Kansas City, MO – Following their second 2-14 finish in five seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have fired head coach Romeo Crennel.
Crennel took over for Todd Haley on an interim basis and coached the final three games of the 2011 campaign, with Kansas City winning two of those contests. He was then given the job full time following the season.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed in the way our season went," Crennel said in a statement. "At the end of the day, the NFL is a performance-based league, and we weren't able to win. I want to thank the Hunt family for the opportunity as well as our players, coaches and fans for their support during my time in Kansas City. As for my future, I'm planning to take some time to reflect on this season, evaluate everything, and make a decision based on what's right for myself and my family."
Coming off that 7-9 campaign, the Chiefs lost their first two games and then dropped eight in a row from Sept. 30-Nov. 25.
One day before the Chiefs snapped that slide with a 27-21 victory at the Carolina Panthers, linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before driving to the team's training facility at Arrowhead Stadium. Belcher spoke to both Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli and the two were among those who witnessed Belcher take his own life moments later.
Kansas City won an emotional game the following day, but then dropped its final four contests of the season.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Romeo, both personally and professionally," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement on Monday. "He is an accomplished coach, a man of great character and he helped guide our football team through some extremely challenging circumstances this season.
"However, I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction."
The Chiefs finished last in the league in scoring and passing offense with injuries and inconsistency causing Crennel to go back and forth at quarterback between Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.
Crennel was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2005-08 and compiled a record of 24-40, then joined Haley's staff as defensive coordinator for the 2010 campaign. The Chiefs went on to win the AFC West that season.
Before his first NFL head coaching experience in Cleveland, Crennel was a long-time assistant. He was part of two Super Bowl championships during a 12-year run from 1981-92 with the New York Giants and added another Super Bowl berth during a stint in New England from 1993-96.
After a three-year tenure as defensive line coach with the New York Jets from 1997-99 and a year in Cleveland as defensive coordinator, he went back to New England and was in charge of a defense from 2001-04 that helped the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles.
Crennel was also an assistant at the collegiate level from 1970-80.
Hunt added that "no final determination has been made at this point" on the future of Pioli.
Kansas City has just one winning season in the past six campaigns and will have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft.