MIAMI — Tom Melvin first met Andy Reid back in 1983. Reid was a 25-year-old, minimum-wage offensive line coach at tiny San Francisco State. Melvin was one of his offensive linemen.
“We had to sell hot dogs there to raise money for recruiting,’’ Melvin said. “We’ve come a long way since our hot dog barbecuing days. It’s been a neat run with him.’’
It could get even neater Sunday if Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Melvin coaches the Chiefs’ tight ends, including potential difference-maker Travis Kelce.
Melvin was one of Reid’s first hires 21 years ago when he took the Eagles’ head-coaching job. At the time, Melvin was the offensive coordinator at tiny Occidental College in Los Angeles. Talk about big breaks.
Reid brought him to Philly as an offensive assistant and quality control coach. Three years later, he promoted him to tight ends coach, where he’s lived happily ever after for the last 18 years.
“He’s been a tremendous football coach and a good friend,’’ Reid said of Melvin. “I always tell people the evolution of my coaching career was Tom was my first offensive lineman and then a little later I had Jon Runyan.’’
Melvin, whose cousin Bob Melvin manages the Oakland Athletics, was a graduate assistant for two years with Reid at San Francisco State, then went to Northern Arizona with him in 1986. They hooked back up when Reid got the Eagles job and have been together ever since.
On Sunday, they have a chance to finally win their first Super Bowl together.
“It got away from us in Philly,’’ Melvin said, referring to the Eagles’ three-point loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. "We had been to the conference championship game four years in a row. We thought we’d get back.
“But things happen. Guys get hurt. Guys leave. There are just way too many factors. We keep reiterating to these guys here that, ‘Hey, this could be the one and only time in your lifetime that this is going to happen. Don’t think it’s going to happen every year. Take it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Stay focused and make the most of it.’ ’’