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Monday, November 15, 2010
Haley tries to end handshake controversy

By Bill Williamson

A day after he let emotions get the better of him, Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley did his best to end the controversy caused when he pointed a finger in the face of Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels instead of shaking hands with him Sunday after a 49-29 Broncos' win.

"I also want to touch on a post-game situation that I know, or it sounds like, has become a big deal," Haley told reporters. "And I do want to apologize for me not shaking Josh's hand after the game. I do believe in doing what's right and that was not right. I probably let emotions of the situation get me too much. I apologize and I apologize to the fans and to Denver and to Josh."

McDaniels/Haley
Chiefs coach Todd Haley apologized Monday for sharing words instead of a postgame handshake with Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.
Good for Haley. Now, he can move on.

Haley’s actions Sunday became a national story, likely because of how compelling the photo of his snub was. Haley is an emotional guy. I bet he had no idea that his actions would become a major deal when he was yelling at McDaniels for that split second. He was simply upset and felt he needed to let McDaniels know how he felt.

Haley declined Monday to give the reason why he let loose on McDaniels. I don’t think a master’s degree in coaching civility is needed to figure it out. Denver scored 49 points and kept most of its starters in for the entire game. Last year, in the season finale on a day Denver had a chance to go to the playoffs; Kansas City blew out the Broncos. Haley took out his starters early, including running back Jamaal Charles, who had 259 rushing yards and had a legitimate chance to set the single-game NFL yardage record.

Last year in Kansas City, Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel flashed an obscene gesture toward Denver’s bench while the Broncos were running up the score. There’s history here. It’s no surprise the Broncos were interested in continuing to score Sunday. The fact is, Kansas City’s offense wasn’t stopping. This game was never close, but the Chiefs did score 29 points, so Denver felt it needed to score as much as possible.

Plus, remember, this was Denver’s first home game since being humiliated, 59-14, by Oakland three weeks ago. The Broncos were out to exorcise some bad karma Sunday.

So, it all probably got under Haley’s skin. He’s entitled to be mad and he’s entitled not to shake hands. Still once he cooled down, Monday’s apology was the right thing to do.

McDaniels said he wasn’t sure what set off Haley.

“I don’t know. I’m not sure about that I was proud of the way we played and I have a lot of respect for their entire organization,” McDaniels told reporters Monday. “Obviously, I know a lot of people over there. So, I’m not really sure.”

In a radio interview, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel didn’t know what got Haley mad, either.

“To be completely honest, I didn’t see any of what went on in the post-game, so I can’t really comment on it or anything like that,” Cassel said. “And I can’t honestly tell you I know why they didn’t shake hands or what happened in that situation. But as far as the players, there was no bad blood. It was just the Denver Broncos came out and played better than us yesterday. We’ll see them here in a few weeks and hopefully we can turn it around and have a better performance.”

I’m sure the post-game scene at New Arrowhead on Dec. 5 will be the most closely watched of the NFL schedule that day. What do I expect? I expect the two coaches to shake hands, regardless of the outcome of the game.

This was a juicy story, but just as he gave it life on Sunday, Haley cooled it down with his apology.