There was a lot of of speculation on Monday that the reason the Dolphins fired Tony Sparano was in response to the Chiefs firing Haley--to get word out fast that they're looking for a new coach. I have no doubt that the Chiefs' firing of Haley with three weeks left in the season was at least partially intended to get a leg up on the other teams that would be searching for a new head coach as well. Remember when Haley was hired? After the Super Bowl, when many of the better coaching candidates had already been snatched up, I think the Chiefs want to be in the driver's seat when it comes to hiring their next coach.
I also think the Chiefs job is by far the most attractive of the three currently open and may still be the best HC job when all the other coaching vacancies are revealed (there could be as many as nine coaches fired).
First of all, the Chiefs are one of the storied franchises in the NFL. KC is a small market and as you guys know the small market teams often get the shaft when it comes to getting their story out there. But take a look at the Chiefs' story: The original owner founded the AFL, which more or less resulted in the AFC as we know it today. The original owner coined the name "Super Bowl". The team played in the first ever, jet-pack enhanced Super Bowl game and won the fourth one. The team played in the now legendary longest game in NFL history. Our rivalry with the hated Oakland Raiders remains one of the two or three greatest rivalries in the NFL. In the 90s we were the second-winningest team in the NFL, only the 49ers won more games in that decade. The Chiefs have one of the great fan bases in the NFL and Arrowhead Stadium is still one of the most formidable places for opposing teams to play. And speaking of Arrowhead, it just got a shiny new facelift and has re-taken its place as one of the premiere, state of the art stadiums in the NFL. As an NFL team, the Chiefs are as attractive a place to work as any in the league.
Miami is also a storied NFL franchise, but it's playing in an older stadium now (built more recently than Arrowhead but not recently renovated). And I don't think you could exactly call their fan base passionate. There is so much to do in South Florida and actually going to a Dolphins game is often an afterthought. I lived in South Florida for a few years and attended many Dolphins games -- the game day experience just isn't even close to what KC offers. The crowd is quiet and just kind of sits there. The games are often sold out but the stadium is awash with no shows as people decide to go to the beach instead. So yes, the Dolphins are as storied a franchise as the Chiefs but wouldn't a coach prefer to play for a more passionate fan base that has one of the most formidable 12th men in the league? In a newly rebuilt stadium?
And then there's Jacksonville. The Jacksonville job isn't even close to being in the same league and the KC or Miami jobs. First of all, they're a relatively recent expansion team with no real history. Second, their fan base is so nonexistent they are one of the teams often talked about being relocated to Los Angeles. We know that the Jacksonville franchise is in the process of being sold, so a coaching candidate may not even know what kind of owner they would wind up working for. There is a tremendous amount of instability in Jacksonville at the moment.
And then there's KC itself. I don't live in KC anymore, but I think it's an easy city to sell coaches on. I know a lot of young players might want to live in a city with more exciting nightlife, but most coaches are going to be older guys with families to think about. KC is very family friendly. And this is something I never hear people talk about as a selling point of Kansas City: it's a very, very inexpensive city to live in. I'm in Los Angeles now and I was just back to KC for Thanksgiving. Gas was nearly $1 cheaper per gallon in KC. Home prices are enormously cheaper in KC, I would estimate that home prices in LA are at least 3 times as expensive, if not higher than that. I drove past a newly built housing edition the other day and the sign out front said home prices started in the "low $700s." The low $700s??? Yikes! My point is your money goes a lot further in KC than in a lot of the bigger markets. A $2.5 million salary in New York doesn't go as far as it would in KC.
Norv Turner is likely out in San Diego. SD is a beautiful city. I love San Diego. But who wants to coach in that Flintstones stadium of theirs? Their fan base sucks and the Chargers are one of the teams often discussed for relocation. Kansas City is a much more attractive head coaching job.
Jason Garrett might be out in Dallas. I read recently that they'd built a new stadium in Dallas, maybe it'll be on TV one day. And they are a storied franchise. But you'd have to deal with the most meddlesome and often incompetent (you gotta love how thoroughly Jones fucked up the Superbowl last year) owner in the NFL. Also you'd have to live in Texas. Kansas City is a much more attractive head coaching job.
Tom Coughlin might be out in New York. They have a new stadium and New York is the greatest city in the world. But you have to deal with the New York media. Kansas City is a much more attractive head coaching job.
Andy Reid might be out in Philly. Come on, Eagles fans booed Santa Claus. Kansas City is a much more attractive head coaching job.
Steve Spagnuolo is probably out in St. Louis. The Rams? Seriously? Horrible stadium. Terrible fan base. Probably another franchise that could potentially move to LA. Kansas City is a much more attractive head coaching job.
I think we all know that Pioli has got to hit a home run with this hire. But this job is as attractive as any in the NFL, if not the best one out there.
Clark Hunt has said he wants to emulate the Steelers as an organization. Since the early 70s the Steelers have had 3 head coaches: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and now Mike Tomlin. That, fans, is organizational stability.