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Thread: Herman Edwards:the Love Camp/herm's Legacy

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    Herman Edwards:the Love Camp/herm's Legacy

    An army of one
    Whether it’s the Chiefs or kids at his hometown football camp, Herm Edwards’ passion for building winners runs deep.
    JOE POSNANSKI
    The Kansas City Star



    Herman Edwards points to the street where he had shined the boots of soldiers on their way to Vietnam. He was 13 then, and he would shout out: “Shoe shine 35 cents! Spit shine for 50!” He is 52 now. Edwards still shouts out.

    “If you want to wear a do-rag on your head, you can go play in the parking lot!” Edwards yells at the 800 or so kids who sit and kneel in the grass. “Understand? Because I don’t care! This is a free camp! Free! And you are going to play by my rules!”

    Herm Edwards does not scrimp on exclamation points.

    The kids listen because Edwards is an NFL coach, and he is speaking truth. This is a free camp. It may be true that in 11 years of running the Herm Edwards Football Camp in his old hometown he does not remember ever throwing anybody out. He looks ready to do it, though.

    “If you fight, you’re gone!” Edwards yells. “If you use bad language, you’re gone! It’s very simple to me! You do right, or you’re gone! I don’t care!”

    Only the last exclamation points to a lie.

    •••

    The white house on Highland Street in the town of Seaside has a shiny red Kansas City Chiefs sticker on the mailbox. The green New York Jets sticker has almost been scraped away. Martha has worked hard scraping. Stickers can be stubborn.

    “Mom won’t live anywhere else,” Herman Edwards says.

    The story of Herman Edwards, the Kansas City Chiefs coach, begins here, on this small street in this small house in this small town that borders Monterey. Herm Edwards would pedal his Schwinn Sting-Ray to the end of Highland, turn west and gaze down the hill — it looked as if he could coast all the way into Monterey Bay. The view sold Herm’s father, Herman Edwards Sr., and he bought this house in 1961 with money he had saved over 20 years in the U.S. Army.

    The couple next door quickly started a neighborhood petition to keep the family out.

    “It wasn’t the ghetto here or anything like that,” Herm says. Now, he’s driving his Range Rover on Highland. “But it got rough. I’ll put it this way. I always knew where I lived. I always knew I was in Seaside. That wasn’t plush. I wasn’t in Monterey. I wasn’t in Carmel. I was in Seaside. I knew what that meant. I still know.”

    The car glides past Martin Luther King Junior High, which was called something else before the assassination — Edwards can’t remember what. In those days, he wore an afro so big he had trouble pulling a football helmet over it. Anyway, basketball was his sport. “I used to tell people I was 6-foot-4,” Edwards says. “And with that afro, I was.”

    Turn back to Highland. Martha’s home. She’s 81, but nobody ever believes it, least of all Martha. She shows off her prize collection of Herman Edwards posters, paintings, pictures, magazine covers and bobblehead dolls. “I’m so glad he’s back in Kansas City,” she says.

    “Mom,” Herm begins.

    “Well, I am,” she continues. “New York was no good at the end.”

    Herm grimaces. Martha’s right. The last season in New York was rough — even now it’s not exactly clear what went down.

    In four seasons, Edwards had coached more playoff games than any other Jets coach. But in 2005, quarterbacks went down faster than Gatorade, and the team lost seven straight, finished 4-12. When the season ended, rumors flapped — Herm wanted out or the Jets wanted him out or both or neither. For a couple of wild weeks, unnamed sources dueled in the papers, talk-radio lines lit red, disloyalty accusations charged the air. Herm Edwards’ house on Long Island was surrounded by reporters and television trucks. He says his wife, Lia, cried. The standoff ended with the Jets getting a fourth-round pick. The Chiefs got Herm Edwards to be head coach.

    “If the Jets had said they wanted me as their head coach, I would still be their head coach,” is what Herm Edwards wants to say about that.

    “I’m just so glad you are in Kansas City,” Martha says. “New York got so rough.”

