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Andy Reid returns to the Super Bowl, where he finds his old friend Philadelphia waiting for him

Over 14 years, the marriage has often been good. At times, it was even great. But it never reached its ultimate pinnacle.

So each spouse found a new partner and, sadly, learned of even greater heights.

No, we’re not talking about your friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law.

We’re talking about Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles – and the split that left them, then and now, better than they perhaps realized they could become.

Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs outscored the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, Sunday night to win the AFC championship. Three hours earlier, head coach Nick Sirianni and the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7 in the NFC title game.

Now a Super Bowl oldies showdown awaits you.

“I had a great time there,” Reid said Sunday night after the Chiefs’ latest win. “Fourteen years. Long time not?”

Younger NFL fans may associate Reid primarily as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs who won the 2019 Super Bowl season, as the offensive scheming mastermind who augmented rather than hindered the success of the best quarterback in the league, Patrick Mahomes.

The Reid-Mahomes duo (and the 50-plus other players, and dozens of coaches and front-office staffers that make up the Chiefs organization) have advanced to five straight AFC championship game appearances and now three berths for the Super Bowl in the last four years .

But as they look ahead to the adversary that awaits in Glendale, Arizona, they will also look back.

Because before there was Reid and Mahomes, before there was Mahomes the NFL player (much less Mahomes the NFL MVP), there was Andy Reid, head coach of the Eagles for 14 years.

The Eagles were regularly competitive in that stretch. Their records merited playoff appearances in nine of Reid’s 14 seasons and six division titles, including four consecutive. (Indeed, the NFC East title has not been successfully defended since that 2001-04 Philadelphia stretch.) Five times, the Eagles have competed in a conference title game, a difficult frequency for Dallas Cowboys fans, whose team drought is 27 years and counting, imagine.

The story continues

Reid’s Eagles lost their only Super Bowl road trip to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots after the 2004 season.

But on December 31, 2012, after a 4-12 season followed an 8-8 season, Eagles team owner Jeffrey Lurie said it was time to “move in a new direction.”

Reid to the Eagles: ‘I wish you a great ring’

The finish was softer than NFL splits often are.

Lurie called Reid “a gem of a person … not just a great coach, but a great person” as the team fired their leader of more than a decade.

“It was amazing to work with this man, smart and dedicated to himself,” said Lurie. “I can’t wait for the day when everyone welcomes him back into the Eagles Hall of Fame because it’s inevitable.”

Even Reid called his tenure with the Eagles “the best 14 years of my life” when he came out noting “sometimes change is good.”

The Chiefs hired Reid as head coach five days later.

But Reid’s farewell wish in Philadelphia mostly came true shortly after he left.

Andy Reid (right), Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs return to the Super Bowl, where they will face Reid’s old team, the Eagles. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

“I know the next guy to come is going to be phenomenal,” he told the Eagles. “The ultimate goal is a Super Bowl. Everyone in this room, I wish you a big ring on your finger in the near future.

The Eagles would need two more head coaches (and an interim) before Doug Pederson, beaten by Reid in this year’s divisional round, brings the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia. But Reid’s prayer for a title in the “near future” took about five years to materialize.

And two seasons later, Reid and his bosses were hoisting their own. They would return to the big stage in consecutive years and, now, for the third time in four tours.

Nostalgia is different this year.

Reid isn’t the first NFL coach to face the former team in the Super Bowl

Reid isn’t the first NFL head coach to coach a Super Bowl against a team for which he was previously the head coach.

Jon Gruden coached the then Oakland Raiders from 1998 to 2001 before leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory against the Raiders the season soon after departing.

Seattle Seahawks boss Pete Carroll coached the New England Patriots from 1997 to 1999 before completing the 2013 season with a title game against the Patriots. The team of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady finally prevailed over Seattle.

In the 1998 season, Dan Reeves coached the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl, where they fell to the Denver Broncos, with whom Reeves famously lost three Super Bowl blowouts in the 1980s.

Now, Reid takes on his former team on the biggest stage. The vast majority of Philadelphia’s roster flipped, only seven players on the roster even in the league when Reid last coached the Eagles.

But three reserves remain from the drafts under Reid: center Jason Kelce, defensive end Brandon Graham and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

Reid now coaches Kelce’s brother Travis, the four-time All-Pro tight end who scored 78 yards and a touchdown for Sunday’s win.

“Ha ha,” Reid deadpans when asked about the brothers’ Super Bowl showdown. “I’ve invested time in both, so I feel like I’m part of the family.”

Storylines will abound as the Eagles and Chiefs battle it out in two weeks, from mobile quarterbacks to bad defensive lines to the different roster building strategies embraced by these two franchises. Family reunions will begin with the Kelce brothers. They will continue with Reid and the Eagles.

Divorce meeting doesn’t have to be awkward or bitter. The marriage was very successful and each spouse has since set the pace with an even more suitable partner. The Super Bowl ring Reid wanted for the Eagles when they split has arrived. Reid has also been adapted for jewelry. More bling is one win less – for either Reid or the Eagles, but not both.

“I’m happy for them,” said the Eagles’ Reid. “I’m happy for the city. They are passionate. They love soccer.

“I can’t wait for Kansas City and Philadelphia to go head-to-head. I mean, it’s going to be great. What a great Super Bowl it will be.”

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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