The Trifecta - Pioli, Thomas, Cowher

Early returns in 2009 have proven fruitful for Kansas City Chiefs fans. With the ouster of Carl Peterson in December, the arrival of Scott Pioli in January, and the final note playing out on the great career of Derrick Thomas, there is only one thing left for the Chiefs to do – hire Bill Cowher as the team's 11th head coach and complete the trifecta.

I'm not big into horse racing. But once about 20 years ago, I placed a bet at a racetrack. As I didn't know anything about betting money on horses, my friend instructed me to pick three horses to win, place and show.

I looked at the field and randomly selected three horses to win, place and show. After picking them without any thought or plan, I placed my $5 wager and proceeded to land the trifecta.

The same goes today. The Chiefs landed one-third of the trifecta when Clark Hunt won the race by enticing Scott Pioli to come to Kansas City.

Hunt did it by methodically and diligently studying for his initial meeting with Pioli. He had a calculated plan that would convince him to leave New England, despite the fact that few thought he'd do just that.

Pioli then began to unravel and evaluate the Chiefs organization. His first task was to decide the fate of Herm Edwards. It became clear as assistant coaches began to land jobs in other NFL cities that Pioli would likely be in the market for a new head coach soon.

Indeed that was the case, and as Super Bowl week began, nobody knew for sure what direction Pioli would take in his search for the head coach.

But as a distraction, on Saturday, the late Thomas made the final cut and took his place in the Hall of Fame. After several attempts, Bob Gretz successfully convinced the Hall of Fame selection committee that it was time to add Thomas.

When the moment had passed, I received a text from the biggest Derrick Thomas fan I've ever met. After DT's selection, I could read in the fan's words what it meant to him and all the other Chiefs fans that Thomas finally has a permanent Place in the Hall of Fame.

With the second part of the trifecta in hand, there is only one horse left that has to cross the finish line – Bill Cowher.

If Cowher saw Clark Hunt accept the Hall of Fame selection for Thomas today, it had to bring back memories of their time together in Kansas City. Cowher was Marty Schottenheimer's defensive coordinator from 1989 to 1991.

Those three years defined Thomas, who went on to become one of the NFL's premier pass rushers of all time. Now Cowher has the opportunity to shock the league by being the darkest of all dark horses - to come out of retirement and become KC's next head coach despite the fact that few believe it will happen.

Cowher talk has cooled recently because of the fact every NFL expert believes Pioli will hire Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He's certainly become the darling in the search for the next Chiefs' head coach.

Not many people believe Cowher is even in this race. He's stated he won't coach until 2010, if then. All signs point away from the Chiefs. But why not dream a little as this race nears its end?

Next week the Chiefs will likely announce their new head coach. While Haley is the hot name, there isn't any question that Cowher is the best candidate to lead the new Chiefs. He has history in Kansas City and from all accounts loved the area.

He fits the veteran-coach mold that Pioli is comfortable with and has a tremendous amount of respect for the Hunt family.

Will it happen? Most feel it's not likely, but as this race closes, I want to see Cowher come up from the rear of the pack, position himself behind Pioli and Thomas, and finish the most important race in Chiefs history. I want to see the trifecta completed once again.

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