Andy Reid’s Secret To Post-Bye Success: Having Good Teams

You may have been reading over the course of the past 24 hours about the exceptional win-loss record of veteran head coach Andy Reid coming after a bye week. He has a 16-2 record after a bye during the regular season, and he has not lost any of his three previous games following a postseason bye. He owns the best record since the merger in games played after a week off.

Is there anything to that? Probably not. Even Reid acknowledged yesterday that there is no secret to winning games after a bye week. Good teams generally do. Good teams generally win the majority of their games, in fact, and by and large, Reid has coached a whole bunch of good teams. Which is why he has been able to take many of them to the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia.

He is hoping to make his first appearance in the AFC Championship Game with the Chiefs, a feat that he will accomplish if he is able to win his 20th post-bye game, and fourth of the postseason, over the Pittsburgh Steelers—who, by the way, did not win their first game after the bye during the 2016 season.

They didn’t win the game after their bye week in 2015 either, yet they made the playoffs and were able to win a playoff game. And they lost after their bye in 2014 as well, but, again, made the playoffs.

The Steelers won their first games after the bye week during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but they went 8-8 in those years and missed the playoffs. Do you see what I’m getting at here? There really isn’t all that meaningful of a correlation between being able to win your games after a bye week or winning any other game.

By the way, the Steelers are 6-4 after a bye in the regular season under Mike Tomlin, in case you were wondering, including a three-game losing streak. They were 6-1 after the bye prior to the 2014 season under Tomlin. Tomlin is also 2-0 following a bye during the postseason.

Postseason bye records tell a lot more than do regular-season records in games after a bye. After all, if you have a bye week in the postseason, it’s because you have a good team, and you’re playing at game against a team that is supposed to be worse than your team. You’re supposed to win.

But let’s review Reid’s playoff history in games after a bye week. Reid, by the way, has just one playoff win under his belt since 2008. The last time Reid had a postseason bye was all the way back in 2004. His Eagles defeated an 8-8 Vikings team that somehow inexplicably still qualified for a Wildcard spot. Randy Moss scored two touchdowns to beat the Packers on the road to get Minnesota to Philadelphia the following week. They looked like an 8-8 team against the Eagles.

Reid’s Eagles also had a bye in 2003, taking out a 10-6 Packers team that barely beat the Seahawks in overtime in the Wildcard Round. They lost to the Panthers the following week. 2002 saw another bye—three years in a row—when his Eagles took down a 9-6-1 Falcons team that was a Wildcard. They were blown out by the Buccaneers the following week.

Reid did make the Super Bowl following the 2004 season, but, again lost. However, his post-bye opponents were not exactly heavy hitters. He had the top seed in two of those years, and none of his opponents featured a team as skilled as this Steelers team.

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