Inconsistency, Lack of Progress Lead to Chiefs Coaching Change
KANSAS CITY -- In a press conference held Monday afternoon, Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt and General Manager Scott Pioli named progress and consistency as issues regarding the dismissal of head coach Todd Haley.
Haley was relieved from his duties less than 24 hours after the Chiefs lost 37-10 to the Jets. The game was another example of inconsistencies that have followed the team since the 41-7 loss at home to Buffalo at the beginning of the 2011 NFL season. The Chiefs have lost five games by at least 27 points but had four-game winning streak between two losing streaks of three games or more.
Hunt and Pioli said they had discussed Haley's future last week and again on Sunday night before making the final decision Monday morning.
"As I've said many times before, our goal is to build a team that can consistently compete for championships and one that our fans can be proud of," Hunt said. "While there have been some bright spots throughout this season, it's clear to me that we were not making enough progress towards that goal."
"When we finally got down to talking about where things were, we felt that this was the best decision in order to create more consistency and progress," Pioli added.
Six weeks ago the Chiefs dug out of a 0-3 start to capture a share of first place in the AFC West but a winless November ensued before the Chiefs were able to stop the four-game losing streak with a 10-3 win in Chicago on December 4th.
"I think what we need to do is figure out what direction we are headed in and how we are going to continue to make progress and how we can get some consistency back," Pioli said. "I've talked to Clark about this; there is accountability on my part as well.
"I made the decision, or Clark gave me the ability to make the decision, on hiring the head coach. We are at a place where this didn't work out and I need to be held accountable. I will be held accountable and we'll continue to move forward."
Frustration came to a head Sunday afternoon when Haley was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after arguing with an official. Pioli said that the dismissal had nothing to do with a singular event involving Haley's sideline demeanor or decision to stick with struggling quarterback Tyler Palko.
Both Hunt and Pioli agreed a change had to be made after the on-field progress built from the past two seasons had significantly slowed.
"We definitely have had one of those years where we have had a number of injuries and injuries to key players," Hunt said. "However, most years that's typical in the National Football League and as a team you have to find a way to overcome that and we just weren't able to do that this year.
"Our play was up and down the entire season. At times it was up and down during a given game and I think those really contributed to our decision, the fact that our play was not consistent at all."
The franchise will turn to defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel for at least the final three games of the season. Crennel brings a steady, experienced hand while the team strives to regain consistency and recapture the progress it made during last season's division championship run.
"I know the respect that Romeo commands from the players in the locker room," Pioli said. "There are a number of people [on staff] who have some head coaching experience. Emmitt [Thomas] has been an interim coach, Jim [Zorn] has been a head coach, Mo [Maurice Carthon] has been around long enough. There are a number of people to consider who have great qualities.
"I also think that Romeo has done this, he's done it recently and I think watching how the players react and respond to Romeo had something to do with it."