KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The last few weeks, there was a sign outside the Chiefs' locker room that read, "Eliminate Bad Football." It was taken down this week and a new sign went up Thursday.
This one reads, "Play Good Football."
"You noticed that one?" Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said blithely, when asked about the old sign. Then when told about the new placard, he replied, "OK! I'm all for that."
Crennel was behind both of them, of course. They are motivational tools not unlike those he's used at other stops during his coaching career — sometimes quotes or inspirational sayings, sometimes photographs or other depictions designed to stir emotion in his teams.
The problem was the first sign didn't work. It was posted after a season-opening loss to the Falcons, and the Chiefs still have won only once through their first six games.
Evidently, the message got lost in translation. Perhaps the Chiefs were hung up on seeing the words "bad" and "football" next to each other.
"Any time you see something, a sign or whatever it is, it causes a thought in your mind," Crennel said, "and the initial thought process was if you eliminate bad football — you get them to think about eliminating bad football — you would eliminate it.
"If it doesn't eliminate," he said, "you have to try something different. So let's put up, 'Let's play some good football,' so now that's in their mind. Hopefully that will carry over."
It certainly doesn't hurt to try.
The Chiefs have lost three straight since an overtime victory at New Orleans, blowout defeats to San Diego and Tampa Bay and a maddeningly narrow loss to Baltimore.
Now, they're heading into Sunday's game against Oakland having made a change at quarterback.
Matt Cassel has become one of the NFL's highest-paid backups after a lousy first five games, and former first-round draft pick Brady Quinn will be taking snaps for the second straight game.
"Right now, we're in a 10-game season," Quinn said. "We need to focus on one day at a time, one game at a time. This is a big one for us."
Hence, the swap of signage.
The signs that Crennel has been posting are hung on a wall just inside the doors leading to the Chiefs' practice fields. Players have little choice but to walk by them on their way to the locker room, or anytime they leave the locker room for somewhere else in the building.