Peterson's Fate in the Hands of Clark Hunt

After Herm Edwards' Tuesday press conference, team President Carl Peterson addressed the Kansas City media. He admitted that he self evaluates himself every year and hopes he'll receive more time to fix the Chiefs, but right now that might be a moot point. Ultimately, that decision is in the hands of Owner Clark Hunt.

Right now this organization is at a critical crossroads. The football team itself is under new Martial Law - Herm's Law, to be exact. When Edwards took over two years ago, in our initial conversation he shared the fact that the Chiefs were too old and had to get younger.

Even after a remarkable playoff appearance last season, Edwards wanted to jettison more players and start re-tooling the offensive line. At one point he more than likely considered junking the entire offense, which one would assume included some coaching changes, but management probably convinced him that adding a veteran (Damion McIntosh) on the offensive line would be enough to win games. Some in the organization likely didn't want him tinkering with the offense installed by Dick Vermeil and Al Saunders, regardless of personnel.

Edwards went along with that plan despite the fact he knew it wasn't ideal. As it turns out, he was right, and now the Chiefs are paying a steep price. The organization did little to prepare for the retirements of Willie Roaf and Will Shields, and didn't change the offense to fit the personnel on the roster.

Now everything has changed. Edwards appears to be fighting back, and is trying to wrestle away some power within the organization. In order to take that charge, he must believe he has the full support of Clark Hunt, and if that's an accurate assumption, that could mean a change in the front office is coming at season's end.

In recent weeks there have been rumblings within the media that tension between Edwards and Peterson is mounting. The word chilly doesn't just apply to the recent temperature change in Kansas City – it also applies to the climate inside Arrowhead Stadium.

That feeling has been intensified by remarks Edwards made in each of his last two press conferences. Last week he referred to his predecessor, Dick Vermeil, and the situation surrounding the selection of Jared Allen in 2004, in which Allen was rightfully selected to replace long snapper Kendall Gammon.

That remark raised some eyebrows within the organization, but Edwards' message was direct. It was a shot right at the heart of those who were making player personnel decisions in 2004.

Tuesday, when Edwards said some people need to "get over it," some took it as a shot at Chiefs fans. The truth is that statement may likely have been directed at management.

The Chiefs have never really committed to rebuilding outside of Peterson's first five-year term. The sentiment has been to simply add this veteran or that veteran and hope some gems could be found on the second day of the draft, because the first-day selections, for the most part, have never carried this team.

Instead, this team relied on trades, free agents and coaching to reach the playoffs. It worked under Marty Schottenheimer, but failed with Vermeil. Edwards isn't willing to accept the same approach, even though he signed off on doing just that the last couple of years, when the Chiefs added players such as Ty Law, Napoleon Harris, McIntosh, Donnie Edwards and Alfonso Boone.

All have been decent acquisitions, but most are system players. The Chiefs need more bona fide superstars, and those usually only arrive via the draft.

That's where the philosophy has to change for this organization, and in order for that to happen, Peterson may ultimately be the fall guy. Though he wants another chance, the fact Hunt isn't speaking about the recent six-game slide or Peterson's future isn't a good sign. Perhaps he's not ready to react to Kansas City's slide and the lack of fans in the stands.

Before we assume Hunt might escort his general manager out of town, it has to be noted that Peterson did restore Arrowhead as a premier NFL venue. He made the Chiefs a hot topic in this town 365 days per year, but those same people who filled that stadium are now leaving in droves. They've turned on Peterson, but that's the price you pay for underachieving.

Peterson, if he should be let go at season's end, isn't a bad guy. His business savvy is one of the best this town has to offer. If he were in any other profession, he'd have Fortune 500 companies lining up to hire him, especially when you consider he inherited a franchise worth $125 million that now boasts a net worth of close to a billion.

Despite that, if he is fazed out - and that's a big if at this point - he'll lose out on the appropriate accolades because he didn't build a Super Bowl team, but regardless, it appears Edwards wants his shot. If he's going to take the blame for everything now, however, I suspect he knows that he has Hunt's support.

Either way, the next three games should be far less eventful than what might follow in January, when Hunt and the Chiefs begin to look ahead to 2008 with potentially a new man at the top of the organization, some new coaches, and of course, new players. And that's what really matters.

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