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Archive for Monday, December 12, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs fire head coach Todd Haley

December 12, 2011, 10:39 a.m. Updated December 12, 2011, 2:32 p.m.

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Chiefs coach Todd Haley walks off the field following a 37-7 loss to San Diego on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo.

Chiefs coach Todd Haley walks off the field following a 37-7 loss to San Diego on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo.

— The Kansas City Chiefs fired coach Todd Haley on Monday with the team he led to the AFC West title less than a year ago stuck at the bottom of the division following a series of devastating injuries and discouraging blowouts.

The Chiefs dropped to 5-8 after Sunday's 37-10 loss the New York Jets. Kansas City committed 11 penalties for 128 yards in another dismal performance, including a 15-yarder on Haley for unsportsmanlike conduct that may have ultimately sealed his fate.

"This was a difficult decision but one that we feel is best for the future of the Chiefs," Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement released before a scheduled afternoon news conference. "Although there have been bright spots at different points this season, we have not made meaningful progress."

Romeo Crennel was named the interim coach. Crennel, the former Browns head coach, served as Haley's defensive coordinator.

"We felt that it was necessary to make a change," Hunt said. "We appreciate Todd's contributions during his time with the club, and we wish him well in the future."

There had been rumblings about Haley's status ever since training camp, when the NFL lockout caused him to take an unorthodox approach. Rather than going full speed throughout camp, Haley opted instead to spend the majority of the time on conditioning and strength training.

He hoped that would cut down on the risk of injuries given an abbreviated offseason.

Instead, the Chiefs lost linebacker Brandon Siler to a torn Achilles in camp, and starting tight end Tony Moeaki went down with a torn knee ligament in their preseason finale. Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry sustained the same injury in Week 1 against Buffalo, and All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles tore a ligament in his left knee the following week at Detroit.

After three lopsided losses to start the season, Kansas City managed to rattle off four straight wins and pull into an improbable tie atop the division. Haley was being applauded for keeping the team together despite such adversity, and there was a happy-go-lucky attitude at the practice facility.

That all changed when the Chiefs lost to previously winless Miami at home, the start of a dismal stretch in which they dropped four straight and five of their last six. Along the way, quarterback Matt Cassel broke his right hand against Denver and landed on injured reserve, and the lack of depth behind him forced Haley to start journeyman Tyler Palko the past four games.

Kansas City has managed only two touchdowns with Palko under center.

Besides the lousy performance on the field, it was not a secret within the walls of the team's practice facility that there was friction between Haley and general manager Scott Pioli.

Pioli has said he values consistency in an organization, and that he's used the Steelers as a blueprint for rebuilding the Chiefs. But the decision to part with Haley was just the second in-season firing of a head coach in franchise history — Paul Wiggins was fired after seven games during the 1977 season — and leaves the team in tumult with three games remaining.

"We believe change is important at this time," Pioli said in a statement.

Haley is the second coach fired this season after Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio last month.

The combustible Haley, who took over a team that won six games the previous two seasons under Herm Edwards, leaves with a 19-27 record in his first NFL head coaching job. But despite a surprise AFC West title last season, it's hard to tell if the team improved under his watch.

The quarterback situation is a mess, even with Cassel healthy, and the offensive line has three players in Ryan Lilja, Barry Richardson and Casey Wiegmann who may not be back next season. Despite having a background on offense, Haley only managed to coax the unit into averaging of 293.8 yards, which ranked 28th in the league, and 177.4 yards through the air — 30th out of 32 teams.

Previously, Haley was the offensive coordinator for Arizona when the Cardinals won the NFC title in 2008. He also was an assistant coach with Dallas, Chicago and the New York Jets.

The biggest bright spot this season has been on defense, where despite missing Berry and Siler the Chiefs have still managed to keep themselves in games. They lost 17-10 to the Broncos and 13-9 to the Steelers over the past month, and their only victory — 10-3 at Chicago — came when they piled up seven sacks, forced three turnovers and prevented the Bears from converting a single third down.

Along with previous head coaching experience, that's the biggest reason why Crennel was selected as the interim coach. Crennel is considered one of the game's premier defensive minds, though he was just 24-40 in four unsuccessful seasons as the head coach in Cleveland.

It's unclear whether Crennel is the frontrunner to take over full time, but he could make a bold statement for getting a look if he can rally the Chiefs following Haley's dismissal.

The Chiefs are still mathematically alive in the AFC West.

"Todd helped this team in many valuable ways over the past three seasons, and I am thankful for his contributions," Pioli said. "Unfortunately, we have not been able to establish the kind of consistency we need to continue building a strong foundation for the future."

Comments

The_Original_Bob 3 years ago

That's unfortunate. Chiefs fans deserved him.

Jay Riner 3 years ago

You seem to be quite an unpleasant person. Maybe you deserve a lovely case of genital warts.

John Hamm 3 years ago

And you can determine this from what? Sharing an experience. I would tend to believe you may be an "unpleasant" person from the way you took the poster to task......

grammaddy 3 years ago

Is 2 years all you get to turn a team around now?Weiss seems to be a very smart man in that case, 4 jobs in 4 years.

CreatureComforts 3 years ago

Anyone who follows the team and watches his press conferences, play calls, etc...one can see that Haley just isn't quite up to head coach caliber. His decisions are questionable at best, and he just doesn't seem to care. Then he goes and gets unsportsmanlike conduct calls? Seriously? That's beyond unacceptable for a coach.

