Apart from the growing discomfort of Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and the remaining members of his staff regarding their status while the new regime in Kansas City decides whether to keep them around, the ongoing delay in the decision-making regarding whether Edwards will stay or go could create a huge problem for the franchise and its new G.M., Scott Pioli.
At a certain point, the process of deciding whether to maintain the status quo will begin to come off not as a question of whether the Chiefs and Pioli want Edwards, but as a question of whether the Chiefs and Pioli are attempting to line up the next coach before firing the current one.
The problem with such an approach is that, unless the next coach is a minority candidate, any wink-nod agreement with a new coach constitutes a violation of the Rooney Rule, which requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for each head-coaching vacancy.
Complicating matters for the Chiefs is the “don’t do us any favors” speculation of NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, who predicts the next head coach will be Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
If enough people end up thinking that, it might be hard to find any minority candidates who’ll interview for the job, if/when Edwards is given the heave-ho.
Further complicating matters is that local agitator extraordinaire Jason Whitlock is pressing the franchise to make a decision on Edwards.
Other names linked to Pioli include Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.  And, as we’ve recently speculated, a certain V.P. of football operations in Miami whose daughter married a pretty good G.M. might be interested in coaching again if he chooses to walk away from his current job with $12 million stuffed into his pockets.
Any team considering whether to dump its current head coach must ask the question of whether the replacement will be better.  But when it’s impermissible to negotiate a binding deal with the replacement (unless the replacement is also a minority candidate), the decision to allow the current coach to leave creates a risk that, in the end, the franchise won’t be able to land the first choice.  Or the second choice.  Or the third one.
Another very real dynamic this time around is the question of whether the Chiefs might be able to hire a better replacement in the 2010 cycle, when names like Cowher and Shanahan and Holmgren and Gruden could be available.
So, as a practical matter, the Chiefs face three questions:  (1) do we keep Edwards; (2) can we get someone better than him now; and (3) can we get someone even better than that next year?
Given the complexity of the situation and the importance of making the right move (as we observed last week at, this first decision of Pioli’s tenure likely will be his most important), the fact that a week has passed since Pioli’s introductory press conference isn’t all that alarming.
But if the process of deciding whether to keep Edwards extends beyond the coming weekend, and if Edwards eventually is fired, the first days of a new era in Kansas City could be marred by allegations that the hiring process circumvented the spirit if not the letter of the Rooney Rule.
UPDATE:  In response to several comments and questions, interviewing Edwards before firing him does not constitute compliance with the Rooney Rule.


  1. 1. They weren’t going to fire Herm on MLK day nor the inaguration (indoctranation).
    2. They really need to get rid of the Rooney rule because I agree with Mixmasterjeff, it is an insult. If nothing else they need to change it. If a team is coming off having a minority head coach in the past 2 coaches they need to be exempt from the rule. The team obviously is willing to hire minorities.

  2. The Rooney Rule is an insult to “minorities”, period. We have a “minority” president…do we really need a rule that says we have to interview “minority” candidates?

  3. if Pioli talked to Edwards (i.e. interviewed him to keep his job), wouldn’t that constitute fulfillment of this dinosaur of a rule??

  4. They have had a minority “interview” for the past 3 years with Edwards as the coach. Why would they have to bring in another guy for an interview?
    The Rooney Rule is totally unneeded anyway.

  5. The “Rooney Rule” is an insult, but also neccessary. If minorities were getting a fair shot at top jobs in the first place, the rule wouldn’t exist. I think the NFL has done a good job of providing those opportunities. I think its the collegiate level that needs to look at its hiring policies.

  6. Hey they get extra consideration for being a minority …
    … can I get extra consideration for being short?
    I agree that prejudices still exist, but enough already …
    … an interview shouldn’t hurt, but if something like this can be construed as detrimental to a team then someone needs to speak up …
    Herm is a minority … his consideration for the job should fit the bill …
    … I disagree with going back 2 like someone else suggested, but this issue has garnered as much negative as it has positive …
    Time to grow and move on!

  7. I don’t understand, if Pioli has even a cup of coffee with Herm Edwards – wouldn’t that fulfill the Rooney rule?

  8. I tend to agree with Chris Collinsworth assessment that Todd Haley will be the next HC of the KC Chiefs, the same Todd Haley that was on the staff in Dallas of a certain well known father in law whom I would think might have some input.
    I agree, the time has come to end the Rooney rule. It is an insult to minorities.Blackglass3 stated it best.

  9. This should not be regarded as foot dragging. Scott will take a measured approach as was done in New England. He does not work on your time table and does not care what your opinion is. Like New England – when they are ready to make a move – they will and then and only then will you know what will happen.
    Scott is a professional and believe me he is acting like one.
    KC is in lock down mode and you won’t here a peep unless they want you to.

  10. If I was Pioli, here’s what I’d do:
    Use free agency and the draft to cobble together an O-line that can actually, you know, play football, and to add a couple of LBs who might know what tight ends and running backs look like.
    Start praying daily that the extremely young D-line and secondary mature in a hurry.
    Then allow Herm the final year of his contract to post at least a 9-7 record.
    That said, it’s probably a good thing for KC fans that I’m not Pioli, eh?

  11. Gee, like Pioli hasn’t thought of this and more. Gimmme a break. Just because nothing’s happened externally doesn’t mean things aren’t happening internally. Pioli’s been on the job for what, a week? He’s deliberate and calculating and could care less what the media thinks of his operating procedures.

  12. Mike – with all respect due to someone who has never worked in an NFL front office, who cares what your opinion is or what Jason Whitlock’s opinion is? Whitlock HAS to write about something. That’s his job. That’s how he feeds his family. He’s not getting any info from KC so he is pitching a bitch. If either of you knew anything about running a team and what’s best for the team, you would be doing Pioli’s job – not commenting on it. KC fans want a winner. They know it will take some time. They trust that Pioli will do what is in the best interest of the franchise in the long run. If that means that we’re stuck with Herm for one more year b/c Pioli is holding out for a better coaching staff, so be it. We’ve suffered through 2-14.
    As for the Rooney rule, doesn’t interviewing Herm count for anything? I didn’t know you were the final arbiter of what constitutes compliance with the Rooney Rule. You seem to have a fixation with that rule. You’re always trying to create an issue.

  13. Herman Edwards has already been through about 3 interviews, sufficing any ridiculous rule that states: “you must interview at least one elitist white male, one short guy, one fat guy, one woman, one minority, and one high school candidate – regardless of actual merit.”
    That rule needs to go, reporters should stick to reporting and not speculation. We are seeing the new KC Chiefs right now. Silent and deliberate…just be patient.
    My personal wish list starts with the name Ron Rivera.

  14. Keep Herm for a (painful) year. I believe his contract is up after next season anyway, then get your real head coach.
    Start drafting solid players now (i.e. O-line), so when you get a real coach, he can bring in his guys and won’t be stuck with 2-14 talent.

  15. Interviewing Herm would only count half-way towards the Rooney Rule because he’s Half-Black and Half-White. So he’s half a minority. I love how “some” people are calling the Rooney Rule an insult to “minorities”. How would you know what is in the best interest for “minorities”?

  16. I understand Pioli has a good track record of working in the background behind a strong head coach, but I seriously doubt Pioli is going to bring in a head coach like Shanahan, Holmgren or Cowher all of whom will want final say over pretty much everything.

  17. “Further complicating matters is that local agitator extraordinaire Jason Whitlock is pressing the franchise to make a decision on Edwards.”
    Florio – you give Whitlock WAY too much credit. He’s regarded not as “local agitator extraordinaire” in Kansas City, he’s regarded as a buffoon, a joke and a sorry excuse for a journalist. I swear he must write this crap laying on the couch in his underware, and sending it in on his blackberry. His ramblings and babbling will have exactly zero, none, nada, zippo influence on what Pioli is going to do, and when he is going to do it.

  18. Have there been any rumors linking Shanahan to the Chiefs? If I were Pioli, I’d be all over him. If I were Shanny, I’d put my control-freak ego aside and try to work with Pioli. Couple of great minds together.
    Unless somebody knows something about bad blood between the two I don’t know about, one would have to assume some level of mutual respect. It could work.

  19. Do we even need this stupid Rooney Rule anymore? How many
    minority head coaches are there now? One? No. There are at
    least 6. It’s a stupid rule that nobody adheres to. The best
    candidate will always get the job.

  20. Florio wrote
    “Another very real dynamic this time around is the question of whether the Chiefs might be able to hire a better replacement in the 2010 cycle, when names like Cowher and Shanahan and Holmgren and Gruden could be available.”
    That’s doubtful because any of those 4 guys will want some say if not total control of personnel, and since Pioli will be the one making the hire, it’s highly unlikely one of those 4 will be the coach.

  21. Did you look at the Rooney rule?
    There are exceptions.
    Hiring a ‘coach in waiting’ obviously skirts the rule. Caldwell and Mora are examples of that.
    Having a minority head coach also gives you an exemption on your next hire…

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