Say what you want about Todd Haley’s performance as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, there’s no denying that he more than held his own Thursday night as a guest analyst on ESPN’s “Audibles”.
Joining former NFL players Trent Dilfer, Keyshawn Johnson and Jerry Rice, Haley was cool, comfortable and, dare I say, funny during the show that is built around questions asked by the fans via Twitter and Facebook.
The only direct mention of his exit from Kansas City was during the opening of the show when Haley spoke about having “no ill will” and how he learned “a lot of things I’ll take with me as I go forward”.
A big reason why the former Chiefs head coach was so comfortable in his first shot at being an analyst could be due to the presence of Johnson. The former wide receiver played under Haley and the two traded friendly barbs throughout the show.
When a question was raised about the importance of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offering a vote of confidence to head coach Jason Garrett and if really meant anything, Haley jokingly said “I wish somebody would have given me a vote of confidence, real or not.”
Haley also offered real analysis, a rarity in these type of situations. The problem a lot of current player/coaches run into when they try to do these spots on ESPN is they are afraid to offend any players they may end up playing with or coaching the next season and give cliche answers that don’t offer any sort of actual insight. Even Eric Mangini, currently doing a great job for ESPN, took a little bit before hitting his stride.
When talking about Tim Tebow (who isn’t these days?), Haley was looked to by the other members of the panel as someone that recently had to try and prepare a team for the unorthodox offense. Instead of simply giving a canned response about “trying hard”, Haley talked about the job that head coach John Fox with the help of Tebow have done to get receivers to buy in to blocking for most of the game even though they might not get many balls thrown their way.
Haley also would make comparisons during his time with the Chiefs and said “we” before correcting himself to “they”, showing he isn’t quite used to being a former Kansas City coach.
All in all, Haley showed he would be a fantastic postseason addition for any of the networks.