Andy Reid’s ‘Beautiful Mind Board’ key to Super Bowl win


Three years ago, I rode to work one morning with Andy Reid before the Kansas City-San Francisco Super Bowl. We ended up in his office suite, and I got a look at a huge white board that took up most of one wall. On the board were maybe 30 diagrammed plays, in different handwriting and different colors—from he and his offensive assistants.

“We’re a democracy here,” Reid said that day. “Every coach’s ideas count.”

Last week, I asked one of the coaches, senior offensive assistant/QB coach Matt Nagy, about the process. “He has about 27 different markers on his board that you can pick from and he wants you to space out the colors so you don’t have two black diagrams next to each other,” Nagy said. “By the end of the week, you get to Thursday or Friday and it looks like probably what you saw. It can look very confusing. That’s why we call it the ‘Beautiful Mind Board.’”

Corn Dog, the play I wrote about last week, the play that turned the Super Bowl to Kansas City’s favor, was born there. But here’s the other part of why it worked: By the time KC lined up at the Philadelphia five-yard line and called Duo Left 35Y Corn Dog (thanks to NFL Films for the Patrick Mahomes wiring that filled out the call) three minutes into the fourth quarter, it had been 1,242 plays since Reid called for this particular motion—the odd Jet Motion reverse, from wide right to the right tackle, then reversed back to the original position wide right.

I can’t fault Eagles players and coaches for Corn Dog. How could Philadelphia have seen this coming? Kansas City had called it one time all season—in the second quarter of the season-opener, coincidentally in this same stadium against the Cardinals, on the 23rd offensive snap of the season. Reid called 77 quarters worth of plays, exactly 1,242 snaps over 19 games, without opting for the Jet Motion reverse again.

Then, on the biggest snap of the season, Reid called for it. That is brilliant coaching. Afterwards, he told me he credited his coaches for figuring out why it would work—and Jesse Newell of The Kansas City Star fleshed that out well, reporting that offensive assistants Greg Lewis and David Girardi studied the Eagles’ D enough to know their man scheme in the Red Zone should leave the receiver, Kadarius Toney, open once he reversed his course. And Toney was open. Wide open. Three minutes later, Reid called another play (a busted play, as it turned out, made right by Mahomes) with the Jet Motion reverse a second time. Skyy Moore was even more wide open. Mahomes, wired by NFL Films, said he saw the Eagles’ zero blitz “as clear as day” on the play, and none of the four Philadelphia cover players, inexplicably, got near Moore.

Incredible. How does something like that happen on the two most important plays of a defense’s season?

The defensive coordinator in the game, Jonathan Gannon, fell on the sword Sunday when I spoke to him about the plays. Gannon, who got the Cardinals’ head-coaching job Tuesday, told me: “Our players were prepped. I did not do a good enough job myself to put them in a position to make the play. I didn’t do a good enough job to get out of the call what I wanted out of the call. I didn’t give them the tools that they needed to win the down.

“On the second one, I thought [Mahomes] was gonna play that as a drop back and that [coverage] was a zero [blitz]. Jesus Christ wouldn’t have covered that in a zero.”

On the Toney TD, the Eagles actually had three cover players on the two receivers to the right, Travis Kelce inside and Toney outside. Once Toney reversed his Jet Motion, Darius Slay or Avonte Maddox had to cut outside to cover him, and they were both way late. Slay, on replay, appeared lackadaisical getting back, as though he expected help that never came. Clearly, Gannon thought putting three defenders on Kelce and Toney should have worked. It didn’t. I say it’s because of the element of surprise.

On the Moore TD, Gannon clearly thought he made the wrong call in zero-blitzing Mahomes. The Eagles very rarely rush seven and leave four back in coverage. This is how rare the call to rush seven was: this was Philadelphia’s 1,211th defensive snap of the year, and it was only the eighth time Gannon called for seven men to rush, per Next Gen Stats. Gannon was rueful about it a week later. Covering a wide field with four defenders against the great Mahomes is a tough chore, particularly on a slippery field when the speed and quickness of ace rusher Haason Reddick is neutralized.

But in the end, something Nagy said via NFL Films when Mahomes came to the sidelines rings most true to me: “That Jet Motion is killing ‘em!”

Three other things about the crucial plays:

  • Did you notice what Kelce, wired by NFL Films, said to Toney just before he went in motion on his TD? “Control! Under control!” Kelce said. I was told after the game that KC’s players and coaches were concerned the motion wouldn’t work because of how slick the field was. Per Newell, Toney slipped and fell on the practice field in Tempe on Thursday. Thus, Kelce’s warning.
  • Did you also notice Reid trying to call timeout before the Moore TD? That’s because Kelce was lined up wrong. He was snug outside the right tackle instead of the left side. “The play was in the wrong formation!” Mahomes exclaimed when he got to the sideline, via NFL Films. “I called it right, they lined up wrong.” This is why Mahomes is so great. It’s the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, third-and-goal from the four-yard line, 28-27, he’s supposed to have Kelce as a rub-receiver in case Moore needs it, play-clock near five seconds, no time to get Kelce over to the left, Mahomes knows seven rushers might be coming, and he figures, I better make something happen. “Right there,” Nagy told me, “You could see the calm Pat had. In these moments, one of the biggest moments of the entire season, Andy trusted Pat in that moment to make the right decision. Sometimes throughout the year, your quarterback is gonna make the wrong decision on a play like that. I’m telling you, Pat just doesn’t make wrong decisions there. It would have been easy with the play clock running down and the formation messed up for Pat to turn around, start walking to the sidelines and signal for time. When he didn’t, I just figured, ‘He’s got something.’”
  • Think of those six coaches this year. They know each other, and Mahomes, so well that they finish each other’s sentences. David Girardi, a friend of former QB coach Mike Kafka, came on the staff after Nagy left and became a valued worker over the next four seasons. That continuity is why the offense, even in a year when five new wide receivers are folded into the scheme, works symphonically at the biggest moments of the season.

