There is definitely a growing contingency of us on AP that would like for Haley to be fired. Honestly, I have days where I want to drive to Arrowhead pitchfork and torch in hand to help make it happen. But we have to remind ourselves that we should have expected another bad season in KC, because the one year turn around is simply not the norm. Good for the Dolphins and Falcons for getting it together last year after dismal seasons prior. I'm not sure that we will have the same fortune. That doesn't mean that we are not on the right track, however. I've been digging through the NFL archives to find stories of teams in situations similar to ours. And without further ado I give you the tale of a team that was just as buried in the muck and mire as our Chiefs...........enjoy.
The San Fransico 49ers (1978-1981)
- 1978 The 49ers were in a bit of turmoil this year with GM (Joe Thomas) in his second season managing the players and personnel. The season prior to this one he fired the previous coach and hired his own guy to get the team going in a different direction. The 49'ers had two first round picks that year that were later deemed busts.
- Record 2-14 (sound familiar?)
- Offense Ranking 28th (out of 28)
- Defense Ranking 23rd
- 1979 Bill Walsh (then head coach of Stanford University) is brought in in the offseason after 1978 in hopes to turn around the nightmare that was the 49'ers at the time. In his first draft the 49'ers chose some guy by the name of Joe Montana. Apparently Montana was not highly rated at QB at that time because of his height (6'0") and lack of arm strength. Bill Walsh began to mold the team installing a new offensive scheme (the West Coast offense), but the turn around would take a little longer than 49'ers fans had hoped.....
- Record 2-14 (drawing parallels people, follow me)
- Offense Ranking 16th (out of 28)
- Defense Ranking 27th
- 1980 The 49'ers begin to fight back against teams trying to destroy them like they had been in previous years. Walsh alternates Steve DeBerg (the starting QB at the beginning of the season) and Joe Montana which gets the offense going in the right direction. A couple of draft pics begin to gel this year, especially Dwight Clark (WR from Clemson).
- Record 6-10 (ahhhhh......progress)
- Offense Ranking 12th (out of 28)
- Defense Ranking 26th
- 1981 Good year....I was born then. And a good one for the 49'ers indeed. The offense looked a lot better by the end of the previous year, and they had made their mark in history with the largest comeback in history by rallying from 28 points down to beat the Saints in week 14. With the offense starting to click, Walsh and company begin to focus a little bit more on the defensive side of the ball. They select Ronnie Lott (DB from USC) and he along with the rest of the defense really stepped up it this year........and they win the Superbowl!
- Record 13-3
- Offense Ranking 7th (out of 28)
- Defense Ranking 2nd
Alright, so that was definitely an abbreviated history on the 49'ers and the fastest turnaround for an NFL franchise ever. I didn't know about the history behind what led to "The Catch" until I had done a little digging around for examples of teams that were in similar situations than we are right now. So lets look at what happened with the 49'ers during this time period in an even more broken down form.
- New GM comes to town
- Hires a new coach, then quickly hires another one to get things moving (hopefully we won't have to do this)
- New coach installs his own offensive scheme and drafts and picks players to start improving on one side of the ball (we've been on the defensive side of the ball early in the draft in recent years)
- There were a good combination of player acquisitions as both draft picks (Montana, Clark, Lott) and a mixture of veteran FAs
- The defensive side of the ball is improved to complete the transition
Learning about how these guys turned it around gives me a little more hope as we keep it moving in a season that has had some moral victories here and there, but plenty of heartache for all. We never get a lot of detail as to what Pioli, Haley and crew are up to at One Arrowhead and that's okay as long as they have a vision and are working toward it in the most efficient manner possible. I will say that I'm starting to get a feel for Pioli's strategy with the latest player acquisitions and in particular Lance Long.
Long (think Montana from the story above) has some talent, but nobody was exactly knocking down his door. He's got the upside and a never give up mentality and you can see it in his toughness on the field. He's all business and he's not backing down from anybody standing in the way of a first down. Pioli is not gonna stop until this whole team has this mentality. We need hard workers that have enough talent to get the job done. But we also need these players to be compatible with who we have at head coach. Some of us agree with Haley's approach and attitude and some don't. Doesn't matter. What matters if his approach and attitude bring the potential out in the players. As long as it does, then Haley do your thing man........curse up a storm for all I care.
We (like the 1979 49'ers) have been getting pushed around long enough now. We are gonna get some junkyard dog type football players that know where there supposed to be on the field at all times, and we are gonna start punishing people for having us on their schedule..........it's coming people.