Come Super Bowl 57, Brett Veach and Howie Roseman will watch their teams do battle. Two friends on opposite ends, trying to win it all once more.
Like everything in Super Bowl LVII, the common tie is Andy Reid.
Consider the relationship between the dueling general managers in Sunday’s spectacular.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, Howie Roseman has been in the building since 2000, hired as a coaching intern for Reid in his second season as head coach. Four years later, Brett Veach followed suit. Now, Veach is running the Kansas City Chiefs’ show, entering his third Super Bowl in six seasons at the helm.
Veach and Roseman first met in their late 20s. The former was a University of Delaware football star who at 27 years old was ready to embark on his football odyssey. Roseman, whose dream to become a general manager began as a youth in Brooklyn, was working diligently in that pursuit.
Now, 19 years after first shaking hands, the two will be on opposite sides of State Farm Stadium come Sunday night, each 60 minutes from their second world championship.
And while the focus is on the future, it’s not hard for either to think back to when they shared a zip code, working in relative anonymity.
“Brett and I share this relentlessness, persistence and passion. I’ve always admired Brett because he wasn’t somebody who sat on the sidelines. He wouldn’t just write a report. He would come in and tell you, you need to watch this guy and you need to watch these games. I’d say ‘Veach, are you manipulating this so I only watch the good games? Can I pick the games or do I have to watch the games you’re telling me?’
“You knew he had a tremendous future because he had a great feel for not only talent but how to put it all together. He had a great feel for how to talk to players and obviously, like myself, he learned from Coach Reid. I don’t really think about it like being on the other side. Kind of like, using a Philly analogy, like it’s Rocky and Drago. I feel like these are people who have a lot of common ties and we’re playing for an opportunity to win a championship. It’s special.”
Both Roseman and Veach had enjoyed tremendous success, and yet their current teams have been constructed in very different ways.
Roseman has built these Eagles with big trades (C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Darius Slay and A.J. Brown), a Day 2 quarterback (Jalen Hurts) and while leveraging their rookie contract with Hurts to spend lavishly elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Veach traded up to land quarterback Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 overall in 2017, and is paying him $35.8 million against the cap. To rebuild a faltering defense, Veach traded star receiver Tyreek Hill, saving him $70 million in future salary while adding five draft picks. The result is a young, improving group under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and a more diverse offense with cheap weapons — sans tight end Travis Kelce.
However, there are striking similarities.
Both the Chiefs and Eagles believe in building up front. Each boasts three Pro Bowl offensive linemen and two All-Pros. Defensively, Philadelphia leads the league with 70 sacks. Kansas City finished second with 55. And in the postseason, the four units have taken center stage, swaying the quartet of games they’ve been involved in.
Looking back on his time with the Eagles, Veach believes his aggressiveness is partially from working with Roseman, helping to bring out a trait both have in ample supply.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Veach said. “They have an outstanding team. I’m thankful for my time there and the things I’ve learned from him. I think it doesn’t matter who you’re playing when you get to this stage of the game, having the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, it’s going to be extra special.
“Certainly the fact that a lot of the coaches, and myself, and Andy spent time in Philadelphia, there’s an element that’s probably indescribable just because there’s a prior rapport. But at the end of the day, it comes down to the players. I’m just fortunate and excited to be in this position. No matter who we play, no matter who they play, the nerves, the anxiety, the stress couldn’t be any higher.”
Throughout the season, the Eagles and Chiefs have been top-flight contenders. They eventually earned their respective No. 1 seeds before advancing through the playoffs.
Now, there’s one game remaining. One trophy at stake. Two friends who have spent the years trading texts and calls, suddenly going silent.
“We talked during the playoffs,” Roseman said. “We have not talked in the last week. I think at this point, we both know I’m trying to win the game, he’s trying to win the game.
“It’s just special that we’re playing the Chiefs.”