DENVER – As the final minutes ticked away in Mile High Stadium on Sunday and it grew obvious that a fourth-quarter rally from Kansas City would fall short, head coach Andy Reid became increasingly nervous and agitated on his sideline.
“Come on, boys, let’s hold it together out there!” Reid called out, clapping one hand against his clipboard as his breath fogged in the cold. “I need this; I really need this!”
First-year Chiefs coach Reid came into Sunday’s game at 9 and 0 with the last unbeaten team in the National Football League. He also came in robust and healthy, his normal, rotund 55-year-old self. However, as the Broncos led by 17 going into the final quarter, Reid seemed to age visibly. Liver spots appeared on the hands of the 2002 AP Coach of the Year, and his mustache, normally so thick and luxurious, began to grey and fall from his rapidly wrinkling face.
“My season,” Reid said as he watched the facial hair drift down into his trembling, withered palms. “My perfect season.”
Reid added, trailing off plaintively: “Nooooo…”
An increasingly feeble and decrepit Reid tried desperately to rally his troops when the Chiefs got the ball back with 55 seconds left on the clock. Hobbling along the sideline with his plus-sized clothing starting to hang off of him, Reid’s newly ancient hands grasped pathetically at the jerseys of horrified receivers as the former NFC champion tried to impress upon them the gravity of the situation.
It was all for naught, however, and an Andy Reid weathered by seven or eight decades of life watched helplessly as Alex Smith’s final three passes sputtered out as the clock ran down to zero. When time expired Reid appeared wracked with a great pain and lost all similarity to his former self, appearing to millions of television viewers as Gregor Olafsen, an 80-year-old Kansas City resident and die-hard Chiefs fan who has been missing since January.
“He didn’t warn me!” the man cried widely in bitter regret and rage as he ran unimpeded from Mile High. “He didn’t warn me!”
The Broncos improve to 9 and 1 and tie for top of the AFC West with their victory Sunday night. Peyton Manning threw for 323 yards as the Chief’s aggressive defense failed to get a single sack. ESPN’s Jeff Legwold said Kansas City “certainly gave us something to see,” but they have a lot of work to do if they want to see postseason success.
“They might have a leadership issue, who knows,” Legwold said. “What I can tell is it’s important not to fall apart just from losing one game. The Chiefs need to watch their handling, keep trying to get the ball to Jamaal Charles and be wary of any deals with the devil. These two teams have a rematch in two weeks, after all.”