Hunt/Pioli Gift Haley With His Firing

For Todd Haley, it was the best thing that could have happened.

To be able to get out of the mess that is the Kansas City Chiefs right now is a good thing. In the big picture it’s the best thing that Haley and those that care about him could have hoped for at this point.

Nobody likes to be fired. Believe me. I did not know until about three years ago how hard it is to deal with all the emotions bubbling inside you when somebody says we don’t want you anymore.

But in this case, it’s better for Haley to be away from the toxic atmosphere that has become the Kansas City Chiefs. It won’t be his problem anymore, and while that will take some getting used to for a guy who spent 20 hours a day on Chiefs football, he will ultimately learn that stepping away from the situation will be cleansing and more than likely fruitful.

Now, the problem is in the hands of Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli, and believe me they have a problem, make that problems in the very plural sense. Probably their biggest problem is credibility – they do not have any. Not an ounce. Despite the fact they seem to think they are entitled to the benefit of a doubt on their decisions, they are not, and this current mess is just one of the reasons why.

Just six weeks ago, Hunt told the Kansas City Star that there was no contemplation of a coaching change with the Chiefs. In fact, he went out of his way to praise Haley’s work. Six weeks later, Haley is shoved out the door. The fact is the Chiefs in some fashion or another have been contemplating a coaching change almost from the moment the 2011 season began. There’s credibility problem No. 1.

At the same time Hunt tried to sell us on the fact that everything was just fine in the Chiefs offices and that Pioli and Haley had a very good working relationship. And that’s credibility problem No. 2.

With Pioli the problem is this – how many chances is he going to get to find a coach he can work with? And, does that coach even exist? It’s going to be damn near impossible to find a competent NFL head coach candidate that will cede the type of control Pioli demands and welds within the football operation at Arrowhead Stadium. OK, some other coach than Josh McDaniels.

The best coaches available – that would be guys with the experience of leading NFL teams to victories and championships – are not going to be interested in this mess. Even some of the better known coordinators around the league will hesitate when they learn the parameters of what happens when you enter Pioli’s world.

Once the relationship between Pioli and Haley went south, the head coach was a man without a country. Pioli had the power, the purse strings and the ear of the owner. Haley was fighting an uphill battle and he was doing it without any help from anyone beyond his locker room and staff.

That’s not a good situation to work in and success is damn near impossible under those conditions. The marriage of Pioli and Haley was not made in heaven; it was not made to last. Both parties had real concerns about their decisions almost immediately after the wedding.

No matter the setting, no matter the sport, the relationship between coach and GM is not always smooth. There have been men in those positions that fought like cats and dogs, but were still successful. That happens when they are working for the same goals and can put up with the differences in approach and opinion.

That wasn’t going to happen with the Chiefs. So now they start again. Pioli just had his mulligan. The pressure is on him now to get it done and get it done correctly.

Todd Haley won’t have to worry about that anymore. He’s the one who came out on top, with the one way ticket out.

23 Responses to “Hunt/Pioli Gift Haley With His Firing”

  • December 12, 2011  - Jason says:

    While I truly feel Haley was not the right person for this job, it is more than clear to me that he is being offered up as a scapegoat for the ineptitude/arrogance of GM Scott Pioli. I cannot stand what this organization has become since they brought their so called “patriot way” to Arrowhead. The secrecy, the cloak and dagger, getting rid of scores of loyal Chiefs employees in back office and support positions, it is all very distasteful. I imagine Lamar rolling in his grave at the laughing stock his once proud organization has become at the hands of his cheapskate son. Lord how I miss the days of “King Carl”!!!

  • December 12, 2011  - the other dave says:

    Good take, Bob. I feel bad for he and his family especially given the time of year but I’m sure he will find success with another team.

    Hopefully Jeff Fisher can bring us an early Christmas gift.

