Scott Pioli just fired the wrong guy. But firing himself would have been unprecedented and dumb. Clark Hunt wasn’t going to fire Pioli. When he was hired he was the hottest potential GM around, and he still has some of that collateral to play with. So with the relationship between Haley and Pioli cold as ice, it was Haley who had to go. I get that, but it doesn’t make it right.
To be clear, Haley was not fired because of what happened on the field this season. It only allowed Pioli to fire Haley for his real reason, he didn’t like Haley. Reports are now surfacing that Pioli would have liked to rid himself of Haley even after last season, but couldn’t on the back of a division championship and playoff appearance.
Granted, the Chiefs didn’t look great this season, but pulling 5 wins out of this team with this roster is a coaching feet in and of itself. The injuries themselves would have normally warranted some cushion for many coaches, especially after overachieving last season.
But firing a coach a season after a division championship is not unprecedented. Here are some recent examples:
- Bill Callahan from Oakland in 2003 a year after leading Raiders to the Superbowl. Unlike Haley there was a full on mutiny on that Raiders team that season.
- Marty Schottenheimer fired during the off-season from Chargers in 2006 after a 14-2 season. This is a close parallel to Pioli and Haley, because Schottenheimer was fired because of conflict with his GM.
- Wade Phillips from Cowboys in 2010 after winning the division the previous year at 11-5.
There are plenty more examples to draw from, and until you become an untouchable head coach with some superbowl wins on your resume, you’re future will always be in the hands of a GM. Haley was no exception.
But even with those previous examples, what doesn’t sit right is that Haley had not lost the confidence of his team or coaching staff. I think given the time he would have turned out to be a great head coach. It has been well documented that Haley has a knack for motivating players, and in the three years he was here, many of the more talented players on the Chiefs started playing up to their potential under Haley, i.e. Dwayne Bowe and Derrick Johnson.
But, we will never know for sure what Haley could have done. He may get another shot sometime down the road, and I for one will be rooting for him if he does.
Upwards and onwards. Who will be our next coach?
For those of you delusional enough to throw out names like Bill Cowher, Jeff Fischer, and Jon Gruden…you’re crazy. Do you think any of those guys want this job? After what they just witnessed with Haley? Pioli declared himself too big to fail, too smart to lose, and too dumb to get out of the way. None of those guys are going to step into a situation where the GM is going to throw his weight around like that. Those three coaches will want way more personnel control than Pioli is willing to give up.
No, we’ll get Josh McDaniel or some other “Patriot Way” cast-off so Pioli’s ego has room to grow. But he better get it right because this is probably his last coaching hire. And if he doesn’t draft a QB this year, he might as well start updating his resume. If he continues to tether himself to Cassel then he’s done.
Here’s the short list of names I’ve heard mentioned so far:
And here’s the Christmas Wish List:
And here’s left field, but worth a look: