A Team To Copy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s just a pre-season game, one of four the Chiefs will play this year. Winner and loser will be forgotten quickly as both teams move on to the regular season and the games that count.

But when the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles meet Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium, fans of the red and gold will get to see their team, and a visiting team that their guys hope to emulate in this rebuilding process.

Kickoff is 7 o’clock and despite the non-sellout, the local TV blackout was lifted and can be seen on various stations throughout the Midwest. We will have complete coverage of the game late Friday evening/early Saturday morning.

Andy Reid (right) brings his Eagles into town with a new starting quarterback in Kevin Kolb, a new featured running back in LeSean McCoy and a host of talented offensive and defensive players, including former Mizzou WR Jeremy Maclin.

Under Reid’s direction over the last 12 years, the Eagles have become one of the NFL’s measuring sticks. Despite the fact they have not won a Super Bowl, only two other teams won as many regular season games in the last decade as the 103 pulled down by Philadelphia. In the 2000s, only one other team went to the playoffs as often as the Eagles.

Those are the kind of numbers that the Chiefs produced in the 1990s under Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer. In today’s NFL, it’s one of the hardest things to do, sustaining excellence for a long period of time. Change is the only constant in the league and understanding and dealing with that dynamic is incredibly difficult. The Chiefs were able to get it done for 10 seasons, but since then their record in the last decade ranged from 13-3 to 2-14, with only two post-season appearances.

No two situations in the NFL are the same among the 32 clubs, so comparisons generally don’t hold a lot of water. For instance, just because the Patriots won a lot of games and three Super Bowls when Scott Pioli was part of the decision making process does not mean that the Chiefs are headed for the title game because he’s now leading the Kansas City operation. The ownership is different, the atmosphere is different, the fans are different and most of all, there’s no Bill Belichick at Arrowhead Stadium.

But there’s little doubt that the Chiefs can learn an awful lot from what the Eagles have done over the last decade. Here are the numbers:

 TEAM  W  L  T  PCT.

PLAYOFF

BERTHS

SUPER BOWL

BERTHS

SUPER BOWL

WINS

Indianapolis 115 45 0 .719

9

2

1

New England 112 48 0 .700

7

4

3

Pittsburgh 103 56 1 .647

6

2

2

Philadelphia 103 56 1 .647

8

1

0

Green Bay 95 65 0 .594

6

0

0

 

Over the last few years, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has spent a lot of time preparing to play the Eagles, whether he was with the Cowboys or the Cardinals and then last year with the Chiefs when they traveled to Philly to play.

“I think the teams that have been able to stay the course and have laid the foundation the way it needs to be laid, they understand the model and they’re all trying to follow the plan, whether its coaches, personnel, front office, players, the entire organization.

“A big part with the Eagles is Coach Reid and the staff he’s been able to keep there. That is a key word – keep – or get back guys that have come and gone.”

Good people in top jobs, stability, good evaluation of players, top-notch coaching and development of players – that’s what the Eagles do. That’s what the Chiefs used to do. This isn’t some secret formula that is impossible for team owners and personnel to understand. But it’s darn near impossible for some of them to accomplish. The toughest factor for teams to sustain winning games is stability.

We are a throwaway society that gets bored quickly and constantly seems to be seeking change. That Reid has lasted as long as he has at the top of an NFL team in one of the toughest cities in the league to please the fan base is nothing short of remarkable. Reid has the second longest tenure among the league’s 32 head coaches; only Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher has been in charge of his team longer than Reid.

In Philadelphia, they have a love-hate relationship with Reid – they love the success that he’s directed the Eagles to over the years, but hate the fact he hasn’t been able to win a Super Bowl. They are bored with constant winning; they’ve forgotten what life was like over the years with the Eagles. The media is tired of jousting with Reid, who can talk for a long time and say absolutely nothing.

Yet, the Eagles stick to their plan. For that, owner Jeffrey Lurie deserves the credit, because constantly getting close and not achieving a championship can drive some owners crazy. Lurie’s frustrations are there, but he’s smart enough to seek stability, not change for the sake of change.

Where the Eagles will change is on their roster. When their players get older, they aren’t afraid to send them elsewhere. Last year they decided not to sign All-Pro S Brian Dawkins, who landed in Denver. Dawkins had become an iconic part of Eagles history, but he wanted more money than they wanted to pay. They parted ways and the Eagles had problems at safety. But they still finished 11-5 and made the playoffs.

This year, they cut the cord on Donovan McNabb (left) after 11 years. The fans booed his selection in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, but he became a winning NFL quarterback, and often got it done without the best receivers around him. There was great affection between Reid and McNabb, but at his age and where the money for quarterbacks is heading, they pulled the cord and traded him to Washington, replacing him with Kolb.

