- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - Todd Haley took a floundering Kansas City Chiefs franchise to an AFC West title. Tony Sparano led the Miami Dolphins to the top of the AFC East under even more dire circumstances.

Both became examples of the fleeting nature of NFL success on Monday.

The Chiefs fired Haley less than a year removed from their division title, after a 5-8 start marked by devastating injuries and discouraging blowouts, while the Dolphins parted with Sparano amid a miserable 4-9 start that included a frustrating loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.

“The results speak for themselves,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said at a hastily called news conference. “We’re looking to becoming a winning organization, and I thought this was the best time to make the change and let us go in a direction that will allow us to become that.”

The same lines were delivered in Kansas City, where friction between Haley and general manager Scott Pioli finally reached the boiling point. The Chiefs were penalized 11 times for 128 yards in a 37-10 loss to the Jets on Sunday, with Haley getting a 15-yarder for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Timing in these situations is always difficult. There never seems to be a right time,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said at a news conference. “We just felt the inconsistent play the team has experienced throughout the season, including yesterday, made today the right day to do it.”

With Jacksonville having fired Jack Del Rio on Nov. 29, three franchises are now looking for a coach. Former coaches Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher already have been connected to each of the openings, though decisions likely won’t be made until the end of the season.

Until then, Todd Bowles will coach the Dolphins on an interim basis after serving as assistant head coach and secondary coach, while defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will lead the Chiefs.

“Romeo is going to do things the way Romeo knows how,” Pioli said. “I know Romeo is very similar to Todd. Todd was very passionate about football, Todd was very passionate about this football team, these players, and he was very passionate about winning. Romeo has a lot of those very qualities.”

Sparano and Haley both presided over impressive turnarounds.

Sparano became the only NFL head coach to take a one-win team to the playoffs the following year, capping an 11-5 campaign in 2008 by reaching the franchise’s first playoff game since 2001.

That wound up being the high-water mark for Sparano, who went 7-9 each of the past two years. Miami lost its first seven games this season before an inspired rally that started with a victory over Kansas City, but two straight losses left Sparano with a 29-32 record as the Dolphins coach.

Shortly before he was fired, Sparano held his regular Monday news conference. When asked if he wanted to comment on reports he would be fired after the season, he said no.

“I want to coach against the Buffalo Bills this week. That’s my sole focus,” he said.

“Everybody recognizes there’s a great foundation here to build upon,” Ross said. “It’s not starting all over again. This isn’t the way the team was when (Bill) Parcells came and they had to rebuild the entire roster.”

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