Inside the nine-hour interview that led Andy Reid to the Chiefs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Andy Reid’s path to becoming the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs began 10 years ago at an airport in Philadelphia, where Reid had just been fired by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Arizona Cardinals had sent a plane to bring Reid to Phoenix for a head coaching interview. The Chiefs, with a coaching vacancy of their own, sent an entourage of front office staff, including chairman Clark Hunt, to interview Reid at the airport.

Hunt recounted that meeting as the Chiefs and Eagles prepare to meet in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox).

“We had whatever, three or four hours, laid out for it and he was supposed to get on this plane, which I wasn't aware was the plane that was there,” Hunt said Tuesday.

As the meeting went on and the plane sat idly with its door open, Hunt began to wonder about the plane.

Finally Reid said, “Yeah, I'm supposed to get on the plane, or was supposed to get on that plane.”

Hunt was surprised to learn that this was the plane that was supposed to take Reid to Arizona. He said the nine-hour interview was never meant to derail Reid’s meeting with the Cardinals.

“It was really just that the interview was going so well and we had so much to talk about,” Hunt said. “At some point in the interview it flipped around and he was interviewing me, trying to just figure out and understand not only who I am, but what the culture of the organization was, what our facilities were like, what it was like living in Kansas City, something that he hadn't done, and so it ended up taking nine hours.

“Both Andy and I left that meeting thinking this was probably going to work out.”

And it did, for both sides. The Chiefs have made the playoffs in nine of Reid’s 10 seasons. They have seven straight AFC West championships and on Sunday will play in their third Super Bowl in four years.

If the interview hadn’t gone as well, perhaps Reid would have jumped on the plane, interviewed with the Cardinals and be coaching in Arizona right now.

But he never did fly to Arizona then or meet with the Cardinals.

“That was a long day,’’ Reid said. “The time flew by. I felt bad about the plane, though. It was waiting and I feel bad about that. But everybody involved knows that’s part of the business.’’