Reid's arrival signals hope, says former Chiefs great

Andy Reid is downplaying the homecoming aspect of tomorrow's Eagles-Chiefs game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Andy Reid is downplaying the homecoming aspect of tomorrow's Eagles-Chiefs game at Lincoln Financial Field. (Associated Press)
Posted: September 20, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Nobody is identified with Kansas City football or bleeds Chiefs red more than Len Dawson.

The Hall of Fame quarterback played 13 seasons with the Chiefs until the age of 40.

Now 78, he is still the radio color analyst for the Chiefs and also does some local TV work. And Dawson, like so many around the Kansas City area, is enjoying the early success of a Chiefs team that is 2-0 after a 2-14 season.

The Chiefs look to surpass last season's win total with Thursday's highly anticipated matchup at Lincoln Financial Field with the Eagles.

Dawson gives Andy Reid, the former Eagles coach and now the man guiding the Chiefs, a boatload of credit. Reid guided the Eagles to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl in his 14 seasons.

"He is bringing hope because it's been a long time since they tasted the opportunity to really be in a position to win, and win championships," Dawson said in the Chiefs locker room, where he was waiting to interview players. "We see that in him, and he has perhaps the staff and everything else to get this accomplished, and that is what we all want."

It's not only that the Chiefs lost 14 games last season, it was the manner in which they lost that left the fans apathetic. Nine of the 14 losses were by 15 or more points.

Under Reid, however, the Chiefs beat Dallas, 17-16, on Sunday before a fired-up crowd of 76,952, the largest home gathering since 2007.

Dawson was the Chiefs quarterback in the franchise's heyday. He guided the team to a berth in the first Super Bowl, which the Chiefs lost, 35-10, to the Green Bay Packers. In Super Bowl IV, Dawson engineered a 23-7 upset of Minnesota.

That was Jan. 11, 1970. The Chiefs have yet to return to the Super Bowl.

To Dawson, Chiefs football means everything.

"I've experienced so many great things with this organization. Nothing gets better than going to and winning a Super Bowl," Dawson said.

Like Dawson, Art Still is a proud former Chief and a fellow member of the team's Hall of Fame. A graduate of Camden High, Still was a four-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive end.

He lives in the Kansas City suburbs about a half- hour from Arrowhead Stadium and follows the team closely. He agreed with Dawson that Reid's arrival has signaled hope.

"Everybody is very excited, especially around the Kansas City Chiefs community," Still said in a phone interview. "We have seen his past history."

Still, the owner of one company and a partner in another in the fitness industry, said the Chiefs' biggest void was in the coaching department. The previous three head coaches - Romeo Crennel, Todd Haley, and Herman Edwards - were a combined 38-74 from 2006 through last season.

"We knew we needed a good coaching staff," Still said. "With management, we have the players, and it was a matter of putting everything together, and I think Andy Reid was one of the main ingredients."

Contact Marc Narducci at Follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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