Red Flags Being Raised Over Early Missteps by the Chiefs

Chiefs Haley Football

Under the twenty-year dictatorship of GM Carl Peterson, the Kansas City Chiefs amassed an impressive yet impotent record of 176-141-1. In that time span, the Chiefs secured four AFC West titles but only a single visit to the AFC Championship game in 1993. The firing of Peterson and the eventual signing of Scott Pioli as his successor, was both over due and widely welcomed.

However, like a Las Vegas drive-thru wedding, this union between Pioli and the Chiefs is already beginning to show some unexpected wear. This could be a rush to judgment based on nothing more than newlywed jitters, but the erosion is clear and the concerns warranted. A closer examination of the foundational cracks in this young relationship should help to clarify or disclaim any need for worry.

Herman Edwards: Most would agree that you do in fact “play to win the game”, and most would also agree that Herm wasn’t very good at it. His talent as a head coach might be questioned, but there can be no question when it comes to grading Herman Edwards the person. To some, the handling or mishandling as it might be, of his firing, was down right disrespectful.

As Herm paraded the halls of Arrowhead giving the lay of the land to the new GM, media types were giving Edwards a 20% chance of retaining his job. As the days passed along, it became more and more clear that once the Super Bowl was in the books, Edwards too would be history. This might seem as nit picking, but certainly, the situation could have been handled with a tad more class and dignity you would think.

Larry Johnson: Back in February Chiefs RB Larry Johnson shared his feelings (again) during a 23-minute interview on KCSP 610 radio;

“I’d rather just play somewhere else. This is a rebuilding team. I dont’ really think that I belong on this rebuilding team. It’s just the way the league works. I’ve done what I’ve done for Kansas City. I’m not getting no younger, and the team is getting younger. So I’m not sure I fit in the scheme of things. I never felt like I was in the scheme of things anyways. Everyone wants to do it the hard way, or you can do it the easy way.”

In the interview Larry goes on to talk about the fans of Kansas City saying that he gets boo’ed when out at 20 sporting events or in the public.

“That’s Kansas City. The rumor mill builds, and the jealousy, and the envy, starts. You feel trapped. At one point I didn’t even want to leave my house.”

One can only wonder at the difficulty Chiefs fans will have cheering for a player that has repeatedly put himself ahead of his team and the community. To be disrespected by a player is one thing, but to be ignored by the GM is quite another.

To many fans, releasing Larry Johnson should have been item 1A on Pioli’s to do list. Player character is all too important in today’s NFL and conduct violations of the nature of DWI, drug usage, spousal abuse and community bashing are unacceptable. Scott Pioli missed an excellent opportunity to put his words into action.

Head Coach Todd Haley: Part of the allure of Todd Haley is in fact his no nonsense in your face fireball temperament. Fans felt revived in knowing that their head coach was able and willing to take the bull by the horns, look him in the eyes and ride him for eight. Well coach Parcells, sorry, Haley, found his bull in LG Brian Waters. God only knows what went on between those two, but this we do know, Haley had more than a little to say about the anemic 2008 Chiefs.

According to reports, Waters flew to Kansas City specifically to meet with Haley and Pioli and hear their plan for the direction of the organization. Pioli declined to meet with Waters, saying they had nothing to discuss, the source said. And Haley began his hallway conversation with Waters by proclaiming that 22 players off the street could win two games, the source said.

Let’s put it this way, had a Raiders fan popped off to a Chiefs fan with such a punky statement, chances are he’d be eating through a straw for more than one meal. Granted the 2008 Chiefs stunk up the joint, fans not only know it they still feel the sting of it. Having the new head coach rubbing salt in that wound isn’t the best way to begin a long-term relationship.

The above references will undoubtedly need to be swept under the rug and accepted as character traits and growing pains by fans and those examining Scott Pioli. Forgive and forget is an all-important rule in all relationships and applicable here as well.

But strategic blunders brushed off with pompous explanation laced in experience and expertise, highlighted by arrogant tones, not only harms the valued trust level within the locker-room and stadium seats but more importantly, harm is done to the efforts of producing a consistent winner.

The Kansas City Chiefs have toiled long enough in the darkness of obscurity to endure continued failure at the hands of yet another uncommitted self-absorbed regime.

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7 Responses to “Red Flags Being Raised Over Early Missteps by the Chiefs”

  1. Dave says:

    I would agree with statements 1 and 2. I do however disagree with 3.

    Haley has been to the Superbowl, he knows how to get there. So does Pioli. In my lifetime, the Chiefs have not. Waters is a fantastic human being and I would love to see him wearing red until he retires. But when he flew up that was mere days before the announcement of the trade for Vrabel and Cassel there was obviously a lot going on in the front office at that time.

