By Tim Graham
Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson didn't approve of Chan Gailey's dismissal from the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks before the 2009 regular season.
"Of course, nobody asked me," Dawson said by phone Thursday from Kansas City.
But the topic came up while Dawson and I spoke about the Buffalo Bills' home opener Sunday against the Chiefs. Dawson, the AFL icon, is the Chiefs' radio analyst.
Dawson called it "a strange deal" when rookie head coach Todd Haley fired Gailey as offensive coordinator.
Gailey joined the Bills a year later. Facing the Chiefs clearly made Gailey edgier the past couple seasons. The Bills lost 13-10 in overtime two years ago and stomped the Chiefs 41-7 on opening day last year.
The grudge match, however, is over. The Chiefs fired Haley last season with three games to go.
Haley initially wanted Gailey to be his offensive coordinator. Gailey was a holdover from previous head coach Herm Edwards' staff.
But days before the regular season was to start, Haley took over the play-calling duties and cut Gailey adrift.
"That was a strange deal with Chan Gailey," Dawson said. "Todd threw the playbook away from what I understand and put his playbook in two weeks before the opening of the season."
Dawson said he was "very much surprised" at the decision.
"I don't know what Todd was thinking," Dawson said. "Todd was a different type of guy. He was a pleasant guy away from football, but he had his own ideas and ways of doing things."
Dawson said the move was unfair to Gailey and bad for Kansas City's offense.
"It's so disruptive to a team," Dawson said. "He's the offensive coordinator. You go through learning his plays and how he calls them, and two weeks before the season begins for real, there's no playbook?"
Kansas City went 4-12 that season. Haley hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, fresh from a lackluster stint at Notre Dame, and Kansas City won the AFC West at 10-6.
Haley now is the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator.