Eagles' Sirianni: 'Chip' on shoulder going into Super Bowl after being let go by Andy Reid

"I didn't coach with Andy, but he gave me a good example of what to do with a hard part of the job of."

ByTim McManus ESPN logo
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles coach Nick Sirianni was let go by Andy Reid when Reid took over as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 season. And although Sirianni -- Kansas City's wide receivers coach at the time -- said he was appreciative of how Reid handled the situation, he acknowledged that not being retained as a part of Reid's staff was a motivating force for him.

"Do you always have this little chip on your shoulder? Sure, yeah, you do," Sirianni said. "But that's who I am as a coach and as a person -- I want to make sure I'm working my butt off to get as good as I possibly can. And sure, you hold on to some of those things."

That makes for an interesting subplot as Sirianni's Eagles and Reid's Chiefs face off Sunday in Super Bowl LVII (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox).

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni speaks to the media during the NFL football Super Bowl 57 opening night, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/David J. Philip

Sirianni's first NFL coaching job was with the Chiefs, and he met his future wife, Brett, during his time in Kansas City. He started as an offensive quality control coach in 2009 and worked his way up to a role as receivers coach. But when Reid took over as head coach, replacing Romeo Crennel after a 2-14 season, he brought longtime trusted assistant David Culley with him from Philadelphia to fill that post.

"Andy came in because we weren't good enough in Kansas City. And he stepped in and did an unbelievable job," Sirianni said. "What I appreciated is that he brought everyone in and talked to them.

"I didn't coach with Andy, but he gave me a good example of what to do with a hard part of the job of: 'Hey, I got a guy here.' He was complimentary. He knew I would be down, so he gave me strength when I was down. I appreciated that, and it sounds like that's who he is as a person and a coach."

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Sirianni landed a job as a quality control coach with the San Diego Chargers in 2013. He got a little bit of payback that season as the Chargers beat the Chiefs 41-38 in Week 12, prompting a now-familiar demonstrative response from Sirianni.

"I was in the press box standing on the [table] like this [waves arms and pumps fist]. I was just so emotional about it," he said. "But as time goes on and you mature and you think about it, 'Hey, I needed to go through that, I needed to be in this situation.' In a sense, you thank God for the things you had to go through because it makes you who you are today."

Sirianni spent five years in San Diego, where he was mentored by Frank Reich. He was hired as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator when Reich became the head coach there in 2018, which led to Sirianni getting the Eagles' head-coaching gig in 2021.

"Did I want to leave Kansas City? No. My future wife was from there, we were engaged at the time, she had a nice teaching job there, she had all her friends there, her mom and dad were a half-hour down the road. Of course I didn't want to leave there," Sirianni said. "But when I look at it, God's always put me in great positions and guided my paths. I know I don't say stuff like that all the time, but I know he has.

"And so, I needed to go to San Diego to learn, to be at a different spot, to be out of a comfort zone, potentially, to meet Frank Reich. To separate there and then go be his coordinator in Indianapolis. Everything happens for a reason."

There is no shortage of Reid ties in this matchup. Reid was the head coach of the Eagles from 1999 to 2012, guiding Philadelphia to five NFC title game appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2004 season. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, recently named executive of the year by the Pro Football Writers of America, got his start under Reid.

"I would not be in this position if it wasn't for Coach Reid," Roseman said. "I think about the fact that I was this 34-year-old guy and untraditional, and he was willing to have me as the GM and take the time to talk to me and teach me and be patient with this passionate, persistent person. It just means the world. I always root for him."