    His intentions were pure, however the timing was (unknown to him) bad. So obviously Pioli was a bit busy to chat about his mission statement. Haley was also (a bit rudely) correct about the 2 wins. It was painful. Although I think the Lions suited 22 people off the streets last year.

    I don’t think either party is in the wrong as far as the Waters situation, I think timing was the big issue. Haley wants to win, Waters wants to win. They should try again closer to training camp to have that chat.

  2. CurtMerzFan says:

    I don’t think you could be further off the mark than you are about the relationship between Hunt and Pioli. In fact, I believe they discussed exactly what’s been going on between management and the existing pro bowl members of the team prior to Pioli getting the job. In order to effectively change the atmosphere and mindset of this team, they absolutely needed to sweep out the locker-room. This more than anything has something to do with the Tony Gonzalez trade.

    The conflict with Waters was an intentional, pre-meditated act of a coach sending a message to the rest of the men in that locker room. Every since that incident, those players are saying to themselves; “if Brian Waters has no standing with the new coach, then nobody does”, and this is a good thing. Furthermore, while Waters is a popular man in KC, he has nothing like the standing of a Tony Gonzalez because folks always remember the way he whines to the media about his contract – whether it’s near the end or not. Truthfully, I find it hard to believe Waters would have ever made a pro bowl if he weren’t playing next to a talent like Willie Roaf.

    Finally, KC is loathe to release Larry Johnson without getting anything for him. Baggage and all, he still has some gas left in his tank. Talking about him or their plans for him before they make a move is just not smart business. KC is not on the hook for his fat contract until he makes the final regular season roster which is still months and months away. Lot’s of things can happen in the meantime to make LJ more attractive to another team in a trade – injuries, retirements, etc. Being silent and not running LJ down in the meantime is simply good business.

    I think Clark Hunt knew exactly what to expect from Pioli when he hired him, and I believe he’s getting exactly what this team needs to change the losing culture in that locker-room.

  3. Blue says:

    1)Herm received far more respect than he deserved from Pioli, and Clark Hunt, for nearly destroying the franchise. Pioli kept him around and gave him the courtesy of listening to him, and his insane ideas on how to win in the NFL. For that, Scott deserves respect.
    2)LJ is a commodity that is worth more to the Chiefs than he’d bring in trade. His attitude has changed, since Herm has left, so why should the new regime, who cares about winning, just release him for nothing. Pioli/Haley’s main requirement is for players that want to be Chiefs. If LJ wants to be, as all recent indications show, he should be given the opportunity to help this team win.
    3)Pioli and Halyey were 100% correct in their treatment of Waters. This isn’t a country club run by the players anymore, Club Herm. Waters should have called from Dallas for an appointment, instead of just showed up and assumed he had the right to an “explanation” of what Pioli and Haley plan to do with the club.

  4. Mark Andersen says:

    I totally DISAGREE!!
    1. Herm was under contract and is STILL being paid by the Chiefs. Why not spend time pumping him for as much information from his perspective as possible…..doing anything less would be the disrespectful thing to do!!
    2. LJ has character problems …. unfortunately all of us do. I think Pioli has the proper perspective, when and if those problems impact team winning deal with it. But as Haley said we are starting with a clean slate. Work hard, be a team member and follow instructions and you stay. Don’t and you go. But dont cut value until they cross the line with the new regime.
    3. B. Waters affair. Clearly Jason Whitlock blew this out of proportion, he is no friend of KC sports. Otherwise, we would be still hearing from Waters about the problem.

  5. Chief1 says:

    The disrespect in the Herm situation was to the KC fans. How many professional organizations would even consider leaving an individual with such a pitiful record as their head coach? Pioli was asked by his boss to listen to Herm, view video, investigate information about the Chiefs & then make a determination on whether to retain Herm. While this may ultimately have hampered Pioli to get things moving in the right direction, he respected his boss’s decision and took time that probably shouldn’t have been wasted. Let’s not disparage the character of Pioli. What he did cannot be described as disrespectful.

  6. Mike says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with this analysis, that anyone of the items are misteps or red flags. Both Edwards and Johnson were and are being treated very respectfully and are not being brushed to the curb. As far as Waters is concerned, it’s no longer about the player, its about the team. Brian was treated the same as other veteran players in my opionin. He needs to get past it and understand that primadonna types are no longer catered to.

  7. john says:

    Everything that has went on with this franchise is the right call. Every decision has been thought out and executed for whats best for the team. They know how to do their job and I am so sick of reading all of this bullshit drama from Chiefs fans! Let them do their job and I will guarantee you that we will get better. Anything is better than 2 14.