At the time, 2010 was a pretty good season for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a disappointing 4-12 record in 2009, the first year of the Chiefs' attempt to rejuvenate the franchise with general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Todd Haley and quarterback Matt Cassel, the trio led the team to a 10-6 record and won the AFC West in 2010.
Meager success notwithstanding, that season doesn't appear to have been particularly rosy. Cassel, who started 15 of the Chiefs' games that year, told a story on NBC Sports Boston about one of Haley's infamous in-game tirades.
Cassel's story takes place during the Chiefs' December 26, 2010 win over the Tennessee Titans, when the team clinched the AFC West on the back of a three-touchdown day from Cassel, with big games from running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. At the end of the third quarter, however, Cassel was pulled as former Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle entered the game for two plays before being intercepted.
Listen to Haley's reasoning in Cassel's own words.
The man was nuts on gameday, and I don't know why.
Here's a great example of that: We're playing the Tennessee Titans late in the year. This is for the divisional lead and to actually win the division, and throughout the course of the first part of the game, look, they kept bringing blitz-zero. Blitz-zero is a max-pressure. I was checking out, Charlie Weis gave me that ability to do so, and we're throwing the pass.
So every time I came to the sideline throughout the first half, Todd Haley was screaming at me. He's yelling at me, "just run the ball!" And I'm like, "we talked about this. We can't run the ball into everybody pressuring right into the run. So we're going to throw it." Well, he got heated as the game went on.
Well, finally, it was the third quarter, I'm coming off the field. He's screaming at me for pulling up on the boot. And I said, "oh, Todd, like you ever played the position." My bad. It was my fault. My frustration took over.
So I go to the sideline. He's still coming over, yelling at me. We had a little bit of a dispute over there, and he benches me at the end of the third quarter and he says, "Brodie, you're in." And he's being dead serious. Well, I took the liberty to run back out on the field. Well, he wouldn't give me a play in my helmet. He would not give me a play in the helmet.
Then he sends Brodie back out on the field. Brodie, two play later, throws an interception. Now everybody's mad at Todd Haley. And then he literally said, "you're not going back in." He told the coaches to tell Cassel he's not going back in the game. So, again, as a team captain, I felt it was my obligation to run back out on the field. Again, he wouldn't give me a play in my helmet, so I had to call my own plays in the helmet for the first three plays.
Eventually, we ended up getting a score on that drive. We won the game. But I'll tell you what, it was disruptive to say the least.
As the Cassel clip made the rounds on Twitter, Haley (from his unverified but apparently legitimate Twitter account) responded to the story in a very on-brand fashion.
Coaching is coaching. MC had his best year of his illustrious career with me! Not always fun but key is to get the best out of “the” player. #woody #toystory
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