Why Eagles owner went to (and cried after) Andy Reid’s 1st Super Bowl win with Chiefs

Jesse Newell, KC Star

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he had to be sure to attend Super Bowl LIV three years ago in Miami.

The gesture was only fitting. Lurie spent 14 years with Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia — from 1999-2012 — as the two made a Super Bowl but never won one.

“I feel like, as the person that gave him his first chance, I wanted to be there for this,” Lurie said Monday during Super Bowl LVII Opening Night at Footprint Center. “If we (Eagles) couldn’t be there, there’s nobody I wanted more to have it.”

Lurie said it was an emotional trip.

He met up with Reid before Kansas City’s 31-20 win over San Francisco that day, giving him a long embrace.

“We had this look like, ‘I know.’ We’ve tried to do this together for so long,” Lurie said. “We were so close. We’re in all those Championship Games. And now, ‘Andy, go get it. Go get it.’ And that was part of it.”

Reid did get his first Super Bowl championship that day. Afterward, while watching in person, Lurie said he was so happy for Reid that he began to cry.

That previous relationship serves as the backdrop for this year’s Super Bowl, as Reid’s Chiefs will face Lurie’s Eagles for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at State Farm Stadium.

“To me, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s gonna win more than one (Super Bowl),” Lurie said of Reid. “I just don’t want it to be this Sunday.”

During a 45-minute interview with reporters Monday, Lurie fondly recalled Reid’s time with the Eagles while also explaining the sides’ eventual breakup when Reid was fired after the 2012 season.

Last week, Reid said that he and Lurie agreed then that a transition could benefit both coach and organization.

Lurie said Monday that reality didn’t make the final decision easier.

“I think he realized that for his family, a change of venue was probably the best,” Lurie said. “He certainly was very confident in his ability to be an extremely successful coach again, and I had that confidence in him too. That’s what made it so hard.”

The resolution was far from the end of their connection.

Lurie said he consulted Reid before hiring Doug Pederson as Eagles coach in 2016. Lurie says with each coaching search, he works to “try to talk to coaches that I respect a lot,” and Reid remained on that list even after leaving Philadelphia.

“I just think it’s important to me ... you only live once. I want to have as healthy of relationships with those that I’m working closely with, and whether they’re still with us or not, we want our lives to cross in a healthy way,” Lurie said. “And Andy was instrumental in advising us to hire Doug.”

Reid also spoke well of Lurie on Monday, saying the owner “gave you every opportunity to be successful, and that’s all you can ask for.”

“Everything doesn’t last forever,” Reid said. “So, we all had our time there, and Jeffrey was very honest with us. l think we saw what Jeffrey saw, and sometimes change can be good, and it can be good for both.“

Lurie also said he remains tight with Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who started his pro coaching career with the Eagles in 1999 before spending eight seasons there.

The two shared a natural bond after both growing up in the Boston area. Spagnuolo said Monday that on one instance — in October 2004 — Lurie asked him if he’d ever been to a World Series game. Spagnuolo said he hadn’t, but he hoped to one day.

“You’re going Sunday,” Lurie told him.

The Eagles played a road game at Cleveland on Oct. 24, 2004, defeating the Browns 34-31 in overtime to improve to 6-0.

Afterward, Spagnuolo — Philly’s linebackers coach at the time — hopped on a plane with Lurie to Boston, where the two made it in time for first pitch of the Red Sox’s 6-2 Game 2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park.

“It was a wonderful day — a wonderful day,” Spagnuolo said Monday. “ ... I think the world of Jeffrey Lurie. I think he’s one of the best owners in this league.”

Spagnuolo says he and Lurie stay in touch — another example of Lurie keeping relationships with coaches past their organizational tenures in Philadelphia.

Those ties — including with Reid — have made this Chiefs-Eagles matchup even more personal, with Lurie conceding Monday the two organizations have “an awful lot of camaraderie” based on their converging histories.

“You get very close to some of your coaches. ... These are lifelong connections,” Lurie said. “Andy’s going to win more (Super Bowls), and I sure hope we do too.”

The Star’s Vahe Gregorian contributed to this report.