Every Super Bowl matchup is unique for a different reason. This year, we have both No. 1 seeds in the championship game, and they enter Sunday's contest with identical records, overall point totals, and number of players on the All-Pro teams. But they have even more connections than that, because each head coach used to work for the opposite team.
Obviously, we all know that Andy Reid was the longtime coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He went 130-93-1 in 14 seasons with Philadelphia, reaching four NFC title games and one Super Bowl along the way. But his lasting legacy there might be that he brought Howie Roseman into the organization, first as an intern and later as a vice president before eventually becoming the general manager and executive vice president. These days, Roseman is widely considered one of the league's top executives, and he credits Reid for giving him his shot.
"I would not be in this position if it wasn't for Coach Reid," Roseman said, per ESPN.com. "I think about the fact that I was this 34-year-old guy and untraditional, and he was willing to have me as the GM and take the time to talk to me and teach me and be patient with this passionate, persistent person. It just means the world. I always root for him."
When Reid left Philadelphia to take the job with the Chiefs in 2013, there was a wide receivers coach on the staff by the name of Nick Sirianni. He had worked his way up from being a quality control assistant, but at the time he was still a 31-year-old coach with little NFL experience. Reid had his own wide receivers coach coming in, so Sirianni was not retained on the new staff. Still, he appreciated that Reid took the time to meet with him and explain the decision.
"Andy came in because we weren't good enough in Kansas City. And he stepped in and did an unbelievable job," Sirianni said. "What I appreciated is that he brought everyone in and talked to them. I didn't coach with Andy, but he gave me a good example of what to do with a hard part of the job of: 'Hey, I got a guy here.' He was complimentary. He knew I would be down, so he gave me strength when I was down. I appreciated that, and it sounds like that's who he is as a person and a coach."
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Sirianni obviously would have preferred not to leave, but things worked out for him nonetheless.
"Did I want to leave Kansas City? No. My future wife was from there, we were engaged at the time, she had a nice teaching job there, she had all her friends there, her mom and dad were a half-hour down the road. Of course I didn't want to leave there," Sirianni said. "But when I look at it, God's always put me in great positions and guided my paths. I know I don't say stuff like that all the time, but I know he has. And so, I needed to go to San Diego to learn, to be at a different spot, to be out of a comfort zone, potentially, to meet Frank Reich. To separate there and then go be his coordinator in Indianapolis. Everything happens for a reason."
Despite how things eventually worked out, Sirianni said the process left him with a little bit of an edge.
"Do you always have this little chip on your shoulder? Sure, yeah, you do," Sirianni said. "But that's who I am as a coach and as a person -- I want to make sure I'm working my butt off to get as good as I possibly can. And sure, you hold on to some of those things."
Perhaps it's that edge that makes him one of the league's more aggressive coaches, pushing every opportunity to find ways to win on the margins, like with QB sneaks or going for fourth downs or two-point conversions. Whatever it is, the Eagles are surely just as thankful as he is that things worked out the way they did. And things haven't gone so badly for the Chiefs, either, so it seems like everybody came out of this scenario a winner.