The mastermind behind the Chiefs failures: GM Scott Pioli.
The Kansas City Chiefs and their amazing, rabid, passionate fanbase, deprived of a Super Bowl title for over 40 years and a playoff win for nearly 20, deserve so much better than this.
Chiefs fans deserve so much better than what they saw out of their team on Thursday night as Kansas City lost in blowout fashion yet again, a predictable 31-13 thrashing at the hands of the Chargers in San Diego, which dropped the Chiefs' already-abysmal record to 1-7.
Through eight excruciating contests, the 2012 Chiefs have somehow managed to hold a lead for a grand total of 0.00 seconds of game time. I mean, how is that even possible?
It's almost enough to make even the most die-hard Chiefs fan throw his hands up like Ron Burgundy in Anchorman after Baxter eats the wheel of cheese and say, "I'm not even mad, that's amazing!"
Chiefs fans are livid. They should be. I’m livid, too. They deserve better than the vile product that they're being force-fed. What was once one of the NFL's model organizations with one of the league's great home-field advantages has officially hit rock bottom with the fans surely yearning for the halcyon days of playoff goats Lin Elliot and Elvis Grbac.
Come Black Monday 2013, owner Clark Hunt must make sweeping changes to this once-proud franchise in an attempt to restore pride and dignity in Arrowhead Stadium. Let's examine who must go and why:
Record as Chiefs starting QB: 19-25
I'm pretty sure there's a rule stating that you cannot be considered a franchise quarterback in the NFL if you ever lose your job to Brady Quinn.
Think about that. The supposed franchise quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassel, actually lost his job to Brady freakin' Quinn. It's nearly unfathomable.
Since coming to Kansas City in 2009 and signing a six-year, $63 million contract, Cassel has gone 19-25 as the starter. He's completed less than 58 percent of his passes. He's missed games in all four seasons as a Chief, including six in 2011's disappointing 7-9 campaign. He hasn't sparkled in any one area at the quarterback position.
The only reason why his win/loss record looks better than it should is because of 2010 when he somehow led the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and an AFC West title, only to get thoroughly dominated in their opening playoff game at home by the Baltimore Ravens.
Cassel has hit rock bottom in 2012, losing his job to the aforementioned Quinn and throwing only six touchdown passes against 11 interceptions to go along with five lost fumbles. In Thursday night's humiliating loss at San Diego, Cassel was horrendous, throwing a pick-six (albeit off of Dexter McCluster's hands) and hideously fumbling in his own end zone, leading to 14 Chargers points.
When Brady Quinn returns from injury, he'll become the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, and really, isn't that all you need to know?
Simply put, Matt Cassel is not a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. He needs to be jettisoned off the roster come 2013.
Record as an NFL head coach: 27-47
By all accounts, Romeo Crennel, affectionately known as "Rac," is one of the nicest men in the National Football League. I've had the pleasure of meeting him several times, and I can confirm what you've heard. He's a terrific guy who is beloved by his players.
Unfortunately for Romeo, being a nice guy doesn't win you games in the NFL, and Crennel is overmatched as a head coach.
On the sideline, he often displays the kind of "deer in the headlights" gaze that infuriates fans and provides the media with cannon fodder.
He has said some truly quizzical things after games, none more preposterous than his comments after the Chiefs' Week 8 home loss to the Raiders, a game in which star tailback Jamaal Charles only received five carries.
After the game, when Crennel was asked by reporters about Charles' lack of involvement in the offense, Romeo replied that he "wasn't exactly sure" why their best offensive player wasn't touching the ball.
I mean, wow. That's as bad as it gets. Think about it, you're the head coach of an NFL team, and you don't know why your star back isn't carrying the ball? How is that possible? Honestly, it's as bad as it gets, and it shows that Crennel doesn't have the tools to handle the responsibility of being a head coach.
You cannot blame Romeo's failures in 2012 on the fact that he's calling defensive plays in addition to being the head coach. During his four years in Cleveland as head coach (2005-08), Romeo delegated that responsibility, first to Todd Grantham and later to Mel Tucker. In those four seasons, the Browns defense finished 16th, 27th, 30th and 26th. This year, in Romeo's first full season as head coach in Kansas City, the Chiefs defense ranks 24th. It simply isn't good enough.
