Talk of extra motivation for players and coaches throughout the year gets overblown, but for the second straight week the Kansas City Chiefs will be facing a coach that no doubt wants to stick it to them a little more than normal. Last week was former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, now the head coach with the Buffalo Bills. This Sunday it will be former Chiefs defensive coordinator and head coach Gunther Cunningham.
Cunningham, currently defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, spent 11 years coaching in Kansas City. After being forced out in Kansas City he made the move to Detroit and was part of a tampering case with the Chiefs that cost the Lions draft picks.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was quick to shoot down any thought of Cunningham using himself as any sort of bulletin board material when talking with reporters on Monday.
“Do you think that stuff means anything to Matt Stafford or Calvin Johnson or Ndamukong Suh? We have a 60-minute game to play on Sunday, and to put anything else on it would be foolish … All that stuff with Kansas City is water under the bridge.”
That sounds good coming from the head coach, but what else is he supposed to say? “Oh yea, the Chiefs screwed my man Gunter and the entire team!” Not quite. But that doesn’t mean the players aren’t willing to admit this one will mean a little extra.
“I am sure there will be some extra (motivation) for him this week,” Detroit DE Cliff Avril said. “He’ll be real intense and definitely want to get after them.”
Besides the obvious connection, Lions defensive lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch says that Cunningham’s time in Kansas City will come up because the fiery coordinator uses bulletin board material a lot.
“He gets here early before anyone else and the first thing he does is pull up the newspapers. He tries to find any motivation he can.”
After the spanking the Chiefs took from Gailey and the Bills, maybe Kansas City should find some of their own bulletin board material to use. No matter if it is being written off by every national journalist or fans dreaming about an 0-16 season and Andrew Luck, it can’t hurt at this point.
Anything to try and recapture that “Chiefs Will” that was so evident last season, but completely absent in the season opener.