NFL Combine: Denver Coach Josh McDaniels

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The last time we saw Denver head coach Josh McDaniels he was walking off the turf at Invesco Field trying to figure out how his Broncos got slapped so hard by the Chiefs in the regular season finale.

It was the end to a difficult season for the first-time head coach. It started with the whole Jay Cutler situation and then there were problems dealing with WR Brandon Marshall and other players. By the time Game No. 16 was played, the Broncos were out of sorts and both Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler were held out of the game by McDaniels for reasons he has never provided.

But it’s the last day of February and every team in the NFL is focused on the 2010 season and the upcoming start of free agency and the annual Draft. It’s the time when hopes and dreams thrive and McDaniels has plenty of those.

Here’s part of his weekend press conference, including plenty about the situation with Marshall.

NFL Combine: DT Ndamukong Suh

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He’s considered either the first or second best prospect in this year’s NFL Draft.

Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh is unlikely to get past the third pick come late April. With St. Louis, Detroit and Tampa Bay picking in that order, one of those teams is going to turn in h is name on their card for the first round.

Impressive as Suh is physically when he stands next to you, he also handles himself quite well when dealing with the prying of the media covering this year’s NFL Combine.

Here’s a little bit of what Suh had to say.

NFL Combine: DB Eric Berry

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He’s one of the highest rated players on just about every draft board in the NFL.

When it comes to defense and playmaking, every NFL team knows about Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

His name should be called somewhere in the top 10, maybe even top five and one of the attractions is not only his athletic abilities, but his versatility – he can play any of the secondary positions.

On top of that, he’s football smart. That was helped in the ’09 season when he got a chance to play for Vols defensive coordinator and NFL veteran Monte Kiffin.

Here’s some of what Berry had to say.

NFL Combine: LB Sean Weatherspoon

From Indianapolis, Indiana

He may have been the first player to walk into the media interview area at the 2010 NFL Combine and use the word loquacious.

But then just about anybody in Columbia, Missouri will tell you that linebacker Sean Weatherspoon seldom is quiet. Weatherspoon certainly was not at a loss for words when speaking to the media at Lucas Oil Stadium over the weekend.

Weatherspoon talked about his experiences at the Senior Bowl, why his defensive numbers were down in his senior season and where he fits in either the 4-3 or 3-4 defensive schemes.

Big 12 WRs Dominate … Sunday Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Wide receivers will hit the field today at Lucas Oil Stadium to run the 40-yard dash and go through other drills as part of the NFL Combine.

The Chiefs will be paying close attention; they need some young receiver help in the 2010 NFL Draft.

“It’s a good group,” head coach Todd Haley said on Saturday. “We can find something there.”

What’s noteworthy about the group of 44 wide receivers in town for the four-day Combine is the presence of so many pass catchers out of the Big 12 Conference. At every level of prospective talent among the receivers there are familiar names to college football fans in the Midwest.

The best receiver in the draft is thought to be Dez Bryant, a product of Oklahoma State who did not play in the 2009 season for the Cowboys because of an NCAA suspension. Bryant will be a first-round selection.

At the next level, considered anywhere from second to fourth-round talents are Dezmon Briscoe out of Kansas and Jordan Shipley from Texas. …Read More!

NFL Combine: What Haley Had To Say

From Indianapolis, Indiana

A year ago, Todd Haley’s world was going so fast he doesn’t remember much about the NFL Combine.

This weekend, things have slowed down and the guy who grew up in a household where judging football players coming into the NFL paid the bills, is feeling good about wearing a personnel man’s hat again at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I enjoy this time of year a bunch,” Haley told the media assembled for the 2010 NFL Combine. “Coach (Bill) Parcells has always told me that to be an effective coach in the NFL, you have to know personnel. I’m very fortunate to have been raised by the man I was raised by who I think was pretty good at finding guys that could play football.

“I’m happy that this time of year we’re not really in full scramble mode probably trying to fill six or seven spots on the staff; so I really didn’t get to enjoy or get into this process as much as I would have liked to last year. I’m in a much more settled position where I can really put my head into finding players, which is fun for me.” …Read More!

NFL Combine: WR Kerry Meier

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Three years ago when Mark Mangino told him that he was no longer going to be the Kansas Jayhawks starting quarterback, Kerry Meier couldn’t imagine himself taking part in something like the NFL Combine.

But Meier was at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, taking part in the 2010 Combine as a wide receiver, something he’s done for the last three seasons for Mangino.

And there’s a very good chance Meier will be selected anywhere from the middle to late rounds of the draft at the end of April.

And he wouldn’t mind being drafted by the Chiefs, the team he has followed since childhood in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Here’s Meier talking with the media about the Combine and his hopes for the NFL.

NFL Combine: Todd Haley/Part 2

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley continued his conversation with the media about all  things related to the red and gold as he met with the media at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here’s part two.

NFL Combine: Todd Haley Speaks/Part 1

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Taking a break from watching linemen run the 40-yard dash and go through drills, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley came downstairs at Lucas Oil Stadium and met with the assembled media.

Both on the podium and afterwards when he was surrounded by the scribblers and yakkers, Haley had plenty to say about how the Chiefs. His tone was decidedly positive as he talked about the progress the team made last year and the steps forward with the coaching staff that has added fuel to that fire.

Haley also had plenty to say about individual players, from QB Matt Cassel, to RB Jamaal Charles, to OL Branden Albert, to WR Dwayne Bowe.

There’s a lot of material here and we’ve had to break it into three parts. Here’s segment No. 1.

Tebow Show Hits Combine … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy had just taken his spot at the podium inside Lucas Oil Stadium, with approximately 30 or so media types waiting to hear him speak.

As he began speaking, over the public address system in the room came this announcement:

Some guy named Tebow will be at podium C,” announced the NFL type that was manning the microphone in the NFL Combine press room.

More than half of audience got up in the middle of McCarthy’s sentence and hustled to the other side of the room. McCarthy flashed a sly smile at the exodus; it was fine with him because that meant fewer questions to answer.

It was a mob scene as Tebow took to a small stage and walked to the microphone. Nobody that has visited with the media at the Combine – GM, administrator, coach or player – generated the type of reaction that came when the former University of Florida quarterback arrived in the room.

Wearing a red Combine jersey with the No. 19, Tebow was not exactly stunned by the throng standing in front of him. He’s been there many times before and this was just another moment in the life of a college football folk hero who may have a hard time making a place for himself at the next level. …Read More!

NFL Combine: WR Dez Bryant

From Indianapolis, Indiana

There’s little doubt that Dez Bryant will be the first wide receiver selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The question is where in the first round will Bryant be drafted and who will be grabbing him. If Bryant had played last season and put up the same type of numbers he did for Oklahoma State in 2008, he would probably be a top 10 selection.

And he still might. But a season-long NCAA suspension kept him off the field and certainly will have NFL teams considering his maturity and how much rust he’s taken on in the last year without competition and coaching.

Bryant met the media on Friday at the NFL Combine and talked about the suspension, his relationship with Deion Sanders and how much he’s looking forward to getting back in pads and playing football.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 4

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

Heard enough from Chiefs GM Scott Pioli? I doubt it. Given his penchant for staying off the nightly news and out of the headlines, we need to make sure everyone tastes whatever he has to offer, whenver he offers something.

So here comes the fourth of four parts of Pioli talking about various subjects.

NFL Combine: Bryan Bulaga

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

At 6-6, 315 pounds, there is divided opinion on whether University of Iowa offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga is best suited for guard or tackle in the NFL.

What nobody disputes is that the big man is ready to play in the pros. Bulaga left Iowa City a year earlier because his play for the Hawkeyes during the 2009 season pushed him into first-round status as a draft choice.

As you will hear, it doesn’t matter to him whether he plays guard or tackle; he’s just ready for his shot at the pro game.

Here’s some of what he told the media at the NFL Combine.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 3

From Indianapolis,  Indiana

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli produced a lot of words if not a lot of news on Thursday at the NFL Combine, so much so that had to break his conversation into pieces.

Here’s the third of four parts of what Pioli had to say about the Chiefs, the ’10 NFL Draft, the Patriots and much more.

Pioli Unplugged at Combine … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

From Indianapolis, Indiana

For just a shade under two hours, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was a media darling here at the NFL Combine.

Pioli spoke in a press conference setting. He spoke standing in the middle of a circle of reporters. He spoke one-on-one with several scribblers and TV types.

It was a media relations tour de force from a guy who despite the fact he handles the duties very well, does not like the whole process of the media prying into his business.

That’s why at the end of those two hours was left a pile of words that when sifted and sorted, produced little in the way of news about the Chiefs and only an occasional insight into what’s happening with the team.

Here are the news nuggets: …Read More!

NFL Combine: Russell Okung

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Russell Okung is the highest rated offensive lineman on just about every draft board in the NFL right now.

The big man out of Texas and Oklahoma State University is here at the NFL Combine trying to solidify his position, not only as a first rounder, but as a top five pick, and maybe even the choice of the Chiefs, drafting in the No. 5 spot.

Okung met with the media on Thursday and talked about his goals and what he sees as his future in the NFL. He’s also asked specifically about whether he’s seen any overt interest from the Chiefs.

Here’s what the 6-6, 307-pound two-time All-America had to say.

NFL Combine: Scott Pioli Part 2

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Chiefs GM Scott Pioli spoke to the media at length on Thursday at the NFL Combine.

He spoke so long that we’ve had to break up his comments into segments. In Part 2, Pioli speaks of the additions of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, the trouble in finding nose tackles, Matt Cassel and his offensive line and the prospects in this year’s draft.

That Mysterious Miami Draft Choice

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Back in late August, the Chiefs and Dolphins made a trade. Coming to Kansas City were offensive linemen Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe.

Going to the Dolphins was … we don’t know for sure. Apparently it’s a secret.

That’s certainly how Chiefs GM Scott Pioli reacted when he was asked about how many draft choices the Chiefs have for April’s selection meeting. The number should be eight. Pioli said it was eight.

They have an extra second-round choice thanks to the Tony Gonzalez trade to Atlanta and two extra fifth-round selections from trading Tyler Thigpen to the Dolphins and Tank Tyler to the Carolina Panthers.

Most of the league believes that the Chiefs sent their sixth-round choice to Miami for Alleman-Ndukwe. The Dolphins already have K.C.’s seventh-round selection from the draft day trade last year for TE Jake O’Connell.

But Pioli refused to confirm that fact on Thursday at the NFL Combine.

“You are trying to get me in trouble with my father-in-law aren’t you,” said Pioli when asked about the sixth-round choice. “I’m not going to talk about what we traded to Miami.”

Pioli was asked if it was a state secret.

“No, it’s not a state secret but when someone asks me to keep something confidential, I respect their request,” said Pioli.

Especially when that someone happens to be his father-in-law, Miami’s football leader Bill Parcells?

“Especially when I have to sit down and have dinner with him on the holidays,” Pioli said.

Here’s the exchange:

NFL Combine: Chiefs GM Scott Pioli-Part 1

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The normally media shy Chiefs GM Scott Pioli was front and center on Thursday at the NFL Combine inside the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Pioli spent a long time on the podium and then another 30 to 45 minutes talking with a large group of media types and then he was still there talking with individual media almost two hours after arriving.

Any time that sort of access is available and Pioli is on the record, as much as possible will come down the line with three more podcasts coming Thursday night and then we’ll analyze and break down all of his words Friday morning.

Here’s Pioli Part 1.

NFL Combine: Oklahoma OT Trent Williams

From Indianapolis, Indiana

When it comes to offensive linemen as a group, and left tackles in specifics, Oklahoma’s Trent Williams will hear his name called in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

He might even be as the selection at No. 5 of the Chiefs, although that might be a bit too high for the Texas native who played four seasons with the Sooners.

Williams spoke on Thursday afternoon at the NFL Combine here and talked about his decision to return to Oklahoma for his senior season, his belief that he’s a left tackle first in the NFL and his quarterback Sam Bradford.

Chiefs Add Strength Coach

Todd Haley hopes his coaching staff is really completed now with the addition of Mike Clark as the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

During Super Bowl week, the Chiefs held a press conference so Haley could talk about his coaching staff. At the time, all  the changes were completed. But a few days later, strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith left to take the same position with the Houston Texans.

Clark served the last six seasons in the same role as part of Mike Homgren’s staff with the Seattle Seahawks. Before that, he spent 14 years in charge of strength and conditioning at Texas A&M.

A native of Wichita, Clark also worked at Southern Cal, Oregon, Kansas a nd Wyoming. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Topeka High School and worked as a graduate assistant coach with the Jayhawks. He’s a graduate of Ottawa University.

NFL Combine: Chan Gailey

From Indianapolis, Indiana

There were former Chiefs all over Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday as the NFL Combine really got cooking.

Miami GM and former Chiefs scout Jeff Ireland met with the media. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli is scheduled for the podium in the afternoon. Right before Ireland, new Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey spoke with the assembled scribes and the like.

Gailey talked about the Bills and whether RB Marshawn Lynch is available (he indicated he was not) and the future of WR Terrell Owens (he has not yet spoken to T.O.) Buffalo may be in the market for a quarterback (think Brodie Croyle) but Gailey wouldn’t commit to that.

Here’s Chan talking about the day he was fired by Todd Haley and the aftermath for him.

Day 1 At The Combine … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

From Indianapolis, Indiana

The NFL Combine that began here in downtown Indy on Wednesday has become the current whipping boy du jour of the football pundits. The week long exercise has been called the Underwear Olympics by some, a waste of time by others.

Tell that to the Seattle Seahawks. With a new GM in John Schneider and new head coach Pete Carroll, the franchise has sent 60 people to walk the halls, sitting in meeting rooms and watch workouts inside the Lucas Oil Center. Tell that to dozens of employees of the 31 other NFL teams, or the hundreds of media types that will be on site for the next week.

All those people and all the money spent to get them to Indy is not indicative of a waste of time. The Combine is an important piece of the evaluation process. The media and public tends to focus on the physical end of the four days the players spend with the NFL. The numbers provide the discussion: height, weight, 40-yard time, bench press reps, vertical jump and the like.

But that’s really a small part of what teams can take from the meeting. It’s another chance for teams that are about to spend millions of dollars on 21, 22 and 23-year olds to view them up close and personal.

“I’m not a big measurable person,” said Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. “I know they have a place and they have a value within the overall process. It’s just a piece of the puzzle. I am much more interested in tape and watching a player actually play football than how high they can vertical jump.

“We’re not drafting players or signing players to get them in shorts and tennis shoes and run around on Arrowhead’s field and show us how high they can vertical jump.”

If Pioli means what he says, then he’s taking a logical approach to the Combine and what happens here. …Read More!

Picking Through The Pile … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s an armchair general manager’s dream right now in the world of professional football.

As the National Football League heads towards the start next Friday of its 2010 season, teams are combing through the roster and payroll and putting familiar and talented names on the street, available for any team to sign.

For every player who has gotten slapped with the franchise player tag, there are others who have been released outright and a few more that seem to have tickets out of town waiting for them next week. On Monday it was San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson released. On Tuesday, Philadelphia announced that running back Brian Westbrook (right) would be cut loose.

There are other players who have become available or will be by next Friday. Their availability should be a caution sign for all other teams. Generally because of age and football wear and tear, players that pop up on the waiver wire at this time of the year don’t have a lot of upside. They can be good plug-ins for a year, maybe two while a team develops a younger player.

That’s the spot where the Chiefs are right now. The addition of any of these players would not be the final piece of the puzzle for Scott Pioli and Todd Haley, like it could be for contenders like Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the like.

Here’s a collection of players who currently free agents or next week can take offers from interested teams. Just how interested should the Chiefs be in any of these players? We have our opinions. …Read More!

Glad To See L.T. Gone … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The marriage between the San Diego Chargers and LaDainian Tomlinson is over.

That should be cause for celebration throughout the Chiefs Nation on this Tuesday. Although Tomlinson plans to continue his career and hopes to do it with a Super Bowl contender, it’s unlikely that he will pop up twice a year on the Chiefs radar screen.

And that’s a good thing for the Kansas City defense. L.T. got a shot at the Chiefs 17 times during his nine seasons (2001-09) with the Chargers and he made the most of those opportunities. Tomlinson ran for 1,488 yards, or more rushing yards against the Texans/Chiefs than any running back piled up in 50 years.

There’s a basket of impressive numbers that he collected against the Chiefs; we’ll get to those in a minute because they are historic. …Read More!

Chargers Slice L.T.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise because both the Chargers and RB LaDainian Tomlinson had prepared everyone for the moment.

But that doesn’t change the fact that when San Diego released their all-time leading rusher on Monday, it was a shock.

Chargers management has decided that Tomlinson is at the end of his career and not worth the $5 million he was due to be paid in 2010. For his part L.T. said publicly he wasn’t going to take a cut in pay so after nine seasons the parties have divorced. San Diego will move on, and so will L.T. who plans to play in the NFL in 2010.

“The main thing for me now is to try to win a championship,” Tomlinson told “That’s my No. 1 goal. That’s why I still work hard and train like I do, because I still believe there’s a chance of winning that championship. So the next team I go to has to have a chance of winning a title. I can think of a few teams off the top of my head, but that’s what my agent is for. I’m sure he’s going to do some research, talk to some teams and present some options to me.”

What about the Chiefs as L.T.’s new team? Not likely on his part, because of that championship thing; it’s hard to see them seriously contending for a title in the next two seasons.  Plus, he doesn’t really fit where the Chiefs are right now as a franchise. There’s no doubt that Jamaal Charles needs some help, but while L.T. could bring his passion and experience, he’d be a part-time player and wouldn’t contribute on special teams.

But bet the farm on this: Tomlinson would love to get some money and play for the Chiefs, Broncos or Raiders, if he can’t find a championship-caliber team that’s interested. This is not a quiet divorce, and by all indications publicly and privately, L.T. leaves those powder blues with a heavy heart and plenty of venom. He’s going to want the chance to stick it to grouchy G.M. of the Chargers, A.J. Smith.

More on L.T. coming Tuesday morning.

Monday Morning Grab Bag & Cup O’Chiefs 2/22

When we look back at 2010, I believe the weekend of February 19-21 will go down as the quietest in the year for the world of pro football.

That’s good for everyone involved, because starting Wednesday with the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. With the possible exception of a couple quiet weeks in July, the pace goes pretty hot and heavy for the next 10 months.

But there have been a few stories in the last couple days that are worth taking another look at, so here goes the Monday Morning Grab Bag.

Everyone was talking about Tiger Woods after his first words in public since his world was turned upside down Thanksgiving weekend. There are plenty of others who are writing about Tiger, so I will stay away from that area. I want to bring into the discussion here one part of his speech. It went like this:

“I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself … I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them.”

…Read More!

Answer Bob – The Site

I asked for it, and you gave it: feedback on, what you like, what you don’t like, what you hope to see from this site in the future.

The future is always on the mind of your intrepid webmaster because the world is ever changing, especially on the Internet and around the NFL. I’ll be honest with all of you and say I could do this the rest of my life; but there’s the little matter of putting a roof over my head and the groceries. I know Bill Gates started in his garage and now he’s the richest man in the world, so I know it’s possible to make money in this business. I’m just trying to make sure I don’t end up living in a garage.

As I get started here, I would like to thank three people who help keep this site up and running, and me up and running. To Dan Israel and his man Phil: the site works because they made it so easy. Thank you so much. To my wife: thank you for dealing with me spending so many hours in my web cave.

On to the readers.

Morty says: Bob, I’ve got to know: does Carl Peterson provide the financial backing for this site? I’ve heard that Jason Whitlock claims this is the case. Is this just more of Whitass’s bad information or is this true? I know we have no right to know what your financial backing might be, but curious I certainly am and I know others are too.

Bob says: I moved Morty to the front of the line so we can get this issue out of the way right off the top. I know Whitlock has said publicly that C.P. is backing me financially. He doesn’t understand how I could have covered all but one of the Chiefs road games last year without somebody picking up the tab.

Let me say this as clearly as possible: the only money involved in this website is my own. I have not received any financial backing from Carl, nor did I seek any. I consider Carl a friend, but like my other friends I’ve not taken a dime from them – to me that’s the surest way to have a former friend. I’m not a rich man and I’m considerably poorer after nearly 20 months of running the site. That may not be very smart – something I’ve been accused of many times – but I believe in what I’m doing and I believe it will be financially successful.

Whitlock’s charge is typical of his reporting style that we’ve seen for so many years: rumors written or spoken as facts, no actual reporting, “I would do that, so I’m sure he is” belief and most importantly he’s obsessed with Carl Peterson. Since C.P. is off the radar, Whitlock’s relevance has dropped considerably. That’s what fuels his constant bashing of Scott Pioli and Todd Haley. He’s trying to find somebody to fight with, but they won’t take the bait. …Read More!

The Land Of Losing … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

The boys of summer took to the green grass of Florida and Arizona in the last few days. Another season has begun and the bucolic splendor of America’s past-its-time returns to the sports radar screen.

It’s the time of year where the seam-heads are ecstatic that baseball is working its way back for another season of 162 games, where in the immortal words of Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham: “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

Down in Surprise, Arizona on Thursday, the Kansas City Royals had 38 pitchers and catchers working on Day No. 1. It was the kick off to another season where little is expected from the boys in blue. It’s been going on seven years since the Royals finished a season with a winning season and going on 25 years since they’ve made baseball’s post-season. In the just completed decade, the Royals were 672-948, with a .415 winning percentage.

The Chiefs are a long way from starting their 2010 season, but little is expected of the boys in red this fall. They are 10-38 in their last three seasons and have made the playoffs just twice in the last 12 years. They have not won a post-season game in the last 16 years.

To say that sports fans in Kansas City and its environs have been disappointed by their NFL and major league baseball teams is maybe the biggest understatement of the year. Over the last three years, the Royals have a .430 winning percentage (209-277) and the Chiefs have a .208 winning percentage (10-38).

That’s a combined record in the 2007-08-09 seasons of 219 victories, 315 defeats, a .410 winning percentage. Bad? That’s world-class bad. It has made Kansas City the “Land of Losing” when it comes to major professional sports. …Read More!


OK, some of you have asked for it and we’ve promised it, so let’s open he floodgates for another session of ASK BOB.  This time the subject is the website,

For all those who have questions about the site, suggestions, complaints, kudos and the like, we’d appreciate your comments. If you want to vent, rant or praise, we’ll take those too. If there are other things you want to see, or things we provide that you don’t want to see, this your opporunity. If it’s about or just Bob Gretz, we’ll read all and we will comment.

Let me also make sure everyone understands that is a dictatorship, although a benevolent one. Comments will close at midnight Saturday evening.

Post away!

Special Rankings … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Offensively in the 2009 NFL season, the Chiefs finished 25th among the league’s 32 teams in offensive yardage. Defensively, they were 30th. All are numbers associated with a football team that finished the season with a 4-12 record.

However, the numbers were not so bad in the kicking game. As any Chiefs fan who watched all 16 editions of the ’09 season knows, it was the special teams that were the most consistent part of the team’s play last year.

Led by the kicking duo of Dustin Colquitt (right) and Ryan Succop, the Chiefs finished 12th in the league when it came to the kicking game according to the rankings of Dallas Morning News football writer Rick Gosselin. Our man Goose and his rankings based on 22 kicking-game categories have become the gold standard around the NFL for evaluating each team’s units. This isn’t generated by the media, as much as it generated by the special teams coaches themselves, who long sought a way to publicize their players and groups which are frequently forgotten in the discussion of offense and defense.

The Chiefs had 341 points, which was 125.5 points behind the unit ranked as the league’s best, the Cleveland Browns at 215.5 points. That placed them in the top half of the league, something they couldn’t do on offense or defense.

More on the rankings: Goose takes 22 statistical categories and ranks teams one through 32. So if a team should finish first in all 22 areas, they would total 22 points. If a team finished last in all 22 areas they would finish with 704 points. So that’s the potential top and bottom of the rankings; obviously the fewer points, the better the kicking game performance. …Read More!

A Look At Chiefs Free Agents … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

More than likely weeks ago the powers in charge with the Chiefs made their decisions on the free agents-to-be in their locker room, whether to re-sign or allow them to depart.

A full-season provided plenty of evidence for everyone in the building to evaluate which players can continue to contribute. That 4-12 record tells us that many of those players weren’t good enough and more talented replacements must be found.

But as we covered on Tuesday, the pool of unrestricted free agents is very shallow this year as fourth and fifth-year players have been shoved back to the restricted free agent list. For the most part RFAs require draft choice compensation to sign, so that will drastically cut transactions.

Some teams in the league have many free agents, like Baltimore with 27 unrestricted-restricted players. Others have only a handful, like Miami with seven and Jacksonville with eight free agents.

The Chiefs have 18 players on the list of free agents released by the NFL Players Association on the first of February. There could be additions by the start of free agency on March 5.

Here’s one man’s opinion on those 18 players and whether the Chiefs should let them move on, retain them, retain them only at the team’s price or wait and see how the free agent market rolls. The UFAs are listed with age in ’10, seasons of experience in ’10 and ’09 base salary.)


SS Mike Brown (above) (32 years old, 11th season, $900,000) – As a stop gap, Brown was OK last year with the Chiefs at safety. He finished with 99 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions. Brown also had five tackles on special teams. But he’s not a long-term solution at the position and if he comes back to play in ’10 for the Chiefs it’s just another season where the team isn’t preparing a younger player to hold the job. There should be better alternatives available, but with Brown the Chiefs should WAIT AND SEE. …Read More!

The Shallow UFA Pool … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

So you are a Chiefs fan and you’ve suffered through 10-38 over the last three years. You want to see improvement, you want to see activity, you want to see Clark Hunt loosen the purse strings and let GM Scott Pioli go wild when free agency starts in just over two weeks.

Then comes a day like Monday, with a slap in the free agency face that will remind all of us that finding help in the land of unrestricted free agency is tougher and tougher these days.

On Monday, the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported that the Titans had reached a new five-year contract with UFA-to-be guard Eugene Amano. reported that the San Francisco 49ers have decided to use their franchise player tag on DT Aubrayo Franklin (right).

Amano and Franklin were two of the best players on the list of potential UFAs. As a guard and nose tackle they would have been nice additions to the Chiefs roster. Amano was a potential prize since he’ll be just 28 years old and in his seventh NFL season; he should be in his prime right now and for several years to come.

Franklin started all 16 games at nose tackle for a Niners defense that finished third in the NFL against the run. He’ll be 30 years old and in his eighth season in 2010; but in his first two seasons in the league with Baltimore, Franklin only played seven games, so he doesn’t have a full eight years of wear on his tires.

That’s two of the best in what is a very mediocre group of UFAs overall. There are some attractive players that may still be sitting there in the first week of March like LB Karlos Dansby of Arizona, DT Vince Wilfork of New England, DT Casey Hampton of Pittsburgh and DE Julius Peppers of Carolina. But by the start of free agency on March 5, most of those guys will be re-signed or slapped with the franchise tag, effectively taking them off the market. …Read More!

Enjoying Mardi Gras With Drew

Saw this picture pop up on on Monday morning and did a double-take.

It was not over the gladiator outfit that Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees was wearing; that’s the normal attire for the leader of the Bacchus parade each year during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

The double-take was over the people on the float, standing to Brees’ left. Look closely and you will recognize former Chiefs-Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards. With him is his wife Kathryn.

The Edwards and Brees got to know each other while they were playing together for four seasons (2002-05) with the Chargers.

Monday Morning Grab Bag & Cup O’Chiefs

So, how did you do with the first weekend since July without any football?

We enjoyed ourselves, although we wouldn’t want to make it a regular part of the yearly routine. The NFL Combine is coming up and prepping for the April NFL Draft is on the schedule and before we know it, there will be OTAs, mini-camps and training camp.

Until then, we’ll reserve Monday as a Chiefs/NFL grab bag of information, insight and opinion, because there is always plenty going on around the world of football, even if the stadiums are dark.


Welcome to the rest of your life, Annie Roach. On Friday, Annie Roach left the Chiefs after 44 years of working for the organization. The team made a big deal of the day, holding a luncheon for her and covering her career on the website.

All of that was nice, but does not do justice to what she meant to the franchise. From the day she started in 1966 as a secretary to then personnel director/assistant coach Tommy O’Boyle, to her final day working in the team’s now defunct customer relations department, the Chiefs and Hunt family never had a more loyal employee.

Most of Annie’s time with the team was as a coaching department secretary and she worked for every head coach in Chiefs history until Todd Haley’s arrival last year. She was moved out of the coaching office by Herm Edwards in 2008. That was more than 40 years from Hank Stram to Edwards. Oh, the stories she could tell!

Hopefully, one day she will. It’s a shame the Chiefs had to part with so much institutional history with her departure.

But it’s really sad that they are losing one of the nicest people to ever work inside the Chiefs offices. Her humanity, humility and sense of humor will be sorely missed. …Read More!

NFL Combine: Defensive Invitees

The first group of players arrives on Wednesday, February 24 for the 2010 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. They will keep arriving and departing for the better part of seven days before everyone is done on Tuesday, March 2.

These are the defensive players that have been invited to work out and meet with the teams. They are listed at the positions where the Combine has listed them. That does not mean that they’ll be drafted at that position. If there’s a possibility they could be rated at another position, it’s under the projection. There are always different views of where a player fits in the NFL, especially when talking about linemen and linebackers, or safeties and cornerbacks.

Also at the bottom of this post are the specialists that have been invited. …Read More!

