KC CHIEFS: HEAD COACHES

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Meet EA FOX, one of our newest authors at Arrowhead Guys. Here’s his list of the best Head Coaches in Kansas City Chiefs History. Welcome to the team Mr. Fox. Enjoy!

Let’s Roll!

Here are the thirteen head coaches we have had: Hank Stram, Paul Wiggin, Tom Bettis, Marv Levy, John Mackovic, Frank Gansz, Marty Schottenheimer, Gunther Cunningham, Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, Romeo Crennel, and Andy Reid.  Everyone knows that I want to rank them as that is my passion – to list and rank everything in the world.  Here is my quick take so I can get to the point of this article, Arrowhead Guys.

#13 – Tom Bettis

An interim coach with one win.

#12 – Frank Gansz

Those seasons were hard to watch.

#11 – Romeo Crennel

Who was the emergency quarterback?

#10 – Todd Haley

Did not have the personality of a head coach.

#9 – Paul Wiggin

The legends retired and we had no replacements.

#8 – Marv Levy

Wing T offense – enough said there.

#7 – John Mackovic

A glimmer of hope that faded quick.

#6 – Herm Edwards

He drove Larry Johnson into the ground.

#5 – Gunther Cunningham

We were at least average with the old Marty players.

#4 – Dick Vermeil

Fun to watch offense with Greg Robinson defense.

Ready?
3.
2.
1. . .


My God! With NFL Sunday being tomorrow(!), that brings us to the “Holy Trinity” of Chiefs coaches – Hank Stram, Marty Schottenheimer, and Andy Reid.  Here is an analysis that will hopefully answer the question.


Who is the best head coach in Chiefs history?

Before I begin, my contention is that we all have a bias leaning towards recent success as well as one related to when we became a Chiefs fan.  We want to shout Reid as these last several years have been memorable and the old-timers want to shout Stram as they lived [CBO note: While QB’s threw] thru those glorious years, while many got hooked on the Chiefs during the Marty era.  Let us try and start with a blank slate.

Total Victories vs Games Coached

Hank Stram has 124 victories in 210 games, Marty Schottenheimer has 101 victories in 160 games, and Andy Reid has 91 victories in 128 games.  Total victories have them ranked as Hank, Marty, and Andy, but winning percentage reverses that to Andy, Marty, and Hank.

Playoff Success

Hank and Andy are both 1-1 in Chiefs Super Bowls, and we know that Marty never reached one.  Hank won three AFL championships, but Andy has five more playoff appearances and two more playoff wins than he does.  Marty has more playoff appearances than Hank as well.  It should be noted that it was harder to reach the playoffs back in the Stram era.

Regular Season

Andy Reid has won ten or more games in seven of the eight seasons he has been here.  Marty had ten or more wins in six of his ten seasons, and Stram, handicapped by fewer games played, topped the ten-win mark in five of his fifteen seasons.  Stram has three losing seasons, Marty had one is his last year – the year of the Monday Night meltdown, and Reid has had none.  Andy has never finished lower than second place in the division, Marty had one season lower than second, and Stram had three.  Andy has five first-place finishes, Hank has four, and Marty had three.

The Raiders and the John Elway Factor

To begin with, our archenemy – the Raiders – suck and will always suck.  Stram was 14-16-2 versus the Raiders.  Marty was 18-3 versus them, and Andy has had success as well with a 13-3 record.  Marty was 8-13 against Elway – Stram dominated very bad Broncos teams, and Andy has not lost to the Broncos since Peyton Manning left.

The Quarterback Controversy and Talent on the Roster

Stram had Len Dawson and a fill-in Mike Livingston, and Andy had Smith and Mahomes.  There are the top three quarterbacks in our history.  Marty had Steve DeBerg, Dave Krieg, 102 year old Joe Montana, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, and Rich Gannon for part of a season.  Schottenheimer deserves kudos for winning consistently with that crew.  Stram had numerous Hall of Famers, Marty had DT and Tony, and Andy has Kelce and Hill.  Andy has pulled miracles with bad offensive lines whereas Marty had crap for receivers.  All of Stram’s HOFers got old and retired on him.

