Frank Reich

Last updated

Frank Reich
Indianapolis Colts
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1961-12-04) December 4, 1961 (age 59)
Freeport, New York
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school: Lebanon (PA) Cedar Crest
College: Maryland
NFL Draft: 1985  / Round: 3 / Pick: 57
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player
As coach
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:6,075
Passer rating:72.9
Head coaching record
Regular season:30–23 (.566)
Postseason:1–2 (.333)
Career:31–25 (.554)
Player stats at
Coaching stats at PFR

Frank Michael Reich Jr. ( /rk/ ; RYK; born December 4, 1961) is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He previously played in the NFL for 14 seasons, primarily with the Buffalo Bills, who selected him in the third round of the 1985 NFL draft, hence his NFL nickname “Third Reich”. Reich spent most of his career backing up Jim Kelly, although he achieved recognition in football lore when he led the Bills to the NFL's largest comeback during the 1992–93 NFL playoffs.


After retiring as a player, Reich began an NFL coaching career. Holding assistant positions from 2008 to 2017, he was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles when they won their first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl LII. He was named the Colts' head coach the following season, where he has guided the team to two postseason appearances.

Playing career

High school years

Reich attended Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pennsylvania where he played baseball, football, and basketball. Reich started on the football team for his last two years in high school. He played quarterback in the Big 33 Football Classic in 1980 following his senior year of high school. [1]

College career

Reich was accepted to the University of Maryland on an athletic scholarship, and played for the Maryland Terrapins football team as backup to starter Boomer Esiason for three years. [2]

The biggest highlight of Reich's college career was the comeback he led against the Miami Hurricanes on November 10, 1984 at the Orange Bowl Stadium. Reich came off the bench to play for Stan Gelbaugh, who had previously replaced him as the starter after Reich separated his shoulder in the fourth week of the season against Wake Forest. Quarterback Bernie Kosar had led Miami to a 31–0 halftime lead. At the start of the third quarter, Reich led the Terrapins on multiple scoring drives. Three touchdowns in the third quarter and a fourth at the start of the final quarter turned what was a blowout into a close game. With Miami leading 34–28, Reich hit Greg Hill with a 68-yard touchdown pass, which deflected off the hands of Miami safety Darrell Fullington to take the lead. Maryland scored once more to cap a 42–9 second half, and won 42–40, completing what was then the biggest comeback in NCAA history. [3]

National Football League

Reich was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the third round (57th overall) in the 1985 NFL Draft. The Bills had already drafted future Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1983 and when Kelly signed with the Bills in 1986, Reich was relegated a role as backup.

Reich got his first start when Kelly went down with a shoulder injury in 1989. Reich led the Bills to two straight victories. He rallied the Bills in the fourth quarter by throwing two drives down the field for a 23–20 victory over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams. [4] This first game for Reich occurred in front of a Rich Stadium crowd of 76,231 and a Monday Night Football audience.

Reich returned the following year, however when Kelly was injured again late in the 1990 season. Reich provided the Bills with two key wins, clinching them the AFC East title and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

During the final game of the 1992 regular season, the Houston Oilers defeated Buffalo 27–3 in Houston, where Kelly suffered strained ligaments in his knee and yielded to Reich to finish the game in his place. With Kelly out, Reich took the reins as the starter for the wild card game the following week, on January 3, 1993. The wild card game was a rematch with the Oilers, hosted in Buffalo, where they led the Bills 35–3 early in the 3rd quarter, but Reich then led the Bills on a 38–3 run en route to a 41–38 overtime victory. The rally from a 32-point deficit [5] remains the largest comeback in NFL history. Reich started his second consecutive playoff game, as the Bills defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 24–3 in the divisional round. This made Reich one of a handful of quarterbacks who is undefeated as a starter in post-season play, as well as the only one with more than one start to his credit. Kelly recovered and started the AFC Championship where the Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins 29–10. During Super Bowl XXVII, the Bills faced the Dallas Cowboys and Reich again replaced an injured Kelly in the first half of the Super Bowl. Reich led the Bills to 10 points to make the score 31–17, with a possible comeback well within the Bills' capability as the 3rd quarter concluded. However, in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys scored 21 unanswered points to win 52–17, and Reich finished the game with two interceptions.

After giving the Bills one more comeback victory late in the 1993 NFL season, Reich signed with the expansion Carolina Panthers in March 1995 to start off their first year. [6] He threw the first touchdown pass in franchise history to former Bills player Pete Metzelaars in Memorial Stadium in Clemson, as Bank of America Stadium was still under construction. The Panthers had drafted Kerry Collins as their intended franchise quarterback, but Reich was the starter for the first three games until Collins was deemed ready to take the starting job. He was sacked 9 times on Sep 3 at Atlanta, a franchise record he shares with Cam Newton. Coincidentally, Reich and Collins hail from rival high schools in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with Collins having started his high school career at Cedar Crest's crosstown rival, Lebanon High School (although due to age differences, Reich did not play against Collins in high school).

