Kansas City Chiefs: Romeo Crennel, Clark Hunt Defend Fans After Cassel Injury

Brett Gering@BrettGeringCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel (right) talks to chairman Clark Hunt before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. San Diego won the game 37-20. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Following Eric Winston's controversial tirade, head coach Romeo Crennel and owner Clark Hunt came to the defense of Kansas City Chiefs fans. 

But in all likelihood, only one of the statements—Crennel's—will resonate with the Arrowhead faithful.

Considering Kansas City's 1-4 record, its head coach isn't buzzing with homecoming-king popularity. He knows that and understands the frustration.

Crennel addressed Winston's comments (CBSsports.com) on Wednesday, saying, "Historically, the Chiefs fans are some of the best fans in the NFL." He added:

I think the majority of the Kansas City Chiefs fans felt bad Matt [Cassel] was injured. There were some that expressed an opinion, a frustration that I have, that everybody else has about this season. They expressed it not in the way that you would want it expressed.

The coach concluded, "But you can't paint that broad brush of 70,000 people because that wasn't the case."

In a few lines, Crennel summarized the underlying sentiment around Kansas City. 

But he wasn't the only one to offer his two cents. Clark Hunt inked a formal statement that relayed his feelings on the matter:

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about our fans, and I feel like it’s important to set the record straight.

I know our fans. They are passionate, hardworking, loyal, educated football fans, and they are the heart and soul of the Arrowhead experience. They know cheering an injury to anyone in any stadium is unacceptable.

I want to make it perfectly clear:

A small few who may have cheered when Matt went down do not accurately represent the best fans in the National Football League. Period. (KCChiefs.com)

Week 5 was the boiling point for Chiefs fans. Five games into the 2012 season, high expectations have already been mocked by a disappointing reality.

Any other year, the city would put the blame onto the shoulders of the head coach or the quarterback. And make no mistake, Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel have seen their names in a number of columns they're not bookmarking anytime soon. 

2012 is different, though.

Historically, the name "Hunt" has been revered and respected throughout Kansas City. But following Lamar's passing, the relationship has flipped quicker than the middle fingers throughout Arrowhead last Sunday. 

Scott Pioli has been cast as a villain. Every time that Cassel flails a pass into the waiting arms of a defender or takes the walk of shame following a fumble, Pioli's IQ drops to a record-low around Kansas City.

Then three o'clock slowly rolls around, Matt Ryan leaves cornerbacks demoralized on his opening drive and Kansas City fans agonizingly ask, "Why didn't the Chiefs trade up for him, again?"

The answer momentarily stops at Pioli, but the criticism eventually rests at the feet of Clark Hunt.

Is it fair? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing that certainly isn't fair is the reward for the fans' loyalty. A pair of tweets from Mitch Holthus (@mitchholthus) paint a vivid picture:

Fact is this-chiefs fans are 13th in attendance w 27th market-and we are 12-28 at home since Oct 07-SL is last in att w 11-28 rec same time

— Mitch Holthus (@mitchholthus) October 11, 2012

He drives the point home with a touch of contrast:

KC better in attendance than Philly Pitt NE Chic SF markets 4-24-7-3 and 6-I'm getting defensive on this! #chiefskingdom

— Mitch Holthus (@mitchholthus) October 11, 2012

Kansas City shouldn't pass Romeo Crennel a get-out-of-jail-free card—his team's playoff aspirations are hanging in the balance heading into Week 6. But despite a woeful record, the Chiefs boast the league's No. 4 offense and No. 10 defense (NFL.com). Turnovers have negated the aforementioned success, but Crennel can't complete the crossing routes or secure the ball from prying hands. 

The defense has improved in each year spent under his supervision, and the offense is currently averaging 42 yards more than it did in 2010 (NFL.com)—Kansas City's last appearance in the playoffs. However, the club (unsurprisingly) ranks dead last with 19 committed turnovers (Pro-Football-Reference.com). To put that into perspective, 25 teams have committed less turnovers this entire season than the Chiefs have in the past two weeks. 

When Crennel claims to share the fans' frustration, it's believable. The Chiefs' head coach has spent countless hours laying groundwork that, statistically speaking, has yielded impressive results.

Every interception and fumble that voids its effectiveness would irritate anybody in his position. The Dalai Lama himself would be tempted to walk into the nearest phone booth, slide the lock and scream as if Thor just slammed his pinky in the car door.

But Clark Hunt's word choice, lousy with lawyerisms, won't score points with his team's fan base.

Being the only one of his four siblings that was emotionally invested in the Chiefs, he was appointed as the chairman in 2005. Now, five games into his eighth season as the head honcho, Kansas City has produced a 37-70 record.

In other words, throughout the past eight years, the Chiefs' overall success resembles that of a Royals season by mid-August.

Breaking the bank with a Dwayne Bowe contract and first-round quarterback signing—the first since 1983—will prove Clark Hunt's loyalty to the "best fans in the National Football League." 

Penning a supportive letter from his cozy abode in Dallas, Texas won't. Period.