How long will the Romeo Crennel era last in Kansas City?
It may seem like an unfair question for a man who hasn’t even gone through his first training camp as the team’s head coach but given Crennel’s age, it is a question we should consider.
Romeo turned 65 on Monday, and while he may have reached retirement age, Crennel clearly has no intentions of hanging them up any time soon. Still, Romeo is the second oldest head coach in the NFL, only trailing Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants. Coughlin will be 66 in August and he recently signed a new contract with the Giants so that he can pursue his third Super Bowl title.
With people now living well into their 80’s, reaching your 60’s is no longer an ironclad time to ride off into the sunset. In the NFL, however, the high-pressure environment is such that you wonder how long men of an advanced age would want to endure it.
The best thing for the Chiefs is stability. All the best franchises in the NFL have stability. Just look at the Steelers, Patriots and, until recently, the Colts.
Scott Pioli has been in Kansas City for three full seasons and he is already on his second head coach. Given Crennel’s age, it is fair to say that Chiefs fans aren’t in for ten years of the “Romeo Era.” That means there is likely more turnover coming, probably sometime in the next three to five years.
What kind of impact might that have on the consistent organization that Pioli is trying to build?
The key may be Pioli himself. The GM has stated that he wants the Chiefs way of doing things to be the same from top to bottom. He seeks an organizational structure that can change out personnel seamlessly without missing a beat. His thinking seems to be that if he remains and place and continues to set the standard that the rest of the organization will follow suit.
But how do you build that consistency in the locker room when your most important field generals keep changing? Along with the head coaching changes, the Chiefs have also had two different defensive coordinators and five different offensive coordinators. Crennel will be entering his third year as the team’s defensive coordinator this season, but the offense is starting over again. How long will it take them to catch up?
Scott Pioli has done excellent work building KC’s roster. He has a young team with loads of talent and he’s managed to keep nearly all of his star players while also finding a few budding stars along the way. His choice of Romeo Crennel as his team’s new head coach and hiring of Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator, might be the final pieces of the puzzle.
Pioli has been trying to build KC’s version of the Patriots since he arrived in the Midwest. Had Denver not snatched up Josh McDaniels first, Pioli probably would have made him the team’s head coach instead of Todd Haley. Crennel, who was dealing with some health issues at the time, probably would have been Pioli’s second choice. Instead, circumstances were such that Pioi explored the Parcells coaching-tree and took a chance on Todd Haley.
But this time, Pioli has all the pieces in place. If Crennel’s run as head coach ends in a Super Bowl or even a couple of AFC West Championships and some playoff wins, Pioli has a potential replacement already on staff in Daboll, who spent years as an assistant with the Patriots. There is also the possibility that Josh McDaniels, who is reviving his career in New England, once again their offensive coordinator, will finally join Pioli in Kansas City. The Chiefs would then finally have their young coach of the future who could come in and steer the Patriot-way machine that Pioli began assembling upon his arrival.
But the scenario only works if the Crennel era, however long it lasts, ends relatively successfully. If it doesn’t, there is a chance Clark Hunt won’t allow Pioli a third shot at hiring a head coach. If that happens, consistency in Kansas City could still be a long, long way off.