Kansas City Chiefs: Did Romeo Crennel Just Earn the Chiefs Head Coaching Job?

Thomas EmerickSenior WriterDecember 18, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 18:  Head coach Romeo Crennel of the Kansas City Chiefs watches from the sidelines during the game against the Green Bay Packers on December 18, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On a particularly depressing day for Todd Haley and Tyler Palko, the Kansas City Chiefs’ new duo in charge pulled off one of the more shocking upsets in NFL history.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel and recently signed quarterback Kyle Orton sparked the rejuvenated Chiefs to a 19-14 win over the undefeated Green Bay Packers.

A week after a 34-7 whooping by the New York Jets last week, KC returned home as the minor speed bump on Green Bay’s glorious road to 16-0.

Debates about an undefeated season centered around the Week 17 bout with the brash Detroit Lions. We all left a check next to the Chiefs.

After Haley’s firing early last week, Crennel hit the ground running, demoting the incompetent Palko to third string and promoting Orton after he’d toiled on bench since joining the team Thanksgiving week.

Crennel then developed a defensive game plan that accomplished what no other team could, shutting out Green Bay in the first half and keeping Discount Double Check from launching a comeback. 

Not to take anything away from the win, but RT Bryan Bulaga’s injury was the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to the Packers offensive line.

In a related story, Aaron Rodgers faced more pressure than he’d seen all season. In Week 13 the New York Giants got to him, but the Chiefs rattled him.

KC broke into the backfield from every direction, with Tamba Hali flying off the edge doing the most damage, to the tune of three sacks.

Crennel’s postseason-less tenure with the Cleveland Browns might disappear from the Chiefs fan psyche on Sunday, but it’s important not to crown him head coach off one inspired performance.

His 24-40 mark between 2005 and 2008 ended in similar fashion to the other recent head coaching failures of the Belichick tree, along with Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini and Charlie Weis.

Those Crennel Browns teams never managed a particularly fearsome defense, and the one decent 10-6 season relied on a high-flying offense via the arm of Derek Anderson. (Yes, I said Derek Anderson. For one strange point in time, this was true.)

The defensive prowess didn’t really translate.

Perhaps defensive coordinator is where he belongs with the Chiefs, who entered the day ranked 16th in total defense but has really put the clamps down at home as of late.

Kansas City gave one of the most impressive defensive performances of the year in holding destroyer-of-worlds Aaron Rodgers in check.

Crennel’s shown in New England and here with the Chiefs that he’s a wiz at coordinator, including a surprisingly close 13-9 loss in Week 12 against Pittsburgh.

Considering the crippling early season injury to safety stud Eric Berry, KC has responded well, outside of a few rough weeks.

The Chiefs face the playoff-contending Raiders and red-hot Broncos to close out the season. If KC can close out the year on a three-game winning streak, it would lead to some justified murmurs about turning Romeo’s interim tag into a permanent role.

But for now, Chiefs fans should just enjoy their role as spoiler and keep Crennel’s track record in mind.