    “It wasn’t that rough,” Herm says, and his face hardens.

    •••

    As the Range Rover breezes through the turns of the old neighborhood, spectacular views — moving postcards — flash through the window. Green mountains. Blue bay. Green mountain again. Edwards says he never noticed his hometown’s beauty. “When you grow up around it, you don’t think about it,” he says. “I come back now and think, ‘How could I not notice this?’ ”

    He had other things on his mind. Young Herm told everybody he would become famous. He would be on television. Most kids think like that, maybe. Edwards kept saying it even after he got into high school, long after other kids, for one reason or another, dropped pipe dreams. Herm Edwards was going places.

    “I was getting out of here, Coach, I knew that,” he says. When Edwards gets to know people a little, he calls them “Coach.”

    “You look around here now, and you think, ‘Wow, it’s beautiful.’ But it was jail to me then, Coach. I wasn’t going to live in this town all my life and talk about how I played football in high school. No way, Coach. No way.”

    He was in the first class of Seaside kids to be bused to Monterey High School. After football practice, the bus wouldn’t get him home until 7 p.m. But he was on the best football team around. Herm intercepted 48 passes in three years — almost two per game. It’s a record they still talk about. Edwards had wanted to be a wide receiver, but Monterey did not throw the ball. Herm figured intercepting passes was about the only way he could get his hands on the ball.

    “It was the craziest thing you ever saw, Coach,” Herm says. “I could see everything so clearly, it was like I was the one running the pass patterns. I just knew where the ball was going. I wasn’t guessing. I knew. Craziest thing you ever saw.”

    Actually, the craziest thing he ever did happened at Monterey Peninsula Junior College. The other team set up for the game-winning field goal. Edwards, without telling anyone, drifted back toward the goalpost so that if the kick came up short, he could return it. The kick was not short. It was true. So Herman Edwards did what came to mind. He stood in front of the goalpost, jumped up and blocked the ball just before it cleared the upright. They still talk about that.

    “It was all instinct,” Herm says. “I wasn’t trying to do that. It just worked out, Coach. Everything worked like magic. I lived on instinct then. I still do now.”

    •••

    The old barracks on Fort Ord are deserted; the wood has warped. This is now the campus of Cal State-Monterey Bay, where the sports teams are called Otters and the basketball arena is “The Kelp Bed.” With so many skeletons of Army buildings standing, though, it still looks like a military base. This was where Sgt. Herman Edwards Sr. finished his Army days after serving in two wars.

    Herman Sr. met Martha on The Coleman Kaserne, a military facility in Germany. This was just after World War II ended. Martha was German, and she worked as a telephone operator because her English was quite good. Like in the movies, she fell for the stranger across a crowded room. He fell for her, too. They petitioned the U.S. government for the right to marry. They were granted that right but were warned the wedding would not be legal in most states in the American South. He was black. She was white.

    “My father gave me discipline,” Herm Jr. says. “But my mother, Coach, my mother gave me passion!”

    He says “passion” with the exclamation point, the word coming out like a shouted whisper. And he switches topics. He points to the field where young soldiers used to drill and where now those 800-or-so children play football.

    “I want you to notice something,” he says. “When you look at the field, what do you see?” There is a lot to see. Three dozen volunteer coaches in red scream (none have whistles — at this camp, only Herm gets a whistle). A small child shot-puts a football high in the air, and six or seven players stand together and wait for it to fall, like seagulls on the beach begging for food. An older player tucks a football under his arm, and he fakes right, left, right, left again, and someone behind him yells, “I already tagged you.” A large young man with the body of a lineman but the heart of a quarterback throws a spiral. Later, when Herm Edwards asks for quarterbacks, he will stand up. “You’re a quarterback?” Herm will ask with a grin. “You Daunte Culpepper?”

    There are girls and boys here, tall and short, slim and chubby, white and black and all shades in between. This is the free football camp Herm Edwards envisioned when he said to his friends in Monterey: “I don’t want to raise more money. I want to touch the kids personally.” Herm hopes to bring a camp like this to Kansas City next year.

