Doug Pederson, Andy Reid face off again as Jaguars visit Kansas City in playoffs

Former backup QB, assistant coach faces protégé for second time this season
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson shakes hands with Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after game, Nov. 13, 2022
Posted at 10:03 AM, Jan 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-21 10:08:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doug Pederson got to know Andy Reid as a backup quarterback in Green Bay, then as his starter in Philadelphia, before coaching under him with the Eagles and helping him build the Kansas City Chiefs into the juggernaut they are today.

"How many years is that?" asked Pederson, who is just a couple weeks shy of his 55th birthday. "That's a lot of years. That's 28 years, almost 30 years. So that's 30 years of my professional life that I've been influenced by him."

Not surprisingly, the Jaguars coach learned a bit about offense — Reid is one of the game's masterminds. He also learned how to run practices, develop talent, relate to players. But most importantly last week, he learned how to handle adversity, and that came in handy when Jacksonville faced a 27-0 hole in the wild-card round against the Chargers.

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson hugs QB Trevor Lawrence after AFC wild-card playoff win against Los Angeles Chargers, Jan. 14, 2023
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Trevor Lawrence embrace after an NFL wild-card playoff win against the Los Angeles Chargers, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.

With preternatural calm, and an incredible second-half performance by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Pederson's Jaguars rallied for a 31-30 victory and a date with Reid's Chiefs in the divisional round Saturday in Kansas City.

"We never waver. He never wavers," Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen explained. "Even when things happen, his approach never changes. It's, 'Let's move on to the next one with a sense the urgency.' That's the biggest takeaway."

Given his background, that shouldn't be a surprise.

"The coaches I've played for were all very level-headed," Pederson said this week. "Never got too high, never got too low. Yeah, they can get emotional, but never really coached that way. Stayed level-headed."

One of those coaches, of course, will be on the opposite sideline Saturday.

"He played, obviously, and he knows the kind of coach he liked and didn't like," Reid said of his protégé. "Within his own personality, he presents things in a friendly manner, yet he's demanding of the guys. And I think that's a positive."

Pederson and Reid have matched wits plenty of times since going their separate ways, including earlier this season, when the Chiefs rolled to a 27-17 victory over the Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid looks over injured receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling during game against Jacksonville Jaguars, Nov. 13, 2022
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, standing, and players gather around Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling after he was injured during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo.

At the time, the Chiefs were barreling toward the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which ultimately gave them last week off, and the talented-but-rebuilding Jaguars were still trying to find their footing under their new coach.

Much has changed in the last two months. The Chiefs may not have lost since Dec. 4, but neither have the Jaguars, whose third-largest comeback in playoff history last week gives them plenty of swagger heading into the rematch.

"That's the biggest difference, that they might have more confidence because they're winning," Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "They're a talented team. I knew that the first time we played them. They made a few mistakes here and there and that's why we got the win the first time. But we know we're going to get their best."