Grotz: A look at the ‘super’ Andy Reid few people know
Andy Reid won 130 games in 14 seasons with the Eagles, far and away the most in the history of the franchise.
How do we remember the living legend?
For his eccentric clock and timeout management, his abject fear of a groundand-pound running game and the way he opened his news conferences with “injuries” and “time’s yours.”
More recently the three-entrée order that owner Jeffrey Lurie said he sprung for to accommodate Big Red while firming up the deal to make him head coach has gotten considerable traction. That’s partly because Reid topped 400 pounds at various times in a Philly tour that ended after the 2012 season.
Football coaches are measured by wins. The portion of Reid hidden from the public persona is strikingly human.
Ask Father Joseph Campellone, who celebrates the concern and kindness Reid continues to show his late brother, Tim, and the Campellone family, each and every day.
Father Joe was the president of Father Judge, in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, and a diehard Eagles fan along with Tim when they met Reid at a gathering in Center City Philadelphia. It was regular guys talking to a regular guy. They spoke about life and football, not in that order. Reid stayed in continuous contact with them while Tim — nicknamed “Dags” — battled cancer.
It was August of 2006 and the Eagles were coming off of a preseason win over the Cleveland Browns. Reid telephoned Tim and asked him what he thought of the performance. During the back and forth and the friendly suggestions, Reid told Tim to come up with a play call he liked for the next preseason game. Tim wasn’t doing well but he knew what he wanted to go deep. It would be the first play of the game.
“Tim told him ‘Donovan McNabb fakes to Reno Mahe, three steps back and throws 30 yards to Darnerion McCants,’” Father Joe recalled.
It being the third preseason game, the one where the starters not only start but play extensively, Reid hinted that he preferred a play with a starting receiver, which McCants was not.
“Tim said ‘Andy, you asked me to call the play, didn’t you?’” Father Joe said. “So we’re all sitting around the hospital bed for the game. It was a hospice at this point with the whole family. And all of the sudden we hear Merrill Reese saying, ‘I don’t understand, what is McCants in there for? Is there an injury we don’t know about?’ The first play was the play Timmy called, Donovan takes three steps, fakes to Mahe, passes to McCants. It was pass interference, they gained (33) yards.
“And then the next day Andy called, and Timmy had just passed.”
This is where it’s difficult to tell the story. This is where the eyes get watery, the breathing short. Tim Campellone was 38. Reid, who was 48, attended the services and helped console a grateful family.
“That was kind of amazing and sad at the same time,” Father Joe said. “When you see the media news conferences and hear the, ‘time’s yours,’ the one thing I used to get mad about it is that people don’t know you except the people that are close to you. But I understood the method. He really wanted to protect his players. As a manager and a leader, he would never throw them under the bus. And he would always deflect anything. And I think the way he handled the media in Philadelphia was precisely because he wanted to protect his players and he wanted to be the one to take it for the team.”
Father Joe’s story about Reid has no ending. The priest flew to Kansas City with others and got together with Reid. On Sunday they’ll watch the Eagles oppose the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. You better believe that Tim Campellone, who would have been 50, will join them in spirit.
You wouldn’t know it, basically because Reid isn’t a self-promoter but there are plenty of other examples of his compassion. He reached out to the family of the late Charles Cassidy, a Philadelphia police officer gunned down in 2007, among others, to try to lessen their grief.
“He’s just a super human being that did the ordinary things extraordinarily well,” Father Joe said. “But he didn’t want to be an extraordinary spokesman. He wanted to be an ordinary guy who could relate. And I think he had a genuineness and a sincerity that you don’t see in a lot of people. You don’t see that in sports that much.
“Just a super human being. And I’ll tell you, his coaches, like Doug Pederson, are just like him.”
The next time we hear the three-entrée story, we’ll smile, but counter with Tim Campellone.
After all, a man is what he does, not what he says or — in this impulsive age of social media — what he tweets.
Time’s yours, Big Red.
Andy Reid didn’t always come off as the warmest person in his interactions with the media during his tenure in Philadelphia. But the Kansas City coach has a magnanimous side that many have glimpsed away from the football field.