In Kansas City, blame goes all the way to the top


It’s become fashionable — and easy — to point to coach Todd Haley as the man responsible for the Kansas City clusterfudge.  But in light of eight quarters of football in which, on average, the Chiefs have been outscored at a rate of more than 11 to less than two, the buck doesn’t stop only on the head coach’s desk.

Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star accurately points out at the finger of blame should be pointed higher.

G.M. Scott Pioli hired the coach who suddenly can’t, and to the extent that the acrid smoke of dysfunction currently is billowing from the team’s headquarters, Pioli is the chef who put in ingredients in the vat and began to stir.  Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reports that the dysfunction between Pioli and Haley could be on the brink of all-out war, if it’s not already there.  (And Chiefs fans surely will feel their stomachs continue to turn like cooked pigs on a spit as they process Silver’s prediction that Pioli wants to hire the man who ran the Broncos ship aground in only two seasons.)

As to the on-field employees, it’s Pioli who has spent — or who hasn’t spent — money on making the team better.  Though few free-agency spending sprees ever have resulted in immediate success, the fact that, as of August 29, the Chiefs had more than $32 million in cap space suggests that the Chiefs plan to take full advantage of the next two years with no spending minimum, riding the fumes of an unlikely 2010 playoff berth to fill the seats at Arrowhead Stadium, and to stuff the mattresses with cash.

If that’s what’s happening, the oil slick of culpability goes all the way to owner Clark Hunt, who ultimately bears the blame for assembling a work force that has been worked over by two franchises that have no playoff berths between them in more than a decade.  The Chiefs are indeed in bad, bad shape right now, and someone needs to rise above petty bickering and turf battles and provide real leadership.

64 responses to “In Kansas City, blame goes all the way to the top

  1. I think the injury bug is the main thing to blame. If you lose your best offrnsive and best defensive player to IR in back to back weeks the wheels will come off any team. Just ask Indy.

  2. Who would have figured the worst owners in KC would become the Hunt family.

    KC deserves better. The Royals have had the worst owners in sports, and they may lose their title soon.

  3. Weiss, Crennel, Mangini, McDaniels, Pioli, etc., et al, have all met with absolute failure once they left the Patriots and cheating was taken out of the equation.

    BTW – Pioli’s claim to fame and what he road to an entire career in football was accidentally picking Tom Brady in the sixth round.

    Pioli actually thinks that he is a shrewd judge of quarterback talent and that Matt Cassel is a franchise quarterback.

  4. Oh but all these aother teams or running up the score on Haley and company-and did he shake the winning coaches hand or did he boo hoo hoo?

  5. When Hunt brought in Pioli most seen it as a positive move but when I heard the news I thought at the time that since he was new at that position he would stay away from an established coach and the Chiefs would go after a young and untested HC. So it didn’t surprise me when Pioli did it but what did surprise me was when they hired a guy that never played the game at the pro level.

  6. Why does nobody bring up Charlie Weis in particular? Has the NFL put a threat out there that you will be fined if you mention him by name? The Chiefs were not a great defensive team last year, but they did have a tremendous offense, which certainly benefits your defense by keeping them off the field and giving them a breather. In yesterday’s game, the Chiefs turned the ball over, it seemed, every time they touched the ball, meaning the defense, still short of breath, had to drag themselves back on the field for further humiliation by the league’s QB of the future (Stafford).

    Let’s face it, the worst decision was not doing everything possible to keep Charlie the tuna. We’ve seen coordinators get paid and respected like head coaches before (it would be hard to imagine Dick Lebeau is not, though I don’t have that information). Seems like a pretty simple call that the same should have been done for Chuck W.

  7. I am a Chief’s fan from Kansas City and I blame Pioli for this mess. He is the one that sent our two Hall of Fame talents packing (Waters & Gonzales) due to ego. By the way, both those guys are having good years. Pioli also has not provided a steady offensive coordinator and he hasn’t spent a dime upgrading with any free agents. Pioli also had the 30 year employee and president of the Chiefs, Denny Thum, escorted out of the building like a criminal. Pioli is a scumbag.

  8. Again, For those of you wondering how could this happen to a team that went 10-6 last year, all you need to look at is how they went 10-6 last year, they beat ONE team with a winning record and that was the fluke win over the 9-7 chargers opening weekend at home. This team was NEVER any good to start with.

