Regardless of Who's In Charge (Almost), Titans Have Reid's Number
NASHVILLE – Andy Reid has been around long enough that he is one of the few active NFL head coaches who have gone head-to-head with every Tennessee coach of the Titans era (1999-present). Or at least he will have done so within a matter of days.
Reid will make it five-for-five Sunday when he brings the Kansas City Chiefs to Nissan Stadium at matches up against Mike Vrabel in the Titans’ final game before their bye.
Here’s the really unusual part: He has lost to three of the previous four – and lost a lot. In his 21 seasons in charge of the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, he is 1-7 against Tennessee. That includes a 26-10 defeat in the 2014 opener at Kansas City, one of five games Ken Whisenhunt won during his brief Titans’ tenure, as well as Tennessee’s only playoff victory over the past 15 years.
To hear him tell it, things won’t be any easier this time.
“I think Mike Vrabel is a heck of a football coach,” Reid told the Kansas City media Wednesday. “I think he does a nice job with that group. They’re tough. Really tough on both sides of the ball. So, we’ve got to prepare ourselves for a physical football game. It’s a team that’s well-coached.”
And a team that routinely has gotten the better of him, regardless of who is coaching.
Reid is one of eight in NFL history with at least 200 wins (he is 201-127) and one of nine with at least 12 playoff victories. He has been to the Super Bowl once and – with Philadelphia – had a run of four straight appearances in the conference championship game. Yet the only Tennessee head coach he beat was Mike Munchak in 2013. Beyond that, he went 0-4 against Jeff Fisher, 0-2 against Mike Mularkey and 0-1 against Whisenhunt. Both losses to Mularkey occurred in a span of three weeks of the 2016 season (Week 16 and the wild card playoff round).
A rundown of Andy Reid’s history with the Tennessee Titans:
Tennessee 15, Philadelphia 13
Dec. 3, 2000
Tennessee 27, Philadelphia 24
Sept. 8, 2002
Tennessee 31, Philadelphia 13
Nov. 19, 2006
Tennessee 37, Philadelphia 19
Oct. 24, 2010
Kansas City 26, Tennessee 17
Oct. 6, 2013
Tennessee 26, Kansas City 10
Sept. 7, 2014
Tennessee 19, Kansas City 17
Dec. 18, 2016
Tennessee 22, Kansas City 21 (playoffs)
Jan. 6, 2018
The only other active NFL coach who faced all five Titans head coach is John Harbaugh, who has led Baltimore since 2008 and has fared noticeably better. He is 3-3 (1-1 vs. Fisher, 0-1 vs. Munchak, 1-0 vs. Whisenhunt, 0-1 vs. Mularkey and 1-0 vs. Vrabel) capped by a 21-0 rout last season in his first go-round with Vrabel.
Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin has a chance to join the group. He took over the Steelers in 2007 and is 5-3 against Fisher (2-1), Munchak (1-2), Whisenhunt (1-0) and Mularkey (1-0) but has yet to face the Titans under Vrabel.
Turnover in the NFL is such that few head coaches have careers that date back to 2010 (Fisher’s final season with Tennessee) or earlier. Those who do, haven’t faced the Titans in all their iterations. New England’s Bill Belichick, for example, never played Tennessee with Whisenhunt in charge. New Orleans’ Sean Payton (2006) has coached exclusively in the NFC, which means his teams play the Titans once every four years and none of the last three – Munchak, Whisenhunt or Mularkey – held the job for more than three seasons.
Reid sounds like someone who expects Vrabel to stick around long enough that this won’t be their last encounter.
“I think he does it the right way,” he said. “He’s a relentless worker. You saw that as a player. … Tough kid. He was that way as a player. He’s that way as a coach. Smart.”
Perhaps, though, Reid can figure out a way to beat him.