Frank Reich knows a thing or three about bad weather. After living and playing in Buffalo for many years, there isn’t a coach in the NFL who can better prepare his team for facing the elements – as well as a very worthy opponent in the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium later today.
Reich was so much more than just a steady hand behind Jim Kelly back in the day – he was the adult in the room whose calming presence some consider the ‘secret glue’ that held together a team full of egos.
So when the Colts hit the field today at Arrowhead Stadium, he will also have his years of experience playing and practicing in bad weather to draw upon. It’s going to be a doozie of a game no matter what conditions Mother Nature brings.
On the surface, it would appear inclement weather at Arrowhead might favor the Chiefs playing at home and the Colts being used to their cozy indoor digs at Lucas Oil Field. However, Andy Reid’s high powered aerial attack might be also grounded if wind becomes an additional variable.
I’ll leave the x’s and o’s to the experts and just focus on some of the intangible factors that may play a significant role in the game today. There are a few difference in how both teams stack up with regard to how the regular season played out.
The Chiefs came out blowing teams away during the first half of the season, sort of typical of Andy Reid teams if you look over the course of his career. On the other hand, the Colts started the season 1-5 and looked like a team in need of a sizable rebuild.
However, as the Colts’ season progressed, it became evident players in Indianapolis were buying into Frank Reich’s leadership and preparation skills. BillsMafia always knew when Reich was called upon to start games in Buffalo his preparation and ability to lead the Bills to victory would never be in question.
The trust Reich established over the course of his rookie season as a head coach in Indianapolis should come as little or no surprise to any of us who had the privilege watching him play in Buffalo. No one was better prepared as a backup quarterback than Frank Reich.
The way Jim Kelly laid out his body on many occasions (not unlike a certain rookie QB in Buffalo now), we all knew Reich would be ready to roll the minute Kelly was injured. Who better to mentor Andrew Luck in reclaiming his status as an elite quarterback in the NFL? I can’t think of a better mentor for Luck.
However, preparation alone won’t get a team through what appears to be Mother Nature’s cruelest joke; a playoff game in a potential blizzard. That’s where Reich will use his experience playing where the winds are some of the most fickle in the NFL – what was then Rich Stadium.
Andy Reid isn’t a newbie when it comes to coaching teams or even playing through games in bad weather. However, Andy also wasn’t a quarterback facing those elements as a player. The quick adaptation Reich made on the run as a quarterback in bad weather is a cognitive skill transferable to coaching. We may see evidence of it today.
Mother Nature might level the playing field today for the Colts and Chiefs, literally and figuratively. Any home field advantage Reid and the Chiefs have could easily be negated by factors out of anyone’s control.
We know Frank Reich thrives when the chips are down (see his comeback history). If weather grounds the Chiefs’ passing game today, Reich’s years of experience playing and practicing in Buffalo might just provide an unexpected factor in the Colts’ favor. Advantage Colts and Reich.
No matter the outcome of today’s game, it’s a source of great pride for Bills fans to watch Frank Reich take the next step in his illustrious career. Couldn’t happen to a finer human being. We are blessed.
Editor’s babble: Frank Reich will no doubt have the vast majority of BillsMafia cheering for him today. I’ll be loud and proud. Also will be cheering for Anthony Lynn and his Chargers to put the Patriots* out of OUR misery. Hold your nose (advised) and you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.