MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Greg Lewis was there in Jacksonville with Andy Reid the last time Big Red got this far 15 years ago with the Eagles.
Lewis, you may remember, caught the too-little-too-late 30-yard touchdown pass with a minute and change left in Super Bowl XXXIX that got the Eagles within a David Akers field goal of Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
- Kansas City Chiefs receiver Demarcus Robinson a likely Eagles free agent target; LeSean McCoy inactive for Super Bowl LIV
- From Philadelphia to Dana Point, nearly everyone is hoping this time is Andy Reid’s
- Fired by Doug Pederson, Greg Lewis is thriving with the Chiefs as Andy Reid’s wide receivers coach
Unfortunately, that would be as close as they would get that night to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Who would’ve guessed then that it would be a decade-and-a-half later before Reid would get back to the Super Bowl?
“Being there with him that year and coming so close and knowing how much work he puts in -- it’s second to none -- and knowing the detail he goes through with his players and coaching staff, it would mean the world to me to be a part of that with him,’’ Lewis, who joined Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff three years ago, said earlier this week.
Lewis got his wish Sunday night. He was right there on the sideline next to Reid at Hard Rock Stadium as Reid’s long wait for an NFL title finally ended. He was there with him as the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20, in Super Bowl LIV.
“Love these guys right here, man,” Reid said right after the game. "And all those guys that came before; love you too, man. That’s what it’s all about. Great team, great coaches. Appreciate every bit of it.”
They finally can delete the asterisk alongside Reid’s 207 coaching wins. His critics no longer can smirk and say yeah, but ... As in, yeah, but he can’t win the big one.
“I can’t think of any game that we haven’t been involved in where I’ll be rooting harder,’’ Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who was there Sunday night to watch his good friend finally land his white whale, said last week. “I’ve been wishing for so long that Andy would win his first Super Bowl.
“To me, he’s a lock Hall of Fame coach. One of the best of all time.’’
Reid’s 207 career wins are the seventh most by a coach in NFL history, behind only Paul Brown (213), Curly Lambeau (226), Tom Landry (250), Belichick (273), George Halas (318), and Don Shula (328).
The two teams he’s coached — the Eagles and Chiefs — have won 10 division titles in 21 years and made the playoffs 15 times. They’ve appeared in seven conference championships. Reid has won 10 or more games 14 times and has had just three losing seasons. Three. In 21 years.
But until Sunday night’s victory, Reid also was one of just five head coaches in history who had coached at least 20 years without winning a Super Bowl. The other four: Dan Reeves (23), Chuck Knox (22), Marty Schottenheimer, and Jeff Fisher (20).
Even as former proteges John Harbaugh and Doug Pederson took their teams to titles, Reid kept coming up short.
“You try and put yourself in his shoes,’’ said Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott, one of 10 former Reid assistants who went on to become head coaches in the league. “The journey he’s been on. You watch what he’s dealt with off the field. You see even on the field.
“He watches Doug and John get there and win. He watches me and Ron [Rivera] get there [in 2015 with Carolina]. He watches other people off his staff go and have success. I’m sure he felt good for all of us. But at the same time, I’m also sure he was thinking down deep, why not me?
“He called us all when we got there. We were there because of him. But as happy as he was for all of us, I’m sure he couldn’t wait to get back and finally win it himself.’’
And now he has. The long wait finally is over.
"I’m really excited,'' Reid said after the game. "You win one you want to go get another one. We’ll spend a little time enjoying this one and then we’ll get working on the next one.''
With 24-year-old Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, another one or two or more certainly is possible. Mahomes was the Super Bowl MVP Sunday, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another.
"It’s not all Patrick,'' Reid said. "He’ll be the first to tell you that. But it’s a good place to start. Continuing to build competition will be the most important thing we need to do going forward.
"I told the guys it’ll never be the same like it was tonight. That’s the sick part about this job. But this is such a unique group.''
Lurie usually doesn’t attend Super Bowls that his team isn’t playing in. But he wouldn’t have missed this game for the world.
Reid still is a close friend. He helped Lurie evaluate head-coaching candidates in 2016 after Lurie fired Chip Kelly. He recommended the man — Pederson — that he ultimately hired.
So, Lurie wanted to be there in person Sunday night to watch his dear friend at long last put his meaty hands around the Lombardi Trophy.
He wanted to see Reid hold the very same championship trophy that Lurie had held two years earlier in Minneapolis when the Eagles had beaten the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
He wanted the see the tears of joy run down Reid’s 61-year-old face after his Chiefs defeated the Niners. He wanted to embrace him and tell him how so very happy he was that he finally had landed his white whale.
He wanted to give him that knowing one-Super-Bowl-winner-to-another look that says, feels damn good, doesn’t it?
“I can’t think of any game that we haven’t been involved in where I’ll be rooting harder,’’ Lurie said this week. “I’ve been wishing for so long that Andy wins his first Super Bowl. I’m just very excited for the possibility.’’
The possibility now is a reality.