The Kansas City Chiefs went 2-14 and fired head coach Romeo Crennel while leaving general manager Scott Pioli twisting in the wind. Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the new head coach would report directly to him, and he was looking for a “proven leader” and a guy that has been a part of “building a successful program.”
It’s not hard to figure out that Hunt was looking for a head coach that has a lot of say in the way the team is built. Hunt perhaps envisioned a head coach that had final say on personnel. Dirk Koetter and Keith Armstrong from the Falcons didn’t fit that mold, but one candidate did: Andy Reid.
Reid probably reminds Hunt a little of Marty Schottenheimer, who the Chiefs let go after going 7-9 in 1998. If Reid can work his magic and find a solid starting quarterback, the Chiefs could quickly bounce back from their terrible 2012. Hunt knocked this hire out of the park.
Hunt wanted a head coach exactly like Reid and he flew his leadership team to Philadelphia to make sure he didn't have a chance to interview in Arizona.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Chiefs have officially hired Reid as their next head coach pending review of the contract by attorneys for both sides.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Schefter first reported on Wednesday that the Chiefs were on the verge of a deal to make Reid their next head coach and that the deal would happen fast. It took a little longer than expected as the team had to part ways with Pioli before a deal could be finalized.
Pioli and the Chiefs parted ways early on Friday according to ESPN's report, clearing the way for Reid's deal to be finalized. Mike Freeman of CBS reported that Reid will have "total control' of the team.
Despite his control, Reid is also expected to bring with him a qualified general manager. Former Browns GM Tom Heckert was one candidate that Reid was considering according to according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
It now appears that Packers Director of Operations John Dorsey is likely to follow Reid to Kansas City. According to Adam Caplan of thesidelineview.com, Dorsey will be the guy unless he doesn't interview well or Reid has a change of heart.
Pioli’s presence was thought to be a hindrance to the search for a head coach, but it didn't end up getting in the way at all. Reid is in and Pioli is out within only a few days.
A Perfect Match
Part of the reason Hunt likely wanted to give his head coach more power probably has to do with the last four years under Pioli. It was Pioli who gave his head coaches Matt Cassel and little else to work with at the quarterback position.
Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star quoted a former director-level employee as saying that “no one could be successful” in the environment Pioli had created. It was the environment that likely contributed to the Chiefs' inability to attract Peyton Manning and probably a big reason why the team performed so poorly in 2012.
Instead of taking the chance that a general manager and head coach would not work well together, Hunt starting looking for a head coach that would have significant say over the personnel. Allowing a head coach to bring in his own general manager and scouting staff ensures that the front office is bringing in the players the coaches feel they need to be successful. It’s an integrated approach that seems backwards to some, but makes sense considering what the Chiefs have been through the last four years under Pioli.
Pioli was sometimes described as autocratic and unwilling to consider a path that differed from his own. Hunt’s new model forces the front office and head coach to play nice so they don’t have to get him involved. There’s incentive for the coaching staff and front office to come to an agreement that didn’t exist under Pioli.
Former Packers’ General Manager Ron Wolf is advising the San Diego Chargers in their search of a general manager and said via a conference call that Reid was a candidate that previously knocked his socks off that he was too foolish not to hire. In other words: Reid is a really good coach.
The Offensive Guru
The biggest problem in Kansas City has been the quarterback position. The Chiefs haven’t really had a stable quarterback situation since Trent Green. Cassel was one of Pioli’s biggest mistakes and finding and developing a quarterback is going to be the most important task of the new head coach.
Reid is uniquely qualified to develop quarterbacks and turn around an offense. The Eagles were ranked 30th in yards and points the year before Reid arrived. Reid immediately found Donovan McNabb and then seamlessly transitioned to Michael Vick a couple years ago.
Reid found a dynamic running back in Brian Westbrook and replaced him with another in LeSean McCoy. Offense was rarely a problem for Reid’s teams until 2012.
In his 14 years as head coach of the Eagles, Reid’s offenses have ranked in the top 10 in points eight times including four out of the last five seasons. The Eagles made the playoffs in nine of Reid’s 14 years as head coach.
Reid has been praised for his work with McNabb, Vick and Kevin Kolb. Jeff Garcia once took over for an injured McNabb and led the Eagles to a playoff victory at age 36. The Chiefs will be in the market for a quarterback in free agency or through the draft and Reid will find one that can execute his system.
According to La Canfora, Reid could bring in former Browns’ Head Coach Pat Shurmur and former Vikings’ Head Coach Brad Childress to help him on offense. While those men have been previously fired as head coaches, they were good enough as coordinators and assistants to rise to that level.
Bringing in Reid, Shurmur and Childress could be expensive, but Hunt could be looking to shed the unfair ‘cheap’ label that some fans have called him in the past. Spending big money on Reid indicates that Hunt is serious about making the franchise a winner. Hunt was looking to make a splash and that’s just what happens when you reel in a big fish like Reid.
Building a Team
While Reid has had some issues building up his defense over the past few years, that doesn’t mean it’s always been a struggle. Reid had a top-10 defense in points allowed in eight of his 14 seasons in Philadelphia. While he’s known as an offensive guy, Reid’s defenses were pretty good during his tenure in Philadelphia.
Reid’s biggest fault was perhaps getting too powerful. Reid’s self-confidence and pride got in the way of building a football team. Success sometimes breeds overconfidence. Reid was his own worst enemy and it got him fired. It happens.
Reid also made poor personnel decisions, but bringing in a strong general manager like Dorsey or Heckert would ensure that he doesn't repeat those mistakes. Good coaches and leaders learn from their mistakes and figure out how to correct them to sustain success.
Under Reid, the Eagles made the playoffs nine times, won the division seven times and went 10-9 in playoff games. The Eagles won a playoff game in seven of those seasons, losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champions three times. The guy had reason to be a little confident in his abilities.
While Pioli’s only qualifications were his work under Bill Belichick, Reid has built a winning team on the field. You could also argue that the Patriots have actually been much better at drafting since Pioli left town.
Reid has had his misses too, but he did turn a 3-13 team into a contender within two seasons and sustained success in a tough sports town for 14 years. Reid also rarely missed on a quarterback and was even able to trade Kolb for former first-round pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick.
As a head coach, Reid has a career record of 130-93 (.583 win percentage) with his only seasons below .500 coming in his first and last years in Philadelphia. The Chiefs would be getting a proven winner and not a common retread.
There’s no guarantee that Reid will work out well in Kansas City, but you have to like Reid’s chances with plenty of cap room, the No. 1 overall draft pick and a roster with a lot of talent. For reasons on and off-the-field, there was no better fit than Reid in Kansas City.