Can Coach Reid Reach Superbowl?
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- Andy Reid has already won the hearts of
Philadelphia. His Eagles finished the regular NFL season with an 11-5
record, including a 7-1 record on the road, and reached the playoffs
for the second year in a row. And, unlike last year, they have won
first one, and now a second, playoff game, leaving the team just one
win away from the NFL championship, the Superbowl. And should they
beat the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Reid will become the first Mormon
head coach to guide a professional team to the championship in his
Clearly, Reid's winning record is the main reason that Philadelphia
loves him, because many of his personality traits couldn't be less
like the stereotypical Philadelphia fan. Where the city's fans are
known to "ingest almost any toxin without a glance at the warning
label, drink themselves into a stupor, smoke anything that will
burn," according to Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin,
Reid doesn't smoke anything or drink alcohol. Conlin says that
Philadelphia fans "are crude and obscene louts just a baby step up
the genetic chain from the hordes who sacked Rome and overran the
Danube plains," and Reid is known for a clean mouth and the somewhat
boring habit of starting every press conference with an injury
report. Previous coaches, says Conlin, have been more like the fans
in these respects. For example, Ray Rhodes, Conlin says, "used the
kind of language at his news conferences that got Lenny Bruce busted."
This leads Conlin to call Reid a "space alien walking among us." Not
only, he says, is Reid straight, but "the Church of Latter Day Saints
to which he converted while an offensive lineman for LaVell Edwards
at Brigham Young University is not exactly mainstream hereabouts."
Conlin says that most Philadelphians would credit Joseph Smith "for
the extra Bible you get in a Marriott hotel room, the one with all
those faraway places and strange-sounding names. As for Brigham
Young, he was the great, great, great grandfather of Steve Young and
invented the West Coast offense, right?"
In spite of how different he is from Philadelphia fans, Reid has
adopted some traits from the city that have endeared him to the fans.
He's known to call in to radio shows and poke fun at himself with his
own self-depricating sense of humor. He exudes a warm personality,
and has a rotund physique that goes well with the South Philly
cuisine (think cheesesteaks) that he has adopted with gusto.
With this past Saturday's win over the Chicago Bears, Reid has now
advanced the Eagles farther in the playoffs than any Philadelphia
coach since Dick Vermeil took them to the 1980 Superbowl. In the
years between that season and this, the Eagles went 0-4 in playoff
games. But now, with Reid, they have won two in a row. The fans are
very, very happy.
But for all his success among Philadelphia fans, Reid remains almost
unknown among Mormons. Those wins and his reputation for following
LDS practices like eschewing smoking, drinking and profanity, should
also endear him to Mormon fans. And since reaching the Superbowl
would put him at a higher level than any previous LDS coach in
professional sports, Mormon fans should be following him closely.
But his accomplishments may still go unnoticed among Mormons. Unlike
the better-known LDS players and coaches, Reid isn't well known from
his days at BYU (offensive linemen are generally not that visible).
In addition, since leaving BYU in 1985, after a stint as a graduate
assistant, Reid hasn't coached in a predominantly Mormon area, where
he would get exposure to a Mormon audience. After stints at San
Francisco State, Northern Arizona, Texas-El Paso, and Missouri, Reid
moved on to the pros, working for Mike Holmgren at the Green Bay
Packers. But both in Green Bay and in Philadelphia there aren't many
LDS Church members. Green Bay and environs has just a few thousand,
while the Philadelphia area has less than 20,000.
To get noticed among Mormons, he might have to win the Superbowl.
He's no Philly guy, but we love this alien
Philadelphia PA Daily News 23Jan02 S2
By Bill Conlin
For Reid, the chance to take the Eagles higher
Philadelphia PA Inquirer 14Jan02 S2
By Phil Sheridan: Inquirer Staff Writer