After the Chiefs stunned the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 last season, there was a lot of optimism surrounding the team, and many thought that Romeo Crennel’s 2-1 record as interim head coach in 2011 would carry over to 2012.
That’s been far from the case.
The Chiefs are easily the league’s most disappointing team this year. When seasons like this occur, the owner, chairman or CEO of the franchise has to step up and make a statement. However, Clark Hunt has remained silent on the team’s performance, yet commented on other events that have affected or involved the team in some form.
When Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston criticized fans during Matt Cassel’s injury, Hunt addressed fans and the media with a statement, in which he praised Chiefs fans. While both Chiefs fans and Winston were receiving negative attention for this, I’m not sure if it was necessary for Hunt to step in and comment on this issue.
Earlier this month, Hunt released a statement after dealing with the loss of a player through a murder-suicide that took place before the team hosted the Carolina Panthers. Rightfully so, Hunt offered his condolences to those affected by the loss.
He also made himself available to the media before and after the game against the Panthers for questions on the tragedy and how the team tried to deal with the matter. No journalists asked him about the team’s performance at the time because it would come off as unethical. If that question did come up, it is likely that Hunt would not comment and that reporter would possibly deal with the team’s PR department.
Hunt spoke out twice over two difference instances. He certainly didn’t have to say anything on the first event, but fans understand why Hunt made a statement on the tragedy and it was a good move on his part.
But there is one problem with this.
It is clear that Hunt follows his team, but it doesn’t appear that he has the ability to come up with a statement on the team’s performance. Fans have been waiting for Hunt to speak up on the team’s performance. The Chiefs have suffered nine one-sided losses and have a 2-13 record going into the regular season finale.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed his frustration with the team right after losing to the New Orleans Saints in Week 11. After a loss to the Houston Texans in Week 13, Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams put everyone on notice.
Anyone who has followed the Chiefs the past four years knows that the team doesn’t like to publicize anything, which is fine. But when the team is looking at its worst season in franchise history, fans decided to fly banners and wear black to the stadium to protest the season and show how disenchanted they are.
Hunt knows that the Chiefs fanbase isn’t a happy one right now. However, when it comes to the team’s performance, he’s played the silent game. For him to formally address issues on events that have happened outside of the gridiron has to annoy fans, especially those who have season tickets and make the effort to attend every home game but end up leaving after witnessing another loss.
Since 2007, the Chiefs have posted a 15-33 record at Arrowhead Stadium, which is supposedly one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play in. During the past six seasons, the Chiefs have had three different seasons in which they won only one game at home.
It’s obvious why the fans are angry. Chiefs fans have shown their support over the years, proving to be one of the most passionate fanbases in the NFL. A comment from Hunt won’t fix anything over night, but would it hurt for him to say something to the fans? Adams had no problem letting the public know how upset he is with the franchise and put everyone on notice.
With only 15 wins at home the past six seasons, fans have every reason to forgo renewing their season tickets. But Hunt can make up for his silence this Monday. It is the NFL’s “Black Monday,” in which some general managers and coaches receive the axe. It’s not a day owners and CEOs like, but it’s one they have to live.
However, if Hunt doesn’t make that move and retains Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, the split between fans and the franchise will only grow.