In his 20 years in the NFL, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has seen a lot. But he admitted that watching a Kansas City Chiefs team coached by his former mentor in Andy Reid still provides an educational opportunity.
“I learned a great many things from him, and watching his tape now, I still learn a great many things from him,” Harbaugh said Monday. “Yes, he’s certainly at the top of the business in what he does.”
Student and teacher will meet Sunday when Harbaugh’s Ravens face Reid’s Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium at 1 p.m. The game has playoff implications for both sides and a certain value for the coaches.
Harbaugh is 1-2 against Reid. The Ravens defeated Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2008, but lost to Philadelphia in 2012 and Kansas City in 2015.
Harbaugh was actually a holdover from Ray Rhodes’ coaching staff when Reid assumed the reins in 1999. Reid said before taking over, he had heard from Rhodes of Harbaugh’s work as the special teams coordinator.
“Ray had told me about him and what a great coach he was,” Reid said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday afternoon. “So with all those things, I found out for myself that he’s a phenomenal coach. So I have a ton of respect for him.”
Harbaugh credited Reid with trusting a young, unfamiliar face to stay on-board.
“Andy did not have to give me a chance coming in at the time,” he said. “I’m sure he had a lot of people he knew, but he decided to take a chance on me, and like I said, I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
The Ravens will have to find a way to limit a Chiefs offense that ranks first in the NFL in scoring (37.0 points per game) and yards per play (7.0) and third in passing (316.5 yards per game). Harbaugh said Kansas City’s unit has Reid’s fingerprints all over it.
“I think he’s always trying to find ways to create big plays,” he said. “That’s probably the base thing that Andy’s always been about — opening up guys in any way he could to create big hitters, and that’s something that he still continues to do. They’ve got a lot of fast players, and he’s always at kind of the forefront of schemes.”