Gannon paid homage to Reid when we spoke Sunday, and said one of the truisms Reid would endorse. “I’ll never be as smart as Andy Reid,” Gannon said. “But where I do align with him philosophically is seven or eight brains are better than one.”

That’s a pretty big reason why Kansas City won the Super Bowl. Smart people, working in a democracy, with a brilliant playmaker at quarterback. Hard to beat.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft CB Rankings: Devon Witherspoon highlights loaded draft class


The 2023 NFL Draft is growing nearer, with just weeks remaining until teams make selections that could alter the future of their franchise forever.

A solid secondary is crucial to any team’s defensive prowess, and for the teams looking to tighten up in coverage, this year’s draft is the one to do so.

The 2023 NFL Draft cornerback class is an incredibly deep one, but which corner will be first off the board? Chris Simms unveiled his 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback rankings this week on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, posting Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon at the top of his list of corners in this year’s crop.

But trailing Witherspoon very closely are four other potential NFL superstars, with Simms ranking Michigan’s DJ Turner at No. 2, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez at No. 3, Maryland’s Deonte Banks at No. 4 and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo at No. 5.

The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27, and end on Saturday, April 29. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday. Click here for Simms’ quarterback rankings,and here for his list of top wide receivers.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms’ Top Five CB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

Tier One

1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

2. DJ Turner, Michigan

3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Tier Two

4. Deonte Banks, Maryland

Tier Three

5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

RELATED: 2023 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft CB Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ CB draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

What Simms said: “This guy is must-see TV. He’s up there with one of the most twitchy, sudden people I’ve ever seen in my life to the point where when he takes off, you’re like, ‘Wait, is that real? Did he really get to full speed in half a step?’ … Bump or off, both are phenomenol —  it’s rare to have that. He’s got very good play strength for a guy that’s 5’11” and a half at 181 lbs. He doesn’t know that, he thinks he’s 220 … It’s efficient and easy. He’s sudden and can see the ability to accelerate whether it’s downhill or sticking the foot in the ground and changing direction. As compared to my No. 2 and No. 3 guy, he might be a hair tighter in his hips, but his twitchiness and explosion and acceleration … you just start to go, ‘What does this guy not have, besides the fact that he’s not 6’2” or over 200 lbs.’ He’s phenomenol.”

No. 2: DJ Turner, Michigan

What Simms said: “To me, (DJ Turner is) the most technically sound corner in the draft. There’s nobody better at technique. Like Witherspoon, the ability to mirror receivers at the line of scrimmage, the quick feet, it’s phenomenol. His hips are better than Witherspoon … His ability to flip those hips, turn and break on the ball, it’s right up there. It’s actually more smooth hip-wise than it is for Devon Witherspoon … What more can you say about the guy? Start-stop ability, amazing. Make-up speed, amazing. Other than Witherspoon, I think he’s put in the second-most tough spots out of anybody I’ve watched in this. He plays man-to-man, in your face a ton against big-time receivers. He’s awesome defending double moves. He could be the best nickel or outside guy, and he’s also the fastest guy in the draft. He’s got it all.”

No. 3: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

What Simms said: “There’s not much to pick apart here … He’s got a little more size and meat on his bones. The Tee Higgins of the world, the bigger receivers of the world, they’re gonna have a harder time pushing him around and doing that stuff. He’s got incredible ball skills … He looks prototype. He looks Darrelle Revis, Champ Bailey-ish in his uniform …  He just wasn’t as edgy as the other guys … He’s gonna match up better with DeAndre Hopkins than the other two. But I don’t know if he’ll match up better with Jaylen Waddle or Ja’Marr Chase than the other two … But his technique is real. He’s a top-20 pick. You talk size, technique and straight speed, of course this guy is one of the top corners in the draft.” 

No. 4: Deonte Banks, Maryland

What Simms said: “He has more measurables like Gonzalez. 6 foot, 197 lbs., there’s a thickness to him and a power and strength element that certainly jumps out. Let alone, speed is Real Deal Holyfield … man-to-man, great legs, runs easy … He’s comfortable in his speed. He’s never panicked. He’s comfortable in going, ‘You have a step on me? That’s fine, I’m good,’ … But he’s also incredible, like Witherspoon and Turner, at getting on top of people when they try to run a go-route. No one can ever really get around him for the most part … He’s sticky as hell, he’s got very good feet, but he doesn’t know how to use his hands at all yet. So he’s not really that great at jamming people at the line of scrimmage, but he’s never not there … I thought his ability to play the ball and create PBUs in those 50/50 situations where the quarterback tries to throw the ball back shoulder and all that, he’s got a great feel and vision to be able to cover and see the throw at the same time that I was very impressed with.”

No. 5: Kelee Ringo, Georgia

What Simms said: “When you turn on the film, you go, ‘What? This guy’s a corner, he’s not a safety?’ Because he has a prototype safety vibe … Against the bigger, straight-liner guys, nobody’s gonna push this dude around. That’s certainly not going to be an issue, that along with the straight speed. Hey, the change of direction stuff is not beautiful. He’s a little heavy-footed because he’s a bigger guy … but it’s not bad … When he opens up, he can really go; obviously with a 4.36 second 40 time … He’s very smooth as far as an athlete overall.” 

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings

  1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  2. DJ Turner, Michigan
  3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
  4. Deonte Banks, Maryland
  5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!