The worst kept secret in Kansas City is now official: Romeo Crennel is the new head coach of the Chiefs.
The 64-year-old Crennel seemed the obvious candidate from the time the Chiefs fired Todd Haley and installed Crennel as the interim head coach. He won two of his three games as the interim coach with the victories coming against playoff teams from Green Bay and Denver.
The one loss, against Oakland in overtime, prevented the Chiefs from winning the AFC West championship and making the playoffs.Crennel had a 24-40 record as the head coach for Cleveland from 2005 through 2008. After taking a year off from football, he joined the Chiefs in 2010 as their defensive coordinator.
The Chiefs interviewed at least a half-dozen other candidates for the position but never veered far from Crennel.
He made sense for the Chiefs for many reasons:
Even in a seriously dysfunctional season, the Chiefs finished 7-9 and a game behind the other three teams in the AFC West. So they believe with a few tweaks they can win the division title next season. That being the case, continuity makes sense, and Crennel can provide it. The Chiefs can work on fixing their problems right away. They’ll waste no time installing new offensive or defensive systems or having to learn about the current players. The Chiefs will need to hire a new offensive coordinator and some other assistants, but those moves can be relatively seamless by keeping Crennel in charge.
Pioli and Crennel have a level of respect for one another that, as we learned when Haley was the coach, is necessary as long as Pioli is the general manager. These two have proven they can work together.
The players wanted Crennel retained as the head coach. Crennel won’t have to change any cultures or win over any factions in the locker room. That’s already been done.