Success Elsewhere

Andy was very successful in Philadelphia with Donovan McNabb – a good but not great quarterback – and Marty was successful in Cleveland and San Diego and was the best Washington coach during their dark time with Daniel Snyder.  Stram had two really bad seasons with the Saints but so did many coaches, so we cannot really hold that against him.

The Main Criticisms

Hank Stram had the best overall roster but did his teams underperform based on their talent level?  Did Stram add anything that pushed the talent to greater heights?  Would Marty or Andy have found equal success with that team?

Marty had no clue about running an offense or finding and developing a quarterback.  That seems to be a fair criticism, but I will point out that he wanted to keep Drew Brees rather than drafting Phillip Rivers.  Were Marty’s old school ways limiting the Chiefs as the NFL was slowly transforming into a passing league?  Was Marty too predictable?

Andy Reid did not find the ultimate success until he had Patrick Mahomes.  EAFOX could win a butt load of games with Patrick Mahomes as quarterback.  Does Andy spend more time developing cute plays rather than addressing our weaknesses – such as the past seasons of watching horrid third and one running plays?  Does Andy have too much loyalty to his coaches – e.g. Bob Sutton?

The Main Arguments

Hank Stram has the titles to back up those who favor him.  He performed well against the equally talented archenemy – The Raiders.  He did what coaches were supposed to do back in the day – he let his talent play the game.  The only thing that did him in was the talent growing old.

Marty could take any team and make them a contender.  He could coach EAFOX and the AG cast to 9-7 and make the playoffs.  Marty never had the best team or best quarterback, and we saw a glimpse of what might have been when we had 142-year-old Joe Montana – a concussion away from the Super Bowl.  Marty dominated the Raiders and had a respectable record against Elway.

Andy is an offensive genius and a quarterback guru.  He could have taken Marty’s quarterbacks and made each of them into a viable starter.  Andy stays ahead of the game and is an innovator and is a true leader of men.  He continues to develop assistant coaches who will be hired at some point to lead another team.  He has dominated the entire division.

Number Three – Hank Stram

The main reason is that he had the best overall talent but the worst winning percentage of the three.  One could offer a defense for this – fewer teams breeds familiarity, for example – but the bottom line for me is performance.  Can anyone point out one specific play that came straight from his coaching?  I know what your answer will be, but what happens when that play is stifled?  One could make the argument that he is revered because he rode the coattails of his talented players.

Number Two – Marty Schottenheimer

This hurts because I love Marty and only recently dropped him to number two on the list.  He did more with less than any coach in NFL history.  His quarterbacks – other than the 172-year-old Joe Montana – were average at best.  The lack of a Super Bowl appearance or win – George Seifert and Barry Switzer have that but are not better than Marty – should not be a knock on his legacy.  Marty should have four Super Bowl appearances but John Elway, a concussion, and a stupid ass play kept him from that goal.

Number One – Andy Reid

Andy won consistently with Donovan and Alex – good but not great – and has dominated with an All-Time great in Mahomes.  He had the balls to call the Henne-to-Hill play on fourth and one.  Andy continues to grow and become more innovative as a coach and let performance outweigh loyalty when he showed the door to Bob Sutton.  Andy turns players into coaches, which is something that Marty never achieved.  Marty is the greatest old school coach, but Andy is the greatest new school coach.  Playoff success gives new school the advantage over the old school.

NOTE: BB is a defensive innovator and genius but has been lucky to have Tom Brady to carry his offense over the years.   In my mind, Andy > BB.

Well, I hope to hear from you all and see how you would rank the top three.  I would say be the first to drop a line in the comment section but I am sure that Mecole Hardman has already done so.

[CBO note: EA FOX, it’s in the game!]

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Big Chief
Big Chief
09/12/2021 1:25 am

My list.
1 – Reid
2 – Stram
3 – Schottenheimer
4 – Vermeil
5 – Levy
6 – Cunningham
7 – Edwards
8 – Haley
9 – Mackovic
10 – Bettis
11 – Ganz
12 – Crennel
13 – Wiggins

The top 5 coaches all improved on the team they inherited, with the top two building teams that went to two Super Bowls. Under the next 5 coaches the team stayed the same or had a slow decline. Under the bottom 3 coaches the Chiefs crashed and burned.

