The Steelers might have the hardware, but the biggest winner in the NFL playoffs is unquestionably Todd Haley, the former offensive coordinator of the Cardinals. Heading into the playoffs few people knew his name, and he wasn’t mentioned with any regularity surrounding coaching vacancies. He put together a phenomenal playoff run, though, and all of a sudden he is the head coach with the Chiefs. Not only did he get the job, but they clearly held it open for him, because it all came about quite quickly. It’s not just that he landed a job, either – he landed a pretty good one. The team doesn’t have a whole lot to work with right now, but they are at least $45 million under the salary cap for next year, and they have the third pick in the draft, so lots can be done. On top of that, his new boss is Scott Pioli , the architect of New England’s success. The Chiefs were far from good last year, but they played with more pride than some bad teams, and there were a few good reasons to believe that the future was bright before this move and thePioli hiring. Now this has to be a team to be bullish about on the longer term. Haley takes over a team with promise, he has new facilities on the way, and that all means a bright future.
Speaking of the Cardinals, it seems now that the chances of Anquan Boldin returning to the team are very small. Boldin has been making some very strong comments about his status this week, and the team hasn’t been particularly supportive of his position. There are two interesting things about this to me – he obviously wasn’t the happy camper he was pretending to be during theleadup to the Super Bowl, and it probably had little or no actual impact on the team. It’s a good reminder of why we shouldn’t overreact to news like his when we are preparing to handicap games. If you had overreacted then that might have been enough to talk you out of a bet on the Cardinals, and that obviously wouldn’t have been a good thing.
While we are on Arizona, we might as well finish out the week staying there. I will be watching closely to see who they bring in as the new offensive coordinator, because it will be a big clue to the future of Kurt Warner. He obviously worked well with Haley, and I cant imagine him wanting to learn a new system, or working with a guy who won’t let him be the gunslinger that he is.The Cards’ choice will tell us how badly they want to keep Warner around. If the Chiefs don’t end up trading for Matt Cassel as speculation and logic suggests that they will, then maybe Warner goes there to help out Haley and finish out his career. He wouldn’t be the first star QB to end his days in Arrowhead.