Answer Bob About The Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame process always draws a lot of attention and questions. I think that happens because the process is so behind-closed-doors that people are curious and/or suspicious.

After the 2010 voting session this is an attempt to answer whatever questions and doubts about the whole process there might be out there.

So here it goes:

MeninRed says: Bob, what happened to this – January 17, 2010 – “Bob Gretz: Many of you had nice compliments on the site and those are truly appreciated. Others had some questions about the site and yours truly. I’ve saved those because coming up here later this week; I’m going to have another Answer Bob post dealing entirely with the web site.” It never happened.

Bob says: It’s coming up, probably next week. Prepare your questions, comments, rants, etc.

ThunderChief says: It seems to me that the standards for admittance into the Hall have been lowered over the past 10 years in particular but that’s highly subjective. I’m not talking about the Jerry Rices or Emmitt Smiths, but guys like Ricky Jackson or Andre Tippett. Has anyone thought about having a minimum standard of performance required before being considered? Said standard would have to be customized per position which might be difficult if not impossible. However, such issues as time played, number of times named to the Pro Bowl, plus a line on exceptional stats well above the norm for that position. All might be a good place to start. What say you? …Read More!

Talking With Miles Austin

The scorch marks are still there on the turf in Arrowhead Stadium.

October 11, 2009 was the day Miles Austin established himself as a big-league NFL wide receiver. In the first start of his four-year NFL career, Austin caught 10 passes for 250 yards, including the winning touchdown pass in overtime as the Cowboys beat the Chiefs. It was a record setting yardage day for the Dallas franchise and for a Chiefs opponent. It was the best receiving yardage day in the NFL last season.

Austin went on to have a Pro Bowl season, finishing the season with 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.

While he was in south Florida, he stopped by the Gatorade Performance Lab and I had a chance to sit down and speak with the native of New Jersey. He talked about the game at Arrowhead, breaking into the NFL as a rookie free agent with Todd Haley as his coach and how things always seem to be happening around the Dallas Cowboys.

Enjoy the listen to one of the bright young stars of the NFL.

NFL Combine: Offensive Invitees

The first group of players will arrive on Wednesday, February 24 for the 2010 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. They will keep arriving and departing for the better part of seven days before everyone is done on Tuesday, March 2.

We will dig deeper into the Combine and the players that are in the house at Lucas Oil Stadium as we get closer to the arrival of the first, second and third groups. Featured among those players will be the offensive line, tight ends, and special teamers.

For now, these are the offensive players that have been invited to work out and meet with the teams. They are listed at the positions where the Combine has listed them. That does not mean that they’ll be drafted at that position. There are always different views of where a player fits in the NFL, especially when talking about offensive linemen.

We’ll bring you the defensive and special teams invitees on Sunday. …Read More!

Talking With Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford is an impressive young man; some NFL team in the top half of the first-round is going to get themselves a very talented quarterback.

That is, if Bradford’s right shoulder continues to heal as it has since surgery in late November. When we talked with him during Super Bowl week at the Gatorade Performance Lab in Fort Lauderdale, he had just begun a three times a week throwing program under the direction of former Chiefs quarterbacks coach Terry Shea.

Bradford enjoyed the events of the days leading up to the Super Bowl and he talked about the transition from college football, the work he’s done on his shoulder, what he wants to accomplish here in the next few months and what he could learn from Super Bowl quarterbacks Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

Take a listen.

Rams May Have New Owner … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

Today the NFL wire takes us 250 miles east to St. Louis, where it seems the Rams have identified a new owner.

His name is Shahid Khan (right), he’s from Urbana, Illinois and he’s got enough money to buy controlling interest in the Rams all by himself. More on Khan and his purchase later in this post.

The Rams situation is another reminder of how lucky Kansas City was to have Lamar Hunt as the man who founded and controlled the franchise for 47 years. Hunt saw what happened when the Robbie family lost the Miami Dolphins when patriarch Joe Robbie passed away without a solid succession plan in place.

Our country has a rather onerous charge called the Estate Tax or Inheritance Tax or Death Tax. When Robbie died in 1990, the Dolphins passed to his wife. But she passed away soon after and ownership of the team passed to their nine children. The estate tax bill was a staggering $47 million for a family who had all their money tied up in the team and stadium. To pay off that debt, the children sold the team and stadium in 1994 to Wayne Huizenga for $138 million.

I’ve told my children that I’ll try to pay all my bills and charges before I pass, so I won’t cost them anything when I’m dead. For most of us, the estate tax is not something that’s going to cause a lot of problems. …Read More!

Talking With Tebow

During Super Bowl Week I got a chance to sit down and talk with former Florida Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow down in Fort Lauderdale.

Tebow was a big news item in south Florida because of the pro-life television ad that ran during the Super Bowl broadcast. Much was made of the 30-second spot, but now that it’s been seen, the commercial is rather harmless. There was also his performance at the Super Bowl, which left some in the media wanting and expecting more.

But the Tebow that showed up at the Gatorade Performance Lab did not seemed bothered by any of that. He wore a killer smile and was quick with his answers. The same could not be said for Team Tebow, which included a representative of his agent, his two brothers, a documentary crew and assorted other followers. They forbade questions about the commercial and wanted to hear all questions that were going to be asked of Tebow.

It was all a bit much for a guy that some people think won’t be able to play quarterback in the NFL. I hope those people are wrong, because I like Tebow’s attitude. You’ll hear it in the interview, as he talks about the transition period he’s going through right now, the Senior Bowl, the upcoming NFL Combine and his firm desire to make the NFL as a quarterback.  Take a listen.

Draft & Development … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

We touched on this item during Super Bowl week, but it’s an important fact to remember as the Chiefs head into the acquisition period of the annual NFL schedule.

In the last three Super Bowls, the winning teams have shared at least one thing in common: the Giants, Steelers and Saints all had a linebacker who entered the NFL as a draft choice of the Chiefs:

  • Kawika Mitchell was the starting middle linebacker for the New York Giants in their victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He was a second round pick for the Chiefs in the 2003 Draft.
  • Keyaron Fox was the key special teams performer for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Super Bowl LXIII winning performance over the Arizona Cardinals. Fox was the Chiefs third-round selection in the 2004 Draft.
  • Last Sunday, Scott Fujita was a starting outside linebacker for the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. He was the fifth-round pick of the Chiefs in the 2002 Draft.

It’s a stunning example of why the Chiefs are experiencing the worst period of losing football in franchise history.

“Pretty amazing,” Fujita said after walking off the field as part of the Saints 31-17 victory over the Colts. “That’s some bad decisions being made.”

Last year, the Chiefs defense featured four starting linebackers. Only one was a Kansas City draft pick: Tamba Hali, who made the switch from defensive end to outside backer. At the end of the ’09 schedule there were nine linebackers listed on the roster and only Hali and Derrick Johnson were KC draft choices.

So why are Chiefs linebackers picking up Super Bowl rings, rather than playing their games in red and gold? They are just three very visible personnel mistakes the franchise made in 2006 (Fujita), 2007 (Mitchell) and 2008 (Fox).

They are examples of the breakdown in the personnel process that’s dogged Arrowhead Stadium in the just completed decade. Understand that the process is far more than just drafting players or signing free agents. It’s about taking those players and developing them into contributors, starters and stars. A well-oiled personnel operation has decision makers, scouts and coaches all working together in evaluating, selecting and developing players. …Read More!

A Final Super Bowl Reflection … Cup O’Chiefs

The moment happened early in Super Bowl week. Driving down I-95 between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, the car filled with the sound of the Bobby Caldwell song “What I Won’t Do For Love.”

