Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Chiefs fire coach Haley, Dolphins dismiss Sparano

Reuters, NEW YORK and MIAMI

The struggling Kansas City Chiefs have fired head coach Todd Haley and named defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel as interim coach, the NFL team said on Monday after their fifth loss in sixth games.

The decision came after a 37-10 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday all but eliminated the Chiefs (5-8) from making the AFC playoffs.

“This was a difficult decision, but one that we feel is best for the future of the Chiefs,” team chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement on the team’s Web site. “Though there have been bright spots at different points this season, we have not made meaningful progress and we felt that it was necessary to make a change.”

The injury-hit Chiefs, who won the AFC West title last year, lost safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki to torn knee ligaments in September.

After four consecutive wins in October to improve to 4-3 on the season, the Chiefs began a slide that worsened last month after quarterback Matt Cassel was lost with a broken right hand.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to establish the kind of consistency we need to continue to build a strong foundation for the future,” general manager Scott Pioli said.

The Chiefs, who went 19-27 during the 44-year-old Haley’s tenure with the club, will try to regroup in time for next week’s home game against the unbeaten Green Bay Packers.

Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins fired head coach Tony Sparano and named assistant coach Todd Bowles as his replacement on an interim basis, the team said on Monday.

Sparano led the Dolphins to an AFC East title in 2008, his first season in charge, but that proved to be his only winning season and Miami has been unable to return to the playoffs.

Miami are last in the AFC East with a 4-9 record with three games remaining in the regular season and Sparano’s position has been vulnerable after a 0-7 start to the 2011 NFL campaign.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told a news conference that a “thorough search” would begin to find the team’s next head coach and confirmed that Bowles would be interviewed for the post.

“When I purchased the team I said there was nothing more important to me at all than being a winning team and bringing back the glory to Miami that it had in the past,” Ross said. “There has been a lot of distraction, a lot of speculation over whether Tony will stay or go and I think, in the interests of the football team and the development of this team, that this is the time that we need to make a change.”

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