Breaking The Rules … Morning Cup O’Chiefs

It’s a growing topic of conversation and speculation around the locked out NFL – how much contact is going on between coaches and players?

Under the rules of the lockout established by the league’s legal eagles, club employees are not allowed to communicate with players. No phone calls, no e-mails, no tweets, no leaving messages on their Facebook wall. If a coach and a player should happen to run into each other at Walmart, they can say hello, how are the kids, nice weather we’ve been having, but that’s it.

The threatened penalties for fraternizing during the lockout are job termination and the potential loss of draft choices. Various media outlets have reported there are coaches and club personnel breaking the rules on a regular basis. There’s nobody willing to comment on the record, or name names, so these illegal conversations remain nothing more than conjecture.

Let me assure you of this – those chats are happening and they are likely going down all over the league. After more than 35 years of hanging around the NFL there is absolutely no way anyone can convince me that the coaches and players haven’t found a way to communicate. In the end, those two groups are going to be working closely like they always have and generally that’s a bond far greater than the one between so-called union brothers.

In fact, if I was the owner of an NFL team, I’d make sure my coaches were breaking the rules and doing it on a regular basis.

I’d tell them to be careful, to not leave a paper trail, to change cars in a parking garage where they can’t be seen, to sign in at hotels under assumed names. I’d buy them all the James Bond DVD collection, the Bourne films or Mission Impossible movies to brush up on the basics of clandestine activities.

But I would make sure they made contact with all the players under contract. I’m paying these guys millions of dollars and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some guy in a fancy Italian suit and a law degree to tell me how to handle these guys. In college football recruiting they call it the bump, where a coach just happens to be in the same location as a recruit at a time when face-to-face contact is restricted. Conversation is minimal, but the objective is achieved.

There’s a motto I’ve heard more than one coach say over the years – if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.

I’m a law and order kind of guy, but there’s one thing I can assure you is happening and that’s offensive coordinators talking to quarterbacks and defensive coordinators talking to linebackers and trainers and doctors talking to injured and rehabbing players. I would not want my team to find itself at a disadvantage when the season does begin because the rules were followed to the letter.

Only so much contact can be useful in the current situation since there’s no way to get coaches and players together on the practice field or in the classroom. That’s what’s missing right now in the league – the personal instruction and work on the schemes that is so important to setting up a team for the season ahead.

The longer this blasted lockout goes on, the more I would ask my coaches to make contact. The gap between Green Bay and Pittsburgh on top of the league and Carolina and Denver at the NFL bottom is quite large. But the other 28 teams can be covered by a dime they are so close. Every little bit helps, and if my coaches can get my players prepared mentally with a few well placed instructions and conversations, then I want them to go for it.

The ramifications would give me pause, but if my team was bumbling around in the first part of the season because they were so far behind in preparation, then I would be kicking myself.


Congratulations to Dave Hill, Chiefs Hall of Famer and starting OT in both Super Bowl appearances, who will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Hill played 12 seasons (1963-74) and was a fixture at right tackle for Hank Stram’s offense. He was drafted in the 1963 AFL Draft out of Auburn. The native of Lanett, Alabama played in 150 regular season games and over nine straight seasons he did not miss a start. Not bad for a 24th-round draft choice who reported to his first training camp at William Jewell College at 6-5 and weighing 225 pounds. He told an Alabama newspaper that he barely survived that first training camp.

“My offensive line coach told me in rookie camp, where it was 115 degrees and I was losing weight and getting very dehydrated that, ‘You’re not going to make this team unless you put on weight’,” Hill said. “So they gave me a special diet and I eventually got up to 240 for that first season.”

Four games into that rookie season, Hill broke into the starting lineup replacing Charlie Diamond. He stayed in that spot until his final season in ’74, when he was replaced by Jim Nicholson.

“They saw natural ability,” Hill said of Stram and his coaching staff. “I think one of the biggest things going for me was that I had a quick mind. I knew on every play what to do. If I got beat, it wasn’t because I didn’t know what to do. I knew the game, and knew how it was supposed to be played.”

The 71-year old Hill was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1997. He lives in Panama City, Florida.

11 Responses to “Breaking The Rules … Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • May 20, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    Totally agree. These rules are ridiculous and only an idiot would play by them. Good stuff.

  • May 20, 2011  - RW says:

    Is a Madden ’11 game the closest we’ll see of real or imagined contests this year? Mock contacts, conversations and now, a mock league?

    Free falling into the abyss.

    Ought to be the title of a song somewhere in there? Lyrics shouldn’t be all that tough to write, just pull some of the comments being spewed by the key characters in this waaaay off Broadway show.

    That’s all I have today.

  • May 20, 2011  - Jaded ex friend says:

    Another worthless story by fatty fatty 2 x 4.

    Read Whitlock’s scraps and maybe you can form an intelligent sentence. Whitlock has owned you for years Bob

  • May 20, 2011  - PAChiefsFan says:

    Bob, did you hurt somebody’s feelings? I thought after 35 years everybody liked you.

  • May 20, 2011  - el cid says:

    Hopefully, Pioli has got a way to “work” without getting burnt. After all wasn’t he on the team video taping other teams? I am sure he has his thinking cap on to prepare for whatever season there is going to happen.

    As for the bitter comments, just what do you want to read about? Maybe Bob could be a go between and get barred from involvement in NFL activities? Better yet, why not stop reading or visiting this site until there is some kind of agreement.

  • May 20, 2011  - Don in ICT says:

    This is what I’ve been thinking all along. I find it hard to believe there isn’t a friend of a player meeting a go between of the coaches at the local Cracker Barrel to exchange info.

  • May 20, 2011  - Mac's says:

    Jaded ex friend

  • May 20, 2011  - Mac's Son says:

    Jaded ex friend, there are two things extremely obvious. First, you must have some deeply held wounds of which you may not even be aware. Second, you must be very jealous of Bob’s clear writing talent to make the comments you do. If you will get quiet, get honest with yourself, and learn to forgive you will begin to like yourself better and enjoy life a lot more than you do.

  • May 21, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    Jaded ex friend— Your zoo keeper called to say you were never anyone’s friend because you are incapable. BTW, good news: The world didn’t end today as you hoped. Back in the cage. It’s feeding time. Now, go take on the day!

  • May 22, 2011  - montanachief says:

    Jaded ex friend- Is this your cover name Jason Whitlock.

  • May 22, 2011  - Dan says:

    Guy had more holding penalties than the whole rest of team

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