So Todd Haley is gone, and though it’s only been a few days—that he’s undoubtedly spent sitting on his couch in basketball shorts, scratching the scruff on his neck and wondering where it all went wrong—we’re already picking over the corpse of his career and making wild assumptions and wish-lists concerning who might be next in line. The life of a head football coach is probably not a fun one, and it provides all of the safety and job-security of a one-legged lobsterman on a rickety fishing boat.
But shed not a tear for the plight of the oft-embattled NFL coach; the average 2010 salary was a cool $3.25 million. And yeah, it’s a year-round job, despite its seasonal nature, and it consumes you. Your family life probably suffers, you have no free-time and your insides are just one giant ulcer of second-guesses and game film. That said, I mean, come on… $3.25 million.
There is never a shortage of dudes willing to work for one of 32 spots, either. Competition is hot. The problem with Chiefs’ fans is that they assume that someone who had success, who’s doing something else where they’re STILL making money AND have ample time to watch their grandkids play t-ball would want to go back into that world of 100 hour work-weeks and bad Chinese takeout.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not an awful proposition. The Kansas City job is NOT a bad job, in spite of what some whiners would have you believe. Recent stadium improvements, a rabid fan base and a core of good, young, talented players on both sides of the ball are all part of the recipe for “interest-drawing soup.”
It’s not a golden goose though, either. A recent history of futility, a meddling (and possibly clueless) general manager and a cheap owner who seems to care very little about winning make the job about as appealing as watching Andy Reid breastfeed a baby-seal.
A lot of names have been bandied about, and that talk is sure to intensify as the natives get restless and Romeo Crennel flounders his way through the last three games of the season. So who do the Chiefs have a chance to realistically land? Does anyone of note even WANT this job? Are we destined for another Haley-like hire—someone with no previous head-coaching experience? Let’s examine the possibilities.
Who the Fans Want but Won’t Get:
Marty Schottenheimer: So, if you’re seriously suggesting this, you’re not seriously suggesting this, right? Schottenheimer—he of the legacy years ‘89-98—probably doesn’t want this job. He’s 68. He’s mostly retired (aside from a bizarre stint coaching the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL and light television work) and seems to enjoy it—what, with the grandkids’ t-ball games and all. I think Marty-Ball is a long-shot… I mean really, can we see Schottenheimer and Pioli getting along? Schottenheimer and Little Hunt? I can’t. The Chiefs that he left back in ’98 are no more; in their stead, an environment void of passion and drive. I don’t think he’d want to deal with it.
Bill Cowher: Kansas City ties, but really, does it matter? Cowher stepped down from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 to spend more time with his family, and though that family structure has changed– sadly, his wife died of cancer in 2010– he has given no indication that he’d like to return to coaching. He seems at home on the CBS set, and in true Hollywood fashion, he’s apparently playing the head coach of the Gotham Rogues in the new Dark Knight movie.
To be plucked from all of that glitz and glamour and plunked into the middle of this hot-mess (even with barbecue sauce) seems a little unreasonable. I don’t think Cowher’s going anywhere other than Shannon Sharpe’s house for this year’s plump, Christmas goose (not sure why I assume the Sharpe’s eat a traditional goose around the holidays, but I like to picture Shannon wearing an apron over his bright, purple Harold Pener suit, a carving knife and fork in hand, a thousand watt smile lighting up the room).
Jon Gruden: Take a lot of what I’ve said about the other two, and sprinkle in a liberal dose of, “I don’t think there’s anyway he and Pioli could coexist in the dining room of a Red Lobster, let alone week-in and week-out in an office-setting.” When not grinning evilly at the camera and interviewing college quarterbacks, Gruden is a man of passion. And though he manages his temper better in a game-setting—as far as I know, he’s never been called for a personal foul penalty while screaming at refs from the sidelines—he’s still a firecracker. This seems a little more likely than Cowher or Marty, but it’s still not happening.
