So, Brad Childress, what exactly is an NFL “spread game analyst”?
“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Childress, the Vikings’ head coach from 2006 through the 10th game of 2010.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid created this unique title in 2013 for a friend he has known and trusted for nearly 30 years. They met in 1986 at Northern Arizona University when Childress was the offensive coordinator and Reid was the offensive line coach. When Reid was hired as Eagles head coach in 1999, he named Childress his quarterbacks coach and then promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2003.
“I’ve known him and his family for so long,” Childress said. “When you know and trust somebody that deeply, you can walk in and close the door and say, ‘Hey, coach, are we really sure we want to do this?’”
On game days, Childress communicates primarily with the Chiefs receivers. As you might know, there hasn’t been much good to say about that unit of late. In fact, the Chiefs have thrown 586 balls over 18 games since a receiver last caught a touchdown pass.
In between games, Childress often works ahead on preparing offensive game plans for upcoming opponents.
“We played a Thursday night game [Sept. 17] and then don’t play again until Monday night on the road at Green Bay,” Childress said. “There will be two Sundays of games pass before we play a game again. But then it’s going to be fast and furious again with a short week for Cincinnati. Andy can come through my door this past week and say, ‘Figure out something for Cincinnati. Get me started on Cincinnati.’”
Childress isn’t sure what the future holds. He’ll be 60 next June.
Asked if he thinks he would ever be a coordinator again, he said, “That would kind of be somebody else’s call. I could see it happening.”
As for getting a second crack at a head coaching job?
“You know what, it seems like the candidates get younger and younger every time,” he said. “But I guess you never say never.”
As Vikings head coach, Childress went 40-37, including 1-2 in the postseason.
“It was a great opportunity that the Wilfs gave me,” Childress said. “Hopefully, we did the franchise proud with a couple of back-to-back division titles. Winning one with Tarvaris [Jackson] in 2008 and one with Brett [Favre] in 2009, when we took it about as far as you can. I’ve been to a couple of NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. Not many can say that.”
The Vikings outplayed the Saints in the 2009 NFC title game, but were undone by turnovers, including Favre’s interception with the Vikings in field goal range late in regulation.
Childress, however, said he thinks 2009 was Favre’s best season overall.
“Thirty-three touchdowns, [seven] picks,” said Childress, who could have added the career highs for passer rating (107.2) and completion percentage (68.4). “No one else was getting him to do that.”
The next training camp, Childress sent kicker Ryan Longwell, defensive end Jared Allen and guard Steve Hutchinson down to Mississippi to force Favre to make a final decision on whether he was coming back or retiring. Favre famously gave in and said, “Let’s do it.”
Unfortunately for Favre and the Vikings, that also was the year news broke that the NFL was investigating Favre for allegedly sexting and leaving inappropriate voice messages for Jets employee Jenn Sterger during the 2008 season.
“You look back on it, he was distracted in that second year,” Childress said. “We sent the guys down there and his heart wasn’t there. I think he had one mission [beating the Packers] in mind that year he came to us in 2009. I think he was in a completely different spot in his life in Year 2.
“We had everybody back, but that’s why you tell those guys every year that each year stands on its own merits. It’s not just somebody crowning you king in the beginning.”