant will ever wear his number again. One of the most storied franchises in the NFL is retiring the number of a quarterback who was .500 as a starter and pitched a career quarterback rating of 84.1.
One Super Bowl victory is pivotal for the great coaches and quarterbacks. It stamps their career as valid. The second Super Bowl stamps their greatness. Three or more are reserved for the legends of the game.
Tony Dungy finally got his Super Bowl title. Two years later, he retired from the game, never to return. Bill Parcells hunted a third title for decades. Mike Holmgren a second. They knew what they needed to achieve to be remembered as they wished.
Andy Reid is 207-128 as a head coach, a .618 winning percentage. That’s better than Parcells. That’s better than Holmgren. Hell, Joe Gibbs is only at .621 and I think Gibbs is one of the two or three best coaches in the history of the league. (Gibbs has three Super Bowls, with three different quarterbacks, and none of those quarterbacks were particularly good.)
And Reid’s coaching tree is everything Bill Belichick’s isn’t. John Harbaugh and Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy and Sean McDermott are all not just winning right now in the league. They are lauded in their locker rooms for creating great cultures. Belichick makes his coaches smarter. Reid makes his coaches leaders of men. His legacy in league history is inarguable.
But his head coaching resume still has a blank section. I texted several friends in the league about this game and almost every one returned with, “I’m rooting for Andy.” If Reid’s Chiefs win Sunday, he goes to Canton. If Reid’s Chiefs win Sunday, he’ll be considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the league and perhaps the greatest coach of the post-free agency era not named Belichick.
You can argue that, with Patrick Mahomes, he’ll get more chances. But Brees hasn’t been back to the game in a decade. Next year will be a decade for Rodgers. Injuries happen. Fluke losses happen. (See the 2019 AFC title game.) Hell, this Chiefs team has been spotting opponents double-digit leads all post-season! Sunday, in Miami, Andy has to finish the job.
And then begin the hunt for number two.