    “What do you see?” he asks.

    See? Happy kids playing football? “No!” he says. “You see a clean field! See that now? There’s no garbage on this field anywhere! No pieces of paper! No cups! No garbage anywhere!”

    He smiles. Herman Edwards Sr. always told his son: There is nothing more important than taking pride in what you do.

    •••

    People at the Monterey Boys and Girls Club love to talk about how small the place used to be. Opinions vary. Most say it was roughly the size of an old trailer. Ron Johnson, a former NFL wide receiver who runs the club, says it was smaller than that.

    “That man won’t tell you this,” Johnson says, as he points at his lifelong friend and former NFL teammate Herm Edwards. “But he built this place.”

    Herm does not have to say anything because his name is on the wall, right above the cafeteria where 600 meals are dished out to kids every day. Across a 5,000-square-foot play area, there’s the computer center, and research center, two basketball courts and also the science center, where there’s a tarantula that scares Edwards.

    “He looked at the old Boys and Girls Club and said, ‘Oh man, we’ve got to do better than this,’ ” Johnson says. “And he started a capital campaign. And the money was raised. That’s just how Herm is. That’s how he has been for as long as I’ve known him.”

    Herm shrugs. “When I first thought we needed a new Boys and Girls Club, nobody saw it,” he says. “It’s like they couldn’t picture it. It was too big, maybe. I don’t know. I always had this in mind. I could always see it.”

    He switches topics again, and like one song blending into another, he talks about the Chiefs. “The thing about the Chiefs is everybody needs to understand the job. The job of the offense is not to score points. The job of the defense is not to stop the other team from scoring points. You understand, Coach? That’s what people think it’s about. That’s the way this team was playing. But that’s not what the job is.” Behind him, there are the cracks and laughter of kids playing pool.

    “The job,” he says, “is to win. That’s all. Everybody’s heard me say that. You play to win the game (it is even the name of his book), but nobody knows what I mean by that. What I mean is, sometimes scoring 30 points is worse than scoring 20 points because you score too quickly, and your defense is on the field all day and can’t stop anybody in the fourth quarter. You understand me, Coach?

    “I mean sometimes our defense has to stop the other team deep in their territory so Dante Hall will be in position to get a punt return. I mean sometimes our offense needs to hold the ball for 6 minutes to give our defense a break. I mean it all has to work together. Everybody has to work to win. That’s the whole thing.”

    The kids then run at Herm in a swarm, and he signs his name on the backs of their T-shirts.

    “We have a chance to win, Coach,” Herm says. “I can see it.”



    The small white house on Highland was Herman Edwards Sr.’s pride, the only house he ever bought. He died in 1978, after Herm Jr.’s first season in the NFL. Edwards Sr. had been in a car crash, and Herm rushed to the hospital. He promised to take care of his mother and sister. He watched his father die. Herman Sr. was 60.

    “They said ‘natural causes,’ ” Herm says. “What are those?”

    He often tells stories about his father, both to the kids at the camp and to his players in the NFL. He has told the story about his father making him “sweep the corners” in the backyard so many times that many of his friends and former players can recount it word for word. He also tells of times the bugle would blow on Fort Ord. His father would stop the car, get out and salute the flag. He would make young Herm salute the flag, too.

    “But nobody’s around, Dad,” young Herm would say.

    “That’s when it’s most important,” Edwards Sr. replied.

    “His father instilled incredible loyalty in Herm,” says Lamonte Winston, the Chiefs’ longtime director of player development. Winston says Edwards got him into the NFL more than 15 years ago. They had met at an NFL tryout camp — Winston was coaching then. The two connected. Winston was hired by the Chiefs the next year based mostly on Edwards’ recommendation. It never takes Edwards long to evaluate someone.

