Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt and General Manager Scott Pioli spoke of progress and consistency when discussing the dismissal of head coach Todd Haley for the first time.
The decision to relieve Haley from his duties as head coach came less than 24 hours after the Chiefs 37-10 loss to the Jets in New York. Kansas City’s performance was the latest example of inconsistencies that have plagued the team since a 41-7 home loss to Buffalo began the 2011 season.
The Chiefs have lost five games by at least 27 points and seen a four-game winning streak sandwiched by two losing streaks of three games or more.
Hunt and Pioli discussed Haley’s future last week and again on Sunday night before reconvening Monday morning to make a final decision.
“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.
Just six weeks ago the Chiefs had dug out of a 0-3 start to capture a share of first place in the AFC West. 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.
Kansas City has scored just three touchdowns since a dramatic 23-20 overtime victory over San Diego gave the team a share of first place on Halloween night. It’s a scoring drought that’s spanned 398 snaps over the past 24 quarters of play.
Meanwhile, the defense has turned in stellar performances against Chicago and Pittsburgh but has also given up 31 points or more in three of its six games since regaining a share of first place on October 31st.
“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. However, 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
Ultimately, 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.”
No timetable has been set for finding Haley’s permanent replacement, but 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.”