  9. as a huge chiefs fan and like a lot of chiefs fans we feel they are still a work in progress. and do you really believe that since they aren’t spending money this year (which if you count the resigning of all the core players they are spending) they are seriously pocketing it. come on that’s ridiculous. what if piolis plan is to spend next year? two weeks ago this story isn’t even a thought. but that being said I do feel haley needs to be fired.

  10. Ton Haley stripped Charlie Weis of his playcalling abilities before the Ravens playoff game in January. That was the icing on the cake to chase him out of town. Cassel and that Chiefs offense was @ it’s best when Weis was coaching that unit. Romeo was also started to jell on the defensive side too.
    Injuries will do that to you and I also think that Bill Muir is in over his head. The addition of Jim Zorn at QB coach could also be a coach killer. Their has to be a reason why Baltimore fired him. Cam Cameron and Jim Zorn were fighting all the time.
    Before Weis the Chiefs were a top 10 draft pick and post Weis they may be the same. The igo of Todd Haley will be his worst enemy. Even here in New England Brian Waters has been quoted that the 2 clubs are totally different in preparation and respect in the locker room. Todd Haley was not Pioli first choice, it was Kirk Ferentz from Iowa. McDaniels had already signed to total control in Denver. Interviewed Paul Paslaloni from Miami as a courtesy to his father in law Bill Parcells.
    Injuries are a part of the business. Things happen that you cannot control. This was a club that was in total disrepair when Pioli got here and last year was a fluke. The fans of KC need to be patient. It will balance out however when you lose Charles, Berry, Mioaki, Waters to NE and the list goes on. They are not that good to overcome such aversity yet. Baldwin and Bowe need a reality talk.
    It will fall into place eventually. Pioli, Cassel, Crennel all came from a first class team where winning is the only way. In my opinion though Todd Haley needs to go. His igo will stand in the way of that team developing into a champion. And McDaniels is not the answer either. Will Parcells comeout of retirement for his son in law. Or will Ferentz have enough at Iowa and move on?

  11. haleyistheman00, you obviously do not understand how the cap works. Clark Hunt and family are pocketing unspent salary cap money. Get a clue please, and quit being uninformed.

  12. No need to panic just yet. Things will be looking up for the Chiefs this week when they play the viklings…

  13. Haley is a jerk. McDaniels isn’t. That is the big difference. Mayhew and Cunningham are jerks, Pioli isn’t. It’s simple once you understand those things.

  14. Todd Haley was a flavour of the week head coaching choice. It should have been clear that he didn’t have the experience or, more importantly, the temperament, to be a head coach. What Kansas City desperately needs is some adult supervision in the head coach’s office, like Billick.

    Oh, and that snickering you hear is coming from Chan Gailey’s office in Buffalo.

  15. McDaniels as HC with Pioli as GM is a whole lot better than McDaniels as both. McDaniels tenure in Denver is not particularly relevant, as relatively few have questioned his abilities as a coach or offensive play-caller.

  16. threed61 says: Sep 19, 2011 11:15 AM

    A shame you can’t fire the owner!

    ditto…if that was possible we, Bills fans, woulda thrown Ralph Wilson on his a** 12 years ago!

  17. This season for a Chiefs are a victim of the lockout. With the shortened offseason, no OTA’s, etc. We all knew that the teams with a change in coaching and a team with a strong young presence would not be successful. Now you have injuries due to possible lack off off season conditioning. Pioli deserves a break here. This Chiefs team will be better in the long run. Not just this year. And I also will say again that Haley MUST GO. Even Turner Gill at KU which is a joke would do a better job at HC. That conversation for another day on why Mangino should have not have been fired. Hey theirs a thought. Bring in Mangino to assist the offense. Mark Mangino and Charlie the tuna are interchangable lol. Great offensive minds and similar size.

  18. I personally think they should just keep everything the way it is!! It’s mice not hearing a bunch of crap out of fair weather KC fans!! I hope everyone runs the score on that idiot they call coach all season!!

  19. jimmy and do you know how “real cash spent” works the chiefs actually spent a lot more than the cap says.

  20. I’d say by default Pioli gets a pass for now. It is the job of the head coach to make the most of the players he has and most of all be prepared to play, each week. If the Chiefs we clearly getting that done but lacked talent to go the extra distance that’d be on Pioli. Fact is this isn’t happening, KC has a good amount of talent on the team and isn’t even coming close. I really just think Haley is out of his league. Even in AZ he had limited control of the offense because of Wisenhunt (sp?). Add in it a QB like Kurt Warner that commands respect and we never got a full look at Haley. This was a hire trying to find the next great young coach, it isn’t working. Add to it we’ve been through 3 OC’s in 3 years just spells disaster. I can’t even tell if Cassel is a truly good QB, he certainly hasn’t had any consistency with his offensive coaches.

    As far as McDaniels who really knows? He was in way over his head in Denver calling ALL the shots. He certainly made the most from Orton while there and may be a good HC. Just not GM material at the moment. I thought at the time that Denver shouldn’t have fired him but just stripped him off the GM duties. But hey, I hate Denver worse than the Raiduhs so I was ok with it.

    Honestly though I think this team needs a guy like Cowher. But I’d hate to start all the Cowher talk as it’s been batted around for a decade in KC.

  21. bturner032002 says: “kansas city was the only team to accept my trade on madden franchise…

    chris cooley for 2012 1st rounder.”


    Of course…EA sports KNOWS the Chiefs franchise will have to fold in 2012 and move to Cali…

  22. At the end of the day, a large amount of the Lions’ points came off really, really dumb penalties, including personal foul calls for guys losing their temper. That’s not Pioli’s fault… it’s the coach. Would a better coach have lost like that? No way.

  23. I’m a Chiefs fan, with several comments to add to the discussion:

    1) @ oarangecrush: Fair weather fans? Are you freaking kidding me?! The Chiefs have consistently sucked for decades, and Arrowhead still sells out. You never hear talk of the Chiefs being blacked out, despite the fact that the Hunts have been cheaping out and fielding mediocre teams for ages. KC fans support the team through thick and thin, and they deserve a better effort.

    2) @ haleyisthemanoo: Dude, they cheaped out. I know it’s hard to admit, but that’s exactly what they did. They had $32 million more that could’ve/should’ve been spent, and they chose not to spend it. That is because Clark Hunt is a cheap f#ck who wants to keep the money in his own pockets because he already shelled out a bunch for stadium renovations. What good is a new stadium if no one wants to come watch your crappy team?

    3) I am still treading water on Pioli, but getting angrier by the minute. I have said all off-season long that the defense needed to be shored up. Then I sat back and watched Asomugha, Cromartie, Ike Taylor and the like get signed by teams with far less cap room. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking he had players in mind and was really trying to come up with “value” players. But those players never showed up, and we are still starting McGraw, Belcher, and a host of other no-names on the defense. That is Pioli’s fault. If he hires someone like McDaniels or even Romeo (great DC, not a HC) to replace Haley next year, I will cross officially into the mindset of believing Pioli should bear the blame for this mess. I had high hopes when he was signed as the GM, but he knew the caliber of schedule the Chiefs have this year, and he still didn’t do a damn thing about that defense. With Berry injured, we’re toast.

  24. Carl Gerbschmidt says:
    Sep 19, 2011 11:50 AM
    No need to panic just yet. Things will be looking up for the Chiefs this week when they play the viklings…

    I’m pretty sure they play at San Diego this week. They play the Vikings in Week 4. I’m predicting KC loses 24-23 on a missed extra point after falling behind 24-0 at halftime.

  25. Maybe a visit from Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison to that locker room will shake things up? Look what that did to Ochocinco yesterday in NE.
    A quote from Rick Pitino when he was the coach of the Celtics. Sports talk radio and blogs are ” membership of the miserable”. Let us do our jobs.
    Is Haley going to be the next to crack under pressure from his igo and arrogance. Who knows if Pioli and Haley have already started a war within the offices.

  26. McDaniels in KC would be sweet justice for all Broncos fans……

    First thing McDaniels would do – get rid of D. Bowe, J. Charles, and E. Berry. Then he’ll draft Taylor Martinez from Nebraska to be his QB while trading away a large number of 2nd round picks to get him.

    What a joke.

  27. favreforever says:
    Sep 19, 2011 11:51 AM
    Haley is a jerk. McDaniels isn’t. That is the big difference. Mayhew and Cunningham are jerks, Pioli isn’t. It’s simple once you understand those things.
    Really? McDaniels isn’t a jerk? Tell that to fans in Denver. He ran their two biggest offensive playmakers out of town due to his over-inflated ego. And exactly how are Mayhew and Cunningham jerks? Because Cunningham knows how to coach a defense? Because Mayhew knows how to build a team and not shake hands with a whining maggot GM?

    Pioli is the most over-rated GM in football. It’s siimple if you understand that.

    If you were any dumber, people would stick your feet in dirt and water you twice a week.

  28. sullijo1 says:
    Sep 19, 2011 1:31 PM
    Will somebody in KC please buy a billboard that says “STANZI” on it?

    I am on it. Made a call, somebody already took the billboard on I-70 next to the stadium and filled it with “WELCOME TO KC, JEFF FISHER”

  29. God this is getting to be ridicious. Next thing you all on I-70 are going to be calling for Bill Snyder from KSU to be your next coach at the Truman Sports Complex

  30. amazing how the media doe’s a 180. Last year this manager was considered among the best. Two years ago they ridiculed Green Bay manager Ted Thompson, and now he’s considered the best (for today at least). The season is young, be patient!

  31. Anybody defending McDaniels and trying to somehow spin his potential hiring as a positive NEEDS TO WAKE UP!

    DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN IN KC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You think the Chiefs are the joke of the league now, wait until that “one man franchise wrecking machine” gets ahold of them.

    WAKE UP!!! Stop drinking the red kool-aid – there is NO WAY this would be a good hire.


  32. The chiefs weren’t a legit threat until Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator. Then after Napoleon Bonaparte removed Weis’ ability to call plays after week 16, the team went to hell in a hand basket when they faced the Raiders in week 17 and got blown out to close the season. Then in the playoffs that following week, they got blown out again by the Ravens. In both blow out games, Mr. Bonaparte was calling the offensive plays.

    Charlie Weis was then let go (fired) in the offseason.

    Fast forward to 2011 season, the Chiefs lookd absolutely putrid in the entire preseason. Then get shellacked by the Buffalo Bills in the season opener in another blow out loss. In week 2, the Detroit Lions blew them out as well.

    The one remaining constant, Mr. Napoleon “Todd Haley” Bonaparte. To further complicate matters, the Chiefs are using the same QB play calling system that made the Redskins infamous. Having the off. coord. and Hayley call the plays, relaying them to the QB coach, and then into the QB.

    Haley has micromanaged that team back into irrelevance.

  33. Pioli needs to step up and be the man in charge and fire Haley this week. You left the Pats for precisely this opportunity to put your own imprint on a team, so be decisive like Belichik and quickly sever the cord when things go bad.
    A player’s coach like Romeo Crenel can handle the team for the rest of the season.

  34. m2karateman says: Sep 19, 2011 1:28 PM

    Really? McDaniels isn’t a jerk? Tell that to fans in Denver. He ran their two biggest offensive playmakers out of town due to his over-inflated ego….

    Don’t forget that he got rid of Peyton Hillis too! Then in his infinite wisdom, he replaced that talent with Touchdown Jesus and a gimpy coming-in-to-the-league WR in Demaryius Thomas.

  35. @ wetpaperbag2

    Weiss was not fired. He left because his ego was too big and because his special needs daughter was not properly cared for through the Parkville, MO school system.

  36. Which player is most responsible for KC’s awful start: A: Matt Cassel.

    Who pulled off the trade for Cassel, a lifetime backup? A: Scott Pioli.

    Who saw his team get embarrassed in the one game that Cassel missed last season, and then refused to go out and sign a decent backup QB to prevent that from happening again? A: Scott Pioli.

    Who has set up the KC roster so that no matter how badly his handpicked QB plays, there’s no chance of him getting benched? A: Scott Pioli.

    Pioli has thrown his head coach overboard with an anchor named Matt Cassel tied to his feet, and people wonder why Haley is fighting to keep his head above water.

  37. titsburgfeelers says:
    Sep 19, 2011 11:16 AM
    I guess all those chief fans have no comment? Sure had allot to say about tebow the last few months.
    I’m a Chiefs fan. Tebow still sucks.

    Anyways, this is what happens when you draft from the outside in, instead of inside out. Championship level teams get the QB first, then build up the lines, then the receivers and secondary. We’re going in reverse. Crappy QB, crappy line play and you can’t win in this league.

    I for one hope that the next 1st round draft pick by the Chiefs is either a quarterback or at least 300 pounds.

  38. And another thing…..

    If the Chiefs are as bad as I think, and they end up with the number 1 pick, Josh McDaniels won’t be an option. If there’s a coaching vacancy and Andrew Luck is coming in, the very top level coaches will line up to hitch their wagon to him for the next 10-15 years. Jeff Fisher, John Gruden, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher…. None of those guys is taking a job with a crappy QB, but Luck would change everything.

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