Background On Romeo … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

Now that it appears the Three Musketeers from kingdom of Foxboro are going to be reunited in Middle America, there are some things that you need to know about the last man to join the crusade.

Romeo Crennel is named after Shakespeare’s Romeo. Really, he is. He even has a sister named Juliet.

It’s just one of the little things we’ve learned about the man who will soon be announced as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

HE WAS BORN in Lynchburg, Virginia on June 18, 1947. He’ll be 63 on his next birthday.

CRENNEL IS THE OLDEST of five children of Joseph and Mary Crennel. His father was a sergeant in the U.S. Army, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and was transferred to different army bases all over the world, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Knox in Kentucky.

HIS NAME COMES FROM Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet; his father was a poetry fan and returned home from Paris just before his first son’s birth. Four years after naming his oldest son Romeo, he named his second daughter Juliet.

ROMEO WAS NOT THE STAR ATHLETE in his family. That was younger brother Carl, who earned a full ride scholarship to West Virginia and was eventually a ninth-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970. He played three games before he was released and then finished his playing career in the Canadian Football League where he was part of a championship team with the Edmonton Eskimos who were led by QB Warren Moon.

IN HIGH SCHOOL HE WAS A FOOTBALL AND BASEBALL PLAYER at Central High in Amherst, Virginia and also at Ft. Knox High School in Kentucky. When Sgt. Crennel would be sent overseas, Mary Crennel would take the family back to her home in Virginia, where the Crennel kids spent time on a farm, feeding pigs and chickens and helping to harvest corn.

SGT. CRENNEL’S OLDEST SON WANTED TO JOIN HIM IN THE ARMY, and attended Western Kentucky in the ROTC program in hopes of entering the service as an officer. But his weight and flat feet kept him out of the service.

FOR THE HILLTOPPERS, Crennel was a three-year starter on the offensive line, but then in his senior year when the team was hit with a rash of injuries on the defensive line, he offered to move to the other side of the ball. He was the senior season captain and he was voted by his teammates MVP.

HIS WIFE IS ROSEMARY, who they met at Western Kentucky during Romeo’s freshman year. They have three daughters: Lisa, Tiffany and Kristin. He is a grandfather.

AFTER EARNING HIS DEGREE IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION in 1969, Crennel returned to the Western Kentucky football program in 1970 as a graduate assistant. Thus began his coaching career. He handled the defensive linemen for four seasons (1971-74).

ROMEO’S FUTURE WAS CHANGED IN 1975 when he got a job as defensive assistant at Texas Tech. The head coach was Steve Sloan and the defensive coordinator was a guy named Bill Parcells. After three years, he followed Sloan to the University of Mississippi where he coached for two years. He then spent a year at Georgia Tech.

IN 1981, NEW YORK GIANTS COACH RAY PERKINS was looking for a special teams assistant to help his assistant Bill Belichick who wanted to try his hand as the defensive coordinator. Crennel spent 12 seasons with the Giants, most as the defensive line coach under Parcells who was named head coach in 1983. The Giants won a pair of Super Bowls. When Parcells retired for the first time, Crennel stayed with the Giants and worked for Ray Hadley for two seasons. Parcells came back to coach the Patriots in 1993 and Crennel joined his staff in New England for four seasons and then followed him to the New York Jets for three more seasons before Parcells retired for the second time.

FORMER GIANTS LB CARL BANKS ON CRENNEL: “A lot of what Bill Belichick is now is as a result o f having very smart coaches and players around him. As far as coaching, Romeo is just as much of a defensive genius as Bill.”

IT WAS THE EXPANSION BROWNS and their head coach Chris Palmer that gave Crennel his first chance to be defensive coordinator in 2000. Head coach Chris Palmer hired him. “I knew he’d be an excellent coordinator,” Palmer said.

PALMER ALSO SAID OF CRENNEL: “He’s reserved, but he’s like E.F. Hutton. When he speaks people listen.”

