Romeo Crennel’s case, at this point, appears to be airtight.
Crennel made his opening statement about being the next coach of the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday when he led them to a shocking, mind-blowing 19-14 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion, and previously unbeaten, Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium, which hadn’t been that electric since the Joe Montana-Marcus Allen days.
It was Crennel’s first game since taking over for the disposed Todd Haley, and it was evident from the opening kickoff that these weren’t Haley’s Chiefs.
They played with an excitement and passion that had been missing since the opening day of the preseason. They played smashmouth football on both sides of the ball. They were remarkably efficient between the 20s before breaking down near the goal line and defensively harassed Aaron Rodgers to the point where he looked pedestrian. Tamba Hali was a beast and the secondary sticky, as the Packers’ receivers were frustrated all day, including former Kansas State star Jordy Nelson, who was hit with two offensive pass interference penalties.
Now the question begs, was this lightning in a bottle or did the Chiefs just need a positive leader at the helm? We wouldn’t anoint Crennel the successor just yet, but if the Chiefs play with the same energy the final two games, you’d have to say he’ll be the next coach. The last two games are against division rivals Oakland and Denver, so they should have no trouble getting up emotionally as mathematically Kansas City has a sliver of hope.
Crennel has been a head coach before. He has the Patriots’ pedigree that General Manager Scott Pioli desires, and the players are championing his cause.
The other question raised Sunday was about the Chiefs’ quarterback situation. Matt Cassel made the Pro Bowl last year, but that was after some other quarterbacks bypassed the game. He’s really had only one good year and he’s not a gifted passer. Kyle Orton played like the second coming of Peyton Manning, but he’s had games like this before. But if he can move the team like he did Sunday, you have to think the Chiefs will try to bring him back to compete with Cassel.
Just when we couldn’t wait for this moribund season to get over, we now have reason to watch the Chiefs, as this will be more than playing out the string. The future of the team will be dictated and remember, they’re in a division where it’s easy to go from worst to first -- and no team knows that better than the Chiefs, who were the division champs last year.