On Black Monday, Clark Hunt Decisively Indecisive


Today the action has been fast and furious with six head coaches relieved of their duties before noon. Getting the axe by lunch time were Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, San Diego’s Norv Turner, Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur, Buffalo’s Chan Gailey, Chicago’s Lovie Smith and yes, our very own Romeo Crennel.

Romeo is gone, but Clark Hunt can’t make up his mind otherwise. (Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

The house cleaning extended beyond the coaching ranks and by noon four General Managers had also been let go. In New York Rex Ryan appears to be sticking around to coach the Jets but GM Mike Tannebaum has been kicked to the curb. Jacksonville followed the same path electing to keep Mike Mularky on as coach, at least for the time being, while Gene Smith was jettisoned. In Cleveland and San Diego the GMs, Tom Heckert and A.J. Smith, were shown the door in concert with the firing of the head coach.

In Kansas City however, Scott Pioli is still employed. As much as I disagree with Pioli’s retention, if Clark Hunt truly believes he is the man for the job – despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary – then I can respect his decision and look forward. That’s not what’s happening right now however and there is nothing decisive being done with respect to our GM. Pioli is apparently not safe and could still be fired.

To that end this is a disturbing move that could very well adversely impact the health and future success of the franchise. Instead of making a decision decisively on the embattled GM, Hunt is waiting for something and apparently still evaluating the situation. To make matters worse, reports are surfacing – and Clark said as much publicly – that Pioli will not be involved in the hiring of the Chiefs next head coach. That coach will play a role in Pioli’s future with the organization, and it gets even better. Hunt has gone on record that the head coach will report directly to him.

If that strikes you as completely illogical and entirely counterproductive to restoring the Chiefs to prominence, you’re spot on. I can’t think of a worse way to handle this transition. Hunt clearly doesn’t trust Pioli’s judgment to hire the next head coach and that’s justified given that Pioli has whiffed wildly twice already. That said, interviewing and hiring a head coach is one of the key duties of any GM. If you don’t trust the guy in the position to handle that responsibility, how can you allow him to keep his position and move the organization forward, even if it’s for a couple more days?

Given Pioli’s underwhelming performance in terms of evaluating and acquiring talent, another key aspect of his job, how can Clark Hunt sit back and continue to assess the situation, knowing that he’s already hung Scott Pioli out to dry?

Some names have started to emerge as candidates for the now open coaching position but somehow I have a feeling that rebuilding the coaching staff and front office in reverse is going to blow up in Clark’s face. Even if there is a method to his madness and it pays off, it’s impossible for me to embrace that this is the best way to go about things. After all, sometimes the absolutely wrong decision winds up being right, and vice versa.

This was one of Clark Hunt’s statements to the media earlier this morning:

"I’m embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a new direction. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Chiefs. The entire football operation will remain under review, and there may be additional changes to come. No final determination has been made at this point on the future of of General Manager Scott Pioli.Finally, I want to personally apologize to our fans for our performance this season. We are blessed to play for some of the best and most passionate fans in the NFL and they deserve better than what we gave them this season. I want our fans to know that I will do everything I can to provide them with a dramatically better team – both next season and in the seasons to come – and our entire organization appreciates their support."

Anyone more optimistic today than they were yesterday? Based on the way things are unfolding today, I’m more concerned than ever. Maybe this is all just a smoke screen and there is a huge move in the works. Maybe we will be an overwhelmingly elated fan base by the end of the week, but as it stands right now there are going to be a lot more empty seats out at Arrowhead next year.


Editorial Note: For more on this story as it continues to develop, I strongly encourage you to keep Arrowhead Addict pulled up on your computer and refresh periodically throughout the next several days.