Well Chiefs fans, the verdict is in. Bill Muir is the next offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. Bill is an enigma to not only Chiefs fans, but NFL football fans in general. In 29 years of coaching, this man has not made a name for himself that just anybody on the street corner would recognize. Don't believe me? Just walk in to any convenience store and ask anybody in there who Bill Muir is. Most of them will think it is a triva question and will come up with some idea that he was the dead husband of Mrs. Muir (played by Hope Lange) in the TV series "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir".
Well, he's not that guy. Actually, with Bill Muir, it's easier to discuss who he's not than who he is.
Mr. Muir has been coaching in the NFL for 29 years. He was coaching at the college level before that starting in 1965. In those 29 years, he has managed to be coaching for one Super Bowl winning team, the 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs. Along the way there have been a several playoff games as well, but for the most part, Mr. Muir is the epitome of a journeyman coach in the NFL. The good part is that over the years, his record has improved.
I went back and checked the records of all of those teams that he was a part of and as Chris said in an earlier post, it wasn't pretty. First of all, the article on KC Chiefs.com says that Bill has 33 years as an NFL coach. I can only come up with 33 if I add his first four years as a scout for the Bucs. I didn't know that scouts were considered coaches but if so I stand corrected.
In the 29 seasons that he has been a "coach", he has worked for only 8 different HCs. That is interesting because it means that he followed some coaches and was kept around by others. He worked for Gruden for 7 seasons in Tampa, Ron Meyer for 6, Rich Kotite for 5, Darryl Rogers for 4 (yes, he was HC for Detroit from 85-88 and went 18-40 over that time. He is most famous for wondering aloud to a reporter, "What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?"), Bill Parcells for 3, Todd Haley for 2 (soon to be 3), Al Groh (a parcells disciple) for 1 and our own Squirmy Herman Edwards for 1 during Herm's first year with the Jets.
In all that time, he saw only 12 seasons with winning records. Of those, 8 were playoff appearances. Of those, 5 were first round losses, one was a divisional loss, one was an AFC championship game loss and one (that fabulous one) was a Super Bowl victory. This man's tenacity is to be respected and if you look at the numbers, as he progressed, so did the winning seasons.
In his first 15 years, he saw only 3 times that his team posted a winning season, and one of those was his first year in the league during the 1982 strike shortened season. The Pats went 5-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs with Tony Eason at the helm.
In his last 14 seasons (including the Chiefs) he has seen nine teams with winning records, four wild card playoff games (three different teams), one AFC championship game (loss to the Giants who eventually won the Super Bowl), one NFC championship (Tampa) and one Super Bowl win (Tampa). Interestingly, this 14 year stint started in 1997 when Parcells took over the Jets. As Haley would say, his arrow is pointing up. I don't think it is an accident that he was part of the Chiefs biggest turnaround season in franchise history.
Given all of that info, it is not surprising that the Haley haters have risen to this auspicious occaision to point out that this hire is just proof that Haley can't work with any OC. Haley, they say, is far too egotistical to have a real stud of an OC that will 'take over' the play calling duties. It stands to reason that since Haley has 'run off' Chan Gailey and Charlie Weis (as they are fond of saying), that this pick of Bill Muir was done to placate Haley's super ego and let him call the plays as he sees fit.
Really? Doesn't the head coach of every NFL team have a hand in just what plays are called on any given Sunday? If you understand the hierarchy of how HCs become HCs, wouldn't a thinking fan want that Head Coaches input on play calling? You don't get a head coaching gig in the NFL because you washed and waxed the franchise owners car every week. The best HCs get that job because they earned it by producing results in their previous positions.
True, that is not always the case, but Haley has earned his stripes in the NFL by laboring on some of the best coaches staffs in the game. Whether or not you like what he does, you cannot take that away from him. Chan Gailey couldn't see Haley's vision for how the offense needed to run? Fine, pack your bags. Haley didn't run him off, he fired his arse. Those two circumstances are as different as night and day.
Charlie Weis agreed with Haley on how to run this offense but he had other aspirations. You can choose to believe that the two couldn't get along if you wish, but the stated reason for Charlie leaving the Chiefs is just as believeable as the two not seeing eye to eye. The former story was even reported in the press by a credible source. The in-fighting between Weis and Haley lacks that credibility. If it really was true, don't you think somebody would have a credible source to prove it?
Ah well, it's all water under the bridge now anyway. Weis is gone and Muir is the man. Bill Muir is a man that knows how to get an offensive line to perform. He's learned how to do it over 29 years in the NFL. In Bill's first 15 years in the NFL, the record of teams he was part of was 92-140 (.396 win %). In his last 14 seasons that record is 119-105 (.531 win %). As Bill grew and gained experience from better coaches (3 out of 5 of them from the Parcells tree), he as seen his influence rewarded with considerably more wins.
Maybe Bill is exactly what Haley needs in an OC to be successful. Maybe Bill spent all those consecutive years with other HCs because he understands that part of being an OC is giving your input and then supporting your Head Coach by doing what has been mutually decided come game day. Just because this pick didn't impress the oh so knowledgeable fans with an impressive name, certainly doesn't mean it is necessarily a bad one. Only time will tell now.
Whatever the case, the ultimate responsibility for making the Chiefs a winning football team lies with Haley. When you sit in the big chair it comes down to trusting your gut. I think that Haley has done just that by making this pick. In the final analysis, succeed or fail, it's Haley's show to coordinate--until it isn't.
If the Chiefs shore up the offense this off season and pick up a QB coach like I think they will, I am excited about getting to see Haley's play calling ability that he exhibited in taking the AZ Cardinals to a Super Bowl game. Our talent level is not all that far away from that team. After all, isn't that the goal? Wouldn't you like to see us get this chance?
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