AP and AA Square Off in Gailey vs. Haley Debate

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Arrowhead Pride and Arrowhead Addict decided to go head to head in a debate format.  For AP, I made the case for Chan Gailey as the Chiefs next head coach.  For AA, Adam staked his claim to Todd Haley.

Click over and see if I got bested by a Best.

Primetime: Chan Gailey should be the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Yeah, he's not the sexy choice that so many Chiefs fans have been clamoring for since names like Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan and Marty Schottenheimer have been floating around.  But, he is a coach with a proven track record and gives the Chiefs the best chance for success in 2009.

  • Offensive coordinator of the Steelers: Super Bowl
  • Offensive coordinator of the Dolphins: 11 wins per year
  • Head coach of the Cowboys: 2 playoff appearances in 2 years

The Chiefs are the youngest team in the league.  They need a head coach that is familiar with the players and their development, especially the quarterback position..  Tyler Thigpen owes his success to Gailey.  Being the most important position in professional sports. the development of a quarterback should be placed at the forefront of any rebuilding session.  Gailey took Thigpen and made him a competent quarterback.  His work with Thigpen can not be understated in any way, shape or form. 

The turnaround job he did with the Chiefs is nearly enough to make me give him consideration for the head coaching job.  But combine that with his previous success as a head coach in which Jerry Jones admitted he fired him prematurely and he's a no-brainer.  Once we can get over the young, up-and-coming coordinator obsession and take note of his resume, Chan Gailey is a solid choice for the Chiefs next head coach.

Adam: It's not about making the sexy choice. It's about aiming for greatness. As solid as he's been as a coordinator over the years -- and winning one gimme game with the Arrowspread last year was not one of those times -- he's been a pedestrian head coach. Other than what seems like a millennium ago at Troy (when it was still Troy State), he's never won more than 10 games as a head coach. Most years he's hovered right around .500. That's settling for the crumbs when we should be shooting for the stars. That's why I simply do not understand the Chandemonium that has hit Chiefs Nation.

Todd Haley's resume speaks for itself. Not only has he risen about as quickly as you can in the NFL, some of the brightest football minds in the game -- Bill Parcells and Ken Whisenhunt -- have recently hired him. I'll take a Parcells hire over a Herman Edwards one eight days a week. Besides, what Haley has done in Arizona has been astonishing. Whisenhunt is a damn fine young head coach, but it's been Haley's offense that has taken the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals to the Super Bowl! That's as astonishing as us putting a man on the moon. As Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point and 20,000-women conquests. As Seth Rogen becoming an A-lister. And Haley is the man responsible.

The Chiefs are the youngest team in the league, and it would suit them well to have a young coach who can communicate with the new generation of players effectively. Look at the two coaches in this year's Super Bowl. Their average age is 41. Chan Gailey is 57. Additionally, Gailey was part of a coaching staff that coddled our young players and didn't get the best out of them. As we saw with Anquan Boldin two weeks ago, Haley is a "no nonsense" kind of coach. In order for the promise of our youth to amount to something, we need balls -- not a babysitter.

To top all of that off, Haley even has a strong working relationship with new GM Scott Pioli. Speaking of Pioli, with him in and Carl Peterson out, it's time to look forward. Haley is the right coach for this new era in Chiefs football.

Primetime: His only stint as an NFL head coach landed him 2 playoff appearances in 2 years.  Far from pedestrian if you ask me.  His work with the Chiefs last year did not translate into many victories.  But, at the same time, you've gotta hold the head coach responsible for that.  Gailey's offense vastly improved over the course of the season which is indicative of his ability to adapt with what he was given.

College coaching vs. NFL coaching is comparing apples and oranges.  With that logic, a good college coach (like Steve Spurrier) should have succeeded as an NFL coach.  The two can not be compared.  There are too many variables, mainly recruiting, that impedes this argument.  Besides, Gailey's NFL resume already speaks for itself.

While I won't argue what Haley has done with the Cards in the playoffs is impressive, let's not forget that they've still got only 17 regular season wins over the last two years.  Gailey had 18 regular season wins over 2 years.  Haley's a hot name right now but what about the last 2 regular seasons when the Cards have been anything but a Super Bowl powerhouse.

