Accused of making an obscene gesture to a fan, Todd Haley said he appreciates Chiefs fans and wouldn't disrespect them. He says because of his five children he has to be a role model and flipping a fan off on his way to the tunnel is not the way he behaves.
That's nice, but Haley...do your kids read lips?
The Fans Have Spoken...
It's gotten crazy: the season, the coaching, the players, and fans. No longer rumbling, fans have erupted.
Scott Pioli broke his silence before the Cleveland game, and his response to Haley's questionable calls, timeouts, game management, and lack of team unity was that all the great coaches he's worked with have made mistakes. Even though it's hard to see, Pioli tells us, there have been improvements.
Then Cleveland happens, and RB Jerome Harrison who had one 100 yard game in week four and only 120 yards since went ballistic on the Chiefs 31st ranked run defense running for 286 yards.
Embarrassed? Perturbed? Discombobulated? I turned several shades like I had just devoured an Everlasting Gobstopper. I've had plenty of double-takes this season, but Cleveland left me with a whole new realization.
This team is bad, really bad.
I think it's time for a reality check. The Chiefs have won just four games at Arrowhead in the last three years. A lousy statistic, one you'd find only with awful teams. That's the Chiefs today, not the Chiefs I like to picture in my mind. For Sunday to be the first blackout in nearly 20 years is a testament to the fan.
Because of your loyalty and going to the game seeing the Chiefs on television was expected, but that era is over. Arrowhead was maybe 50% full Sunday. The allegiance of fans, although still dedicated, has turned into doubt. Suddenly the devotion to the Chiefs doesn't outweigh the cost of going. Fan are drawing a line in the sand and demanding more.
It's like this. This too, the blackouts, is part of the "process". Fans need to send a message, because it will be received, especially with the dollars that have been spent in making Arrowhead a better place. If Clark Hunt is truly about "business", which I don't entirely believe, then happy fans is what he wants.
Blissful fans would fill Arrowhead on Sunday, which is great business. It's in Pioli's best interest to right the ship sooner than later.
Todd Haley the Poker Player...
Listening to Sports Radio 810 WHB a caller said that if you knew about poker you'd appreciate what Haley is going through. You'd understand what he's had to do. He's playing the hand he was dealt, and that means sometimes being risky, bluffing, or going for it all.
It's not Haley's fault if he doesn't have the "right cards".
Is Haley a good poker player? So far he's played too many hands, became too emotional at the table, and he's not relying on pot odds.
Right now the Chiefs are 26th with the pass, 22nd on the run, and have the 27th total offense. Offense is Haley's niche, his vocation. This is why he was brought to Kansas City.
There's a lot of talk – or hope – that the Chiefs will look for an offensive coordinator in the off-season. Has Haley taken on too much? I think he has, and I believe it's showing not just on the field, but in the press conference. Would they have kicked to Joshua Cribbs a second time If Haley had been more over the big picture? I could be wrong, but the Chiefs resemble a bunch of individuals rather than a team, and this includes the coaching staff.
But here's my concern. My apprehension.
Marty Schottenheimer had a niche, it was defense, and the Chiefs reflected that. In 1988 the Chiefs under Frank Gansz allowed 320 yards a game, ranked 15th in the league. The year Schottenheimer took over, 1989; the Chiefs allowed 286 yards a game. Schottenheimer took the Chiefs from 15th the year prior to 8th his first season. In his second season the Chiefs ranked 5th. The defense got better, but that's who Schottenheimer was.
Dick Vermeil had a passion for special teams, but offense was his specialty. Vermeil didn't pick Dante Hall, Gunther Cunningham actually drafted Hall, but Vermeil got the most from Hall. Vermeil didn't have instant success his first year. Vermeil took the 9th ranked offense and finished 16th, but his second year Vermeil scored 467 points, best in the league.
Despite a terrible defense, the team took on the image of Vermeil, which was offense. The Chiefs were top five while Vermeil was here.
But let's get back to my question.
All it may take is for Haley to have the pressure lifted, meaning an offensive coordinator he trusts, before he puts his own personality on the Chiefs. That's what I want to see, but what if Haley isn't what he was thought to be in Arizona. What would his niche be then? How would he benefit the Chiefs?
To the point, but what use would Haley be if offense really isn't his gift. No use at all and the Chiefs would be wasting precious time. How would the Chiefs reflect Haley if he didn't have anything to offer?
Right now many are seriously questioning Haley and what he's about. Far more are thinking he's impersonating a coach rather than being one.
These are hard times for many reasons, and if a newly upgraded stadium is to be filled, questions will have to be answered and the right people need to be in place. Time is no longer on ownership's side. Fans are fed up and rightfully so.
On the brighter side, I hope all have a merry Christmas!