I don’t know about you, but there’s a soundtrack to my life and at various times hearing a song will stir the primal goo in my brain and recall happier times, sometimes sad times, often just ordinary times.

This time I was instantly transferred back to January 1979, when on this same highway, during a Super Bowl week, I heard Caldwell’s song for the first time. I was in south Florida to see my first Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl. That was Super Bowl XII. I can remember that drive with a clarity unavailable to me for events of just a month ago.

Thirty-one years later, life brought me full circle back to another Super Bowl, this one with the roman numerals XLIV, between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints at a building that wasn’t around 31 years ago, the Joe Robbie, Pro Player Park, Dolphins, Dolphin, Land Shark, Sun Life Stadium.

I drove by the Orange Bowl; it’s not there anymore. That’s where the Florida Marlins are building their new baseball stadium.

My calculations made this Super Bowl the 25th that I’ve attended since that first one. To say that much has changed in that time would be a laughable understatement. When the Steelers beat the Cowboys in January of ’79, Super Sunday was not a national holiday. The television commercials shown during the game were not discussed for the week after the game. The only media types found around the game or teams were those involved in covering sports. Gossip columnists, TV entertainment shows, business networks, radio shock jocks and all sports television networks were either nowhere to be found or had not been invented. …Read More!

Ask Bob – About the Hall of Fame

OK, here’s your chance. Starting from the moment you read this post until Friday at midnight, I will take any and all questions that involve the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the voting, etc.

If  there’s something about the process that you’ve always wanted to ask, or don’t understand, this is your chance. If you think a player is being forgotten and deserves more Hall  consideration, state your piece.

Over the weekend I’ll try to get my answers together and post on Monday. But here’s a warning. It may be Tuesday before all the answers get posted.

Attach your comments here.

A Look Back At Hall Of Fame Voting

As a member of the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’m asked constantly over Super Bowl weekend about those that were voted in, and especially those that were not passed through for induction. In some corners we are hailed for our selections, in other quarters we are called idiots.

That’s the price that comes with trying to split hairs when it comes to the greatness of one player over another. By its definition, it should be hard to gain entrance to Canton. I know and accept that everyone is in a hurry, but there are a lot of very good players with very Hall worthy careers and the most players who can be inducted each year among the more recent players are five. Do the math and it’s not hard to see the problem.

I believe there are too many new Hall of Famers each year. When a minimum number of new inductees is required, there are going to be borderline candidates that walkthrough the doors. Each time that happens, more players come into the pool of consideration, creating more hopes and dreams. My idea is simply make the maximum class four players each year, seniors included in that number.

I say that having sat through the last 14 Hall of Fame voting sessions and knowing how hard it has been to sort through the bodies and identify players worthy of a Canton bust. There’s a big difference between men that should be considered for the Hall and those who own obvious Hall of Fame careers. Maybe we should all accept that the obvious guys are the Hall of Famers, and the others are a step below, or the Hall of the Very Good, not the Best.

But the rules are what they are and I’m more than willing to follow them as prescribed by the Hall.

So what happened this year that created the class of Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, John Randle, Ricky Jackson, Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little? The rules of the voting session are all discussions are confidential. This year, the Hall asked all of us to keep our votes under wraps as well. I will honor their request, but I think all of the voting should be made public at each and every level of the balloting.

But I can give you the flavor of what happened in that room at the Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center over about six hours of discussion, deliberation and voting. …Read More!

A Look Back at No. 44 … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From Miami Gardens, Florida

In the last two NFL regular seasons, there have been 101 onside kicks.

Only 24 were recovered by the kicking team.

That’s a success rate of 23.8 percent.

Those odds were well known to Sean Payton. It didn’t slow him down and his willingness to fight the odds created one of the most talked about moments in Super Bowl history.

Down 10-6 at the end of the first half, Payton walked to the New Orleans Saints locker room and knew something had to give if his team was going to have a chance to win Super Bowl XLIV. All week, Payton and his coaching staff had talked about being aggressive, no matter what the scoreboard read or the game situation.

Before he even entered the locker room, Payton had made up his mind that on the opening kickoff of the second half, he was going to go against the odds and run an onside kick. It was a decision that would make him a genius or an idiot; there would be no place to land between those options.

On the biggest stage the game of football can provide, he went against the odds. …Read More!

Chiefs Lose Strength

Last week, it seemed that Todd Haley’s coaching staff was set.

Not so fast.

On Monday, the Houston Texans announced that Cedric Smith, the Chiefs strength and conditioning coach for the last three years, has joined the staff of head coach Gary Kubiak.

“I’m extremely excited to be here,” Smith said from his team office. “Knowing Gary Kubiak from being in Denver, I look at it as a great opportunity to be part of something special here, with a team up-and-coming and on the cusp of winning a championship.”

Smith worked with the Denver Broncos when Kubiak was there. A number of assistants on the Texans staff were also part of Mike Shanahan’s group that included Smith as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

“To me it is a natural fit, having a chance to work with great personalities and good people that you know,” Smith said. “After having a chance to work around them and understanding their mindset, it’s just a natural fit.”

The departure of Smith leaves only his former assistant Brent Salazar as the only coach on Haley’s staff who was with the team prior to 2009.

Who Dat? World Champion Saints










From Miami Gardens, Florida

“This is about so much more than just the game. This is so much more than a win. This is much, much bigger.”

Linebacker Scott Fujita said this over and over again after the New Orleans Saints surprising 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts to win Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium.

It was a theme repeated time after time by the victorious Saints. It was something that was talked about during the days leading up to championship Sunday. There was a tangible sense of the power of belief and this football team believes a Super Bowl victory was their destiny.

“We never doubted we were going to win,” Fujita said. “We felt that back on Tuesday when we first walked into this stadium. There was just never a doubt because we were playing not just for ourselves, not just for each other, but for an entire city and region. All we wanted to do was give New Orleans a championship.

“I can’t wait to get back home. I wish we were leaving tonight, but this is going to be one great party, and let me tell you, this team knows how to party and we live in a city that knows how to party.” …Read More!

Man Of The Year #5 … Game-Day Cup O’ Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Last Sunday, the lone Kansas City representative on the field at Sun Financial Stadium for the Pro Bowl was K.C. Wolf.

Things will be different this Sunday for Super Bowl XLIV.

First of all, Kansas City’s Sultan of Sod George Toma has worked the playing surface and it’s ready to go for the championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. In the post-game ceremonies, Chiefs Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson will deliver the Vince Lombardi Trophy to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to hand over to the winning team.

And in pre-game ceremonies, current Chiefs G Brian Waters will be presented with the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for the 2009 season.

“It’s a great honor,” Waters said Saturday in Miami, as word leaked that he was selected over two other finalists: Washington LB London Fletcher and Cleveland WR Mike Furrey. “It’s very meaningful because of Walter Payton and his family and the history of this award and those who have received it before. It’s a great group and humbling to be part of this award.”

And it now includes five members of the Kansas City Chiefs – more than any other franchise in the NFL. Waters joins Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Derrick Thomas and Will Shields as winners of the trophy that symbolizes on-field excellence and community service. (Complete Man of the Year List below.)  …Read More!

The Hall Of Fame Class of 2010

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 includes the leading receiver and rusher in NFL history. The group includes a Hog and a guy who painted his face before most games.

WR Jerry Rice and RB Emmitt Smith led the full class of seven new members that was decided during a seven-hour meeting of the Hall’s Board of Selectors on Saturday at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center.

Joining Rice and Smith were Washington Redskins guard Russ Grimm, New Orleans linebacker Ricky Jackson and Minnesota defensive lineman John Randle. Also joining the group were both seniors nominees, Detroit DB Dick LeBeau and Denver RB Floyd Little.

The discussion involving Rice and Smith lasted a combined 10 seconds, as they were mortal locks.

The rest of the meeting was filled with lively debate on the other 15 names in front of the group, as the 44 voting members struggled with cutting the field to the maximum seven inductees.

The modern era 15 nominees were: Rice, Smith, Grimm, Jackson, Randle, WR Tim Brown, WR Chris Carter, head coach Don Coryell, C Dermontti Dawson, DE Richard Dent, DE/LB Charles Haley, DT Cortez Kennedy, WR Andre Reed and TE Shannon Sharpe.

Those 15 were cut to 10, with Brown,  Carter, Coryell, Craig and Haley eliminated.

That group of 10 was then voted down to five, with Dawson, Dent, Kennedy, Reed and Sharpe eliminated.

That left five names and the vote on those were yes or no, with induction depending on each player receiving 80 percent of the vote.

As a member of the board of selectors, there is only so much information that I can reveal from the meeting. I will have more on Monday, but the candidates that generated the most discussion were Coryell and Little.

Another Hall of Fame Saturday … Cup O’Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Saturday morning, 44 men and women will enter a meeting room at the Broward County Convention Center and decide on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2010.

I have a seat at the table and have had since January of 1997. I’m asked generally two questions about the Hall of Fame process: how does the voting work and does this committee have any idea what it’s doing?

Here’s a quick explanation of how it works. The Board of Selectors is made up of members of the media; one for each franchise city in the NFL, including two for New York. There is a representative from the Pro Football Writers of America and then there are 11 at-large voters. Among that group are 30 newspaper writers, 10 writers for sites on the Internet, two magazine writers and two television reporters. There are 42 men and two women.

This group elects each year a class of between four and seven new members. After mail-in preliminary votes, a group of 15 finalists is reached. There are two others put up for nomination by the Board’s Seniors Committee, made up of the more veteran members of the committee.

On Saturday morning, the first bit of business is the senior candidates, this year they are former DB Dick LeBeau and RB Floyd Little. Each candidate will be discussed and then the vote will be yes/no on each man. To gain election, there must be 80 percent yes votes.

The meeting then moves on to the 15 other finalists. Each one is discussed by the group. Sometimes that discussion can lasts for just a few seconds. That will be the case this year with WR Jerry Rice and RB Emmitt Smith; no discussion is needed. The leading receiver and rusher in NFL history are automatic first-ballot Hall of Famers. …Read More!

Bob At The Super Bowl … With Tony Gonzalez

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tony Gonzalez hoped by leaving the Chiefs and joining the Atlanta Falcons he would be playing on Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV.

Instead, he’s here in south Florida on the same ticket that has taken him to Super Bowls in the past: as a celebrity doing promotional appearances. He visited the Gatorade Performance Lab (above, with Gatorade Sports Science Institute scientist Melissa Tippet) where he took part in physical testing. It was right up his alley of doing everything he can to help his body play another year of pro football.

Everyone can see him go through the testing with former Denver-Baltimore TE Shannon Sharpe on the CBS Super Bowl Pre-Game Show on Sunday.

As always, Gonzalez has been very busy. He’s written a combination cook book-nutrition guide called “The All-Pro Diet.” He and his wife October will welcome their second child next month as River Christian Gonzalez is schedule to arrive on March 15th.

And he says he’s going to play at least one more season and he thinks the 2010 Atlanta Falcons will be the best team he ever played on.

Here’s Tony Gonzalez from the Super Bowl.

The Golden Goose May Die … Friday Cup O’ Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It was an interesting Thursday afternoon here in Super Bowl Land. The National Football League Players Association held its annual press conference.

I decided to attend the affair with a friend. I’ll call him The Capitalist.

After some 45 minutes of listening to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith’s saber rattling, talk of an owner lockout in 2011, a season ahead without a salary cap and the plight of retired players, The Capitalist left the room with his blood pressure jacked up and incredulity dripping from every pour.

“These guys are nuts,” The Capitalist said. “They get 60 percent of the NFL revenue and they think that’s their right? Where is their risk? The owners assume all the risk.”

I reminded The Capitalist that the football players more than any other team sport, risk their bodies in playing the game.

“It’s not like they aren’t getting paid,” The Capitalist nearly shouted. “How many 23 or 24-year olds are making two or three million dollars a year? They get paid quite well for their risk.” …Read More!

A Look At Chiefs Free Agents

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The NFL Players Association released a list of projected 2010 free agents, both restricted and unrestricted.

Because of the decision by the NFL owners to opt out of their deal with the players, the threshhold for unestricted free agency has risen from four seasons in the league to six seasons.  That’s created a very big pool of restricted free agents with four and five years of experience.

The early list has 11 Chiefs as restricted free agents and seven as unrestricted. That group includes seven players who finished the 2009 season as starters.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS – G Andy Alleman, RB Jackie Battle, QB Brodie Croyle, QB Matt  Gutierrez, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Corey Mays, OT Ikechuku Ndukwe, C Rudy Niswanger, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, FS Jarrad Page and RB Kolby Smith.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS – SS Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, OL Wade Smith, OLB Mike Vrabel and WR Bobby Wade.

Super Bowl Bits … Indianapolis Colts

PEYTON MANNING ON PRE-SNAP ADJUSTMENTS AND AUDIBLES: “It is a little bit of a controlled chaos out there. We are all just trying to get on the same page. We don’t huddle so we do make calls at the line of scrimmage. Obviously, if we huddled we probably wouldn’t have to do so much at the line of scrimmage. I feel we are at our best when we are not having to make all those calls and we can just get up and run the play that we called. I still think whatever happens before the snap is not as important as what happens post-snap. The actual execution of the play. Just because we might change a play or signal something new or point at somebody that doesn’t have anything to do necessarily with the success of the play. It is about can you block them, can you get open, can you get the ball to the open receiver. For the most part this season our post-snap execution has been solid and that is what has been the most important.”

MANNING ON HIS PLAN FOR THE NIGHT BEFORE THE GAME: “For me three years ago, you certainly try to make it as normal a night as you can. Actually, I do remember I went to bed at 11:00 that night. I woke up at 11:00. Slept twelve hours, believe it or not. I was feeling pretty good until I opened my curtain and saw that monsoon outside Miami. That sort of woke me up pretty fast as it was looking like that rain was there to stay. I certainly hope for that again. I hope for that kind of peaceful night of sleep again this year. I think that is important. Sunday does become somewhat of a long day. The advice that I got all week, especially Sunday, is not to turn on the TV on, don’t watch the pregame coverage. I was able to do that last year. I am sure I’ll study a little bit. I feel like at that point there probably won’t be much more film to watch. The hay will be in the barn.” …Read More!

Bob At The Super Bowl With … Eli Manning

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Eli Manning owns a Super Bowl ring from the New York Giants victory two years ago over the New England Patriots. This Sunday, he’ll be at Sun Financial Field to watch his brother Peyton go for a second championship as the Indianapolis Colts face the New Orleans Saints.

Manning makes no bones about the fact he’ll be rooting for his brother, but he also talks about the Saints, his hometown team when he was a kid growing up in New Orleans.

