The NFL has informed the Chiefs that Vermeil should not plan on giving kicker Morten Andersen the bottle of expensive vintage wine the coach promised as a playful incentive before his wine-collector kicker converted the game-winning field goal against Oakland.
"I've been told it's not legal to do that," Vermeil said after learning that the league has rules against such personal incentives that are not part of a player's contract. "I'll wait until after the season and we'll share a glass of wine at my house."
Vermeil was not fined for his offer, the club said.
Even though Vermeil had to withdraw his offer to Andersen, wine connoisseurs throughout the Kansas City area called the Chiefs offering Andersen a Don Bryant Family Vineyards bottle from their collections. The hard-to-find vintage comes with an estimated price tag of up to $500.
Andersen, who shares an appreciation of fine wines with his coach, was hardly broken up by the prospect of not getting a vintage bottle for his collection.
"It all started off as a fun thing," he said. "Now look where it's gone."
Vermeil may be through sending bottles of wine to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, though he says he's done so in the recent past.
"I sent him one of the first bottles of JLB Cabernet, but I don't know if he ever got it," Vermeil said of his own family-owned vintage. "I know he's a wine drinker and a good paisan."
Punter Jason Baker is on notice after one of his low, short punts was returned for a touchdown in the loss to Cincinnati, and another returned deep into Chiefs territory to set up the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter against Oakland.
"I think he has the talent to be a fine punter," Vermeil recently said of Baker. "He didn't demonstrate that yesterday, but he got a game ball a few weeks ago. We've just got to get him to be more consistent.
"But, if it becomes a week-in and week-out thing, then next year you've got to get a new punter. I just donOt know where you get one now. I can't just go to Macy's."
What's especially annoying to Vermeil is that Baker is said to punt well in closed practices and pre-game warmups. But when the lights go on, he gets the yips.
"Chances are, I'll stay with him awhile and see if we can't get him to punt through his game-day problems," Vermeil said. "He's been punting so well on the practice field that sooner or later his technique will not be negatively influenced by game-day pressure."
BY THE NUMBERS: 10
The number of Chiefs-Chargers game that have been decided by one point, the most of any NFL series. 101 -- the number of games won by Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer during his 10-year tenure in Kansas City. His .634 winning percentage is a club record.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"All I care about is what they weigh on Sunday. I don't want any fat asses out there." - Dick Vermeil on whether he's ever been concerned about players putting on extra weight during the Thanksgiving holiday.