Despite the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of another Super Bowl appearance and potential successive win, they’re also going to run the tables in the offseason—that is to say, it looks as if the team is going to suffer zero losses this offseason when it comes to their front office and coaching staff. Somehow, the most consistently successful team in the NFL is allowed to bring all of their assistant coaches and personnel execs back for another year.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the near future won’t feature several more exits to come. It seems ridiculous that Clark Hunt is still cutting paychecks to Eric Bieniemy, so it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he’s earned his first head coaching shot. This offseason, Chiefs Kingdom also heard the first official rumors of Mike Kafka as a head coach-in-waiting.
The front office is not immune as well. Director of Football Administration Brandt Tilis and Assistant Directors of Player Personnel Ryan Poles both earned interviews this offseason with the Carolina Panthers about their open general manager role, with Poles earning a second interview. At some point, both guys are likely going to find GM roles, as well as other potential names like Director of Football Operations Mike Borgonzi
But what about a guy who’s already earned a head coaching opp? Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was the difference between a defense that served as dead weight on the offense’s dreams in 2018 and a Super Bowl winner just last year. The Chiefs looked like contenders the moment the defense began to turn the corner against the Denver Broncos midway through the ’19 season, and the unit’s ability to stave off opponent’s comebacks as well as put away teams in ’20 has them on the verge of another championship.
Steve Spagnuolo could be a dark horse for another head coaching opportunity in the near future.
Spagnuolo is not solely responsible for the turnaround, of course. His assistants certainly deserve considerable praise, and on-field leaders like safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark, and linebacker Anthony Hitchens all make his job easier. But Spags’ adaptive schemes as well as his ability to get the most of out of his players are the sorts of qualities owners look for in head coaches.
Earlier this week, Chris Jones spoke with the media about his defensive coordinator and had high praise for him when asked about Spags’ head coaching potential once again.
"“Spags is a great guy. He’s a heckuva leader. He gets you to buy in. I think moreso by being with this defense and being with Coach Spags… y’know, I had Bob Sutton at the beginning, and Spags brought a different type of energy to the building just by the way he coached. He’s a players-first coach …I love Spags, man. He’s a great guy and a player’s coach. It’s easy for guys to buy into speaks because he speaks the truth and he’s relatable.”"
Spagnuolo might not be the most exciting hire for a team given that an unknown quantity is always a flashier hire than a known quantity. It also doesn’t help that Spags’ first go-around as a head coach in the NFL was a miserable one with the St. Louis Rams. However, anyone who remembers the lack of talent he had to work with will sympathize with the job he was tasked with—including a quarterback rotation that featured the likes of Marc Bulger, Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Kellen Clemens, Keith Null, and Kyle Boller.
If the Chiefs defense shows up strong against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Super Bowl LV, it’s going to mean two consecutive Lombardi Trophies for a veteran defensive coordinator who could warrant another chance in the NFL. While most of the attention is on the offensive side for the Chiefs, the reality is that they might see some departures from other areas as well.