The Chiefs started 0-3.
They lost Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, and Jamaal Charles for the season.
After winning the AFC West last season, the rising team filled with young talent was just another team experts prematurely threw into the “Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.”
Coach Todd Haley was almost fired two weeks ago.
Quarterback Matt Cassel was no longer the answer, he was the problem.
Was last year’s success a fluke? Could the coach/QB combo get canned following the season?
All of a sudden, the 44-year old Haley was starting a crisis and was in need of some advice to right the ship in Kansas City – to save his job, the season, and his players.
He called his father, the legendary former personnel man Dick Haley, and asked for wisdom. “Just coach,” the elder Haley told his son, and don’t worry so much about everything else.
Since the Chargers loss in Week 3, in which the team gave a valiant effort in a comeback bid that fell short, Haley has changed his approach – and the players are on board with that revised plan.
“It’s like you’re out there with another player,” Chiefs fullback Le’Ron McClain said.
“We love him, man,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “That’s like our brother.”
“Todd is one of the guys,” wide receiver Dwayne Bowe said.
It’s more than just games Haley is winning, it’s a locker room full of players that believe in what he is doing.
The remarkable turnaround has Haley growing a beard, and learning that becoming a head coach means you have consider how the guys respond to your coaching.
“It ain’t about how I look, it isn’t about how I sound,” he said. “It isn’t about how I do in front of the cameras. It’s about how I coach, and it’s about how those guys respond.”
For a team as talented as the Chiefs, it was just a matter of saying things would be OK.
“It was just a strong feeling that came to me,” Haley said after the spirited effort in San Diego in Week 3, “that they’re going to be OK.”
Now with a three-game winning streak, the Chiefs appear to be OK, just one game back in the win column of the AFC-West leading Chargers.
Who would’ve thought that after the Chiefs’ loss in Week 3, Haley’s crew would have the chance to beat those same Chargers they lost to back in September, at Arrowhead on Halloween night, and with a win, be tied for first place in the AFC West?
“Maybe I was trying too hard,” Haley said. “I might’ve been, I might’ve been trying too hard. Maybe I was worrying about the wrong things.”
The thing is, it’s not too hard to envision the Chiefs turning around their season and defending their AFC West crown after an 0-3 start.
Yet, who knew it would take a loss in San Diego followed by some simple words from the coach’s father?