    “He’s told me so many stories about his father,” Winston says. “I think he’s been trying to live up and be the kind of man his father wanted him to be. I don’t think that’s ever very far from his mind.”

    Yes, when Herman Edwards Sr. bought the small white house on Highland, the neighbors did start a petition. The petition was sent to the real estate agent, but Herman and Martha got the message. We don’t want you. They bought the house anyway. Martha still lives there 45 years later. She will not move. Everyone else who lived on the street is long gone.

    There’s another part of that story. A few years after the petition failed, those neighbors came over to see Martha Edwards. They apologized. They said: “We were scared. But now we see what kind of people you are.” And they pointed at Herm Jr. and his sister and they said, “We are so proud of the way you raised your children.”

    “Coach, people can change,” Herm Edwards says. “That’s what I live for. That’s why I come back home every year. You can help people change, Coach. You can make a difference in their lives. Football. Life. You can help people!”

    And with that last exclamation point, he blows his whistle and runs back on the field, which is not far from where he used to shine shoes and salute the flag and dream of being a star. He tells a young man to pick up a crumpled cup that the wind had blown out of the garbage can.


    http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...s/14996961.htm

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    “If the Jets had said they wanted me as their head coach, I would still be their head coach,” is what Herm Edwards wants to say about that.

    WHY DOESN'T HE MOVE ON!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill parcells
    “If the Jets had said they wanted me as their head coach, I would still be their head coach,” is what Herm Edwards wants to say about that.

    WHY DOESN'T HE MOVE ON!!
    He misses the green and white.

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    Quote Originally Posted by New York Mick
    He misses the green and white.
    No he misses the NY Media and God do they miss him!!

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    As much as I hate Herm for his behavior last 12 months, you have to pick your battles more carefully. He does try really hard with those kids. He's consistent.

    Wait until TC, at least Bill. It would look better on you as well.

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    I was never pro-Herm or anti-Herm.

    He has his good qualities and bad qualities.

    I still think he's better than what most fans give him credit for, but I do agree that it was time to move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCO
    As much as I hate Herm for his behavior last 12 months, you have to pick your battles more carefully. He does try really hard with those kids. He's consistent.

    Wait until TC, at least Bill. It would look better on you as well.
    Actually BP didn't knock him he just said;"the Love Camp/herm's Legacy" I give him Big Props for helping the kids as well!! Hmmm..But Cumar wears a Doo Rag under his Helmet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by savage69
    Actually BP didn't knock him he just said;"the Love Camp/herm's Legacy" I give him Big Props for helping the kids as well!! Hmmm..But Cumar wears a Doo Rag under his Helmet!
    Sorry, Savage, you need to get under a palm tree and get your mind right BP has developed an "editorial tone" that flavors all his posts regarding the HC of KC. He can't turn it off without an overt intro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCO
    As much as I hate Herm for his behavior last 12 months, you have to pick your battles more carefully. He does try really hard with those kids. He's consistent.

    Wait until TC, at least Bill. It would look better on you as well.

    kudos to herm for helping those kids..I didn't think I was picking on him..I just wish he would stop with the oh poor me crap about his last weeks with the jets and move on...herm is the one who keeps bringing that up

    and as long as he does that..I am gonna be on his a*s like crap paper..sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by WCO
    BP has developed an "editorial tone" that flavors all his posts
    Are you saying BP can Marinate better then Hermie!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by savage69
    Are you saying BP can Marinate better then Hermie!!
    I am the antiherm when it comes to public relations..

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    Herms secret weapon on defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by New York Mick
    Herms secret weapon on defense.
    wtf?

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    Quote Originally Posted by player1322
    wtf?
    It's Hermie's Blue BBQ! It's painted Red now and already is in Mid Season Grilling Form!!

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    “It wasn’t the ghetto here or anything like that,” Herm says. Now, he’s driving his Range Rover on Highland. “But it got rough. I’ll put it this way. I always knew where I lived. I always knew I was in Seaside. That wasn’t plush. I wasn’t in Monterey. I wasn’t in Carmel. I was in Seaside. I knew what that meant. I still know.”

