"It was not something that came overnight. It's not losing six out of seven games, but we lost something somewhere and we felt as a management group, we felt something was missing."
"What was missing?"
"I can only say there was something missing and it wasn't only one thing."
"You've had patience, and this move comes as close to panic as any," said Bruce Rice, the KCMO broadcaster who also is the Chiefs' color commentator on radio. "When Wiggin was hired, you said he was three drafts away from being a contender and now you've only given him two drafts."
"I don't think we're any drafts away from respectable football," Hunt said. "Frankly, the team wasn't on a respectable course."
"Did you waver in your rebuilding philosophy?"
"It was the philosophy of the Kansas City Chiefs, and I'm still not wavering from that. I'm not happy this decision had to be made. I couldn't say enough nice things about Paul Wiggin...[but] I think we've got to improve our talent. In two more drafts I think we'll have the talent. Somewhere we were missing that leadership factor. I think Tom Bettis will give us that factor."
Then Steadman spoke. "It was a decision we as a management group made together. I...you...can sit and analyze every aspect of our head coach's leadership and after a while you analyze yourself out of answers. It was obvious we weren't playing with the desire and intensity needed in the NFL. Somewhere along the way something happened. We can't answer what happened, but it's fairly evident we weren't making progress these last five weeks."
The firing created a sad scene in the Wiggin household that night. Carolynn broke the news to the Wiggins' daughters—Kymberly, 16, Kristyn, 14 and Kellie, 10—when she picked them up at school. "When I got home," Paul says, "it was very emotional, because everyone just broke down. I tried not to, and at that point I didn't. I tried to explain that you take the philosophic approach that everything happens for the best. But they just didn't understand because all the feedback my children got was that 'My daddy is doing a good job.' This was from their friends, which is really a pretty good barometer, because while adults generally tend to be diplomatic, children are honest.
"It was interesting. In the 300-plus letters I got from people, most of whom I didn't know, a lot of them said, 'Your children will encounter some cruelty.' Not once did any member of my family come across any form of cruelty. The only one who had any problem at all was my youngest girl, and that was self-inflicted. When she went to school the next day, she stood outside and wouldn't go into the room. The teacher went out and brought her in—and the other kids all kind of rallied around her. They made her a hero."