CLEVELAND FIRED PALMER AND HIS STAFF after the 2000 season, but Belichick had just been named head coach of the Patriots and Crennel joined his staff as defensive coordinator. He spent four seasons, and won three more Super Bowl rings in the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons.

CRENNEL’S BEST DEFENSE WAS IN 2003, when the Patriots allowed just 14.9 points per game with three shutouts. At home, they gave up only 9.6 points per game. In one stretch they went 62 consecutive opponent possessions without allowing a touchdown. New England led the league in interceptions with 29 and they had six defensive touchdowns.

FORMER PATRIOTS CB TY LAW ON CRENNEL: “In the meetings, Romeo calls the defenses and runs the entire defense. Bill Belichick puts in the flavor and makes suggestions, but the defense is Romeo’s.”

THE BROWNS HIRED HIM BEFORE THE 2005 SEASON as head coach. In four seasons, Crennel posted a 24-40 record, with a 10-6 mark in 2007. He was fired on December 29, 2008 after a 4-12 season.


  • 49ERS – COO Andy Dolich left the franchise; Jed York appointed team CEO
  • PATRIOTS – LB Junior Seau says he’s retired again and will not play another NFL game.
  • REDSKINS – hired Lou Spanos (Steelers) as linebackers coach; offensive line coach Joe Bugel announced his retirement.
  • STEELERS – named Sean Kugler offensive line coach.


On Sunday, January 14, 1969, the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to win Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl in Miami. This was the victory guaranteed earlier in the week by Jets QB Joe Namath, who was upset because the odds makers made New York an 18-point underdog for the game.

The Jets came out and controlled the game from the first quarter on, in what turned into a defensive struggle. The scoreboard was quiet in the first quarter before RB Matt Snell scored on a four-yard run in the second quarter. With the PAT kick, the Jets led 7-0 at half-time. They added three Jim Turner FGs in the second half. Baltimore finally scored in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run by Jerry Hill. The Jets defense added five turnovers to the winning plate, including four interceptions of Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas. Snell finished with 121 yards on 30 carries, while George Sauer caught eight passes for 133 yards.

Namath was named the game’s MVP, as he hit 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass or any passes at all in the fourth quarter. The referee was Tom Bell. The national anthem was sung by Anita Bryant. The half-time show was performed by the Florida A&M marching band. The game was broadcast by NBC with Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis and Kyle Rote handling the microphones. A 30-second commercial cost $55,000.


On January 14, 1990, the Denver Broncos beat the Cleveland Browns 37-21 at Mile High Stadium in the AFC Championship Game after the ‘89 season. It was the third time in four years that the Broncos beat the Browns in the conference title game. This time, new Cleveland head coach Bud Carson led the Browns into the mountain-time zone. Broncos QB John Elway threw for 385 yards and three TD passes, including a 70-yard score to WR Michael Young. Elway’s other TD passes were to TE Orson Mobley and RB Sammy Winder, who also had a seven-yard TD run.


Born on January 14, 1939 in Detroit was TE Fred Arbanas (right). He was selected in the seventh round of the 1961 AFL Draft out of Michigan State by the Texans. Arbanas played nine seasons with the Texans-Chiefs (1962-70), playing in 118 games over his career. He caught 198 passes for 3,101 yards and 34 touchdowns. Arbanas was named to the all-time AFL team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also in five AFL All-Star Games Arbanas was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1973.

Born on January 14, 1975 in Richmond, Virginia was LB Shawn Barber. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2003 after playing four years with the Redskins and one with the Eagles. Barber spent three seasons with the Chiefs (2003-05), appearing in 27 games, with 24 starts. He had two interceptions.

Born on January 14, 1967 in Hartford, Connecticut was LB Terry Wooden. He joined the Chiefs in 1997 as a free agent after seven seasons with the Seahawks. Wooden played one season with the team. He appeared in 15 games during that ‘97 season with eight starts at inside linebacker. Wooden had 41 total tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble. He spent the 1998 season with the Raiders.

