Should Chiefs Get Gunther?

The search for a new defensive coordinator begins and should end with Gunther Cunningham. The former Chiefs head coach is on the short list of candidates to replace Greg Robinson who resigned on Tuesday.

Greg Robinson won two Super Bowl rings as coordinator with Denver in ‘97 and ‘98. But Robinson never won over the Chiefs defense.

Why not?

Two words - Gunther Cunningham.

The Chiefs asked for and received permission from Tennessee to talk to the 57 year old Cunningham about their vacant defensive coordinator position.

No, Cunningham was not a good head coach for the Chiefs. Things were okay in year one, but it started to crack and then broke apart in year two.

Gunther was first blindsided by the death of Derrick Thomas who was like a son to him. And in the weeks and months that followed Gunther became the fall guy for a team that featured Kimble Anders and Donnell Bennett in the backfield, Andre Rison, (AKA Brock Middlebrook) at wide receiver, Jon Baker (AKA the bare-footed kicker) and, oh yeah, players like Elvis Grbac, Dan Williams, Carlton Gray, Victor Riley, Chester McGlockton ("Off sides no. 75 defense. Five-yards. First down!"). And so on down the list.

And I'm not even going to mention the actions of Bam Morris and Tamarick Vanover.

Though he didn't know it at the time, Cunningham was hired to be fired. It's the NFL, it happens. Even in Kansas City.

Ultimately though, in the end result of wooing Dick Vermeil out of retirement, Kansas City had hired a better head coach than what they just had. And that's not a knock on Gunther Cunningham. But Dick Vermeil was a proven winner, a man who guided two teams from doormat status to Super Bowl Champions.

Cunningham had shortcomings as a head coach, no doubt. Among them Cunningham said off-the-wall things, used the word "I" a lot, and threw tantrums on the sideline, etc.

But Cunningham has no shortcomings as a defensive coordinator and Cunningham is the perfect solution to the Chiefs defensive problems.

Cunningham is coarse, tough, no-nonsense and relentless. And his teams played like it.

Though they did run the "Falcon" for a time, Cunningham's teams weren't really fancy. For the most part, Cunningham's defenses didn't try to out scheme the scheme unlike Greg Robinson's. Cunningham's team just took the field, lined up, and knocked the crap out of John Elway.

Vermeil doesn't get too involved in his coaches, he delegates and lets the coaches be themselves and coach the way the feel is best. Vermeil is even less involved with the defensive side of the ball. He gives his D-coordinator total control, always.

And who better to have total control of the Chiefs one-proud defense then Cunningham?

Cunningham brings immediately credibility to a Chiefs defense that currently has none. Cunningham knows defense, knows the AFC West and Cunningham knows how the Kansas City Chiefs should play defense; and that's the way he coached them to.

Cunningham deserves much credit in helping Donnie Edwards, Jerome Woods, Reggie Tongue, Greg Wesley, John Browning and Eric Hicks, among others, in becoming quality starting NFL players.

And in Tennessee, Cunningham has overseen the development of Peter Simon and Keith Bullock who earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

Cunningham is loyal, like Vermeil. And he would not undermine Vermeil or Al Saunders and try to position himself for the head coaching spot when Vermeil retires.

Look, that job is Al Saunders' - no bones about it.

But if the Chiefs are going to get Cunningham, they better do it quick. The Titans granted the Falcons permission to speak with Cunningham about their vacant defensive coordinator job. And Cunningham will interview in New York today with Herman Edwards for the Jets defensive coordinator job.

Cunningham's name has also been linked to San Diego where he could team up with former boss Marty Schottenheimer but the Chargers are in a state of flux and Cunningham wants to win a Super Bowl and Kansas City is his best option.

With that said, I'm reasonably certain, that in Gunther's heart of hearts, he'd rather be in Kansas City than anywhere else.

With Dick Vermeil as head coach, Al Saunders as offensive coordinator and Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator - it can't get much better than that.


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