  • December 12, 2011  - david says:

    Bob I like your writing and columns. I am not sure how you come to blame Pioli for everything. Can you please tell more? I dont live in KC area but am avid Chief fan and have only heard rumors. I am sure there is enough blame to go around to all 3 (Hunt, Pioli and Haley). You have to admit Haley would be hard to deal with and is his own worse enemy. He thinks he is a genius and he isnt. He has huge ego for someone that really has not a great coaching resume. When he left people run the offense and defense and worried about the team the Chiefs did fine. But when he went back to thinking he was an offensive genius 2 bad season followed. Watched every Chiefs game this season and I have to say when the Chiefs are on offense Haley was doing all the talking and Muir would just look at the sheet of paper. Glad to see him gone. He is not the genius he thinks he is.

  • December 12, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Crap, wrong person fired again. Should have fired Hunt and Piolo. They are soley responsible for this mess. Oh double crap; can’t fire owner and puppet. That wasn’t an earthquake I just felt; that was Lamar turning over. But Jason, I don’t miss Carl.

  • December 12, 2011  - Josh says:

    Shhh, Bob. Great head coaches might read this article and turn down the position.

    Contrarily, I believe a strong coach would look at the opportunity with gusto. He’d get to come in to a nightmare of an organization, but have three great starters returning (not counting Cassel) some phenomenal draft positions, and a very low bar to compare to (Herm then Haley). Additionally, a moderate to easy schedule next year, and a fan base that won’t go anywhere no matter how bad the owner keeps treating them like fools and taxpayers.

  • December 12, 2011  - Kenny says:

    Great questions from you during the press conference. During one of Pioli’s answers it sounded like there was a feeling from others in the coaching staff this would be the right decision.

  • December 12, 2011  - Mike says:

    Josh, if Pioli’s fourth draft isn’t better than his first and third, it doesn’t matter what our draft position is. The last time we had the third overall pick, we got Tyson Jackson! I wish Hunt had canned Pioli first. He’s contributed virtually nothing to this organization.

  • December 12, 2011  - Kenneth says:

    I think the wrong guy got fired, it is ludicrus to expect the Chiefs to do well after losing 1/2 of last years offense in ‘Charles and Moeaki’ and with a more difficult schedule not to even mention losing Berry and Cassel. I blame Haley for not having a veteran QB backing up Cassel but this firing wasn’t done for any mistake Haley made.

    I am a long time Chiefs fan (since they moved to KC from Dallas) and IMO there was a more personal agenda in this firing. As Gretz stated, Haley is likely better off being away from the Clark Hunt and Pioli atmosphere that is the Chiefs today.

    I sit here wondering what Lamar would have said to this and to the “toxic atmosphere” in Chiefs upper management.

  • December 12, 2011  - el cid says:

    Now the Haley saga is over, we look forward. Hunt and Pioli have removed their personal human sheild and official arrow catcher. Nothing is going to happen to Hunt and his ownership so that leaves Pioli. For some reason, after 3 years the talent is not a lot better than what Peterson had on the roster. The whys and wherefors about it do not matter, Pioli will be watched by the fans. The decision about the new HC will go a long way into showing us what the Chiefs are about.

  • December 12, 2011  - Al Cinelli says:

    Another Yuletide Chiefs coaching fire: Gunther Cunningham, Herm Edwards, Todd Haley. 41 years and counting since Len Dawson and co. outdueled Joe Kapp’s Vikings in SB IV. I live in Northern California and I’m watching Jim Harbaugh take a similarly talented group from worst to first in the NFC West. Anything is possible. Bob, I’m obvioiusly not privy to any inside information but from my end it looks like Haley blew it by 1) being the kind of pain in the ass prima donna who can’t make nice with better credentialed offensive coordinators: Chan Gaily and Charlie Weis 2)giving us the hit or miss Chiefs of the last three years–beat or almost beat Pittsburgh, lose or almost lose to Buffalo. Last year’s 10-6 team, Haley’s best team, was napping for at least three games. Yes, we should have a better back up QB than T.J. Yates, I mean Tyler Thigpen, no I mean Tyler Palko. We did have a lot of injuries this year but those excuses only go so far. Ever watch NFL Red Zone. The fans of whoever plays the Chiefs must be frustrated missing their team for a week. Between the NFL Network and ESPN the Chiefs essentially don’t exist. I’m hoping, against all hope probably, for a coach who can turn this thing around. Bob, you sound skeptical. For your next piece you should sum up all that stands in the way of a competitive, playoff ready Kansas City Chiefs. What’s wrong with this organization and players? Be specific.

  • December 12, 2011  - chewbone says:

    Bob you tried your best to pin scott down with your questions at the press conference, but he couldn’t provide an answer. I have never seen him in that much of a visible setting having to speak and truthfully for what he gets paid I wasn’t impressed!

  • December 12, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    I think you’re right on target Bob. The two running the show have bankrupted their credibility and now have a mess to clean up. We’ll see how it turns out but they created this miasma and Pioli has not done much to demonstrate his supposed football acumen to this point. I was in favor of the changes that brought Pioli to KC. I was also in favor of hiring Haley as coach. To say I’m less than impressed with the direction Junior Hunt and the paper tiger GM have taken us to this point would be a severe understatement. Unfortunately, they’ve done nothing to inspire confidence in any of us that they can find their way out of this mess. I hope I’m wrong but this season is over and we can look forward to another long offseason with far more questions than answers. I don’t know about you but I’m getting kind of sick of that. Unfortunately the only recourse we have to demonstrate our disenchantment with their mismanagement is to withhold our loyalty even though that feels like an exercise in self flagellation. They sure as hell deserve it at this point.

  • December 12, 2011  - ED J says:

    Guess the rift between the two guys was true. I’m indifferent on this decision to fire Haley. On one in I love the fact he developed alot of players on this team Bowe, Breaston, Charles, DJ, etc. The other hand he did make bad decision in preparing team at start of the season. Compounding that with not calling the plays himself Cassel struggled to get plays in on time throughout the season. Then team not looking prepared time after time getting blown out in losses. Then blind faith in Tyler Palko and Barry Richardson. So like i said i’m indifferent. My thing is Pioli needs to get it right this time with the next guy. Whether its Fisher or Kirk Ferentz or whoever just get it right.

  • December 12, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Don’t be surprised when Todd Haley is the next Marv Levy.
    Freerentz is 7-5 the last 2 years in the pathetically weak big 10. talkeye fans are starting to get fed up with his underachieving.
    He has a losing record against Iowa State who has half the budget he has.
    Edj keep dreamin that trailer park dream of yours ;)

  • December 12, 2011  - Bill Leifer says:

    I have been a close follower of the Chiefs and the NFL, since 1966. I have lived in New Orleans, Atlanta, and KC. Here is what I see: I see a smaller midwestern city much too frantically obsessed with their NFL team, most likely because, even though KC is a great place (I was born and grew up there), there isn’t truly a hell of a lot going on in the city sports-wise, and the baseball team has been nothing for a long time. There seems to be almost an inferiority complex. The fans seem to be way too frantic in their emotional ties to the Chiefs and their reactions to the inside politics of the franchise. In the big market cities, the teams are not supported when they suck, and they are when the teams are good. KC fans seem way too dependent on the Chiefs for their sports fix. The fans deserve some of the responsibility because of the pressure they put on the organization and their reactions and demands when things don’t go well. Thus, the secrecy in the Pioli regime. Thus, many of the hasty decisions when getting rid of good players and coaches and coordinators when they have had a bad year or two. Folks, lighten up. This is just a big business, a corporation. I have never seen such obsession with daily goings on at training camp. Every pre and post game interview is taken like a presidential message or a declaration of national disaster or war. You fans must bear your share of the responsibility for all these years of frustration. Look in the mirror. Leave them alone. Go to the games and enjoy them and watch them. Enjoy the victories. When they stink, vote with your pocketbook and your remote control, like they do in the really big cities.

    Rant over.

  • December 12, 2011  - Jonathan Fortune says:

    For everyone who says get rid of Hunt remember he is the owner and you can’t fire the owner. The scapegoat over time is always the head coach then the GM. Haley did not help his cause by saying that the team was unprepared in its blowouts. Sooner or later he was going to have to answer for it especially for the way he prepared the team during the offseason.

