Chiefs Remodel Themselves Again

Now it's official – with the hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, the Kansas City Chiefs are knee-deep in a remodeling project based upon the last decade's New England Patriots.

With Weis and Crennel on board, there is no doubt Chiefs are fully committed to winning their first Super Bowl title in 40 years. The two served on the Patriots' staff during three Super Bowl runs from 2001 to 2004, but most don't realize they both served on a previous staff with Bill Belichick, as components of Bill Parcells' Giants' staff in the late 80s and early 90s.

A decade ago, some Bostonians probably grumbled about their "New England Giants" before they saw results with their franchise's first championship. Some Chiefs fans are grumbling in a similar manner now, but the recent influx of coaching from the east coast is not the first time the Chiefs have sought a remodeling project over a rebuilding project with straight-up homegrown talent.

Former head coach Marty Schottenheimer sought to reap the benefits of the West Coast offense by hiring Paul Hackett as his offensive coordinator in 1993. A decade before, Hackett served as the position coach for quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends in San Francisco. He was a part of the reason Joe Montana and Jerry Rice blossomed into league icons.

Hackett didn't just bring a playbook with him to Kansas City, but also some talent. Montana was acquired by trade the same season that Hackett signed on and the following year, Steve Bono joined the Chiefs as Montana's eventual successor. By the time Bono was done in 1997, the Chiefs signed Elvis Grbac, Steve Young's backup in San Francisco and another student of Bill Walsh's offense. Currently, the Chiefs have replicated that approach, borrowing Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez (Cassel's backup two seasons ago) from New England.

The remodeling approach was seen again when Dick Vermeil was hired a few years after leading the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl. Al Saunders, who incidentally served on the Chiefs' staff from 1989 to 1998 under Schottenheimer, won Super Bowl XXXIV as Vermeil's assistant head coach in St. Louis. Saunders, along with quarterback Trent Green (a backup on that Rams team), rejoined Vermeil and the Chiefs in 2001 in an attempt to replicate that success.

So this approach is nothing new for the NFL or the Chiefs. While fans haven't seen the benefits of a borrowed staff in Kansas City, success is bound to hit at some point.

In the past, I've advocated a departure from the Buddy System for the Chiefs, instead wanting to see them branch out and develop new coaching philosophies rather than attempting to replicate past success. However, the Chiefs fan inside of me would rather see a Super Bowl title than anything else. Hiring every coach under the sun with a connection to Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick may not be in their best interest, but the Chiefs aren't alone in attempting to do that.

Patriots fans may not acknowledge that their team was modeled off the Giants, because that's now an afterthought. With success, they established their own name. If the Chiefs find success with familiar faces, the Patriots' dynasty will become a similar memory, especially if we start seeing the faces of Cassel and Todd Haley on magazine covers, instead of Tom Brady and Belichick.

Weis and Crennel are in Kansas City to win the Super Bowl. They aren't going to put on their rings for show and tell, but what their acquisition may bring are big-name free agents and an improved, winning image for the Chiefs. Former and current Patriots like Richard Seymour or Vince Wilfork may now be intrigued at the possibility of playing in Kansas City.

General manager Scott Pioli is reinventing the Chiefs' image, and now doing it with the help of some old friends. But this team is not the "Kansas City Patriots, they are just the Kansas City Chiefs with some familiar, successful faces. Let's stop complaining. We've seen this before.

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