Reich was then signed by the New York Jets where he started for seven games in 1996.

In 1997, Reich signed with the Detroit Lions, reuniting him with his coach at Maryland, Bobby Ross. Reich appeared in 6 games in 1997, all in relief, and 6 games in 1998, including 2 starts. Reich retired following the 1998 NFL season.

In 2014, Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Bill Polian, who was general manager of the Bills when they drafted Reich, called him "the greatest backup quarterback in NFL history." [7]

Coaching career

Indianapolis Colts

Reich was a coaching intern for the Indianapolis Colts from 2006 to 2007. [8] [9] In 2008, he served as an offensive coaching staff assistant for the Colts. [10] After Tony Dungy retired following the 2008 season, former Colts quarterback coach Jim Caldwell took over as head coach and Reich became the new quarterbacks coach. [11] Reich switched to wide receivers coach [12] in 2011 but was dismissed when the entire coaching staff was released after a 2–14 season.

Arizona Cardinals

He was then the wide receivers coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 under head coach Ken Whisenhunt, [13] but Reich, Whisenhunt and other offensive coaches were dismissed on December 31, 2012. [14]

San Diego Chargers

He was hired by the San Diego Chargers along with Whisenhunt in 2013. When Whisenhunt left to become head coach of the Tennessee Titans, Reich was promoted to offensive coordinator. [15] On January 4, 2016, he was fired from his position as offensive coordinator after the Chargers finished 31st in rushing and struggled on offense. [16]

Philadelphia Eagles

On January 20, 2016, Reich was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles and went on to win Super Bowl LII with the team in 2017. [17] [18]

Return to Indianapolis

On February 11, 2018, he was named the new head coach of the Colts, seven years after he had been fired as wide receivers coach. [19] [20] [21]

After losing his first career game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Reich earned his first win as a head coach over the Washington Redskins. [22] In Week 3 against his former team the Eagles, with the Colts down 20–16 with seconds left in the game, Reich pulled starting quarterback Andrew Luck and put in Jacoby Brissett to attempt a Hail Mary pass from his own 46-yard line. Brissett overthrew several players in the back of the end zone and the Colts lost the game. The move was questioned by some journalists and fans, and led to some speculation about the health of Luck's shoulder, although Reich and Luck both said it was purely because Brissett had a stronger throwing arm. [23] The following week against the Houston Texans, Luck led the Colts back from down 28–10 in the third quarter, including a game-tying two point conversion with :51 left, however the team lost in overtime, 37–34. Reich was the center of controversy after Indianapolis failed to convert a 4th and 4 on their own 43 and the Texans kicked the game-winning field goal, although he afterword said "I'll just address it now. We're not playing to tie. We're going for it 10 times out of 10." [24] After a 1–5 start, Reich led the Colts to a 10–6 record winning nine of their final 10 games.

Indianapolis became just the third team in NFL history to make the playoffs following a 1–5 start, and also reached their first postseason appearance since 2014. [25] In the Wild Card Round, they defeated the Houston Texans 21–7 before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs 31–13 in the Divisional Round. [26] [27] [28]

Head coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
IND 2018 1060.6252nd in AFC South11.500Lost to Kansas City Chiefs in AFC Divisional Game
IND 2019 790.4383rd in AFC South
IND 2020 1150.6882nd in AFC South01.000Lost to Buffalo Bills in AFC Wild Card Game
IND 2021 240.333TBD in AFC South

Personal life

Reich's German American father, Frank played for the Maryland Terps from 1953 to 1955 as a center and linebacker. [29] He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 14th round of the 1956 NFL Draft, but did not play in the National Football League. Frank Reich Sr. was a teacher in technology education and also a football coach at Lebanon High School, retiring in 1992.

Throughout Reich's NFL career, he remained a devout Christian. He is a motivational speaker utilizing the great comebacks and the importance of God as a main keynote of his speeches. He credits the song "In Christ Alone" by Michael English as his inspiration. He belongs to the Premier Speakers Bureau and his main topics for speeches are communication and teamwork. Reich attended the Charlotte Campus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte [30] and he earned a Master of Divinity degree. He served as president of RTS' Charlotte campus from 2003 to 2006. [31] Reich was also a pastor at Ballantyne Presbyterian until he moved to Indianapolis. [32]

Reich and his wife Linda have three daughters. [33]

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