Kansas City Chiefs sent six players to the latest Pro Bowl after going 2-14. What’s wrong with this picture?
A lot, so the fallen franchise made some changes.
The Chiefs’ chief replacement was a portly, mustachioed coach who, as even the most proficient do, wore out his welcome at the previous stop. That being Andy Reid, who led the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons.
Kansas City could have chartered a plane to haul all of the assistant coaches, staffers and players — nearly two dozen — imported from Philadelphia by Reid. His most intriguing hire was an outsider named Chris Ault, mysteriously designated as a consultant.
Ault had introduced to football the “pistol” formation popularised in the NFL by San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, who was the guinea pig for Ault on their University of Nevada team from 2007 to 2010.
Change is good, as the saying goes, and the only debate here is if this change would be better for the Chiefs or Reid.
Kansas City, at 3-0, have already surpassed last year’s victory total, and can double their pleasure Sunday by beating the hapless New York Giants.
“We’ve been through a lot in the six years I’ve been here,” said Jamaal Charles, the tailback, “and I know they don’t want to go through it again.”
Reid stresses turnover difference so much that the Chiefs have not committed one while the defence has amassed nine.
The quarterback, Alex Smith, unexciting and unappreciated with the 49ers, has taken to Reid’s West Coast offence, whose short, high-percentage passes dovetail with his skill set. He has buffed an already polished record that has risen to 24-5-1 as a starter since 2011.
Reid was drawn to Kansas City by ownership stability in place since its founding by the late, respected Lamar Hunt. Surviving kin operate the team.
“I looked at this as an opportunity to work with the Hunt family,” Reid said. “I really didn’t get caught up in the record and this and that.”
The typical coach might not have viewed Smith as an asset in the league-wide atmosphere of pass first, ask questions later.
Reid is not typical.
“He manages the game very well,” Reid said of Smith. “He’s a tough kid. He gets the respect of the players.”
If the aftermath of the recent win over Philadelphia was any indication, the victory-deprived players respect Reid. He was the recipient of a Gatorade bath, a ritual usually reserved for play-off games.
“We knew we had the talent, and the wins weren’t there,” the cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “Andy Reid and his regime came in. We bought into everything they’re doing, and it’s showing.”