The Long Road to the Super Bowl
It’s never easy getting to the Super Bowl, but the journey was especially circuitous for many of this year’s participants.
Let’s start with the coaches. Kansas City’s Andy Reid has his fingerprints all over the league: seven of his former assistants are head coaches, but he’s only reached the Super Bowl once before–with the Eagles–and many blame his clock management for their loss to New England. Before last weekend, he was 1-5 in conference championships, and many have also pinned those losses on some of Reid’s questionable decisions. That being said, the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Reid is “beloved.” All around the league, coaches, players, and owners adore the guy. You could see it after the game last Sunday, as Reid was trying to make his way to his family and kept getting stopped by players to give him a hug. “I don’t know a coach that deserves it more,” said former Chiefs and Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil.
On the other sideline is Kyle Shanahan, son of Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan, who handed his son the NFC Championship trophy last weekend. Kyle is only 40 years-old, three years removed from taking control of the 49ers, and already, Super Bowl ghosts follow him. He was the Falcons offensive coordinator in Super Bowl LI, when he kept dialing up pass plays even after Atlanta had a 28-3 lead. 31 unanswered points later, Tom Brady was hoisting another Super Bowl trophy. […]