The Chiefs asked for trouble when they signed Warren Gatland on a hokey-cokey, one-year in, one-year out contract and now they have it.
A decision the club thought was going to be the making of them, return the Chiefs to the Dave Rennie era of winning titles and defying the odds, has spectacularly blown up in their faces.
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The current losing streak and disastrous Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign are only the superficial damage.
The really destructive element will come next year when the egregious nature of Gatland's contract comes to haunt them, hovering over the club like the ghost of Jacob Marley warning about the dangers of succumbing to self-interest and selfishness.
The Chiefs didn't stuff up by signing Gatland. He has a rich pedigree, a proven track record as a coach who delivers and knows the game.
But they stuffed up by signing him on a deal that was disastrously weighted in favour of the coach and not the club.
The winner in Gatland's four-year deal was Gatland and only Gatland and while the professional world has a code of everyone taking whatever they can get, things fall apart if individuals don't have strong enough personal values to realise that there are times when they might be taking too much.
It must be hard for Gatland to preach a team first philosophy when he has so obviously put his own needs and desires ahead of those of the club.
He's asking each week for players to make sacrifices – something he himself was not willing to do by forfeiting his Lions contract and giving the Chiefs the four years service to which they have committed.
Perhaps, as the team searches for reasons to explain their lack of victories, they should consider the prospect that they are being hindered by a hard to detect disconnect between player and head coach.
Somewhere in the psyche of the team could be lurking the unconscious sense that their coach hasn't made a full commitment to the club and that is pervading through their decision-making and performance.
But of course Gatland couldn't hire himself on these insidious terms and the real blame for this unholy mess having been made lies at executive level.
The Chiefs, in their desperation to bring the prodigal son back to Hamilton, lost their heads.
They allowed Gatland to be the proverbial German tourist and put his beach towel on the Chiefs job this year so he could take off to the UK in 2021, coach the British and Irish Lions and then return to the Chiefs in 2022.
It was a brilliant deal for Gatland, but how the Chiefs couldn't see it was fraught with danger for the club, will presumably become a question that their board discuss in private while their chief executive refutes and denies in public, insisting it was always the right decision.
Now the Chiefs have hideous optics with which they must deal. Gatland has presided over a disastrous Super Rugby campaign – one of the worst in the club's history.
That's not of itself a tenure-ending drama. Even good coaches can suffer unexpectedly bad campaigns. But Gatland isn't going to be with the club next year to put things right.
He's not going to be back in the trench, hard hat on and throwing his soul into the club, showing he's learned, adapted and improved.
Redemption tales are often sport's greatest and most enduring, but there won't be one at the Chiefs next year as Gatland is going to be in South Africa, enjoying the game's greatest glamour gig – coaching the British and Irish Lions.
Clayton McMillan is going to be head coach of the Chiefs, sweeping up the mess, trying to piece together a team that has shattered in recent weeks.
And what should his reward be if he manages to glue things together, deliver the sort of campaign that Gatland was expected to preside over this year?
McMillan's reward will be to pack up and shift out to let Gatland bask in the interim coach's hard-earned glory and resume the reins of a functioning team.
And if McMillan delivers a horror show, he will pack up and shift out, with Gatland attempting to cast himself as the returning saviour.
The situation has a corrosive feel to it. Gatland wins either way, while the players have to adjust and adapt and wonder how it makes sense for the coaching post to not actually be subject to performance outcomes.
The irony is surely not lost on anyone that McMillan, in signing a one-year interim deal, has in fact agreed to what can only be described as a Clayton's contract and that the Chiefs have found a new way to plague themselves with self-inflicted scandal.