Jimmy Johnson: I heard someone mention this somewhere… and then they started talking about sharing a bowl of Pho with a leprechaun and selling elephant meat to orphans. Point being, they were either delusional, or on drugs—possibly both. Kind of like the idea of JJ coming back to coach the Chiefs.
Who the Fans Want and Could Get:
Jeff Fisher: The handsomely mustachioed former leader of the Oilers/Titans will almost assuredly come back to coach at some point. Now, if that’s “next year,” and “for the Chiefs” remains to be seen. It’s virtually certain that he’ll be a target. He boasts a 142-120 coaching record, a multitude of playoff experience and one devastating Super-Bowl loss. It could be a fit, too. Fisher has worked with passionate and stupid owners before (Bud Adams), so you’ve gotta figure a stupid owner with a LACK of passion would be a breeze. He’ll be costly, though, so bringing him in would take a definite ideological about-face from the organization. Yeah, the more I type, the more unrealistic this one seems.
Brian Billick: I wonder if anyone actually wants this one. I’ve heard his name mentioned, but not necessarily in positive or negative connotations. It’s just been kind of… there.
“Oh, Brian Billick? Yeah, he’s a… coach, right? Whatever happened to that dude?”
Here’s why he’d be a really decent fit: this team has a young, talented defense (well, except for the line), and a mostly poor offense (bad QB, solid RB). You know who else had a young, talented defense and a mostly poor offense (bad QB, solid RB)? The Ravens. Perpetually, throughout Billick’s tenure, but most notably when they won the Super Bowl in ’00 with Trent Dilfer. Billick possesses an 80-62 regular season win/loss record, and is 5-3 in the playoffs,
You know, the more I talk about Billick, the more I’m convincing myself. That’s it. I’m sold. Billick for the win!
Tony Dungy: More Kansas City experience, but again, I don’t know how big of a difference it makes. It was years ago, a different world when he was defensive backs coach out at Arrowhead. Speaking of, it was years ago and in a different world when he last coached the Colts. It was Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. I like Dungy, and to say that all of his success is due solely to one of the most talented offensive casts in the modern era is selling him short.
I DO stop and wonder, however, what his record might look like this year, standing in Jim Caldwell’s PF Flyers. Not saying he’d be winless—oh, no—but I wonder how many wins he might have… One? Two? Maybe three? Food for thought for those clamoring for a Dungy signing.
Who the Fans DON’T Want (and unfortunately, might get):
Josh McDaniels: Given the Patriots ties, the youthful impudence and the fact that he’ll come at a deep discount (because he’s LOUSY), this would make perfect sense for Chiefs.
And it sickens me.
The thought of the Chiefs hiring this joke-of-a-nobody makes me want to vomit blood and cry, all while punching a giraffe in the throat and defecating on a stack of Bibles.
This can’t happen, can it? (pleasetellmethiscanthappen, pleasetellmethiscanthappen)
…yeah. This could totally happen.
Romeo Crennel: I don’t think this happens—he’d have to go 3-0 for the rest of the year, AND do it convincingly, AND make an agreement to wash Pioli’s Suburu Legacy (that IS what most lesbians drive, right?) for the tenure of his contract. The man’s a fine defensive coordinator, but a head coach he ain’t. Sorry, Romeo.
Kirk Ferentz: Iowa’s head coach. Another possible hire due to the deep-rooted Pioli ties. Look, Clark—Scott—whoever’s reading this? Please, for the love of that great Tyrannosaurus Rex who lives in the middle of the Earth and controls all of life, no college coaches, PLEASE. We need someone who knows what it’s like to coach in the NFL, not somebody who’s learning at the same level as the young players. That might work for some teams, but not here, not now, not with this organization. If you hire Ferentz—or really ANYONE without NFL head coaching experience, you’re saying that you don’t care about ostracizing this loyal fan-base.
Don’t do that, please.
And if you do? I’m serious about the whole, “giraffe-punching-bible-pooping” thing I mentioned previously.