KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Saturday night, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid could go to Pat’s or Geno’s or any number of other places in Philadelphia for a cheesesteak.
“There wasn’t a cheesesteak there that I didn’t like,” said Reid, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons before joining the Chiefs in 2013.
Wherever Reid decides to go for dinner and whatever he decides to have the night before the Chiefs face the Eagles on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), he wouldn’t necessarily have to pay. Reid led the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game five times and reached one Super Bowl there. He’s popular in Philadelphia, eight years after leaving town.
“Andy Reid is always going to be popular in Philly for what he was able to do as a coach here and the types of games he won and the amount of games he won,” said Brian Westbrook, who played as a running back for Reid for eight seasons with the Eagles and is still close with Reid. “Remember that when Andy came here the Eagles were not very good. I believe they were 3-13 the year before. Things were not looking very good in Philadelphia. But he was able to turn that around and get the team headed in the right direction.
“He’s still a legend in Philadelphia even though he’s not the Eagles’ coach anymore. The city appreciates him, his creativity, the type of mind he has, his offensive play design. A lot of people appreciate him for what he brought to the city, like a winning culture, a winning philosophy. For the better part of a decade here, the conversation here was not about making the playoffs. It was pretty much a guarantee we were going to make the playoffs. It was about getting home-field advantage and how far we were going to go in the playoffs.”
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But things were ugly for Reid toward the end of his time with the Eagles, who made the playoffs nine times under Reid but in neither of his final two seasons. He had his worst season in 2012, his last in Philadelphia, at 4-12.
The Eagles earned their only Super Bowl victory in franchise history in 2018 under Doug Pederson, who had previously served as Reid’s offensive coordinator with the Chiefs. The Eagles are in their first season coached by Nick Sirianni, who said Reid’s presence is still felt in Philadelphia.
“I know how well respected he is around the city and how good of a football coach he is,” Sirianni said. “I know that the building here still loves him and the media and everybody around here still admires him, as well they should.”
Reid has coached against the Eagles twice since arriving in Kansas City — including a 2013 return to the City of Brotherly Love — with the Chiefs winning both times. With a win on Sunday, Reid would have 100 victories with the Chiefs, counting playoffs. That would make him the first NFL coach to win 100 games with two different franchises.
With the Chiefs 1-2 and Reid coming off a trip to the hospital — reportedly for dehydration — he has more important things on his mind than a homecoming of sorts. Health-wise, Reid said, “I’m feeling great,” but his team needs a victory to stay in the AFC West race.
“I loved my time in Philadelphia,” he said. “I think it’s a great city. I love the people and I love the organization there. I had a phenomenal 14 years. I mean, it was awesome. Do I look forward to coming back? I look forward to the game and the challenge of playing the Eagles. That’s really what it’s all about right now.”
A good meal has always been a part of Reid’s routine, whether in Philadelphia or Kansas City. For his first game against the Eagles in 2013, Chiefs players recall him bringing in cheesesteaks and crab fries, two Philadelphia delicacies, the night before.
It’s unclear what culinary plans he has this time around. Westbrook is sure he has some, though.
“I don’t know what he’ll do,” Westbrook said. “He may have some nice Italian food brought in for him. But he will certainly have a good dinner.”