FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Somewhere along the line, 63-year-old Bill Belichick and 57-year-old Andy Reid became close pals. They just can’t recall when.
“It’s been through the years. Both of us have been around so long, I don’t know if either one of us can remember that far,” Belichick cracked.
“We need more fish oil,” Reid joked.
On Saturday, their teams will meet in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs, Belichick’s New England Patriots limping into the postseason having lost four of their past six games, while Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs are surging with 11 consecutive victories.
There are plenty of storylines to digest in the game, and one of the most notable is on the sidelines. These two really like each other.
“I just think Andy is a straight-up football guy, and I’ve always enjoyed my time and conversations with him,” Belichick said. “We’ve never worked together, but separate from that we’ve had good relationships. He has a great sense of humor. I like his family, just like he likes ours.”
The feeling is mutual.
“He’s a good person. He’s honest. He’s a heck of a football coach. He loves the game, loves to talk the game. Loves to coach,” Reid said of Belichick. “I enjoy being around people like that.”
With personnel, Belichick and Reid have swung some trades over the years, and Belichick attended the funeral of Reid’s son Garrett in 2012.
As head coaches, they've met five times, with the most notable encounter coming in Super Bowl XXXIX when the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
The Patriots also beat Reid’s Eagles three times in the regular season (2003, 2007, 2011), before Reid recorded his first victory over Belichick in 2014 when the Chiefs blew out the Patriots 41-14.
While some were ready to bury the Patriots after the game, one of the few voices of reason was Reid himself.
“I’ve got the ultimate respect for Bill Belichick,” he said at the time. “We know the quality [of] not only the coach that he is and the coaches that he has, but also their players. Sometimes things get a little one-sided in the National Football League, but he still has a very good football team. I think they prove out with time.”
Reid was right.
Of course, following that game, Belichick uttered his now-famous “on to Cincinnati” line. This season, highlighting the link between them, Reid struck a similar chord after a 38-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3.
“On to Cincinnati,” he said, as the Bengals were next on the schedule.
Now the Chiefs are on to New England, which provides a springboard to highlight the friendship between Reid and Belichick.