Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Morning Fix: Black Monday Edition

It is “Black Monday” in the NFL. Today is the day the official firings will begin as teams try to position themselves to scoop up the best coaches and front office personnel.

If Clark Hunt is going to part ways with Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel, the move will almost certainly happen today. The more time that passes, the more likely it is that one or both men will be retained. Early word on the street is that Crenne is done for. As for Pioli, there are conflicting reports. Stay tuned to Arrowhead Addict throughout the day. As soon as the news breaks, if it breaks we’ll bring it to you.

Until then, here is your Morning Fix!

The Chiefs have multiple holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but their most glaring issue is quarterback. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn are not the answer and probably won’t be back. The quarterback issue stands above all else.

Meanwhile, Chiefs fans will try to ignore the fact they missed out on Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III by one year. Sorry, guys.

On the list are the Kansas City Chiefs, whom NFL.com’s Steve Wyche reported are expected to retain general manager Scott Pioli despite a disastrous season, according to a source briefed on the situation. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt has strong feelings for Pioli and wants to give him another shot to get things right, the source said.

Coach Romeo Crennel might not be as fortunate. The source said Crennel likely will be fired, although no final decision has been made on the coach’s future.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport pointed out that Pioli could go after Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz to replace Crennel. Rapoport hears that Iowa coaches are calling around inquiring about jobs. There’s no buyout in Ferentz’s contract.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com and Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports both initially passed along chatter that Pioli would stick in Kansas City, but Crennel would not.

The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that LB Derrick Johnson is the team’s nominee for the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Johnson is joined by candidates from each NFL team in consideration for this illustrious accolade. The winner will be announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during Super Bowl XLVII pregame ceremonies on Sunday, Feb. 3 in New Orleans, La.

Key play: Denver’s Matt Prater kicked a 42-yard field goal for the only points in the period.

•  Key stat: The Broncos had the ball for almost 12 minutes in the period.

•  Player of the game: Dustin Colquitt. He made three punts inside the Denver 20 with no touchbacks.

•  Reason to hope: The Chiefs are now free to get moving on their offseason plans.

•  Reason to mope: Do you have faith in the Chiefs to make the right choices to fix what ails them?

•  Looking ahead: The offseason should be a busy one.

The Chiefs were powerless to stop the 13-3 Broncos, who won their 11th straight game and clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns as Denver piled up almost 500 yards.

The Chiefs continued their meek offensive ways and had just 119 yards. They managed to venture inside the Denver 20 two times but once came away with only a field goal and later missed another attempt.

Even in a season where the Chiefs lost nine games by at least 14 points, Sunday’s 35-point margin was the biggest of the season. Coach Romeo Crennel said the Chiefs were crushed by the accumulating weight of an awful season.

Crennel seems to know what’s coming, saying that if the criteria is wins and losses — and what other criteria is there for the coach of an NFL team expected to compete for the playoffs? — then “there’s not much defense” of him keeping his job.

Pioli didn’t talk to reporters after the game, but if he’s not fired, he’s the new Matt Millen.

Actually, if they’re both not fired, the Chiefs are the new Lions.

They broke an 83-year-old NFL record by not holding a lead in regulation until the ninth game. They broke a 68-year record for most rushing yards in a loss. They just lost their ninth game by more than two touchdowns, a level of ineptitude unmatched since the 1981 Colts — back when they played in Baltimore. They once went until late in the third quarter without a first down. They turned the ball over six times in one game, and lost six others with one or zero turnovers.

“I have not been told anything,” he said. “Until I am told something, I assume that I’m still working. I don’t think anyone knows what the future holds. You go to work and you do what you do until you find out otherwise or you find out differently. I think that’s what everybody in that locker room is going to do and that’s we’re all going to do.

“It was a bad season and now it’s over with, that’s the good part of it. It’s the last (game) this year and so everybody gets a chance to go look in the mirror and see what the mirror says on what you can do to improve and what you need to do to get yourself better. Evidently I didn’t do enough to help this team this year. That’s one thing it’s going to say.”

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