The light gray suit and red tie that Andy Reid wore in his introductory press conference as Kansas City Chiefs head coach was the first visible indication of change for for the former longtime Eagles head coach.
Standing at a podium before a Chiefs-logoed background and answering questions from mostly Kansas City media was another.
Reid on Monday spoke publicly for the first time since becoming the 12th head coach in Chiefs history just four days after being fired by the Eagles following his 14th season.
I can leave Philadelphia saying I gave it my all, Reid said. I can leave Philadelphia saying we had great years, man. Great years. We were there a long time. I was there a long time. So was my staff. Sometimes, change is good. Its going to be tremendous for the Philadelphia Eagles. On the other hand, I think its going to be tremendous for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reid spoke to an audience of mostly Chiefs reporters with some Philadelphia media sprinkled into the mix.
Most of the questions at the press conference were geared toward Reids blueprint for resurrecting the Chiefs into Super Bowl contenders. Kansas City hasnt won a playoff game since 1993 and finished this past season at 2-14, leading to the firing of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
Reid admitted that his final few years with the Eagles werent good enough and accepted blame for the franchises downward spiral but promised that his passion and knowhow could recreate the Chiefs into title contenders.
I understand the energy that I have and that I can bring to this organization, he said. Well start from the bottom and well start working. Ill make sure I bring in a good staff and well get down to whats important with my title and my job and thats to be the head football coach. Were going to coach hard and make sure that we build a foundation.
Reid was asked if he considered taking some time off instead of jumping right back into coaching.
Im ready to go, man, he said. Im ready to go. This is what I do. Never took that into consideration.
In 1999, Reid inherited a 3-13 Eagles team that had finished in a three-way tie with Cincinnati and Indianapolis for the NFLs worst record. There were some rising players, especially on defense, but the Eagles desperately needed a franchise quarterback to build around.
Fourteen years later, Reid faces a similar situation. The Chiefs had five Pro Bowls players this year despite their league-worst 2-14 record and have the No. 1 overall pick in Aprils NFL Draft.
Quarterback Matt Cassel made the Pro Bowl in 2010 but is 19-28 as a starter since joining Kansas City via trade with New England before the 2009 season, which means Reid will be searching for his next Donovan McNabb.
With the exception of the expansion Cleveland Browns, at that time we were the lowest team in the league with the worst record of teams in the league, Reid said, recalling the 99 Eagles team he was hired to turn around.
I would tell you thats where we are right now. That would be the similarity there. I would tell you there are some good football players on this team and we will continue to add to that.
The Chiefs are still in the process of hiring a general manager, whom Reid said would report directly to team chairmanCEO Clark Hunt. Reid said the power structure in Kansas City would be different than the arrangement in Philadelphia, where Reid had final say on personnel matters for most of his tenure but also had an uneasy working relationship with former president Joe Banner. The new Chiefs general manager, Reid added, will have final say on personnel decisions.
Reid is expected to bring over several assistants from his former staff, including Doug Pederson, who coached Eagles quarterbacks, and said he would retain some coaches from Crennels staff.
One of Reids primary objectives is restoring the pride of the fan base of one of the NFLs most tradition-steeped franchises. Reid reflected on the sea of red he observed as a visiting coach at Arrowhead Stadium, which used to be one of the NFLs toughest road venues for opponents.
The Chiefs went 1-7 at home this past season and are just 4-12 at Arrowhead over the past two seasons.
The fan base here is phenomenal, he said. I came from a fan base that was tremendous and the Kansas City Chief fan base, there is nothing like the sea of red, man. Nothing like it. Ive had an opportunity to play here against the Chiefs and its tough. I cant wait to invite other teams here to be challenged by the Chief Kingdom here. Its a great environment.
E-mail Geoff Mosher at email@example.com