Back in week three when the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the San Diego Chargers, most fans thought the season was over. Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry had both just blown out their ACLs, the team had just been blown out by a million points in two games, and things just were not looking good for the boys in red and yellow. It appeared that the 2011 season had arrived in the ER with a flat line.
Every aspect of those first two games showed an obvious lack of discipline and execution, with no hope for improvement. When that happens, it’s not the players. It’s the coaching. Todd Haley seemed as if he couldn’t control his locker room or his team on the field.
Then Nick Wright reported rumors that Scott Pioli would have fired head coach Todd Haley had the Chiefs lost to the Indianapolis Colts in week 5. The fans, and players alike, were no longer drinking the Pioli/Haley Kool-Aid. It was at this point when I wrote my “Is the Raiders Game a Must Win for Todd Haley?” article.
One week since that article and five weeks since the first Chargers game and a lot of things appear to have changed. The Chiefs have won their last three games, shut out the Raiders in Oakland and have put themselves in a position with a real shot at taking the lead in the AFC West.
So after last week’s article, I have to say this, if Haley deserves the indictments for the losses, he deserves the praises for the wins. It amazes me how Haley gets these players to following him.
From Dwayne Bowe saying, “”Todd is one of the guys, there’s a method to his madness. If you see him rough and nasty like that, that’s how the game is going to be.”
To Brandon Flowers stating, “We love him, man, that’s like our brother.”
That’s why Haley has earned himself the rest of this season and in my eyes another year in Kansas City. The respect that his players are showing him by rallying and pulling together three straight victories should be a statement in itself. Haley’s players love him, want to win for him, and want him to remain their coach.
But how did this happen? When did the screaming ego maniac, as some would call him, become so popular and loved by his players? When the team was 0-2, and running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off, it sure didn’t seem like the players were behind Haley.
It had to have started in the San Diego game during week 3. It was then that the sideline shouting match between Haley and Matt Cassel occurred. The Chiefs nearly pulled off a major upset that day, and besides a bad first half in Indianapolis, the Chiefs have been on a roll since.
The Chiefs shutout the Raiders, in what was their first shutout since 1973, and the first of the season by any NFL team on the road. It wasn’t pretty on offense, chiefly in the passing game, and there were way too many penalties, but the 28-0 final score in Oakland was a thing of beauty.
The Chiefs have a tough road ahead of them and still have plenty of concerns, but the players believe in their head coach and it’s showing more and more with each game that passes. If Haley can keep the players belief in him, the Chiefs will remain competitive all season, and may even work their way back atop the AFC West.
In a short time span, the Chiefs have gone from a miserable, winless team in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes to an AFC West contender. They torched the Raiders in a 28-point destruction last week and in my opinion they are catching the overrated Chargers at the perfect time.
The Chargers are heading into this Monday Night match up at 4-2. They beat the Chiefs by a field goal the first time around this season, but this time it’s going down at Arrowhead. With Todd Haley rejuvenating the fans and players’ belief in him, look for the Chiefs to make a statement of Monday Night Football!!
My Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Chargers 14