Two of the biggest names in coaching currently are Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers. Reid holds a 3-0 record against Shanahan in their previous matchups. Let’s take a deeper look at their previous matchups and what legacies they may leave behind when their careers are over.
Super Bowl Rematch (Highlights)
This battle of coaching titans is a rematch of Super Bowl 54 where the Kansas City Chiefs came back from an early deficit to be crowned champion with a 31-20 victory. This was the 8th ever Super Bowl rematch, all 8 of these rematches happening within 5 years.
Both teams looked very different although only 4 years ago. Although Patrick Mahomes was still under center at quarterback, many leading offensive players differed. The leading rusher was Damien Williams with 107 yards and a score, while the leading receiver was Tyreke Hill having 9 catches and 105 yards (all of this according to ESPN). Everyone’s favorite name right now, Travis Kelce, had 6 catches, 43 yards, and a score.
The 49ers looked very different. Jimmy Garrapolo was quarterback going 20/31 for 219 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 costly interceptions. The leading rusher was Raheem Mostert, with Kendrick Bourne being the leading receiver. Many other names that pop up, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Kyle Juszczyk were familiar, but the leaders on the stat board have found residency elsewhere.
Statistically speaking, although a one-sided score, both teams matched up pretty similarly. Kansas City outgained San Francisco by 46 yards and had just over 5 more minutes for a time of possession. The biggest discrepancy was Damien Williams’s yards after contact. Williams had 107 rush yards, 69 of which came after contact, which was roughly 4.1 yards per carry after contact.
Coach History before Super Bowl 58
Andy Reid started his career as a player, suiting up at offensive line at BYU. After his playing days, Andy went on to coaching. He did some time in college, but Reid pulled most of his coaching philosophy after working for Mike Holmgren and the Green Bay Packers. Andy Reid is most notably a West Coast-style coach but has adapted his play calling to suit whoever leads his team at quarterback. He was named a Head Coach early on for the Philadelphia Eagles, and at the time was the second youngest head coach in the NFL only to Jon Gruden.
Reid is not only known for his West Coast style of coaching but his revolutionary ideas. He was one of the first NFL coaches to integrate the spread offense ideology into his offense. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have been quoted speaking on the freedom they have in Reid’s offense. In the popular Netflix show “Quarterback” the Kansas City Chiefs were shown working on new plays that they created themselves. Creativity is key with Reid.
Kyle Shanahan had a different development within coaching. Kyle started as a player as well, playing wide receiver at Texas. Kyle worked for his father Mike Shanahan very early in his career. Working for his dad was not his first job though, he was hired as a quality control coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden out of college. He then moved to work for the Houston Texans and Mike Kubiak as the Wide Receivers coach. Kubiak had worked for Mike Shanahan on his Denver Broncos staff.
His third stop in the NFL was for his father. He worked on the Washington Redskins staff as the offensive coordinator. The staff famously also included Sean McVay, Mike McDaniel, and Matt LaFleur. From there he went on to be the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns and then the Atlanta Falcons before taking the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job.
Most note Kyle Shanahan as having a similar style to his dad. Run first, Play Action, Move the Pocket and allow Quarterbacks to see windows of reads. Since becoming a head coach though, Kyle has evolved greatly. He is known for his pre-snap motion. His ability to move players in advantageous positions to take advantage of a defense. This past season he was one of the league leaders in “condensed formations” or keeping Wide Receivers and Tight Ends closer to the ball. This allows Defensive Backs to work inside out, instead of their normal outside in (according to footballscoop.com).
Coaching Tree Legacy
When the discussion of coaches arises the next statement is typically the legacy they leave behind. Part of that legacy is the “coaching tree” that is created from their tutelage.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the top names that worked for each of these head coaches. We will look at strictly head coaches and a few data points to help us compare.
|5-6 in Playoffs
|3-4 in Playoffs
|SB 47 Win
|SB 52 Win
|0-2 in Playoffs
|SB 50 Appearance
|1-1 in Playoffs
|0-2 in Playoffs
|0-1 in Playoffs
** Technically Kevin O’Connell only crossed paths with Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns briefly. He did not technically work for Kyle Shanahan, but for the sake of discussion, he was included.
Overall, the comparison is longevity versus up-and-coming. It is easy to see that the more tenured option may be better, but this would be a fun exercise to look back on once Shanahan’s disciples have been in the league for a while.
Shanahan has the hottest names for head coaches on the rise, not to mention the plethora of offensive coordinators scattered throughout the NFL. Reid on the other hand has many household names that have been around the block.
It will be interesting to see how their legacies get built up or torn down with Super Bowl 58 on the horizon.