The Philadelphia Eagles never won a Super Bowl with Andy Reid. What’s more, none of Reid’s ex-assistants went to a Super Bowl with another team, let alone won one. But while the Eagles stayed at home, their former coach John Harbaugh finally broke through on Feb. 3, despite some late speed bumps.
Harbaugh spent 10 years as an Eagles coach from 1998 to 2007, with only one Super Bowl loss to show for it. But it took him just five years to reach the Super Bowl as the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach. He adapted pretty quickly as the Ravens took a 28-6 lead over Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers, but had to sweat out a 34-31 victory after an extended power outage.
Nevertheless, despite nearly suffering the biggest come-from-ahead loss in Super Bowl history, and despite having to beat his little brother, Harbaugh finally came through. Since he was an Eagles coach and a Reid assistant, perhaps it was destined to be extra hard at the end. But unlike Reid and his Eagles, the Ravens didn’t blow their long awaited golden opportunity, despite threatening to do so at the end.
By merely reaching the Super Bowl, Harbaugh surpassed the likes of Brad Childress, Steve Spangnuolo, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur and Ron Rivera. These fellow ex-Eagles assistants couldn’t survive on their own without Reid, with Shurmur set to return to Philadelphia as Chip Kelly’s first offensive coordinator. Yet Harbaugh went further than his peers or Reid himself ever did.
Technically, the credit can’t completely go to Reid for launching Harbaugh’s career. It was Ray Rhodes who hired him as Philadelphia’s special-teams coach in 1998, before the Eagles suffered a disastrous 3-13 season that paved the way for Reid. While Reid didn’t hire Harbaugh, he was smart enough to keep him around for 10 years before the Ravens were smart enough to steal him.
No one that Reid has hired personally has ever reached or won a Super Bowl themselves, so there is still an asterisk around that aspect of Harbaugh’s achievement. But while the Eagles are starting over with Kelly and Reid is starting over with the Kansas City Chiefs, they do so with a combined zero Super Bowl rings while Harbaugh gets fitted for his first -- if not his last.