As a season ticket holder for the past few years, I have discovered that sometimes the view from my seat in section 241 is better than the one in my living room that has a 52" HDTV sitting in it. On Sunday, I saw something that nobody watching TV had the ability to see and I think the untold part of the story is significant. If you care to know what happened on the Chiefs sideline after the cameras stopped rolling, follow the jump.So just to get everyone on the same page, let me briefly recap the plays leading up to the shouting match between Matt Cassel and Todd Haley:
- Halfway into the 2nd quarter the Vikings are leading the Chiefs 7-3. McNabb caps off a decent Vikings drive by getting a pass picked off in certain field goal range. Chiefs take over at their 35 yard line.
- On 1st and 10, Cassel completes a short pass down the middle to Breaston, who then breaks away all the way to the Vikings 23.
- Two quick running plays and its 1st and goal from the 9 yard line. A touchdown allows the Chiefs to regain the lead.
1st and goal / 9 yd line - Jones runs for a 3 yard gain
2nd and goal / 6 yd line - Cassel takes a shotgun snap and passes incomplete
3rd and goal / 6 yd line - Cassel takes a shotgun snap and within seconds throws the ball into the ground; no attempt to scramble around and give receivers time to break free. The Boo's from the crowd are immediate and very loud.
Cassel quickly trots off the field clearly frustrated. And then....
Haley-Cassel Sideline Spat.mpg (via MrIcefroggyfrog)
Simultaneous with this spat, the Chiefs line up, kick a field goal and then the guy with the funny orange gloves steps onto the field at the 30 yard line (signal that game is in a TV break for those who've never been to a live game).
Since my seat is on the visitor side of the stadium, I have a great view of the Chiefs bench. I saw the shouting and shoving and grabbed my binoculars to get a better view. I decide to follow the QB activity to see if a Palko sighting is forthcoming. Now, in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, let me tell you "the rest of the story".
Todd Haley turns away from Cassel and gets back to the game as the team is lining up for the field goal. Several teammates attempt to calm Cassel down and he mumbles and grumbles his way over to the bench where he immediately starts looking at the latest formation pictures along with backup QB Tyler Palko. One of the assistant coaches is also involved going over the pages.
And then...Todd Haley casually walks over in front of Matt Cassel and kneels down to be on the same eye level as Matt and calmly begins coaching his quarterback. No shouting. No anger. Cassel calmly listening and replying to comments from his head coach. Several times, I see Coach Haley using his hands to indicate how the play was developing and it was apparent he was trying to explain to Matt how to read the movements through a busted play to achieve better success. This happened no less than 60 seconds after the televised shouting match.
I wish I had a video camera of the whole scene. In replaying the sequence of events in my mind, I think I know what happened...don't know for sure...more of a guess really. I think the 3rd and goal play was developing so similarly to the final screwed up KC play in San Diego last week that Matt Cassel simply panicked and threw it straight into the dirt. As Matt returned to the sidelines, I suspect Haley rubbed a little too much salt into the wound and Cassel snapped. Cassel clearly required a lot more attention to get his head back to the task at hand because I counted at least 3 different teammates calming him down as he walked away from shouting with Haley.
I also think Haley quickly realized that he couldn't allow his passion to stand in the way of being the coach of his quarterback. He went over and calmly helped his quarterback believe that he could be better.
From the reports I've read, Matt Cassel gave a bit of an inspiring speech to his teammates at halftime and made them believe they could be better.
Is Cassel our QB of the future? I don't know.
Is Haley the right head coach for our team? I don't know.
What I do know is this - Todd Haley believes in Matt Cassel. Matt Cassel believes in this team. That's good enough for me.