Kansas City Chiefs head coach walked to the podium for his post-game press conference following a 27-24 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on a much lighter note. His team had just beaten arguably the greatest NFL franchise in history. The same team his father worked for, the same team he has said he admires and the same team owner Clark Hunt said he wants to emulate.
Before Haley began to speak, he breathed a heavy sigh of relief into the microphone, took a quick glance in the direction of Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star, and talked about his team's third victory of the season.
"Obviously a big win for this team," Haley said. "For a young team, I really feel like we were really making progress."
Progress? Some stats would argue with that but the Chiefs did make progress in the only stat category that matters.
"As I said during the week," he continued, "I thought this would be a great time for us to measure where we're at as a team and if to see if we were indeed if we were making progress because that team today is as well of a coached team as there is.
"They're the model, really, of what we're striving to get to."
The model, as he says, which is why this win is so special to a lot of folks. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said the Steelers are what every organization strives to be. Haley, whose father Dick worked as a personnel director for the Steelers back in the hey-day, grew up around the team in the 70s and even attended training camp as a kid.
"My mom and dad are in town today," Haley said. "The Chiefs PR department, on their own, put him on the cover of the media guide, whcih is I know a special thing. He wouldn't have come to the game if he knew it was on there so I couldn't tell him. He didn't know about it until we pulled through the gates and he's like, 'Oh, no' and turned it over.
"I know it means something to him, and my mom, and just my family in general."
Haley isn't the only member of the Chiefs coaching staff who feels this victory is extra sweet.
"Offensive line coach Bill Muir came up to me," Haley said this afternoon, "and said, 'I didn't want to tell you this before the game but 32 years in the NFL, I've never beaten the Steelers'. That's from a Western PA guy who's been wanting to beat the Steelers for a long time."
Haley was also asked about his on-field demeanor, which seemed toned down today relative to other games.
"It's easy to be positive when good things are happening."
Indeed it is. For the first time since October 21st, 2007, the Chiefs can revel in a two game winning streak.