Second Guessing Haley … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From the Truman Sports Complex

“There were some things from that game weighing on me that I know we have to learn from and fortunately we were able to get a huge win for our team, just a huge building-block win that I think we will reflect on later on.”

Sunday night, after the Chiefs beat the Bills in overtime, Todd Haley became an outlaw. It was the costume his daughters wanted him to wear for Halloween, so the head coach dressed up and along with his wife went with their five children as they did the trick-’r-treat thing through their Johnson County neighborhood.

“I mean did it feel like Halloween last night or what?” Haley said on Monday. “It was the perfect Halloween night. We had the wagon going, a couple beverages and the kids were fired up. I dressed up; they liked that. It was a great night.”

But there were items from the victory weighing on the coach’s mind. And surprise, surprise one of those was fourth down.

No, not that fourth down, the one where he passed up the 37-yard field goal on 4th-and-2, the one decision that everyone was talking about and second guessing after the game and into Monday morning quarterbacking sessions.  

It was the fourth down play at the end of regulation, where QB Matt Cassel leaped over center and appeared to get the first down, except that Haley was on the sidelines calling timeout before the snap. The timeout counted, the play did not, and the Chiefs punted the ball away.

Punting is what Haley wanted to do in that situation from the start. But poor communication didn’t get that information across to everyone. Cassel heard in his helmet the call “storm” which usually means quarterback sneak. There was chatter all over the communication system between the coaches. Ultimately that’s why Haley called a timeout, although it wasn’t seen by everyone before the snap of the ball and Cassel’s leap for what he thought was a first

“Communication-wise, we clearly weren’t good enough,” Haley said. “That kind of thing will get you beat, I cannot allow that to happen. I’m not blaming anybody else. My emotions of seeing the amount of yardage needed, knowing we’re averaging six (yards) a clip every time we hand the ball off, knowing that you could give the ball back to a team and never see it again and watch your chances of winning the game go down the tubes … but there was too much emotion involved on that particular situation. I’ve worked real hard on trying to keep that from occurring and I feel like we’ve done a good job in a lot of aspects.”

But not at that point; it looked very unorganized, like the Chiefs were waffling about the decision and Haley said there was no such thing.

He was going to punt the ball.

“I didn’t like the way that that went because that felt too much like all of sudden you were letting your heart and your emotions get in it because standing there, you’re hearing different voices saying different things,” Haley said. “Everybody has their own little agenda, which they should. What I know is all of our guys, we’re all on the same page as far as wanting to win the game, there’s nobody that wants to win more than me. But that particular situation, communication-wise, we clearly weren’t good enough.”

Haley had no doubts or second guessing about his earlier decision to eschew a field goal and go for it on 4th-and-2 at the Buffalo 19-yard line. That translates to a 37-yard field goal.

“I try to avoid second guessing in general that is in my life,” Haley said. “I just try to make the best decisions that I can and then go forward. You tell me is he going to make the kick, not make the kick, are we going to score? If you can tell me a bunch of those things then I’ll be unbelievable in some of the decisions I make. Unfortunately that’s not the case, but that’s what makes it fun also.”

And Haley said he enjoys the fact that he has such a veteran coaching staff that isn’t afraid to voice their opinions in situations like fourth-and-short.

“I’m able to get a great deal of feedback and what I try to make clear to them is I don’t ever want ‘yes men’ around me,” Haley said. “I want people that tell me what they think and I like to hear that. It’s not always going to be what I want to hear but that’s important to me and I think as I’ve come up through the ranks and coached for different people, the people that I had the greatest amount of respect for were those guys that allowed you to say what you felt.”

Haley believes the approach he’s taking towards fourth down is going to build something with his team that will pay off down the road. That’s about as far as he’ll go in explaining the method to his madness.

“The fourth down is not a crazy man mentality,” said Haley. “This is a win-loss business so that’s the hard part and I think that factor right there is what may keep a lot of people from doing, thinking, acting and actually pulling the trigger on some more difficult decisions.”

Obviously Todd Haley does not have that problem.


  • CHARGERS – reinstated SS Steve Gregory from the reserve/suspension list.
  • COLTS – released RB Andre Brown; signed DB Cornelius Brown from their practice squad.
  • 49ERS – claimed LB Thaddeus Gibson off waivers from the Steelers.
  • GIANTS – placed CB Bruce Johnson on the injured-reserve list (knee) ending his season; claimed LB/DE Alex Hall off waivers from the Cardinals.
  • PATRIOTS – restricted free agent G Logan Mankins is expected to report to the team on Tuesday and sign his tender offer. He would be eligible as early as this coming weekend.
  • VIKINGS – released WR Randy Moss.

2 Responses to “Second Guessing Haley … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • November 2, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    I could not believe we didnt kick the field goal at 37 yrds and 4th and 2. I said to myself then we need those 3 points because the way the game was going in the first half. I thought it was going to bite us in the ass and it almost did. We live on the edge of our seats watching, guess thats better than watching a snoozer like the last few years though!!

  • November 2, 2010  - Edward says:

    LOL i was thinking same thing. Not kicking that field goal could have cost us. Hopefully Haley will be a little more conservative. He needs to dial it down a bit going for it so much on 4th down.

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