Those were just some of the subjects Eli talked about as he visited the Gatorade Performance Lab at Super Bowl XLIV. That’s Eli in the red cap, getting in the Bod Pod testing system used by the folks from Gatorade. Enjoy the conversation.

eli for web site

Speaking His Piece … Thursday Cup O’ Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Two years ago it was Kawika Mitchell.

Last year it was Keyaron Fox.

This time for Super Bowl XLIV it’s Scott Fujita.

All three are linebackers who played in the Super Bowl. All three were drafted by the same team – the Kansas City Chiefs. It was Fujita in the fifth round in 2002, Mitchell in the second round of 2003 and Fox in the third round of 2004.

“I think it tells you that some bad decisions have been made there,” said Fujita, a starting linebacker on the New Orleans Saints defense. “Give them credit for drafting good players. It’s keeping them that they screw up.”

And Fujita isn’t afraid to point the finger at the person he thinks is responsible for the decisions that ended up with Mitchell starting for the New York Giants, Fox leading the Pittsburgh Steelers special teams and his own move to Dallas and then New Orleans: former Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

“We weren’t his kind of guys,” Fujita said. “Well, he wasn’t my kind of coach. What were the results with the Chiefs on defense? There was always this big love affair with Gunther. I couldn’t see it.”

What the sports world is finding out with his exposure here in the Super Bowl is that Scott Fujita always has something to say, and isn’t afraid to say it. Whether publicly supporting a national gay-rights event, or speaking about the controversial Tim Tebow/Pro-Life television commercial that will run on Super Bowl Sunday, or whether it’s talking about his feelings about a former defensive coordinator, Fujita is willing to state his case. …Read More!

Super Bowl Bits … New Orleans Saints

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It’s Super Bowl Week, so there are millions upon millions of words being generated here in south Florida. Here are some of the best answers and comments coming from the New Orleans Saints.

RB REGGIE BUSH (left) ON LIVING UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS OF HIM COMING INTO THE NFL: “It hasn’t been everything that I would have liked it to have been. I think in a perfect world I would have wanted everything to happen much quicker. I kind of imagined that I’d have a couple Super Bowl rings by now and a couple Pro Bowls. It’s a tough league. This is a league of all stars. It hasn’t been all bad because I’m enjoying it. We’re in the Super Bowl right now and that’s something that we should be proud of, being the first Saints team to make it to the Super Bowl. As far as my own personal goals, I know they’ll come because I’ve always been a firm believer that hard work pays off. It’s just taken a little longer than I expected. It’s definitely been a humbling experience for me. It’s a hard league, but you appreciate it that much more. I appreciate it so much more now because I understand the workload it took to get here.”

QB DREW BREES ON THE MAGNITUDE OF MAKING THE SUPER BOWL: “We actually sat the other day as a team and Sean Payton kind of went around the room and said, ‘How many guys have been to a Super Bowl?’ …Read More!

One More Game For Mudd … A Cup O’Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

“Gretz, let me tell you something about the offensive line,” barked Howard Mudd during a moment that seems like it was decades ago, but came at some point during his four seasons as the Chiefs offensive line coach (1989-92.)

“The offensive line, they treat us like mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and cover us with sh#@!”

On Tuesday inside Sun Financial Stadium where the NFL was holding its annual Super Bowl Media Day, Mudd (right, with Peyton Manning) sat there with his arms crossed across his chest, his beard now more white than dark, wearing an expression that was equal parts smirk and scowl. He looked for all the world like the sage of sages, granting a few tidbits of time and questions for the scribblers and yakkers.

Howard Mudd is one of the best offensive line coaches who ever worked the game. He’s also one of the great grumps in pro football history. But there was Mudd, at media day with his own camera around his neck and the media lining up to speak with him. And he talked, he answered questions, he blended in with all the other folks in the Indianapolis traveling party that were dealing with the media.

This, from one of the great grumps in pro football history, a guy that over his coaching career generally looked at media interviews in the same way he would root canal.

“I’ve mellowed,” he said with a smile. …Read More!

Haley’s Heroes In Place … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It rained, and rained, and rained on Monday in south Florida. But then, not much was happening here in Super Bowl Land beyond both teams and thousands of people in the media showing up for the rest of the week.

So we turn north and west for the news of Monday, and it came out of Arrowhead Stadium where head coach Todd Haley was pulling together the final pieces of his coaching staff. The changes are impressive, especially with the additions of Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel and Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas (right) to the group.

Combine those new faces with holdovers like special teams coach Steve Hoffman, offensive line coach Bill Muir and assistant head coach/running backs Maurice Carthon, and there’s been a significant increase in skill and experience of the men around Haley.

Now, the focus moves full bore to player personnel. GM Scott Pioli and Haley must find better talent for those better coaches to handle. A team’s coaching staff can be filled with top line coaches. But to be great coaches, they must have great players. …Read More!

Emmitt Returns To Red & Gold

Chiefs Hall of Fame CB Emmitt Thomas has returned to the team some 32 years after he finished his career as a player.

Thomas was announced on Monday as the team’s new defensive back coach, as Todd Haley finalized his coaching staff for the 2010 season.

The other newest edition to the staff is former defensive back Otis Smith, who was added as defensive quality control. Smith spent some time with the Chiefs  last  year helping out with the defensive backs.

Thomas was let go by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2009 season, ending an eight-season stint with the team, that included a moment as interim head coach. The Texas native has coached in the NFL with Washington. St. Louis (Cardinals), Philadelphia, Minnesota, Green Bay and the Falcons. He spent 13 seasons playing for the Chiefs, signed as a college free agent out of Bishop College in Dallas. Thomas remains the franchise leader wiht 58 interceptions.

A 13-year NFL veteran cornerback, Smith played with Philadelphia, the New York  Jets, New England and Detroit.  He played in two Super Bowls with New England, earning a Super Bowl XXXVI ring. A native of New Orleans, he played his college football at Missouri.


Reacting To The All-Decade Team

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It’s a dreary, rainy day in south Florida, so the trip to the beach was cancelled and now there’s more time to provide dispatches from Super Bowl Land.

The announcement of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s got lost in the silliness of the Pro Bowl and the hype of Super Bowl week. Or was it the hype of the Pro Bowl and silliness of Super Bowl week? Either way, the best players from the last ten seasons haven’t gotten their just due. My suggestion in the future for the league is to release this information about the middle of the off-week before the Super Bowl. As a story, it would have far more traction at that point on the calendar.

It was amazing that the Chiefs placed four players on the team. Even if someone wants to argue that Willie Roaf’s (above) career was divided between Kansas City and New Orleans, the fact is this: he played more than twice as many games in the 2000s wearing the Chiefs red and gold (58) than he did with the fleur de lis of the Saints (23). …Read More!

It Is What It Is … Monday Cup O’ Super Bowl

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

In almost 35 years of covering professional football in some manner, I had never been to a Pro Bowl.

That changed Sunday night at Sun Financial Stadium, where the AFC beat the NFC 41-34.

And, that was enough. I don’t need an encore. Turns out I was missing nothing but a lot of bad football.

The Pro Bowl is what it is, no matter when or where it takes place. It’s an all-star game that’s played at nowhere near a full-speed level. It’s full of shoddy defense, the worst tackling that can be imagined and only now and then is there any type of play that caused anybody to look twice.

Sunday night, there was more excitement when the guy from Papa John’s Pizza showed up in the stands and started passing out free pizza. Two sections of the stadium were completely engrossed in the pizza guy and paid no attention as the NFC drove down for a touchdown in the end zone that was right in front of the fans.

That’s OK, because on a muggy night with occasional sprinkles the fans still had a good time. …Read More!


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         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.