There are a thousand ways to dissect a Super Bowl and practically each one is touched on at some point during the week leading up to the game.
Here we like to focus on the human interest stories, especially the ones that tie into the history and legacy of the game. These are the ones that give it its heartbeat, that captivate more than the droning, repetitive analysis of the strengths and weakness of the teams.
You want to know what makes Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Chiefs and the 49ers cool?
The 49ers will try to win their record sixth, tying them with the icon Patriots and Steelers.
And if he wins the game, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will join his father, Mike, as the only father-son duo to both lead Super Bowl champions.
But there is one storyline that sits above all the rest. And its about one of the greatest coaches in NFL history that has done just about everything possible in the game but one thing.
Andy Reid has not won a Super Bowl. We want Andy Reid to win this Super Bowl.
“It speaks to who he is as a person that everyone is rooting for him,” Chiefs offense tackle Mitch Schwartz told ESPN earlier this week. “He’s been in this for 20, 25 years as a head coach, and everyone he’s come in contact with loves him and wants the best for him. Usually, you can’t say that about people you work with, especially in a sport like this where there’s a lot of passion and there’s a lot of times where you can butt heads. But everybody loves the guy.”
When the time comes for the media to vote on his candidacy for the Hall of Fame, we do not want to deal with the overamplification of what’s missing from his resume.
If the Chiefs beat the 49ers on Sunday, Reid will have the 222nd win of his NFL career. Only five coaches have more – Don Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick, Tom Landry and Curly Lambeau.
What differentiates Reid is those five have combined to win 23 NFL championships and this will only be Reid’s second Super Bowl despite being in the playoffs 15 times. His first came in 2005 when the Eagles lost to the Patriots.
Only one coach in the Super Bowl era is in the Hall of Fame without winning a league championship – Buffalo’s Marv Levy. But he led the Bills to four straight AFC conference championships from 1990-93
“Four in a row is an incredible feat and that’s why [Levy] is in,” Hall of Fame selector Rick Gosselin told ESPN. “Reid doesn’t have a championship. I think he’s got to win a championship.”
Even if Reid wins Sunday, there is no guarantee he gets in. Tom Coughlin (Giants), Tom Flores (Raiders), George Seifert (49ers) and Mike Shanahan (Broncos) all won two and have not been enshrined.
But Reid is beloved by just about everyone in the NFL. He has been a head coach since 1999, first with the Eagles (through 2012) and now with the Chiefs. His longevity even surpasses Belichick’s by one year.
“He’s a favorite usually everywhere we go,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Everywhere you go, the way he treats people, you can tell people love him and care about him.
“It’s his work ethic, the way he treats people. He’s a coach that’s won a lot of games. He’s had an amazing career. Obviously, we want to this game, the big Super Bowl, put that on his résumé. He’s someone who’s been successful from Day 1 and he’s still successful now.”
During the countless interviews Reid has done this week, he has heard over and over that he’s considered a sentimental favorite.
“One of the best coaches to ever coach football and to never have a Super Bowl as a head coach, that’s one of the biggest things I feel like is on my list as far as things I’d love to happen this Sunday,” said Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark told USA Today. “I know the joy he’s going to get. I’ve got more years to play, to give myself a shot doing this. Coach ain’t old, but he’s getting old. Just keeping it real – it’s the nature of the game. You never know when someone’s time is going to end, so you want a guy like him to be able to enjoy the benefits of winning that championship and be able to see that.”
Reid is about as humble as you can get. He makes a habit of making fun of his girth. He joked about needing to lose weight before the team arrived in swank Miami Beach for the game.
And he’s not into the corporate look. Suit and tie is not his style. Reid favors the Hawaiian shirt and that’s what his players wore on their flight to Miami to honor him.
“I’m humbled by it,” Reid said. “Very humbled by it. I have great guys here. Friends likewise around the league. Been doing it a long time. This is about this team, the guys that have worked so hard to get where they are. The players, the coaches, the organization. It’s a team effort even getting to this position. It’s not about one position. Right now, my complete focus is on making sure we as coaches do a good job, as players do a good job in the Super Bowl.”
Reid doesn’t appear to be concerned about his how history will view him – if he doesn’t win a Super Bowl before his career is over.
Life’s bigger than that,” Reid said. That doesn’t tell you I don’t want to win. This is America. I’m in it to win. That’s what we do. I don’t want that to be slighted. But I also understand the perspective of life. Maybe it’s because of my age (61). That doesn’t mean I’m not going to work hard and coach hard and do all of those things and come in swinging to the best of my ability. But I’m not going to tell you there aren’t other things in life. I understand that, too.
“I think more of the players than I sit here thinking about myself. That’s not where I go.”