I learned my lesson quickly. I was 15-years-old at the time and quit a cake job (no pun intended) at a local ice cream store. We were never busy. I worked with hot college girls. So I got paid to sit around, listen to music, eat ice cream and listen to my co-workers giggle and flirt. So obviously, I quit.
My dad always warned me: make sure you have something else in hand if you're going to get rid of something. After quitting that job, I thought I would sit around doing nothing and I hated having to put on an apron and ring up the occasional customer. I hated dishes and time cards and uniforms. So when my parents made me get another job, I quickly realized that I should have had something else in hand, all right, or else I should have kept my first job. Because having to work at McDonalds post-ice cream store was hell.
Timing is everything. And the NFL is ripe to serve as an example for this maxim.
The best teams seem to release veterans at the perfect time, rather than holding on for the sake of romantic memories. The best teams give time for their rookies to grow and develop into the system and (most of the time) seem to refuse to force them too early. At the same time, the best teams also admit draft mistakes and release them away if they need to. The best teams work the draft board with timing in mind, knowing the true value of future picks and not getting swept up in the moment.
So when it comes to the Chiefs coaching carousel of 2009, the question I'm wondering is not so much about firing Herm Edwards. The question is about the timing of it.
Look ahead with me for a second to next year. Mike Holmgren just came out and said he's still interested in coaching and, living in the Indianapolis area, I can tell you that Tony Dungy was the lead story last night in the news with a report that he might not be so "retired" after all. Bill Cowher also retired this past year and said that he wanted to sit out until 2010. Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan also are available in 2010.
Of course, you could argue against certain picks like Shanahan or Gruden. But it was clear from the outset that some very big coaching hires would be available in 2010. It's the same with the teams drafting QB's this year when everyone seems to forget that the class of 2010 would have made Josh Freeman a 3rd round pick. Yet teams salivated over the big three this year instead of waiting for the much more talented and deep class of next year. Timing is everything and my guess would be that someone - the Lions, Jets or Bucs - will find that all too soon.
When I look at where we eventually landed with Todd Haley, I have to ask, "Really?" Rather than wait for any other assistant, for any other head coaching possibilities next year, you'd rather have him? Really, we don't want to at least wait and kick the tires on an experienced, proven winner, especially when K.C. with Pioli and Hunt should be a great place to coach?
Honestly, I think I would be more excited about our head coach if he was a promising retread. After all, the NFL has clearly displayed that even the best head coaches had to lose in other places first, getting their feet wet and realizing that all their grand, newbie ideas might not work the first time around. Haley's already rookie fires here and there and it seems like perhaps some timing would have kept those fires from ever burning.
Of course, it's all educated guesses at this point. It's the offseason, so we look under every rock for something to dissect. So we hope Haley is really who the front office believes that he is. But NFL history tells us differently and with the cash crop only one year away, I have to wonder if it wouldn't have been so bad to hold on to Herm for just one more season.