    Tough growing up on the mean streets of Seaside, CA. How did he ever survive?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill parcells
    kudos to herm for helping those kids..I didn't think I was picking on him..I just wish he would stop with the oh poor me crap about his last weeks with the jets and move on...herm is the one who keeps bringing that up

    and as long as he does that..I am gonna be on his a*s like crap paper..sorry
    Dude, he's not our coach anymore. Why don't you let it go?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klecko73isGod
    Dude, he's not our coach anymore. Why don't you let it go?

    klecko..I like you..and I hear where you are coming from..but like I said before..it's july 9th..we are less than 3 weeks from training camp..would it be better to start threads about topics that have absolutely nothing to do with football until camp starts in 3 weeks???

    And it's an article..not an I think herm sucks thread...

    and as long as he keeps bringing up his time with the jets..and keeps twisting the truth..I am going to post it..sorry..

    once training camp starts I promise you ''klecko73isgod''..I will let it go..

    ok buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill parcells
    klecko..I like you..and I hear where you are coming from..but like I said before..it's july 9th..we are less than 3 weeks from training camp..would it be better to start threads about topics that have absolutely nothing to do with football until camp starts in 3 weeks???

    And it's an article..not an I think herm sucks thread...

    and as long as he keeps bringing up his time with the jets..and keeps twisting the truth..I am going to post it..sorry..

    once training camp starts I promise you ''klecko73isgod''..I will let it go..

    ok buddy
    I'm all for talking football, but I prefer talking about who's on our team, not who's no longer on out team.

    I mean, you don't see John Abraham threads on a daily basis like you see Herm threads here.

    Look, I personally liked Herm. Yes, he had many shortcomings but the article did bring up a very valid point: he coached in more playoff games than any coach in Jets history.

    Was he the best coach in our history? No. But was he the worst? ****ing far from it. Do I think we are gonna be better off in the long run with Mangini? Yes.

    I honestly do not get the hatred some people on this board have for Herm. It is illogical considering that overall, he had a much more positive impact on the Jets than a negative one.

    For some on this board the way they rip into the guy leads me to one obvious, and very upsetting conclusion as to why they dislike him so much.

    Be clear BP, I am not making any accusations here.

    But as a lifelong Jets fan. I do not see how people can hate the guy so much considering what he did accomplish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klecko73isGod
    I'm all for talking football, but I prefer talking about who's on our team, not who's no longer on out team.

    I mean, you don't see John Abraham threads on a daily basis like you see Herm threads here.

    Look, I personally liked Herm. Yes, he had many shortcomings but the article did bring up a very valid point: he coached in more playoff games than any coach in Jets history.

    Was he the best coach in our history? No. But was he the worst? ****ing far from it. Do I think we are gonna be better off in the long run with Mangini? Yes.

    I honestly do not get the hatred some people on this board have for Herm. It is illogical considering that overall, he had a much more positive impact on the Jets than a negative one.

    For some on this board the way they rip into the guy leads me to one obvious, and very upsetting conclusion as to why they dislike him so much.

    Be clear BP, I am not making any accusations here.

    But as a lifelong Jets fan. I do not see how people can hate the guy so much considering what he did accomplish.

    it's born out of frustration..frustration over many things..and let me begin to explain..

    1)having to hear continuosly from bradway and herm saying things that made it sound like they took over an expansion team..which is not true..
    example:2002 quote from bradway and herm:this is the first time in 33 years..since 1969 that the jets have won the division and a home playoff game..absolute horsecrap..how could they not know about 1998???
    that really pissed me off..