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 5:10 pm

Let’s not forget the greatest quote of all.

He’s got a little groin.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  Severely Concussed
09/11/2021 5:14 pm

No one beats Romeo at announcing injury reports.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 5:15 pm

Matter of fact, didn’t he say that about JaDeveon Clowney when he was the Interim Head Coach of the Texans?

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 5:21 pm

He may have. I thought it was Tyson Jackson for us.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  Severely Concussed
09/11/2021 5:59 pm

There were a lot of years there where we put a lot of hope into guys like Ryan Sims, Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, Dontari Poe and Dee Ford. In about that order…

That’s why having a guy like Chris Jones is so awesome!

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 6:12 pm

They all had some good moments, I think Poe was the one I was most excited about the Chiefs drafting. All of the rest of them were reaches that surprised us, except Dorsey. He was supposed to be a stud. I think that’s where your Herm argument holds some weight, if he would have stayed with that class and Thigpen, we might have won 5-6 games that year instead of 4. Who knows?

Severely Concussed
Severely Concussed
09/11/2021 3:43 pm

I am not old enough to critique any coach before Marty, so here is how I would rank the ones I know.

1. Reid
2. Vermeil
3. Marty
4. Herm
5. Haley
6. Gunther
7. Crennel

I still feel Herm was done dirty. They had a plan to go young. We started numerous rookies that year. He won 4 games I think that year and got fired.

Marty was too conservative in my eyes.

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  Severely Concussed
09/11/2021 4:25 pm

Limiting it to those coaches, I approve this order except I would move Herm to 7, RAC to 6. My reasoning is Herm had a few years, never once had his teams ready for opening day, and got into the playoffs by the biggest of flukes. He was simply awful here. RAC, he was just a lazy hire. Not his fault, but 2-14 is still 2-14

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:05 pm
upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:10 pm
upamtn
09/11/2021 2:20 pm

yanno, I agree with Stram NOT being at the top (or even 2nd) … seriously, while the team was awesome til early 70’s, he allowed the team to “grow old” without adequate replacements (leading to Paul Wiggins, then Bettis)

Levy I’d move up … came in and got screwed with QB, then got screwed with players strike … Herm wasw better than most people give him credit for, Cunningham (as HC) should be down with Wiggins and Bettis, Mackovic was “ok” not great (I’d put him behind Levy and Edwards)

Vermeil 4
Levy and Edwards 5 and 6
Haley 7 only because … well, no clue, 7-13 all pretty much have major flaws

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:33 pm

agreed on Haley … horrible choice as HC

Levy: fired by KC becuase he publicly came out on the side of the (striking) players … imagine if they’d stuck with him, given him what & who he wanted for a few years and build a team the way he wanted (as he did in Buffalo, going to four … FOUR straight SB’s)

literally one of THE most intelligent guys to ever be a part of professional football

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:06 pm

absolutely, and that was one of the coolest things he did with KC, loved that guy

Big Chief
Big Chief
Reply to  EAFOX
09/12/2021 1:03 am

He became an amazing coach for the Bills because he learned from his failure in KC. After stating that the Chiefs didn’t have the talent to be a good passing team, he was fired and replaced by Mackovic, who was also a terrible coach, but did know how to set up a passing offense. Using the same players Marv had, minus the tragic loss of Joe Delaney, the Chiefs became a top passing team, though they lost the ability to do almost anything else.

Marv was smart and spent time to learn from his past mistakes and didn’t make the same mistakes when he went to Buffalo. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Marv a lot, but he did have a fatal flaw of not realizing the importance of the passing offense and how to develop one.

Big Chief
Big Chief
Reply to  upamtn
09/12/2021 12:57 am

Stram didn’t make the team old, Steadman did. There was a power struggle between those two and Stram lost. Stram was an innovative and creative coach. He wasn’t just the head coach but also the offensive and defensive coordinator. Steadman was a lousy GM who couldn’t even pick a decent team once he lost Lloyd Wells, who was identifying the talented players at the HBCUs, and set this team on 20 years of persistent mediocrity and failure after he fired Stram. The Chiefs didn’t come out of that until Steadman was FINALLY fired and Peterson replaced him.