The Chiefs are the youngest team in the league, and it would suit them well to have a young coach who can communicate with the new generation of players effectively.

Didn't we just have a players' coach?  A coach that related well to the players?  That didn't get us anywhere so trying to make it work yet again isn't the answer.

Gailey worked with what he was given and produced points.  The losses need to be pinned on the head coach.  Gailey repeatedly demonstrated an ability to effectively score points with an offense that was destined to fail.  There's one man you hold responsible for the failure (and success) of an NFL team and it's the head coach. 

Gailey has shown he can succeed as a head coach and, given more time in his previous stint, whose to say there never would have been a reason to bring Bill Parcells to Dallas?

Adam:
His only stint as an NFL head coach landed him 2 playoff appearances in 2 years.  Far from pedestrian if you ask me.  His work with the Chiefs last year did not translate into many victories.  But, at the same time, you've gotta hold the head coach responsible for that.  Gailey's offense vastly improved over the course of the season which is indicative of his ability to adapt with what he was given.

If the goal is to just make the playoffs, then we might as well bring Marty Schottenheimer back. Shouldn't the goal be to make the Super Bowl? Fresh off his offense leading the Cardinals to the Big Game, Haley certainly knows how to get the job done. Gailey's offense improved? I thought they were terrible late in the season, especially in the second halves of games. If it wasn't for a garbage touchdown in the last three minutes of the game, the Chiefs would have been shut out by the lowly Bengals in Week 17.


While I won't argue what Haley has done with the Cards in the playoffs is impressive, let's not forget that they've still got only 17 regular season wins over the last two years.  Gailey had 18 regular season wins over 2 years.  Haley's a hot name right now but what about the last 2 regular seasons when the Cards have been anything but a Super Bowl powerhouse.

Well, this certainly is misleading. Gailey was the head coach of the Cowboys, a team that had recently been very good with Troy Aikman still at the helm. Meanwhile, Haley got his first offensive coordinator job -- not a head coaching job, mind you -- with a franchise that had been the laughingstock of the NFL. In large part to his offense, the Cards went from chumps to NFC champs in two years. To me, that's more impressive than getting a former dynasty, even one on its last legs, into the playoffs.

Didn't we just have a players' coach?  A coach that related well to the players?  That didn't get us anywhere so trying to make it work yet again isn't the answer.

I wouldn't call Haley a player's coach at all -- just a young guy who understands today's player and the direction the game is going. Harm coddled our young players. We all know by seeing his sideline "conversation" with Boldin that Haley won't make that mistake.

To me, I think the biggest difference between these two candidates is their temperament. Haley seems to thrive under pressure, as we all witnessed last night when he damn near orchestrated one of the most unbelievable comebacks in Super Bowl history. He loves calling that late-game drive, as we saw not only in the Super Bowl but in the NFC Conference Championship. He also made masterful halftime adjustments in the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Gailey failed to make really any good halftime adjustments all season long. He also never thrived calling the shots under pressure. In fact, I'd say that he often choked under pressure.

I've been hard on Gailey, but here's my biggest issue: what message does retaining him send to the players and the fans? It sends the message that our 2-14 season was acceptable. Hell, it will send the message that 2-14 won't get you cut or fired, it will get you promoted! It also looks backward, when we should only be looking forward. With Derrick Thomas getting elected into the Hall, everything is set for us to close the book on the Carl Peterson era and totally start fresh. Hiring Gailey would prevent our beloved Red and Gold from having the fresh start that is needed to change the current losing culture.

Primetime:

If the goal is to just make the playoffs, then we might as well bring Marty Schottenheimer back. Shouldn't the goal be to make the Super Bowl?

You are correct.  In a room full of young players, many of them with less than 3 years of playing experience, who is likely to get their attention?  A coach with decades of success in the NFL or a 2 year coordinator with limited success outside of a miraculous one month run to the Super Bowl?  The Bill Parcells connection is overrated in my opinion.  I'll take the long resume over the potential any day of the week.