MarcoPogo 3 years ago

Wouldn't it be great if we could do it to forum posters?

chetrico79 3 years ago

Great point, Marco. I'm sure its_just_math_but_i've_never_had_an_original_idea was subconsciously thinking we should have been able to fire that dumb a** GWB in his first year of office before he screwed up so many things. T Haley had to go! Go move Chiefs.

08Champs 3 years ago

I forgot - football is SO political!

dontcallmedan 3 years ago

You're sounding more like its_just_meth.

Jeff Kilgore 3 years ago

Yes, most of the civilized world wished that we could have done this from 2002 through 2009, but instead, this president was reelected. Obama's reelection is just as secure.

gccs14r 3 years ago

Every time I've heard Haley speak, he has sounded a little baked.

jaywalker 3 years ago

You can be that kind of a loud mouth jerk if you're winning all the time. When you're on the verge of setting the record for blow out losses in a year, walking papers are imminent.

riverdrifter 3 years ago

I thought for sure they'd can Haley after that debacle yesterday. Baseline lack of professionalism. Plenty of blame to around, though. Pioli has neglected his linemen, either side, drafting none and hardly any FA's. They also were $30M under the salary cap. Hunt family is a bunch of losers when it comes to managing an NFL franchise.

Jan Rolls 3 years ago

Should have fired the gm also. He's the one that left them with a lousy back up QB. He's just as arrogant as haley.

parrothead8 3 years ago

KU still needs an OC, right? And we already know Charlie Weis has heard of him.

Jayhawk1958 3 years ago

In all fairness, I don't know how you can fire Haley given the amount of injuries.

Ricky_Vaughn 3 years ago

I think it has more to do with a certain contest involving bodily fluid...Haley just lost the contest is all...

parrothead8 3 years ago

Houston had a lot of injuries to key players this season - Arian Foster, Mario Williams, Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub - and they just clinched a playoff berth.

blindrabbit 3 years ago

The mediocre play by the Chiefs is part of the game plan in Kansas City. The Hunt's are pleased to sell out the stadium and deliver a low quality product; it appears that the KC fans buy into this as they keep returning year after year. By being competitive enough to deliver the possibilty of a playoff bound team, the Chiefs are very successful at ticket sales and hype. The KC sports media eat this up as they know where their bread is buttered. To be truly competitive, the Chiefs would need to pay considerably more in players salaries; and any playoff wins would only increase this burden to the front office. Therefore, field a poor team, sell out the stadium, pump up the hype and rake in the money.

parrothead8 3 years ago

Except that the fans don't show up at KU. Or they leave by halftime.

hyperinflate 3 years ago

The fans buy into this because I'm convinced that the average Chiefs fan doesn't understand the purpose of a football game. It is to win the game. Not to be satisfied with simply watching the flavor of the year (Derek Thomas, Okoye, Hester, McCluster, etc.) perform his particular specialization (kickoff return, sack the QB, etc.). As long as KC fans are willing to buy merchandise and go to games to watch whatever the modern version of the Derek Thomas bat swing, then the Hunts have (as blindrabbit aptly put it) absolutely no impetus to produce a winning football team.

Ricky_Vaughn 3 years ago

That was Neil Smith with the bat swing...

CLARKKENT 3 years ago

SOS---SEEMS LIKE A KANSAS CITY SPORTS TEAM OPTION--GET RID OF THE CLASS ACTS--FRANK WHITE COMES TO MIND.

MarcoPogo 3 years ago

The Chiefs have been struggling ever since Bobby Bell's BBQ closed its doors.

jackpot 3 years ago

I think that when the Jets were 98 yards from their end zone and yellow flags were flying 7 out of 10 plays we gave them 81 yards. That when I posted on F/B a help wanted for a head coach.

ignatius_j_reilly 3 years ago

I always got the impression that I would never like Haley as a person, but as a coach he seemed pretty bright. He built a fantastic foundation for success, and I'm shocked they didn't let him stick around to enjoy the fruits.

You go to the playoffs, and without any key players -- losing your best defender, your QB, your league-leading RB, other key offensive players -- you are within shot of .500 ball and you beat good teams, and you get fired? Hard to justify.

hyperinflate 3 years ago

This is awesome news! The opportunity for a former Cleveland Browns coach to lead us into the promised land! The beginnings of a dynasty! Finally!

Jeff Kilgore 3 years ago

Schottenheimer? Crennel? or Belichick?

blindrabbit 3 years ago

Just wondering how much the Chiefs detract from the success of the KU football program; not that either one is very good. Is Lawrence too close to Kansas City; Manhattan and Columbia may be just far enough away? Is the area to small to support both teams with back to back games on Saturday and Sunday.

Jeff Kilgore 3 years ago

Honestly, as a Cleveland Browns fan and KU football fan, I am near enough bad football not to be reminded of the Chiefs every stinking day.

It's time for a Kansas legislator to propose that the Chiefs and the Royals, both residents of Missouri, be renamed the Missouri Chiefs and the Missouri Royals so as not to embarrass the state of Kansas with its consistently cellar-dwelling finishes.

beaujackson 3 years ago

A root canal is more fun than watching the Chiefs.

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