James Dungy was just 18 when he committed suicide a few days before Christmas in 2005. His girlfriend discovered him in his Tampa apartment. His father, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, was left to deal with his emotions and those of his family.
Professional sports are not immune from life's often-cold realities. There is so much that goes on in sports that the public never sees or hears, unless in the case of Reid's sons, Garrett and Britt, it becomes public. Each had well-publicized legal and drug issues.
The reality is that everybody is one phone call, one knock on the door away from the unthinkable.
Dungy, like Reid, was a well-known public figure, so his son's death resonated beyond the sports world. Philbin was less well-known, but the timing of his son's death was such that it could not help but attract attention.
What plays out in public, however, can never trump what happens in private. Fans see athletes and coaches with what appears to be control. Appearances can be deceiving.
Circumstances were different, but no less tragic when Randall Cunningham's son, Christian, just 2, died in Las Vegas, as the result of a hot-tub accident in June 2010. The Eagles all-timer, so invincible on the field, became a grieving father.
Last November, Griffen Kramer, a quarterback for the Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High football team and the 18-year-old son of longtime former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer, was found dead at a friend's house. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office eventually called it a heroin overdose.
Now, the Reid family is left to wonder why, trying to understand the impossible to understand, as we all realize again that death plays no favorites and sports is just part of our wider culture, with all its agonizing mystery.
Contact Dick Jerardi at email@example.com.