Chiefs coach Andy Reid has been here before.
The Chiefs’ 7-0 start matches the 7-0 record Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles fashioned in 2004, the year they went to the Super Bowl and lost to New England.
In fact, all 31 NFL teams that have started 7-0 in the Super Bowl era that began in 1966 have reached the playoffs, and 15 advanced to the Super Bowl. Nine won the Super Bowl.
The Eagles’ winning streak to start the 2004 season ended with a 27-3 loss at Pittsburgh. Then the Eagles ripped off another six straight wins that clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs before losing their last two in a 13-3 season.
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If the 2013 season ended today, the Chiefs, as the only unbeaten team left in the NFL, would have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
But that’s getting way ahead of the story. Reid is only concerned with this week’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, who bring a 3-4 record into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Reid watched the end of Denver’s loss to Indianapolis on Sunday night but isn’t doing any scoreboard watching just yet. After all, the Chiefs still have to face Denver, 6-1, and San Diego, 4-3, twice as well as Indianapolis, 5-2, in the battle for playoff positioning.
“I don’t look at any of that,” Reid said on Monday. “I am just a next game … one-game at-a-time. I’m not very good at that other stuff. I’m not very good with how all those numbers go with standings or stats …”
The 2004 Eagles and 2013 Chiefs achieved their 7-0 starts in similar ways.
• Though the Eagles scored 30 or more points in four of the first seven games, they ended up averaging 24.1 points per game for the season. The Chiefs are averaging 24.1 points per game through seven games.
• The 2004 Eagles allowed an average of 16.25 points per game, which led the NFC and was tied for second in the NFL. The Chiefs are allowing an average of 11.6 points per game, best in the NFL.
• The 2004 Eagles, led by Jevon Kearse’s 7 1/2 sacks and five others who had three sacks or more, collected 47 sacks, which ranked second in the NFL. The Chiefs, led by Justin Houston’s 10 and Tamba Hali’s nine, have a league-leading 35 sacks.
• The 2004 Eagles finished the season with a plus-six turnover differential, which ranked fourth in the NFC: the Chiefs have a plus-11, which leads the NFL.
“I can’t even compare,” Reid said of his two 7-0 starts. “I haven’t even thought about it. If you just get into this thing and hold the things you can control, and that’s practicing right, going through the different steps of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday … if you hold true to that …
“If you don’t worry about what people say, you don’t worry about records … you prepare yourselves, you respect the opponent, you study the opponent, and you get yourself right. If you can just stay tight with that, all the other stuff doesn’t matter.”
Still, could Reid possibly have imagined this team, coming off a 2-14 disaster in 2012, would start 7-0 in his first year as the Chiefs’ head coach?
“You don’t think about that,” Reid said. “You’re kind of in this dryer … going round and round and round … you’re thinking about the players, you’re thinking about getting their (weight) lifting in, and getting their bodies back right, and getting some rest and the things they do on their off days …
“You’re on to the next game. You’re not thinking about the record and down the road … you’re in the moment. I’ve never been one to sit there and say, ‘We’re going to win this game, we’re going to lose this game, we’re going to win …’ You can’t do that.’’
While the Chiefs turned over more than half the team this year with 30 new players, Reid said the returning veterans, including six Pro Bowlers, have benefited even from the tough times of the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
“Even before the wins, I thought this was a close group,” Reid said. “The more experiences you have together, especially when you work through the tough times, then you balance out the good times, where it’s not too high or too low.
“There’s a certain confidence that comes with going through those experiences together. Trust maybe more than confidence. They trust in each other. If one guy is off, the next guy is going to pick it up. You’ve got to go through these learning experiences.”
The Chiefs are the 31st NFL team to begin a season 7-0 in the Super Bowl era. Of the previous 30, every one made the playoffs, and 15, including Andy Reid’s 2004 Philadelphia Eagles, advanced to the Super Bowl. Nine won the Super Bowl.
|2012||Atlanta||8-0||13-3||Lost NFC championship|
|2011||Green Bay||13-0||15-1||Lost NFC divisional playoff|
|2009||Indianapolis||14-0||14-2||Lost Super Bowl|
|2009||New Orleans||13-0||13-3||Won Super Bowl|
|2008||Tennessee||10-0||13-3||Lost AFC divisional playoff|
|2007||Indianapolis||7-0||13-3||Lost AFC divisional playoff|
|2007||New England||16-0||16-0||Lost Super Bowl|
|2006||Chicago Bears||7-0||13-3||Lost Super Bowl|
|2006||Indianapolis||9-0||12-4||Won Super Bowl|
|2005||Indianapolis||13-0||14-2||Lost AFC divisional playoff|
|2004||Philadelphia||7-0||13-3||Lost Super Bowl|
|2003||Chiefs||9-0||13-3||Lost AFC divisional playoff|
|2000||Minnesota||7-0||11-5||Lost NFC championship|
|1998||Denver||13-0||14-2||Won Super Bowl|
|1998||Minnesota||7-0||15-1||Lost NFC championship|
|1991||New Orleans||7-0||11-5||Lost NFC wild-card playoff|
|1991||Washington||11-0||14-2||Won Super Bowl|
|1990||NY Giants||10-0||13-3||Won Super Bowl|
|1990||San Francisco||10-0||14-2||Lost NFC championship|
|1985||Chicago||12-0||15-1||Won Super Bowl|
|1985||LA Rams||7-0||11-5||Lost NFC championship|
|1984||Miami||11-0||14-2||Lost Super Bowl|
|1983||Dallas||7-0||12-4||Lost NFC wild-card playoff|
|1978||LA Rams||7-0||12-4||Lost NFC championship|
|1978||Pittsburgh||7-0||14-2||Won Super Bowl|
|1977||Dallas||8-0||12-2||Won Super Bowl|
|1975||Minnesota||10-0||12-2||Lost NFC divisional playoff|
|1974||St. Louis Cardinals||7-0||10-4||Lost NFC divisional playoff|
|1973||Minnesota||9-0||12-2||Lost Super Bowl|
|1972||Miami||14-0||14-0||Won Super Bowl|
|1969||LA Rams||11-0||11-3||Lost NFC championship|