Carl Peterson leaves with one year left on his contract, and, yes, that's a surprise -- and that is an understatement. I'd known Peterson was talking about leaving but never considered he was serious about doing something immediately. In fact, league sources say he and owner Clark Hunt had been kicking the subject around for awhile.
So why leave now? Why make the announcement with two games left in the season? I'm as confused as you, though I will say that while speculation will center on the decision being involuntary I wouldn't go there. Given the patience of the Hunt family I'd be surprised if Peterson was pushed after two decades on the job.
Speculation also will center on the decision having to do with Sunday's come-from-ahead loss, with the Chiefs blowing an 11-point lead in the last 2 minutes, but that would be wrong, too. As I said, he'd been considering the possibility for some time; he just decided now was the time to go.
"I just think he had enough," said an AFC executive who knows Peterson.
Maybe. The Chiefs lost 21 of their last 23 games, and that will take a toll on anyone. All I know is that, under Peterson, the Chiefs produced a raft of winning teams and one of the best game-day atmospheres outside of collegiate football.
The problem was that what losing there was came all too frequently lately, with this season marking the seventh time in the last 11 seasons the Chiefs failed to produce a winner.
So what next? Look for Kansas City to have executive vice president and chief operating officer Denny Thum take over in the interim for Peterson, with the club hiring someone from outside the club to fill the job permanently afterward. Also look for Kansas City to hire a general manager and not a president who acted as a general manager, which was Peterson's role. That almost surely will go with King Carl.
What this means for coach Herm Edwards I don't know, but it's not good when a coach -- especially a coach who is 6-24 the past two seasons -- operates under a GM who didn't hire him. If I'm Herm, I'm talking to the owner now to get my future sorted out.