Pioli makes right call in Crennel

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
1:20
PM ET

The Kansas City Chiefs committed to stability on Monday.

Perhaps it won’t be long-term stability, considering Romeo Crennel is now the second-oldest permanent head coach in the NFL. But if Crennel gives the Chiefs four good years, it will be a winning hire.

For the immediate future, though, Crennel gives the Chiefs' head-coaching office stability, something it hasn't had over the past three seasons.

Crennel -- who has been the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator since the 2010 season -- replaced the fiery Todd Haley. Haley, who was fired last month with three games left in the regular season, was hired by Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli in 2009.

[+] EnlargeRomeo Crennel
John Rieger/US PresswireThe Kansas City Chiefs made Romeo Crennel the permanent head coach on Monday.
One of the primary reasons Haley was fired was his inability to get along with Pioli -- the two had friction throughout their time together -- assistant coaches and players.

In finding a new head coach, Pioli needed to find someone with whom he could get along. This is Pioli’s second head-coaching hire since he was brought in as the Chiefs’ leader three years ago. He had to get this hire right. It this one fails, Pioli's tenure in Kansas City could be over.

Well, Pioli eliminated the potential for GM-head coach friction with this hire. Crennel is known as one of the most genial, calm people in the NFL.

Plus, he already has shown he has a chance to succeed in this role. The Chiefs were 2-1 with Crennel as their interim head coach after Haley was fired. The Chiefs’ two wins under Crennel were biggies. The first was a home win over then-undefeated Green Bay, and the second win was at Denver in a game in which the Broncos were trying to clinch the AFC West title.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say there would have been a mutiny in the Kansas City locker room had Crennel been bypassed for this job. However, he has universal support from the players, and they already showed they'll play hard for him. The Chiefs have a good, young roster, and they should be a lot healthier in 2012. The future is bright.

Kansas City interviewed Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and former Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio. Crennel was the right choice.

I understand the concern in Kansas City about Crennel’s age. It is indeed becoming a young man's coaching league. At 64, Crennel trails only the Giants' Tom Coughlin as the NFL’s oldest coach. Yet, Crennel is still in good shape and he certainly should be able to fulfill his three-year contract.

There was no doubt Crennel was the right man for this job. In a decision he had to get right, Pioli did.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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