Michael Smith of ESPN broke the news that Haley had finally been contacted about the Chiefs’ vacancy. Numerous reports indicated that contact had already been made, but that wasn’t the case. This is the first concrete leak concerning Kansas City’s coaching search, so what does it mean?
According to Smith, the top three candidates for KC’s head coaching job are Haley, current Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz.
The fact Pioli is speaking with Haley - either in Arizona or in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl – means one of two things. Either Haley is the top candidate or this is all another smokescreen to distract the mainstream media from another candidate.
If Pioli hires Haley, it will go against the grain of his past history. He has always believed that you win with defense and his teams in New England began their dominance via an aggressive, play-making defense.
On the flip side, Haley is a solid offensive coach, comes from the Bill Parcells coaching tree and Pioli has history with him. That certainly puts him ahead of other potential candidates without head-coaching experience. But the fact this information has gone public, especially through Smith, who has earned Pioli’s confidence, means it has credibility.
There isn’t any question that the Chiefs had hoped to land Mike Shanahan or Bill Cowher, but it appears the chances of either becoming the next head coach of the Chiefs are dwindling.
The interesting thing about Haley’s potential candidacy in Kansas City is that he was not on the list for other head coaching jobs in New York, Oakland, St. Louis, Detroit or Cleveland. His name surfaced after the Cardinals won the NFC Championship game.
And until today, there wasn’t any confirmation that he was truly a target of the Chiefs. There was speculation, but based on Pioli’s history of working veteran coaches, it appeared unlikely.
If reports are accurate that Pioli wants Chan Gailey to remain offensive coordinator, then Haley would also have to accept the fact that most of his offensive coaching staff is already in place. To our knowledge, none of the Chiefs’ offensive coaches have interviewed for other positions outside of quarterbacks coach Dick Curl, who was hired by the Rams last week.
If Haley is hired, he’ll have to find a strong defensive coordinator. That’s where Pioli may again come into play and may go back to his coaching tree by asking Haley to consider former Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel as KC’s new defensive coordinator.
That might make Haley’s transition from coordinator to head coach easier. He’d have two assistants – Gailey and Crennel – with previous NFL head coaching experience.
But before we can speculate on those potential moves, Pioli has to figure out if Haley is the man for the job. From what we’ve learned about Pioli to date, he’s methodical and takes his time. News would not have leaked out about Haley if Pioli had not wanted the information out for one reason or another.
In regards to the Rooney Rule, Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports indicates that Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is on the Chiefs head coaching list and per our source in Minnesota they believe that interview might have taken place over the weekend.
Regardless the fact they've moved onto Haley has to mean that the Chiefs have complied with the leagues mandated rule in regards to Minority coaching hires.
Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt was asked on Saturday in Tampa, after Derrick Thomas was voted into the Hall of Fame, that he was very pleased with the Chiefs head coaching search to date.
So connecting the dots, it appears Pioli has narrowed his candidates down to a select few and we’ll soon discover who he intends to hire. That hire could end up being Todd Haley.