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Tracking Third Seasons At The Helm

Posted Jul 7, 2011

Where will Todd Haley's third season rank among Chiefs head coaches?

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley begins his third year with the team in 2011, making him the eighth head coach in franchise history to head the club for a third consecutive season. While some Chiefs coaches have had their best year in their third season with the team, others have faltered so the question remains, what category will Todd Haley fall under?

Hank Stram (1965-1974)

Year 3 Record: 11-3

When Lamar Hunt founded the Dallas Texans in 1960, he hired Hank Stram to help guide his new creation into an on-field success.

In Stram’s first year, the Texans finished second in the AFL West with an 8-6 record. Not bad for his first year with the team by any means but in his third year Stram coached the Texans to first place in the division at 11-3.

Not only was the 1962 season a huge step in the right direction for the franchise, but it also provided a springboard just before the club re-located to Kansas City in 1963.

Paul Wiggin (1975-1977)

Year 3 Record: 1-6*

The second head coach in franchise history, Paul Wiggin took over in 1975 and struggled through two unsuccessful 5-9 seasons before a mid-season removal seven games into his third year. Tom Bettis stepped in as interim coach for the remainder of the 1977 season, signaling an end to the Wiggin era.

Marv Levy (1978-1982)

Year 3 Record: 8-8

Next up was Pro Football Hall of Famer Marv Levy. He improved the team from a 4-12 bottom feeder in 1978 to a respectable 8-8 in 1980.

John Mackovic (1983-1986)

Year 3 Record: 6-10

Levy passed the torch to John Mackovic in 1983 and the Chiefs only won 6 games, a division worst. Mackovic repeated himself with the same number of wins in his third season, but his best year came in his final season with the team.

Coming off a last place finish in 1985, Mackovic guided the 1986 Chiefs to the franchise’s first 10-win season since 1971. Kansas City would finish second in the division that year for the first time since 1973. Mackovic would depart after the season.

Frank Gansz (1987-1988)

Year 3 Record: N/A

The next two years (1987-88) marked the beginning of the Frank Gansz era, a time that wasn’t pleasant for Chiefs fans…

Gansz, who had been a position and special teams coach for a handful of NFL teams including Kansas City, never made it to his third season. His debut as a head coach saw an improved team fall back to the bottom of the division with eight combined wins during his two years at the helm.

Marty Schottenheimer (1989-1998)

Year 3 Record: 10-6

The second-longest tenured coach in Chiefs history began his reign in 1989 and brought the franchise back into the limelight. Marty Schottenheimer, a 2010 Chiefs Hall of Fame inductee, started off hot and helped the Chiefs double their previous season’s win total.

Schottenheimer continued to improve and notched 10 wins in his third year for another second place finish in the division. Schottenheimer would coach the team to three first place finishes in the AFC West and a team-high 13 wins in two of his final three years with the Chiefs.

Gunther Cunningham (1999-2000)

Year 3 Record: N/A

After Gunther Cunningham averaged eight wins per season in his two years with the franchise, the Chiefs switched to Dick Vermeil in 2001. Vermeil was coming off a Super Bowl victory with the St. Louis Rams just two years prior and the Chiefs hoped he could bring that winning aspect to their team as well.

Cunningham never received a third season and departed with 16-16 record as a head coach.

Dick Vermeil (2001-2005)

Year 3 Record: 13-3

Vermeil started out slow in his first two seasons with an average of seven wins per season, keeping the club at the bottom of the division for back-to-back years. In his third year, however, the Chiefs improved to 13-3 to win the division for the first time since 1997.

Vermeil coached Kansas City for two more years before retiring after the 2005 season, which opened the gates for Herm Edwards.

Herm Edwards (2006-2008)

Year 3 Record: 2-14

Edwards had an interesting three-year career with the Chiefs, as he followed Vermeil’s final season with a 9-7 Wild Card finish.  Unfortunately, those nine wins were the most Edwards would muster in a single season.

The Chiefs failed to win more than four games in either of Edwards’ final two seasons. ,Haley began his head coaching career after Edwards’ departure following the 2008 season.

Todd Haley (2009-present)

Year 3 Record: ???

When Haley was hired, he knew he had to make sweeping changes in order to get a once proud franchise back on track. After a rebuilding first season turned in a division-worst four wins, the Chiefs climbed back to the top in 2010 to win the division at 10-6 for their first playoff appearance since 2006. Haley orchestrated the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history.

While the Chiefs went on to lose their playoff contest to the Baltimore Ravens, a worst-to-first finish was exactly what the Chiefs needed heading into the future…which brings us to 2011.

Where will Haley’s third season rank in team history?

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