27 Responses to “Background On Romeo … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 14, 2010  - MenInRed says:

    Welcome to KC Romeo, now roll up your sleves there alot of work to be done here. Oh ya good luck and make us all proud as I know you will.

    Go Chiefs!

  • January 14, 2010  - The Morning Fix | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] Background On Romeo … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs-Bob [...]

  • January 14, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    The man has five Super Bowl rings. So yeah…I think he’s qualified. But, he’s got his work cut out for him here…that’s for sure.

    Been reading a lot of mock drafts, and who everybody says we should pick and all that. Fairly amusing. Between Pioli, Haley, Weis, Crennel, and the scouting department…I think those guys are a little more qualified to pick the talent than any of us are.

    We’re building a winner here, guys. It’s long overdue…but the time is finally here.

  • January 14, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    So far with this offseason, good choices, eventhough there are no guarantees, you got to give it to Clark and Scott for getting this done. Even if we do fail, you cant say they didnt try, well atleast so far. We have a long way to go with the draft and FA, but so far so good!!!

  • January 14, 2010  - SG says:

    “So far with this offseason, good choices…”

    So in this attitude of good choices, after reading Whitlock’s rant…”You’re tired of reading it, and I’m tired of writing it. Unfortunately, I’m paid to tell you what I really think.”

    Is there any way we can encourage the paper to help Mr. Whitlock be free of this painful obligation of being paid to tell everyone what he thinks and instead replace him with Mr. Gretz and get what he thinks? BobGretz, when he doesn’t go on a semi-Rin-rant, is a strong, credible voice. I no longer have the feeling that Mr. Whitlock has his credibility intact and his audience should communicate to that effect.

    Please give your comments and feeedback here.

  • January 14, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    Given the history of Weis and his huge ego, add in Crennel to add to the NE connection along with Pioli, Vrabel and Cassel, one has to wonder where Haley fits into the overall big picture?

    The question I ask is how likely are these guys to form a cohesive working unit, when you have the volatile Haley in the eye of the storm? Some egoes are going to have to be checked at the door for this train to stay on the tracks.

  • January 14, 2010  - SG says:

    BobGretz, one story I’d like to hear more on is the “State of the Front Office.” Is Pioli’s front office going through an overhaul similar to what Haley’s staff is? I personally would be very interested to know how the hiring season works for the Front Office as to when key people are hired…and…who the Don might be targeting for possible people to help him carry out Phase II of his cunning master plan.

  • January 14, 2010  - SG says:

    “The question I ask is how likely are these guys to form a cohesive working unit, when you have the volatile Haley in the eye of the storm?”

    Probably pretty likely. One thing we probably can all agree on…Haley is not a stupid man. He has agreed for two coaches who he RESPECTS to run his offense and defense…suggesting he’ll accept ADVICE from them and will possibly admit when he’s WRONG (behind closed doors). The key to being a successful boss is not to be the smartest guy in the world…but to have the smartest guy in the world working for you.

  • January 14, 2010  - gorillafan says:


    I dont think bob wants that gig. I dont live in the kc area, so I only have read a hand full of articles of his, and thats enough. I have never ever heard anyone respect him, or even like him as a writer. I guess he has power when everyone still reads his bogus columns. I for one dont pay any attention to that CHODE!!ha

    as for our coaches go, I think they will mix well. Weiss and Crennel KNOW that Haley is the boss and will respect him. I think Haley will do the same as well. They will have a rough times, we all will agree on that, but if these guys cant work together, one one else probably could either.

    I have faith though!!

  • January 14, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    SG says:
    “One thing we probably can all agree on…Haley is not a stupid man. He has agreed for two coaches who he RESPECTS to run his offense and defense…”

    On the flip side of that…let’s not forget that Weis and Crennel would not come here if they didn’t have that same respect for Haley.

    On Whitlock? Meh. The guys gets paid to stir up sh*t. And let’s face it…he’s good at it. He writes to get a reaction, and he does. There’s just no really good reason too take much of what he writes all that seriously. He’s not Chiefs fan, obviously.

  • January 14, 2010  - Rick says:

    Bob’s little snide remarks get old also. Patriots West…Three Musketeers…As I said I don’t care what the pundits call us as long as we win. Optimism fellas if you don’t have it get it.

  • January 14, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Mad Chief

    Are the scouts the only ones that watch college ball? If any one is doing a mock draft its because they are excited to see who their team is going to get to make an impact for years to come ala Derrick Thomas, some one huge you know.Or maybe they will pick some one who most every one view as a late first round early second round pick at number three overall and watch their team suffer through two hundred yard rush game after game. I guess what I’m trying to say is us Chief addicts if we post something we are looking for insight to see what will make the team better from your point of view too. At the very least just some talk to tide us over until April of this year.

  • January 14, 2010  - Jim Lloyd + says:

    The comment’s from Whitlock are free .
    To be taken at face value …

  • January 14, 2010  - Mark says:

    Rick, it’s clear Bob still harbors resentment to the Pioli regime. I understand it’s hard to warm up to the guys that fired you. But still, time to let it pass and report without the agenda and snide remarks, if he’s still going to cover the Chiefs.

  • January 14, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    Danny W says:

    “I guess what I’m trying to say is us Chief addicts if we post something we are looking for insight to see what will make the team better from your point of view too. At the very least just some talk to tide us over until April of this year.”

    That’s cool. I have no problem with the mock drafts, or those that get into them…because a lot of guys do. If I came across as trying to dampen anyone’s fun…then I apologize. That wasn’t my intent.

  • January 14, 2010  - SG says:

    “He’s not Chiefs fan, obviously.”

    And why should the fan base say it’s okay for the guy to draw a paycheck? He’s got to the point where he’s very seldom if ever credible. If the guy was one of the talking idiot’s for a radio station in St. Louis, Jefferson City, or Topeka talking about the Chiefs, that’d be one thing.

    BobGretz, in contrast, stirs stuff up in his blog, but people actually find him believable like he knows at least a fair portion of what he’s talking about – even if they don’t agree.

  • January 14, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Good mini-bio Bob on Romeo.

    I sense alot of tension & uneasiness in the rank & file Chiefs fan. Dipstick Whitlock is stirring the pot constantly causing bickering & debate among the Chiefs faithful.
    I don’t think we are going to see a dramatic change or conflict within the organization as some may fear. Scott & Todd have had lengthy discussions & debates for the past year on coaching & player personnel decisions. As we all know Haley joined the Chiefs late, due to his obvious obligations with the Cardinals. He was unable to put together a staff & literally scrambled to pick up what was left of the assistant coaches pile.
    The player & coaches evaluation started from day one & will continue to evolve as long as there is a breath in their bodies.
    With change comes sacrifice & doubt. We all have it & we all feel it. I am going to toss out my opinion for what it’s worth.
    Todd Haley is a good coach & the right fit for our Chiefs. Yes, he is bold & abrasive, seems edgy & elusive most of the time. But his pure passion for winning & succeeding will be his true measuring stick. I guarantee you he is not in this for the money or fame. He is in it for his own inner driven self. To be the very best at something. Pride, self worth all the tangibles that make a man tick. The man is driven and all the naysayers that have been dogging him over the years can take a flying leap. ie… golfing coach, never was a football player, does’nt know crap. blah blah blah.
    The Chiefs are clearly in good hands, mark my words, a few years from now when we are dancing in the streets screaming “We are the Champions of the World”. We will remember 2009 as the beginning career of a Brilliant coach who was never satisfied with “good enough”.
    A coach that brought Pride & Glory back to Chiefs Nation.
    Go Chiefs.

  • January 14, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    SG says:

    “And why should the fan base say it’s okay for the guy to draw a paycheck? He’s got to the point where he’s very seldom if ever credible.”

    But, he gets people talking. Mostly negative…but talking nonetheless. That’s what he does. And does well, like it or not. He doesn’t care whether he’s getting negative or positive attention, just as long as he’s getting attention.

    Completely agree on Bob, though.

