Posted on: January 14, 2010 9:00 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2010 10:29 am
The year was 1997.
The Spice Girls were still spicy, Family Matters still mattered, and every guy I knew couldn't stop talking about Kate Winslet - whose tastefully displayed tatas made the Titanic one of the highest grossing films in box office history. We were Mmmbopping with Hanson while Monica Lewinsky bopped on something else. The Cleveland Browns had turned black in Baltimore and Brett Favre stood atop the football universe (some things never change).
Despite all of the history and nostalgia , 1997 was an important year for several NFL franchises, but none moreso than the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City was home to one of, if not the most complete teams in NFL history. Will Shields and Rich Gannon along with Donnie Edwards and Derrick Thomas lead the Chiefs to a 13-3 record and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Kansas City eventually lost to the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, 10-14, a loss which began a run of misery one of the league's most beloved franchises.
The Chiefs would hover around .500 and miss the playoffs in each of the following three years.
Chiefs fans today can draw on 1997 as a marquee year for their franchise. Even though what they had cooking in Arrowhead was special, it was a recipe brewing in the Big Apple by the Big Tuna which laid the foundation for the Chiefs you see today.
Simply put, 1997 New York Jets were the 2009 Kansas City Chiefs.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli worked as director of pro personnel for the 1997 Jets. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley was only concerned with coaching Jet receivers like Dedric Ward, Kansas City's current wide receivers coach. Likewise, assistant head coach Maurice Carton coached running backs and Chiefs wide receivers coach Richie Anderson was a running back.
This past week the Chiefs added two more former Jets to their coaching staff in Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Weis held the same position with the Jets thirteen years ago while Crennel coached the defensive line. For Crennel, the connection to the 1997 Jets played a large part in his decision to join Todd Haley's staff.
"It is good to be back around those guys," Crennel said of his return.
"On the offensive side of the ball I have worked with Bill Muir, Maurice Carthon, Richie Anderson, and Charlie Weis. With Todd (Haley) here, I know Scott (Pioli) and Chris Caminiti in administration and Dave Price, the trainer. All of that was important in my decision to come here and try to help build the program."
Now the pieces for the program are in place, results must follow.
Kansas City's coordinators combine for over 59 years of experience coaching at the professional and collegiate levels. General manager Scott Pioli has won multiple championships with the Patriots and has had a full year of work on the roster. The Pioli, Weis, and Crennel tandem has won Super Bowls with the Patriots, so there will be tremendous pressure on Haley to immediately produce results.
Thanks to a team of the past, the future looks bright in Kansas City. As long as the Chiefs stay healthy and productive, Todd Haley will give fans reason to party like it's 2010.
Or perhaps like it's 1997.