Legendary Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy, who led them to four consecutive Super Bowls during his tenure from 1986-97, wrote Los Angeles Times NFL writer Sam Farmer on Jan. 30, 2018, to promote Frank Reich for a head coaching position. Reich was later hired by the Indianpolis Colts, who are now in the second round of the AFC playoffs.
As always I have been enjoying your Super Bowl Week columns that have been appearing this week in my hometown CHICAGO TRIBUNE newspapers.
I was particularly engaged by the one you wrote about Backup Quarterbacks, and in reading that column I have been moved to write to you about a man whom I believe may merit the designation of “Greatest Backup QB Of All Time.” Not only that, I feel that he is truly in contention for being recognized as one of the greatest QB coaches of all time.
I am referring to Frank Reich who is currently the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. Quite a few years ago Frank had just been hired as the QB coach for the Indianapolis Colts when Peyton Manning joined that team. Peyton has told me many times about what a tremendous impact Frank had on his early development.
Fast forward a few years, and Frank Reich had moved on to become the QB coach of the San Diego Chargers and had taken over the tutoring of their then rookie QB, Philip Rivers. You know that that guy turned out to be pretty darned good, too, don’t you?
And now Frank Reich is the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, and though his exact title is not “QB Coach,” believe me, Frank is the man who is really in charge of developing the guys at that crucial position. And so, the Eagles bring aboard Carson Wentz who develops swiftly, under Frank’s direction, into an outstanding player at that position. And now, when an injury plagues Wentz, and a substitute, Nick Foles, returns to the lineup, it takes only a game or two before Frank Reich is able to resurrect that young man’s abilities, execution, and career.
And so far as “backups” go, allow me to recall some of Frank’s playing days accomplishments. It was Frank who as backup to our great Jim Kelly with the Buffalo Bills led our team in the 1992 playoff season to the greatest comeback in NFL history. Jim Kelly was injured and out, and Frank led us back from a 35 to 3 halftime deficit to a 41 to 38 overtime win. He was our QB the following week when we defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road to advance to the AFC Championship game on our way to that season’s Super Bowl.
Yes, Frank Reich led the greatest comeback in Pro Football History, AND — he also, as a backup in college to injured starter Boomer Esiason, led the greatest comeback in College Football History by leading the U. of Maryland back from an overwhelming deficit to victory over the U. of Miami in the Orange Bowl Game .
And beyond all of Frank Reich’s magnificent teaching and coaching abilities, I feel there is much more that qualifies him for a head coaching position with an NFL team. He is highly intelligent, and he is also a person of high character and high ideals. Jim Kelly has often told me of how meaningful his teammate Frank Reich had been in helping Jim to develop into the top notch player — AND PERSON — that he was — and is. Frank is intelligent, and he is also a person of high character and high ideals. He is an outstanding example of how a good citizen should conduct himself, and he is possessed of a personality which leads to his ability to work so well with others. He was a great team leader, by both action and example during his playing days. He cared about everyone in the Buffalo Bills organization. He is a wonderful husband, father, and family man.
Oh, my gosh, Sam, I had no intention, when I started this email message to you, that I would ramble on this much, and I do apologize for any distractions from this year’s Super Bowl prep that I might have inflicted upon you. I am just campaigning hard to do some NFL franchise the great favor of having them bring Frank aboard for the head coaching opportunity that I feel he so much deserves.
Editor’s note: Frank Reich replaced Stan Gelbaugh in Maryland’s 1984 comeback game. Also, it was a regular-season game at the Orange Bowl.