  • January 14, 2010  - Dan says:

    So what happens to Clancy Pendergast now? Is he gone or does he step down and stay?

  • January 14, 2010  - SG says:

    “So what happens to Clancy Pendergast now?”

    I think he’s on the way out the door based on the “word on the street.” Would he be a good college coach somewhere (or would he take a demotion back to a regular assistant somewhere)?

  • January 14, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    Let’s assume all these new field managers, Haley-Weis-Crennel get along, work well together and meld into a united front that the players will buy into and perform at high, consistent level. That’s my hope and the hope of us all, fair to say?

    Acquiring the additional talent to make the 2010 Chiefs dangerous to the competition is the next hurdle for the managers to address. Let’s again hope there is unified agreement after considerable due diligence has been done on the evaluation of that talent.

    In short, we need these smart guys, with all their eyes on the same ball. If this happens, the Chiefs are back on the NFL radar screen for all to see, and fear. Asking too much? THAT is the big question. I’m hoping it’s not.

  • January 14, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I hope these new coaches are a hot item agian soon on the NFL head coach radar. Not in KC but in other places. I hope they bring that much improvement to the table others want we have. I think bar none these are the two biggest names to be added to an NFL staff and coaching staff yet Lane Kiffin is getting all the hype. No major affiliates want to even aknowledge these new moves. Were making steps here guys and Whitlock will write some trash one week and the next condensend himself completely. I have to admit I do read him though he is ENTERTAINING. I will agree Bob is much more up to the minute though.

  • January 14, 2010  - Stiv says:

    First off, Whitlock is an idiot and is the sole reason I don’t subscribe to the Star, and I’ve told them that a few times when they call asking for me to resubscribe. I simply won’t pay for that paper as long as Whitlock is employed there, period!

    Secondly, I do like Bob’s blog here, he’s a decent writer, but his obvious animus toward the new regime gets tiresome at times as does the fact that he’s a Steelers fan and not an actual Chiefs fan.

    I like the new coordinator hires, both are proven x’s and o’s guys who will help Haley with his enormous task of returning the Chiefs to glory after the nightmare years of Herm and Peterson.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a record of 8-8 for next season. Maybe we’ll even get lucky and do a tad better and sneak into the playoffs. I do believe the direction of the team is up and that the future looks bright.

  • January 14, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    8-8 are you serious? The defense still isn’t better, they haven’t gotten one new player yet, but the team is already stopping offenses?? That’s ludicras!! If the Chiefs get a couple players who can stop the run then maybe, because the secondary is the strong point on this team (thanks Herm), even if Brown comes back this year.

    The good thing though is that Crennel is coaching on in the East/West game which should give him some good insight on some potential future Chiefs in how they listen and prepare for games. maybe he can find a gem on one of these squads??

  • January 14, 2010  - arrowhead1978 says:

    by the way bob, keep the articles coming. Your analysis is truth based which I respect. People should be able to question authority and not just have to except the ideology that New England West will produce Super Bowls.

  • January 17, 2010  - Stiv says:

    January 14, 2010 – arrowhead1978 says:

    8-8 are you serious?

    Couple things, yes I’m serious, first we have have a slightly easier schedule, I’m assuming the new coordinators will help and I’m assuming Pioli will procure more talent. Hell, we should have had a better record this year. We certainly had a shot at beating Dallas and we did statistically beat Oakland the first time around. Plus had it not been for the two big returns in the kicking game vs the Browns we would have beat them too.

    No, there’s nothing “ludicrous” about thinking the Chiefs could post an 8-8 record next season.

  • January 17, 2010  - Bakjon says:

    Stiv I ‘ll go out on a farther limb and say 10-6. You’re right the schedule is easier than this year’s but I think if the Chiefs can catch some breaks they have a chance to challenge San Diego. It all depends on FA and the draft. Plus with evryone being able to have time to evaluate players as compared to this time last year helps out immensly. Plus the schemes for both offense and defense being developed before OTAs and not having to be changed during the final week of preseason should help the Chiefs.

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