Regarding my "miraculous one month run" comment, the point is that I don't want to jump the gun on a guy who is the sexy choice right now.  I want this decision to be well thought out.  Haley's name just started popping up following the Cardinals divisional playoff round victory.  Where was his name the last 33 games the Cardinals played?

Well, this certainly is misleading. Gailey was the head coach of the Cowboys, a team that had recently been very good with Troy Aikman still at the helm.

Not so fast.  The Cowboys won 6 games the year prior to Gailey's arrival and ranked 22nd in offense and 13th in defense.  The next year, Gailey's first at the helm, the Cowboys increased their win total by 4 games and ended the season ranked 9th in offense and 3rd in defense.

I've been hard on Gailey, but here's my biggest issue: what message does retaining him send to the players and the fans?

It's not so much about sending the right message to the fans as it is putting the NFL's youngest team in the care of a veteran coach.  Gailey's been around the block and continues to be creative and be successful as a coordinator.  His adaptability and ability to continually revitalize offenses should be reason enough to debunk the school of thought that "fresh blood" is a necessity.  Sometimes newer isn't better.

And one more point that is largely ignored, is the ability to manage people.  Ultimately the next head coach will be manning a ship of 53 players and a dozen assistant coaches.  Chan Gailey obviously wasn't running the offense he wanted to start the season but never publicly threw the head coach (whose ultimately responsible for that decision) under the bus.  He understands the role each person has and the importance of having a sole voice lead the organization.  While I respect Haley's perceived fiery and blunt attitude, players may not react well to his tone considering he hasn't done much to prove he's the next Bill Parcells.

Adam:
Sometimes newer isn't better.

It certainly was this year. Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Tomlin, both first-time coaches at any level, took their teams to the big game after only two and three seasons, respectively. Granted, Tomlin inherited a good team, but the Whiz did not. The Raven's John Harbaugh had never been a head coach either, but he took Ray-Ray and the crew to the Conference Championship. Andy Reid was also a first-time coach when he was hired by the Eagles ten years ago. The NFL's four best teams all had first-time coaches at the helm. Three of the four were younger coaches that had been hired in the past three years. Not one of the coaches in the final four was a retread, like your boy Gailey.

This not only proves that a younger, first-time coach is the way to go in today's NFL, but also that one can take his team to the big game in two or three years.


Regarding my "miraculous one month run" comment, the point is that I don't want to jump the gun on a guy who is the sexy choice right now.  I want this decision to be well thought out.  Haley's name just started popping up following the Cardinals divisional playoff round victory.  Where was his name the last 33 games the Cardinals played?

"Sexy" is a word that's used to scare people away from making changes. Again, Tomlin was a sexier pick than Russ Grimm back in 2006. I'm not saying that Grimm was the wrong pick, but we all now for sure now that Tomlin was definitely the right choice. Whisenhunt was also probably the sexier hire than Grimm, and he also appears to have been the right choice after taking the Cardinals of all teams to the brink of winning it all. John Harbough was a sexier pick than Rex Ryan, and he ended up almost taking his team all the way. With this obvious current correlation between "sexy" and winning, I think it's time to bring sexy back to Kansas City.

Besides, blowing both yourself and your team up in a mere two seasons like Haley has is never a bad thing. We'll need someone who can recreate that here, someone with that kind of "experience."

I could not be more adamant about us needing a fresh start. Look at what completely starting over from scratch last season did for the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, teams whose 2007 records were close to the Chiefs' 2008 final mark. Both teams brought in a first-time NFL head coach, and both a brand new front office and quarterback. The result was a combined 17 more wins and two trips to the playoffs. Chiefs fans know all to well what happens when you keep around familiar faces despite sweeping changes being needed -- a franchise record for losses.

Chiefs Nation does need those sweeping changes. The players and fans need to know that in this new era losing will not be tolerated. Additionally, Scott Pioli is the man behind the curtain and Tony Gonzalez is just years (two, three, four?) from being  retired. For the Chiefs' catharsis to work, the franchise needs a new face. A face that  represents change and winning, not the status quo -- losing. For the reasons I've outlined above, Todd Haley is that face.


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