Ravens’ John Harbaugh hungry to break Andy Reid’s hex on assistants

John Harbaugh is 1-4 against Kansas City since his former boss, Andy Reid, became head coach of the Chiefs.

Sunday afternoon is another chance for the pupil to get the better of his teacher, and with the AFC Championship on the line.

Harbaugh has been the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens since 2008. He was hired away from Reid’s coaching staff in Philadelphia, where he served as special teams coach and secondary coach of the Eagles.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I look back to those years and you think about all the great coaches that were on the staff that Andy assembled and mentored, taught us all so much,” Harbaugh said. “We were a close group of guys. A staff that loved each other.”

The final coaching staff Harbaugh was part of with the Eagles included current Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and current Kansas City special teams coach Dave Toub as well as former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, former Vikings coach Brad Childress and former Browns and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.

Harbaugh was not hired, but inherited, by Reid with the Eagles and retained him from predecessor Ray Rhodes’ coaching staff. Before Reid was fired in Philadelphia, he was 1-1 against Harbaugh and the Ravens.

But wins and losses aren’t what Harbaugh said he’ll ultimately take away from his competitions with Reid. He’ll always associate the affable coach with winning and an uncommon level of grace and humanity for the coaching business.

“One of the things — I tell this story a lot — one of the things with Andy,” Harbaugh recalled this week. “He had this 3×5 card behind his desk on his bulletin board. It said, ‘Don’t judge.’ I got the nerve to ask him about it one time, and he just basically (told us) it was a Biblical principle. Take people where they’re at. Assume the best. Try to communicate with everybody on equal terms. I’ve never forgotten that.”

This is the first time the coaches have met in a playoff game. For Reid, it’s his sixth consecutive trip to the conference championship with the Chiefs. Harbaugh is appearing in his fourth.

In five previous playoff games against former assistants, Reid is 5-0. He beat Buffalo’s Sean McDermott for the third time last week and has wins over Childress (Vikings, 2008) and Doug Pederson (Jaguars, last season).

“He knows the whole game,” Reid said of Harbaugh. “He was a great special teams coach, a great secondary coach and he’s been a great head coach. Very proud of him and all he’s done and accomplished.”