The Eagles do this without blinking and they keep on winning. Last year they were 11-5, the year before 9-6-1. Over the rest of the decade Philly went 8-8, 10-6, 6-10, 13-3, 12-4, 12-4, 11-5 and 11-5.

Notice that 6-10 record in 2005, a year after they went to the Super Bowl and lost by a field goal to the Patriots. It was a classic Super Bowl hangover. But Lurie didn’t clean house, he did not dispatch Reid and his personnel people. The Eagles regrouped and finished out the decade without a losing season.

What Pioli and Haley are trying to build right now is something Chiefs fans had 10 years ago. The questions are these: 1.) whether they have the ability to consistently evaluate talent and develop it? And 2.) what kind of environment will they be working in, i.e. how much stability can they expect with this operation Rebuilding is not a quick process, at least it’s not quick if there is an attempt to build something that lasts and can be a contender for a decade like the Eagles.

Haley reaches back often for memories of what he saw as he was growing up the son of the Pittsburgh Steelers player personnel director Dick Haley.

“They were able to lay a foundation really 40 years ago that is still in place and why I lean so heavily on my father,” Todd Haley said. “He’s always said to me, ‘in this day and age you get so many people that think it’s about the quickest answer or who can raise their hand the fastest.

“One thing he stressed to me since a very young age is don’t have the fastest hands, have the right answer. I think because of people like him and a lot of those people there, the Rooneys and the Nolls, they were of that temperament – they knew what they believed in, they did it the way they believed, they survived a couple chaotic years and eggs being thrown at them, but they laid a foundation that really essentially is still in place now 40 years later.

“It was by staying unwavering and not panicking and staying the course. The only reason I speak about that is I’ve been asked about myself and how I believe and do things and why. That’s the bottom line right there. I feel like I’ve been around the right people and paid attention and now I’m in a situation of my own that we’re going to turn into something special and that’s the way we’re going to do it. I’m with the right people I feel like, across the board here and we’ve got a chance to get something going here that could be a lot of fun. It just so happens that right now we’re in the process of trying to get there.”

For fans who want to see what it could be like, zero in on the Eagles at Arrowhead on Friday night. Like the Steelers, Patriots, Colts and Packers, they’ve laid the road for the Chiefs to follow.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 26

  • BUCCANEERS – released K Hunter Lawrence.
  • CARDINALS – head coach Ken Whisenhunt announced that Derek Anderson will start at quarterback against Chicago this weekend, rather than Matt Leinart. The coach said the move was not permanent, but it provides Anderson with an opportunity to win the starting job.
  • 49ERS – franchise player DT Aubrayo Franklin will reportedly sign his contract tender offer from the team on Saturday. He’s due $7,003,000 million under the offer.
  • GIANTS – starting C Shaun O’Hara will miss the final two pre-season games due to tendinitis.
  • LIONS – released injured G Trevor Canfield.
  • TITANS – OLB Mike Otto underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will be out for several weeks

4 Responses to “A Team To Copy … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 27, 2010  - Edward says:

    I disagree with the fact Bob that Pioli can’t produce the same level of success in KC like he did in New England. No there isn’t Bill Bellichick and yes this is not Gilette stadium its Arrowhead, but Bill Polian went to the Colts and their was no Marv Levy or Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, or Jim Kelly. Polian is perfect of example of GM who knows how to build a winner. Pioli has proven he can do that in New England and I’m confindent those rules do not change just because you’re running a different organization.

    I’m sick of hearing about our past this is the present. And presently we have one of the top 5 coaching staffs in the league and we’ve been declared by many to have one of the top 5 drafts in the league. So presently the future looks very bright for this organization. I like what the Eagles bring in terms of their stability to win but modeling their drafting success yes i agree with to extent. Downfall of the Eagles is they don’t run the football and you can’t win the ultimate prize Super Bowl being one dimensional.


  • August 27, 2010  - Nate says:

    Good analysis Bob. I think this years draft is a good indication that Scott Pioli will have success here as he did with the Patriots. It is too early to tell but this could be the best draft class the chiefs have had in decades.
    Nate


  • August 27, 2010  - Brandon says:

    Yeah, Eagles fans don’t know how good they have it. I’m definitely in the camp that prefers wins to championships.


  • August 28, 2010  - el cid says:

    The Eagles are young, YOUNG. They get rid of a player before he slides.

    I do not see much comparison between the philly and the Chiefs but do not know how long it took Reid to put a team together. I heard yesterday that Pioli is pleased with what we have in KC at this time. His time frame is not 2010 but the future (2014?). That is why I cannot support him and his version of a rebuild. By the time 2014 gets here, Cassel could be gone and throw in Vrabel, T Jackson, both RBs and starting WRs, so what have we got then but another reloading for a future date.




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