This is a confusing time for football fans in Kansas City filled with frustration and mixed emotions about a division-winning head coach and team headed to the playoffs on a very sour note.
On the one hand, Todd Haley has the Chiefs light years beyond where most thought they would be at this point, and the coach is the likely front-runner to win NFL coach of the year.
On the other, the team just wrapped up its regular season schedule with a 31-10 beat down at the hands of the Oakland Raiders inside Arrowhead Stadium, and no one is quite sure what to think or how the team will respond a week from now in the home playoff game.
All of this points back to Haley and the Chiefs' split with offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis.
Friday, when asked if the rumors that Weis was planning to pack his bags for the University of Florida were true, Haley responded, "I have no idea...At a later date, if something comes up, I surely will talk about it, if there is something going on."
When asked again if he had any knowledge of the situation, the coach stated, "It would be news to me."
In leaving his players in the dark, Haley likely lost the respect of his young and fragile locker room. Sunday, Haley's Chiefs resembled their coach by looking uninspired and lost on the field. One could argue the players' performance was something like a protest of Weis' departure — like a child whose parents are going through a divorce and is being forced to say with the parent who was dishonest/is-to-blame for the split.
Matt Cassel's effort was the most alarming. There were numerous occasions when the television cameras caught the quarterback day-dreaming between plays, and his final stat-line would conclude it was his worst performance of the season. Given Cassel's improved play overall this season — much of which should be credited to Weis — and Haley's immature benching of the quarterback just a week ago, it's pretty obvious which parent is Matt's favorite.
It's likely most of the rest of the offense is alongside Cassel in wishing it were Weis staying and Haley leaving.
The Chiefs are now doing a nice job spinning this into a family-related move for Weis, whose son will be attending the University of Florida and may have a future in coaching. After the game Sunday, Haley referred to the Weis split as "bittersweet" and admitted to having productive conversations with him over the weekend on the issue.
If Haley wanted Weis to stay, then "productive" would only be an accurate description if he convinced the coordinator to stay. If Weis wanted to spend more time with his family, he'd retire. Going back to the college ranks for anything less than another head coaching job makes no sense for Weis unless he's unhappy in Kansas City.
It's obvious he is.
The original reports of Weis jumping ship also stated the Chiefs granted Florida officials permission to talk to the offensive guru as early as last week. Monday, Weis will fly to Gainesville to be announced as the Gators new offensive coordinator, while the rest of the Chiefs coaching staff begins game-planning for the Ravens.
Haley might as well have bought Weis' plane-ticket for him.
Now the Chiefs are left with a head coach whose ego has forced two (remember Chan Gailey) respected offensive coordinators out of town, a roster whose core has lost complete trust in its leaders, and a fanbase whose even-most passionate believers know exactly how this is going to end.