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:20 pm

I like it

Nasrani
Nasrani
09/11/2021 12:37 pm

The game was different in the Stram era than it is now. Seasons are longer now, of course, and postseasons are too (I believe). Also, while Marty did have crap for receivers, the receivers weren’t as big a part of the game as they are now, and the Chiefs of the 90s had a consistently dominant run game. As exciting as Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, and crew are, I miss those days.

Fantastic writeup!

Last edited 10 days ago by Nasrani
Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  Nasrani
09/11/2021 12:41 pm

It was hard to not add my own takes to some of the coaches.

That’s what the comments section is for!

Love some of these coaches!

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 12:58 pm

Additionally.
comment image

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 1:23 pm

Gunther reminds me of this scene

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:28 pm

yes, yes you were …

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:07 pm

We were a couple of drops away from Vermeil having a completely different story with the Chiefs. That offense was incredible. That Colts-Chiefs game with no punts was incredible and disappointing wrapped into oblivion like the Colts game against Luck years later. But Vermeil and that special time in 2003 with Hall, Holmes, Gonzalez, Morton, Kennison, Green and that OL was a fantastic team. Greg Robinson gets the label (along with defense was not even his hobby for Vermeil), but that defense had some good Chiefs players. And overall that was one of the best, most fun to watch Chiefs teams of my life. Every time Hall got the ball. Every time Vermeil cried during a press conference. Every time Homes dominated and dove into the end zone and Shields and Roaf opened another hole. Jason Dunn? Come on man! When Dante Hall had that epic return against Denver, Arrowhead exploded, I was at that game and that team was awesome.

It was a good time as a Chiefs fan, but heartbreaking too. No doubt.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:26 pm

Well it is the point of the game. Ha.

pompano
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:29 pm

Used to do shots for every TD, had to check the paper next day for the score some weeks.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:46 pm

I think Hunt had a chance to be a push but he Romeo Crennel style “Mecole Hardman” –if you will (and you did)– dropped kicked his chances for you to make that comparison EA. Holmes is one of the goats! Hunt had a really good start. He has 39 TD’s in his entire career. Priest had 51 TD’s in two seasons.

It’s not a push.

Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 2:53 pm

EA, Hunt had 1782 and 11 TD’s. Totally (yards) Wonderful! Priest averaged 2,189 yards for three seasons. Averaged! And he averaged 20 TD’s a year. That is not equal. You can put Priest Holmes three years up against damn near anyone in NFL history, but he beats Kareem Hunt with things like facts and greatness.

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:01 pm

oh, by the way … screw Larry Johnson

upamtn
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:08 pm

absolutely, you HAVE to pass once in awhile to keep the other team honest … and that’s why a team always needs WR’s (I still love pounding the rock, though)

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
Reply to  upamtn
09/11/2021 4:44 pm

Why are you always bassackwards when it comes to the offense? This isn’t the 40’s anymore. Tanks are barely required when you have thermal nuclear warheads available. Scares the s… outa everybody.😁

upamtn
Reply to  probablyamistake
09/11/2021 5:52 pm

well, that’s just the thing … the OTHER guys have nuclear warheads, too

upamtn
Reply to  probablyamistake
09/11/2021 5:54 pm

oh, one more thing: it all starts on the LINE OF SCRIMMAGE … last coupla years damned near every Chiefs fan from KC around the world and back to KC again been sayin’ “Mahomes is a GOD and we don’t need an OLine or RBs or this or that or what ever … HOGWASH! it’s STILL football, it STILL starts on the line and it’s STILL a team sport, sport

now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tank to warm up

probablyamistake
probablyamistake
Reply to  upamtn
09/11/2021 8:27 pm
Chief-Blinders-On
Reply to  EAFOX
09/11/2021 3:01 pm

Of course it did, and Jason Dunn. All coached up by Dick Vermeil and company. Ups, where’s that angelic smile. Ah, here it is. 🙂

NovaChiefs
NovaChiefs
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 4:29 pm

“It’s fucking Arrowhead, ok?”
I think this may be repeated a few times tomorrow

Snafu
Reply to  Chief-Blinders-On
09/11/2021 4:32 pm

Fuck Family Fun Day.

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