“The decision had been made, that if the Chiefs lost to the Colts, Todd Haley would be fired,” Wright told his listeners only moments ago.
As you know, I talked about this theory way back on our episode of AA Radio following the team’s loss to the Detroit Lions.
If Wright is right, that means Haley was a miracle comeback away from losing his job. A Dwayne Bowe circus catch from getting canned.
More after the jump.
Wright claims that he got his information from a very high Chiefs source. He said that, short of getting the word from Pioli himself, the source was very solid. Wright also claims he confirmed the information.
Obviously we probably won’t ever know if this is true or not. I do know that Wright has legit sources within the organization.
I do believe this is very possible. A source of mine confirmed that there were some issues between Pioli and Haley just a week ago.
Others, including ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Yahoo’s Mike Silver reported that Haley and Pioli weren’t getting along and that Haley was on the hot seat.
I don’t think it is crazy to believe, if the reports of a rift between the GM and head coach are true, that Pioli might have considered firing Haley during the bye week. I laid out in a couple of columns. Here is what I said just days ago.
If Pioli really wants Haley gone, he needs to do it at a time when anger about the head coach’s preseason plan and the team’s poor performance is at a boiling point. A 1-4 or 0-5 start would be the perfect time for Pioli to swing the axe. It will give him a built-in excuse for the rest of the season. If the team continues to struggle, he can point to Haley as the reason for the team’s troubles and say “Look, this guy messed up so badly that I had to fire him midseason!”
It isn’t crazy to believe that Pioli would have fired Todd should the team start off 1-4 or 0-5.
But they didn’t. Haley’s team has rallied and won two straight. Losing to the then winless Vikings or winless Colts could have given Pioli enough leverage to cut ties.
As it stands, if Haley really is in danger of a midseason fire, he’s bought himself more time, perhaps the rest of the season.
What is really interesting is that if Nick Wright is right here, Haley will probably really have to outdo himself for the rest of the season if he wants to keep his job past the end of this season. Haley’s contract is up after 2012. Chances are Pioli won’t want a lame duck coach in 2012 so if he wants Haley gone, he’ll likely do it after the season. Unless Haley makes it impossible for him to do so.
And the only way I can see that happening is if the Chiefs rally continues and they make a run at the AFC West title again. At minimum, I would say they have to finish at least 9-7. A run like that would probably force Pioli to extend Haley’s contract by at least a year to avoid a lame duck 2012.
Again, this only goes if Wright’s report is accurate. If it is not, then Haley may be fine.
I will say that if it is true, I’m damn glad the team managed to come back last week. I don’t always agree with him, and I am still furious about his preseason plan but I like Haley. We are in the third year of his program and what would be best for the Chiefs is if he succeeds. Nobody wants to start over.
What do you all think?