After a disappointing 2007 season, many fans were screaming for change at One Arrowhead Drive. Some fans wanted head coach Herm Edwards gone, some wanted general manager Carl Peterson gone, and some wanted almost everyone gone.
Instead, we only saw some much needed changes on the offensive coaching staff take place - Mike Solari, Charlie Joiner, James Saxon, and John Matsko were fired. Edwards and Peterson were retained.
Many fans like myself were waiting to hear what team owner Clark Hunt would say after a 4-12 season. Some were upset when Hunt remained silent for so long, apparently giving the men in charge of his franchise a free pass.
However, when Hunt finally came out of his shell and spoke, the message was clear. It was good to finally hear from the young owner, because most fans don't know Hunt has been KC's Chairman of the Board since the start of the 2005 Season.
Hunt clearly stated to the fans and organization that 2007 was unacceptable. He said he firmly believed in his head coach and that for Edwards to be most successful, the current general manager needed to remain. He spoke of the direction he envisioned for the franchise and how the organization got off track in the mission to win a world championship.
Hunt also sent out a letter to all Chiefs season ticket holders, repeating what he stated in his media interviews and thanking them for their support and patience.
Clark Hunt, in my opinion, did the right thing. He evaluated the season as it unfolded and took time after the season to ponder what he needed to do.
From all we've seen this offseason, while Peterson on paper holds many titles, the reality appears to be that he's now strictly the business brain of the Chiefs. Many are assuming he's limited in football operations. The Chiefs have denied this, but that's more about perception than what really happens behind closed doors.
It's obvious that Edwards, Bill Kuharich and Ray Farmer will have a much larger say in the draft and personnel decisions. Peterson, by Hunt's own admission to Warpaint Illustrated a few weeks ago, has already taken a back seat to personnel matters after hiring Edwards in 2006 and promoting Kuharich to his current position as Vice President of Player Personnel.
Meanwhile, Hunt is saying all the right things about developing a winning NFL franchise, but will we see results? The 2008 season will be an early indicator, but I believe Clark Hunt wants to win. He's not trying to sell Chiefs fans a bunch of empty promises.
We can look at two once-proud NFL franchises, the Washington Redskins, and Oakland Raiders, for contrast.
Daniel Snyder and Al Davis, the owners of those clubs, have always been controversial. Snyder has paid out big money to try and win a Super Bowl, but hasn't been successful. He's pursued every big-name coach, only to fire them or see them retire.
He inherited Norv Turner, and quickly fired him. He brought in Marty Schottenheimer as the coach and general manager, but after one year when Schottenheimer wouldn't give up GM duties, he was fired. Snyder then hired Steve Spurrier, a complete flop. He then talked Joe Gibbs out of retirement, but never got further than the first round of the playoffs.
Snyder is now looking for another head coach and has stirred more controversy than ever before by firing both his offensive and defensive coordinators. Gregg Williams, Washington's former defensive coordinator, was considered by many to be the organization's next head coach. Players respected Williams and the fan base approved.
Instead, the Redskins are looking at Jim Fassell as their new head coach. That must be a heck of a public relations nightmare.
Across the country, Al Davis also appears to be on the verge of firing another head coach. Recently Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Art Shell, and Lane Kffin have tried to win in Oakland. Gruden, the most successful Oakland coach since the 1980s, could never co-exist with Davis, bolted for Tampa Bay and wound up blowing out a Raiders team he built.
Callahan should have never been a head coach at any level, Shell was a complete failure. Kiffin ended up being a gamble since no one really wanted the job. If he winds up getting the axe, you have to wonder who would really be interested.
Snyder and Davis seem to think changing coaches and front office personnel as often as possible translates into winning. There's no stability in either organization, and it's probably a prime reason why neither team will compete for a Super Bowl for some time.
There is no accountability in either organization, and it's hurting both franchises. The Raiders haven't sold out for some time and are supported by only the most loyal of fans. The Redskins stand to lose quite a bit (they have the largest stadium in the league).
The only thing that separates Davis and Snyder is money. Davis doesn't like to spend it, Snyder likes to spend too much of it. Neither man can find a happy medium.
How do these two owners relate to Clark Hunt? Well, we as fans wanted change with Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson. But the Chiefs are now on their third head coach of the last decade. Hunt knows changing head coaches isn't the solution, and doesn't attempt to win through his checkbook.
I now have an appreciation for the position Hunt is taking with his football team that I didn't before. He takes an approach where he doesn't involve himself in the day-to-day operations, but can see the big picture.
Hunt has set his expectations, changed the direction of this football team and removed power from Peterson's hands. This is obvious when the team owner sends out a letter to season-ticket holders that Peterson normally sends out. Hunt isn't going to run this team the same way his father did, at least not according to the perception right now.
Clark's next big moment will come if the 2008 Chiefs fail to meet his expectations. What will happen if the 2008 Chiefs go 4-12 again? Will Hunt make bold changes? I think he will.
If the Chiefs don't live up to Hunt's expectations next season, I believe Peterson and Edwards could be out. Hunt will then have a chance to put his own stamp on the organization.
In the end, I believe we're lucky to have an owner like Clark Hunt. I'm convinced he wants to win a Super Bowl more than he wants to make a profit off the Chiefs.
Clark Hunt: A Fan's Perspective
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