Is Romeo an excellent defensive coordinator? Absolutely. His run in New England and years in Kansas City before being elevated to the top position prove that. Romeo can absolutely be a quality defensive coordinator somewhere in the NFL, either in 2013 or beyond. But he needs to be fired at the end of this season. Smiles, hugs and handshakes don't win games in the NFL. Romeo Crennel isn't a capable head coach. Period.
Fact: Scott Pioli was an integral part of three Super Bowl winning teams in New England and was an extremely sought-after general manager candidate before landing in Kansas City.
Fact: Since Scott Pioli took over as the general manager/organizational czar of the Chiefs after the 2008 season, Kansas City's record is 22-35 (including playoffs).
Fact: The Chiefs have lost by 14 points or more a staggering 19 times during Pioli's 57 games in charge.
Fact: The Chiefs, once having one of the NFL's best home-field advantages, are 11-18 at Arrowhead Stadium under Pioli, including a 3-10 mark in their last 13 games (including playoffs).
When it comes down to it, Scott Pioli is the man most responsible for the current disaster in Kansas City, and this needs to be his last season in charge of the Chiefs.
He made the decision to hire Todd Haley as Chiefs head coach when the style clash between the two men was apparent to anyone with a functional brain. The two (obviously) butted heads frequently, and Haley served as the (obvious) fall guy for last year's ineptitude, being fired in-season and replaced by the hapless Crennel.
Pioli then let emotion get the better of him when he hired Crennel as the head man, mostly off of the heels of the Chiefs' stunning upset of the Green Bay Packers late last season. Pioli's loyalty to his former New England compatriots, like Cassel and Crennel, has served to his, and the team's, detriment.
He spent his first draft pick, the third overall in 2009, on LSU DT Tyson Jackson. In three-plus seasons as a Chief, Jackson has recorded two sacks and has forced zero fumbles.
The rest of his draft record is decent at best. 2010 first-round pick, safety Eric Berry, has had a disappointing year coming off of his ACL tear a season ago. 2011 first-round pick, receiver Jon Baldwin, has barely been a factor, and his most significant moment as a Chief was getting into a locker-room fight with team leader Thomas Jones in last year's training camp, a brouhaha where Baldwin broke his hand, derailing his rookie season.
Pioli has had some good picks (Justin Houston in the third round of the 2011 Draft comes to mind), but the draft hasn't yielded enough positive results for Kansas City to be successful.
In addition to personnel, Pioli has reportedly been a nightmare to deal with, both with the media and team employees. His rampant paranoia has become the stuff of legend, with Haley even making the accusation that his office was "bugged" so that Pioli could hear his private conversations. What is this, a James Bond movie? That kind of subterfuge has no place in an NFL facility.
But above all else, the place where Scott Pioli has ultimately failed the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans is at the quarterback position. His decision to trade for Cassel and pay him like a franchise quarterback has proven to be a miserable failure.
In 2011, Pioli decided that Tyler Palko was good enough to back up Matt Cassel. In a related story, I once thought that orange parachute pants were all the rage.
When Cassel got hurt last year, Palko was so putrid that Pioli was forced to deal for Kyle Orton, and the Chiefs finished a game out of first place at 7-9. It's safe to say that the 2011 Chiefs would have won the AFC West if they had a more competent backup quarterback from the outset, and that falls on Pioli.
You would have thought that after Cassel's struggles in 2011, Pioli would at least sign a quality backup, if not outright competition, for Cassel. Instead, he signed Brady Quinn. We've all seen that movie before and know how it ends.
Scott Pioli has failed as the General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. It's time for him to go.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in football. They lose, often in pathetic and uninspiring fashion. Their fanbase, long one of the league's best, is angry and jaded. Their once-incredible home-field advantage has been rendered a sad, pathetic non-factor.
There's only one thing for owner Clark Hunt to do at the conclusion of this, in what's sure to be one of the very worst seasons in franchise history: