The Kansas City Chiefs introduced their new coach to much applause in the area, but for a group of Lee’s Summit businessmen chowing down during the lunchtime press conference much remains to be seen.
Andy Reid, head coach in Philadelphia for the last 14 seasons, is the fourth coach in Kansas City since 2008, and save for a playoff appearance after the 2010 regular season, not much success has come from a group of coaches that included Herm Edwards, Todd Haley and the recently disposed Romeo Crennel, who was let go days after the team finished a disappointing 2-14 season.
Crennel, who along with recently fired general manager Scott Pioli and assistant coach Gary Gibbs, endured a difficult season on and off the field as a witness to former Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killing himself Dec. 1 in the parking lot of the practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium after shooting and killing his girlfriend in the Kansas City home the couple shared.
On the field, including Edwards’ final season in 2008, the Chiefs have won only 25 games in 80 regular season games and will have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft for possessing the worst record in the league.
Despite Reid’s 130-93-1 career regular season record, five NFC championship game appearances and one Super Bowl trip, some fans are still skeptical about the Chiefs finding fortune with the new coach, who spent years tutoring Brett Favre as quarterback coach in Green Bay and served as offensive line coach from 1989-1991 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“I think it’s a safe hire,” said Patrick Lanning of Lee’s Summit. “He’s proven. I guess he’s the right choice for the time being. I think the people will come.”
Lanning was joined by a couple of friends and business associates Jan. 8 for lunch at the 810 Sports Zone in Lee’s Summit and caught snippets of the Chiefs press conference at Arrowhead Stadium to introduce Reid. The crew was unmoved by Reid’s assertion that he was “ready to go.”
“I agree with Patrick, it’s safe,” said Donnie Funk, also of Lee’s Summit. “I think he’s the guy the fans wanted who was out there and who was available. I think that’s the (owners’) main deal, to get the fans happy again.”
A lifelong fan of the Chiefs, Funk said the proof is in the pudding and that Reid has got to prove himself worthy of excitement with the team he and his soon-to-be-hired general manager puts on the field.
“I’d like to see the product that he’ll put on the field,” Funk said, “see what changes they make with the other position coaches and things like that. They are going to have to start right in the gut of it; they’re going to have to get a quarterback.”
Both Lanning and Funk were joined for lunch by Don Plaskett of Lee’s Summit. He too was taking a wait-and-see approach to the new hire.
“I’m going to wait and see what he does and what kind of coaches he brings in,” said Plaskett. “And players, you know? I think it’s safe right now, but other than that, I’m going to hold my opinion until I see what he’s going to do. He can talk a whole lot but until he performs we just have a new head coach. We haven’t had a championship team here in a long time.”