With Crennel on board as KC's head coach, a weak AFC West division, a last place schedule and the return of four starters, the Chiefs have the best chance at the division next season. A year from now they'll be hosting a playoff game in Kansas City and that's what the fans need to focus on now.
The pickings were slim in the coaching market. Once Jeff Fisher narrowed his choice to Miami and St. Louis, the rest of the available candidates were no better than Crennel.
Next to Brian Billick, Crennel might be the best choice. At the moment, Billick sits on the sidelines and once Fisher makes his choice, the former Baltimore Ravens coach likely will sign with the runner up.
Crennel brings plenty of Super Bowl rings and lessons learned from his other NFL head coaching stint in Cleveland. To say his time with the Browns was an invaluable learning experience is an understatement.
Saddled with an inept owner in Randy Lerner and a horrific general manager in Phil Savage, Crennel had no chance to be successful in Cleveland. The decks were so stacked against him it's a wonder he lasted as long as he did. But the piles of chaos he encountered in the city that hosts the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame don't really apply in the City of Fountains.
In three short weeks, Crennel has taken back a Chiefs locker room that was left on shaky ground by his predecessor. He quickly gained the players' respect on both sides of the ball and he managed to convince the organization – despite their efforts to interview other candidates - that he's indeed the man to lead this team for the next several years.
For his efforts down the stretch of the 2011 season as the calming voice for the franchise, Crennel will be rewarded with a contract extension and likely the opportunity to blow up the coaching staff and put some skilled coaches to work in short order.
But more importantly, the players that responded so well to his simplistic game plans, easy nature and intense confidenc will get exactly what they need as they begin offseason workouts this spring. They're going to know exactly where they stand every second in that locker room, on the practice field or on Sundays. And that's going to be invaluable for this team next season.
Crennel has a team that has a tremendous amount of talent. And with playmakers now on both sides of the ball, he can concentrate on building a roster that needs more depth at all positions.
Crennel's resume and football savvy should lay the groundwork for him to become a heavy recruiter in free agency. If the Chiefs, as I've been told, are committed to spend dollars when hundreds of available football players will be free to shop their services, this team could be even better than I expect them to be.
The Chiefs made a wise move in elevating Crennel to head coach. In fact, it was really the only move they could make outside of Fisher. But that price tag was too rich and honestly quite insane for a coach that hasn't won a Super Bowl.
Crennel has the rings and worked under the master, Bill Belichick, during his tenure in New England. Now he'll get a second chance with Scott Pioli. The two know each other as well as two people can know each other in this business. After all, it was Pioli who recruited Crennel two years ago.
It's hard to say if Pioli knew that Crennel would indeed be someone who could replace his first choice as head coach, but if that was indeed the plan, it's come full circle. And should it work out as Pioli might have designed, then both he and Crennel will become saviors of a franchise that partially lost its way the last three years.
But that's ancient history. At hand now is making sure that Crennel is given everything he needs to be successful in 2012. And my guess is that he's going to get that and much more from the organization from top to bottom.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
How will Romeo do in 2012?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com