When Kansas City Chiefs Chairman, Clark Hunt, jettisoned General Manager, Scott Pioli and Head Coach, Romeo Crennel, after the team went 2-14 in 2002, I was nervous. Then a little birdy told me that Hunt told Pioli (in the midst of keeping his future in limbo after firing the head coach) that he wasn’t going to be talked out of hiring the man he wanted to become his next head coach.
The reference goes back to the rumors that Hunt wanted Mike Shanahan to coach the Chiefs after Pioli fired, Herm Edwards. Pioli ultimately won the tug of war between the two men and thus the Chiefs organization settled for the incompetent, Todd Haley, as their head coach.
Had Hunt gotten his way perhaps the chaos that followed within the bowels of One Arrowhead Drive during the Pioli tenure might have created a better chapter. However, if it hadn’t happened exactly the way it did, I doubt this franchise would be as solid from top to bottom as it stands now.
Hunt was swift in deciding there was only one man that could guide the Chiefs back to respectability. In hiring, Andy Reid, the Chiefs Owner understood the mistakes of the past would not be tolerated in the future.
In bringing Reid to Kansas City and General Manager, John Dorsey, this franchise had reinvented its image over night. However, the transition wasn’t easy. The fact Reid and Dorsey replaced over 30 players from the roster they inherited in year one, told everyone what they thought of the team the previous regime built.
In 2013, the Chiefs had a wonderful season, made the post-season and found a path back to a winning record. Granted the team could never match the fortunes of their 9-0 start but they did give fans hope the seeds for future January winning streaks were attainable.
Last season the Chiefs fell one game short of making back-to-back Wild Card appearances. The reasons the Chiefs failed in that endeavor, had much to do with the fact this team was still learning how to win.
Entering year three the Chiefs appear to have the best roster this franchise has seen in a decade. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball. They’ve changed the culture in the locker room and lastly believe they can win AFC West titles.
Despite some head scratching play calling at times, Reid has done a marvelous job in waiting patiently for his roster to build out. The shortcomings at offensive line and wide receiver, have handcuffed the head coach from using his entire playbook. Now with a solid off-season, Kansas City has addressed their biggest areas of weakness and Reid’s offense could be darn electric in 2015.
For his part, Dorsey has done a solid job in adding punch to his roster. He’s found a few prime time players in free agency, made a couple of solid trades and drafted guys who fit their schemes. Granted, not everyone he signed panned out, but he can be proud of the fact his 2015 roster is a mix of what he inherited and what he created.
It’s far too early to say this season is going to lead to an AFC West title or a playoff win for this franchise. Yet, I truly believe, despite a wicked schedule, both will occur for this franchise in January.
In summary, Hunt has committed mega millions to the expanding payroll, Dorsey has weathered some roster and salary cap challenges and Reid has done a solid job, despite the fact his roster was suspect in key positions, to deliver a pair of winning seasons in 2013 and 2014.
My grandfather used to tell me when I was a kid hard work can overcome every obstacle a man had to face in his job. In the case of the Chiefs, the trio of Hunt, Reid and Dorsey, got their hands dirty and rebuilt this franchise from rock bottom to contender in just two years.
We all know the proof is in the pudding as they say, and the Chiefs won’t be accepted by its fan base, until they win the AFC West and end their maddening playoff losing streak.
That doesn’t mean we can’t sit back and admire the work these three men have done in turning around a franchise that had become a disgrace to the fan base.
So regardless of what wins or losses lay ahead for this franchise in 2015, one thing is certain, the legacies of these three men could be defined by seasons end - especially if the Chiefs become Super once again.