Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to The Chief Connection. Last week, we examined the connection between Todd Haley and Chan Gailey as they prepared to lock horns for a second time. This week the Chiefs face off with another former coordinator as well as a former head coach in Gunther Cunningham. His career as a Chief is well versed, but it is his current role as Defensive Coordinator of the the Lions that lands him a spot as The Chief Connection.
This Sunday, former Chiefs Head Coach Gunther Cunningham will be on the opposing sideline, directing his young and talented defense against the Chiefs struggling offense. For Cunningham, a victory this weekend would be sweet, as his coaching career with the Chiefs was filled with both successes and ultimately disappointments.
Let's take a look at the Gunther Cunningham timeline with regards to his connection to the Chiefs:
- 1995: Gunther Cunningham leaves the Los Angeles Raiders and becomes the Defensive Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
- 1995-1998: Cunningham coaches some of the best defenses in Kansas City Chiefs history, anchored by Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, and a host of other formidable defenders.
- January 22, 1999: Cunningham is hired as the seventh head coach in Chiefs history, following the resignation of Marty Schottenheimer, who presided over the most successful decade in Chiefs history.
- Over two seasons, the Chiefs amass a 16-16 record under Cunninghame, but GM Carl Peterson begins secretly courting Dick Vermeil who had recently retired.
- January 6, 2001: Cunningham is fired as Head Coach and claims he was blindsided by the whole ordeal. He also claims he learned of the firing from the team website and had no inclination that the firing was coming.
- January 20, 2004: Inexplicably, Cunningham returns to the Chiefs to become the Defensive Coordinator again. He claims he has no regrets and is happy to be back. (I don't know anyone, anyone, who would have done this. Either he is a selfless man or as dumb as bricks)
- Training Camp 2007: Click to the left to see the "wisdom" of Gunther Cunningham as he tried as hard as he could to seem like the baddest man on the planet for the show "Hard Knocks". Not only was our team bad, but this guy was getting serious airtime.
- After destroying a once proud defense yet again, Cunningham was relieved of his duties for a second time following the 2008 season.
- January 21, 2009: Cunningham becomes the Defensive Coordinator for the Detroit Lions and as noted by Chris Thorman, actually did worse than he did while with the Chiefs.
- 2010-2011: The Lions reshape their defense through the draft and free agency and Cunningham looks like a defensive guru again, despite having one of the most dominant defenders in the league in Ndomukong Suh. He also makes the claim in 2010 that Kyle Vanden Bosch is the best defensive player he has ever coached, leaving no doubt that despite his recent successes he is still incredibly insane.
- February 20, 2011: So insane is Cunningham that he publicly speaks about former Chiefs he wants to pick up for his defense (because they were so good here presumably) and the Lions are busted for tampering, causing them to swap draft picks and lose others.
- Yesterday: The implication out of Detroit from Jim Schwartz is that none of this is a big deal, yet players are pretty confident Cunningham is out for blood in this Sunday's game.
I say good. Bring it old man. Cunningham has been selling his brand of lunacy for years and I for one never cared for it. I hope Gunther brings his super secret special plays for this week's game and gets his rear end handed to him. He is and always has been an angry and bitter individual and I actually feel bad for Detroit's defense, because if they had Gunther maybe 20 years ago they could be even scarier.
Yes, Chan Gailey scored a TKO in game 1. But with Gunther on the opposing sideline and our team in desparate need of a solid performance, I at least hope we show up on offense to make him sweat.
Yes, Gunther Cunningham is our Chief Connection this week. And before I start to get really angry, why don't you all let us know how you feel about Gunther.
Thanks for reading and see you Friday for a special treat of a story. No hints.