    And saying the problems with groh and parcells were that they were too negative..
    2)Acountability...Herm never took responsability for anything..nothing.but,he continuosly patted himself on the back for doing great things.even idiot kotite took some responsability and walked away or whatever he called it..
    3)pure incompotence..it was clear to me from what I continuosly saw week in and week out that the man is an idiot..example..the raven game..he got caught with his pants down with bollinger..ok..but..these plays stick out in my mind..1st and 10 running play..jets have a gain of 9 yards..holding penalty on baltimore..DUH ..HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!he turned to hermadinger and said you tell the ref what to do..it's a no brainer..you take the penalty..then late in the game..the jets complete a long pass to coles..another holding penalty on baltimore during the play..THE CLOCK IS STOPPED!!!!AND HERM IS SEEN YELLING LETS GO!!!LETS GO!!MOVE IT!!!with the clock stopped...unbelievable..that raven game was one of many games during his tenure in which he LOOKED INCOMPOTENT!!!
    And after seeing all of this he and bradway would pat themselves on the back and say that they did a great job!!!

    the press is to blame too..the only people that criticized herm was mike and the maddog..and they got the cold shoulder from the jets for doing that..
    the press knows you can not criticize an african american coach without being labeled a racist..

    these are the reasons..and they are all true..

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill parcells
    it's born out of frustration..frustration over many things..and let me begin to explain..

    1)having to hear continuosly from bradway and herm saying things that made it sound like they took over an expansion team..which is not true..
    example:2002 quote from bradway and herm:this is the first time in 33 years..since 1969 that the jets have won the division and a home playoff game..absolute horsecrap..how could they not know about 1998???
    that really pissed me off..

    And saying the problems with groh and parcells were that they were too negative..
    2)Acountability...Herm never took responsability for anything..nothing.but,he continuosly patted himself on the back for doing great things.even idiot kotite took some responsability and walked away or whatever he called it..
    3)pure incompotence..it was clear to me from what I continuosly saw week in and week out that the man is an idiot..example..the raven game..he got caught with his pants down with bollinger..ok..but..these plays stick out in my mind..1st and 10 running play..jets have a gain of 9 yards..holding penalty on baltimore..DUH ..HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!he turned to hermadinger and said you tell the ref what to do..it's a no brainer..you take the penalty..then late in the game..the jets complete a long pass to coles..another holding penalty on baltimore during the play..THE CLOCK IS STOPPED!!!!AND HERM IS SEEN YELLING LETS GO!!!LETS GO!!MOVE IT!!!with the clock stopped...unbelievable..that raven game was one of many games during his tenure in which he LOOKED INCOMPOTENT!!!
    And after seeing all of this he and bradway would pat themselves on the back and say that they did a great job!!!

    the press is to blame too..the only people that criticized herm was mike and the maddog..and they got the cold shoulder from the jets for doing that..
    the press knows you can not criticize an african american coach without being labeled a racist..

    these are the reasons..and they are all true..
    Get over it. You got your wish. He is no longer our coach.

    You act like he showed a Kotitian level of incompetance, completly untrue. Others act as though last season, the team quit on him the way they quit on Carroll in '94, also not true. Still others act like Herm has absolutely no grasp of what you need to do be succesful in the NFL like Lou Holtz did, again, not true. There are still more that act as though Herm is completely unable to accept blame for his mistakes like the booger picker Joe Walton, again, not entirely true. There are also some, on the other side of the fence, that seem to believe Herm got a raw deal from the Jets like Walt Michaels did, this is simply an utter falsehood.

    What last year did was to expose his biggest weakness as a head coach. The inability to adjust to an overwhelming injury situation. If things don't go to plan, Herm has a major dificulty adjusting. Not that many coaches would have been able to do much better than Herm considering the nightmare that was the '05 season, but a great coach would. Herm is a good coach, not a great one.

    So the Jets decided to forego the guarantee of being pretty good but not quite great for the promise of greatness.

    End result: The Jets gamble on a guy who has the potential to be something special and hopefully it will work out. Herm goes into what may be the perfect situation for him in KC. Taking over a veteran, playoff caliber team like he did when he came to New York, and trying to take them to next level. Will Herm learn from his mistakes and make it work? Carl Peterson and Chiefs fans certainly hope so.

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