National Football League
Super Bowl a happy reunion for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Chiefs coach Andy Reid
National Football League

Super Bowl a happy reunion for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Chiefs coach Andy Reid

Updated Feb. 2, 2023 11:40 a.m. ET

It has been 10 years and one month since Jeffrey Lurie fired the most successful coach in Philadelphia Eagles history, and his love for Andy Reid since then has never waned. The Eagles owner said he always roots for the coach he called "a Hall of Famer, first ballot."

Just not for the next couple of weeks.

It came as no surprise to Lurie that, as his Eagles look to win their second Super Bowl championship in the past six years, the 64-year-old Reid is the coach standing in their way. It's a Hollywood-style ending to the season, only set in Arizona, where Lurie's Eagles and Reid's Kansas City Chiefs will meet in Super Bowl LVII (Sunday, Feb. 12, on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

To be honest, it's a matchup Lurie had been thinking about for a while.


"I thought about it because I admire him so much," he said moments after his team beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game, hours before the Chiefs would punch their own Super Bowl ticket. "We have an outstanding young coach in Nick [Sirianni], an amazing coaching staff — amazing. Andy is as good as they come. Give Andy a bye? Very formidable. Give us a bye? Very formidable.

"Andy just makes it all the more formidable. Love the guy."

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Lurie's love for Reid dates back to 1999, when he plucked the coach out of obscurity from his job as the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach to lead an Eagles franchise that had lost its way. The next 14 years were remarkable. The Eagles went 130-93-1, won six division titles and made the playoffs nine times. They went to four straight NFC Championship Games, five overall, and in 2004 reached the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years.

Lurie fired Reid after a 4-12 season in 2012 that he called "embarrassing" at the time, but he never pinned it on Reid. He even famously treated his firing like a celebration, throwing a going-away party of sorts for him at the Eagles' offices shortly after he broke the news.

To Lurie, changing coaches is never really about the coach. It's about what he calls "the secret sauce" — whatever it is he deems his organization needs at the time. And he's got a track record to back up his choices in firing and hiring coaches. He's on just his fifth coach in 29 years of owning the Eagles. Three of them have taken the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Two — Doug Pederson and Sirianni — did it in their second years on the job.

"I think the secret sauce is involved in that evaluation," Lurie said. "When your team is at a certain place, what can you bring in terms of coaching leadership that will vault you to have a chance to play in another Super Bowl soon? There's probably multiple variables. Nick, Doug at the time, all fulfilled those variables.

"I know it's sort of not the conformist thing to do. Nobody wanted Andy. Nobody wanted Doug. Nobody knew about Nick I guess. I don't know. It didn't make sense to me. It didn't make sense to Howie [Roseman, the Eagles GM]. I think we feel just do the right thing, and you're going to have a chance to be great."

Firing Reid may have been the "right thing" at the time, but it wasn't an immediate success for the Eagles. They replaced him with Chip Kelly, then the University of Oregon coach, but he only lasted two and a half tumultuous seasons in Philadelphia. Lurie then turned to Pederson, who was a quarterbacks coach on Reid's staff in Philadelphia and his offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Reid's strong recommendation sealed that deal.

Two years later, the Eagles were Super Bowl champions for the first time.

Of course, things have worked out pretty well for Reid, too. He has done for the Chiefs what he once did for the Eagles — reviving a franchise that was lost. Only he's done it even better. He hasn't had a losing season in his decade in Kansas City (117-45), and he has led the Chiefs to double-digit wins and the playoffs nine times. The Chiefs' 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday marked their fifth straight appearance in the AFC Championship Game.

And in two weeks, the Chiefs will be in their third Super Bowl in four seasons, looking for their second win.

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Reid has been gone from Philadelphia for so long now that a whole generation recognizes "Big Red" mostly as the Chiefs' head coach now. There are even only three players left with the Eagles who were in Philadelphia for his final season: center Jason Kelce, defensive end Brandon Graham and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

But there are plenty of people throughout the organization who still remember him, including Roseman — the GM then and now — and, of course, Lurie. And as far as Lurie is concerned, Reid is still a huge part of the powerful organization that the owner has built.

That makes this Super Bowl matchup feel just perfect — a full-circle ending to a love story that has been building for 24 years.

"That's formidable," Lurie said of the Super Bowl matchup. "He's wonderful."

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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