    Pioli knows he’s next on the chopping block if he does not choose the right head coach and make major upgrades to the Chiefs. It’s sad when Gaither can step and start for San Diego when he should have been playing in Richardson’s place. Also, it’s bad when your backup QB has bounced around from the UFL and several NFL teams. Granted there weren’t quality backup QBs this year in free agency but the Chiefs should have either addressed this last year or in this year’s draft. I have a feeling this year they will make drafting a QB a priority.

    I know many people forget that Clark said back in 2008 that he is not a patient man like his father so I don’t forsee him sitting back and letting the Chiefs fall off for long. Lamar had the drive but after the merger and winning the Super Bowl he lost that hunger and though the Chiefs still had talented players thaey were getting old and Stram made a lot of bad drafting decisions. Lamar finally made a change when Arrowhead had many empty seats and hired Peterson. That worked until “King Carl” let his power go to his head. I have faith that Hunt and Pioli will clean up this mess and choose the right head coach.

  • December 12, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks Billy,
    We needed the big city advice. We’re all good now. P.S. Last time I checked Atlanta was never known for it’s fans with the exception of their one shining “dirty bird” moment and the Saints fans showed up at games with bags over their heads for 30 or 40 years until they shed their lousy ownership and developed a winning attitude the last couple years.

  • December 12, 2011  - Bill Leifer says:

    LOL. I follow bad football like a bee follows honey. I actually played in the Saints band for a couple of years. Those games were ridiculous. I remember when the Saints were losing to Cleveland 42-3 with two minutes left, and there was a bad call by the refs. The fans booed the refs so loudly and so long, they kept giving the Saints delay of game penalties all the way down the field. It was documented as the longest sustained booing in NFL history at the time. I was back in KC for our sole Chiefs super bowl victory and went to every home game that season. It sure was nice being back in KC and being immersed in the Dawson/Stram led Chiefs.

  • December 12, 2011  - Tim says:

    Haley will come out fine in the long run on this deal. The most troubling thing to me is the feeling I’m developing that Clark doesn’t care about winning as much as he does just running a business. Oh sure, he wants to win – enough to keep the ink black. I’m sure he was a valuable contributor in the negotiations, but as for an owner that really wants to win, I’M FROM MISSOURI CLARK & YOU’RE GONNA HAVE TO SHOW ME! You better start projecting some passion in your demeanor because it appears your word is not as credible as originally believed.

  • December 12, 2011  - ED J says:

    Out of all the blogs Jonathan Fortune makes the most valuable point. I think firing of Haley proves Hunt means business he’s not going to allow his organization sit in mediocrity. Pioli will certainly be next in line if he chooses another guy he can’t work with. To me he is as bad as Haley when people upset with Haley for not getting along with Gailey and Weis. Now Pioli not gettig along with head coach. I know this he better not hire McDaniels solely because of their relationship. He better hire someone that is very qualified and has resume of success. Its time this team reach out to more of veteran head coach who has track record of building a winner. Then go get a QB. Bottom line if Haley had better Qb he would still be around. So 1st step after getting head coach is marching in draft room and taking Barkley or RG3.

  • December 13, 2011  - Craig says:

    Haley will be OK. He will land as an OC somewhere. Remember Bellichek was the Browns head coach at one time and got the boot. I bet they wish they had him back. The reality is Haley was not as ready as many thought. He will retool and be back. Good Luck Todd. Go chiefs. The lack of depth was the death knell for the Chiefs and that goes to owners unwillingness to spend the money.

  • December 13, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    That’s a great story about the sustained booing drive. I don’t remember that one specifically but do remember when they used to penalize the home team if the noise was so loud the visitors couldn’t hear their play count. Arrowhead would be a different place (not for the better)if that rule still existed. Good stuff.

  • December 13, 2011  - Chuck says:

    JohnfromWichita; VERY GOOD POST. EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT THREE TIMES AND LET IT SINK IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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