KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs held a party for their season-ticket holders shortly before the start of training camp this year and the gathering turned into an impromptu pep rally when coach Andy Reid stepped forward to speak.
Firing up the masses is generally not Reid’s way. He’s usually even-keeled to the point that sometimes after a game it’s difficult to tell from his demeanor whether the Chiefs won or lost.
This is no ordinary season for the 60-year-old, though. He has Patrick Mahomes moving into the starting spot at quarterback. Mahomes won’t be the first talented quarterback to cross paths with Reid, who has also coached Alex Smith in Kansas City and Donovan McNabb with the Philadelphia Eagles.
But Mahomes might be the best fit for Reid and perhaps the one best suited to eventually provide him the Super Bowl title that has eluded him during 19 seasons as an NFL head coach.
“He’s more excited than I’ve seen him in a long time,” said Chiefs president Mark Donovan, who has worked with Reid for the past five years in Kansas City and before that with the Philadelphia Eagles. “It’s not only about Pat. You put Sammy Watkins out there [with] Tyreek [Hill], [Travis] Kelce, Kareem [Hunt]. … If you’re an offensive coordinator with the mind that he has and the creativity he likes to bring to the game, that gets you excited.
“The excitement that was in that room [when Reid spoke] is something that matters. … It’s different, [and] you feel it.”
This sense about Reid extends beyond those who work with him on a daily basis.
“I know he’s excited about the team he has,” said McNabb, who added that he stays in touch with his former coach. “He liked Alex Smith. He led them to the AFC West championship and also the playoffs. But there’s something about having a young quarterback with potential. Patrick Mahomes can make off-schedule plays. That’s a dimension to the offense that Andy hasn’t had in a while.”
Even Reid acknowledged that he has a different sense of anticipation about this season.
“You have new,” Reid said, speaking to the change not only at quarterback but elsewhere on the Chiefs’ roster. “There’s more new, on both sides of the ball. Some of the old guys that have been here aren’t here. Whether it’s the quarterback position, the inside linebacker position, the outside linebacker position, you’re missing a few of those guys and you have new guys coming in that you have an opportunity to see perform. Some of them we haven’t seen. … That’s exciting to me. I’m looking forward to that.”