Crennel’s finish persuades Chiefs
It also persuaded the Kansas City Chiefs to give the affable defensive specialist a second chance to be an NFL head coach.
The Chiefs announced Monday that Crennel was the official replacement for the fired Todd Haley, removing the interim tag he bore for the last three weeks of the season.
“The three games had a lot to do with where we arrived at this decision,” general manager Scott Pioli said. “Some of the things we saw was a great deal of accountability and consistency. There was also a different energy to the football team. A lot of it had to do with those last three games.”
Warm and personable, the 64-year-old Crennel is a sharp departure from Haley. Often called a “players’ coach” he’s been known to write off mistakes as youthful indiscretions. Ironically, being soft with players was a criticism when he was fired after four years as head coach in Cleveland with a 24-40 record.
He was an instant hit with Chiefs players while serving as Haley’s defensive coordinator the past two years. After the Chiefs beat the Packers, 19-14, on Dec. 18 in their first game with Crennel in charge, the Chiefs chanted his nickname, “RAC! RAC!” as they ran up the tunnel.
He was always considered the front-runner to replace Haley, even though Pioli said he interviewed “more than half a dozen” candidates.
“I’m not exactly sure what a player’s coach is,” Crennel said. “Sometimes I think players think that a coach who is on their side is a player’s coach, who always rules in favor of them may be a players’ coach.
“I know that’s not always the case with me. I think that basically, I’m a good guy. And I think this is what players appreciate—players appreciate honesty. Players appreciate you telling them like it is. They don’t always want to hear it. But that’s what they appreciate. I try to tell them what I believe, what I feel and how I think it should be done.”
With a core of good, young players, the Chiefs could be poised to become dominant in the AFC West. Crennel is the fifth head coach in Kansas City since the Chiefs’ last playoff win in the 1993 season
Crennel’s lone defeat as interim coach came in overtime against Oakland, which knocked the Chiefs (7-9) from playoff contention. But they closed the season by beating Denver.
Rams, Dolphins finalists in bidding for Fisher
The St. Louis Rams are reporting on their website that they and the Dolphins are finalists in the bidding to hire Jeff Fisher as their head coach.
The team said Monday that the former Titans coach completed a second interview with the Rams on Sunday, touring facilities in St. Louis and spending time with quarterback Sam Bradford. Fisher also interviewed with owner Stan Kroenke in Denver last week.
Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said both teams anticipate a decision from Fisher in the next few days.
The Rams also have interviewed Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton for the position.