Whilst reading the morning news from NJ Chiefs fan today, a couple of Pioli snippets caught my eye. Right there in print were direct quotes from Scott Pioli affirming what I have been screaming since about 1/2 way through last season. Something I feel very, very strong about as a Chiefs fan. The poison that creeps into the system of a losing organization. It affects everyone from coaches to players and yes, (especially) fans IMO.
Job No. 1 for Scott Pioli remains to change the losing culture that inevitably permeates an organization after it wins 10 games in three seasons, as the Chiefs have done.
He told a story about New England signing a free agent to compete with an established starter in one of his first seasons with the Patriots. The incumbent publicly complained about the lack of respect his employers were showing.
"It uncovered a reality of the culture there that was very unhealthy," Pioli said. "That was something we weren’t going to tolerate."
Those words are music to my ears. I first started to realize how deeply this losing culture has permeated our fan base when it became apparent that Cassel was really struggling last season. I noticed that when anyone pointed this out, the AP crowd became downright hostile. Now, it's one thing to still hold out hope and never waiver in your faith with a player. It's another to go off the deep end when someone simply states the obvious.
Oh and it wasn't just Cassel. It was anyone on our team that had ever done anything of note on our team. Take Bowe for example. He had a very impressive rookie season. He's done some impressive things along the way in his short NFL career thus far. But that doesn't make him immune to being looked and talked about realistically. He has faults. And their significant enough to merit serious consideration. Not just by us fans, but by the staff. Haley demoted Bowe to 3rd string for a reason. He didn't do it because he was bored.
The reality of any culture in the NFL where a team has not been to a SB in 40 years is bound to be damaged to some degree. As Pioli noted, it's not just football that these things apply to, it's life. No one can remain unbiased when you are emotionally invested in something, and spend a disproportionate amount of time with that thing. It doesn't matter if it's a woman that has been married to an alcoholic for any length of time. Doesn't matter if it's children who grew up in a violent household. Doesn't matter if it's a parent dealing with a wayward child. And it doesn't matter if it's your favorite NFL team. As long as you love the thing in question, you are going to be affected by it for better or for worse. And you are not going to be able to see things the way an outsider would. Because they don't have any emotional investment. So sometimes an outsider can actually provide us with a healthy perspective. Which is why I say, it was more than time to bring Pioli, an outsider, in to the fold.
I agree with Pioli. Losing organizations develop losing thought processes. Unhealthy ones. We can't expect Clark to magically know how to build a winning organization anymore than we should expect us fans to magically know how to think like fans of a winning dynasty.
Look, since we last won a single playoff game, two expansion teams have joined the NFL. They have both been to a Championship game. One of them going to the Superbowl. We haven't even been to a playoff game since. That's a problem. It is. It's not one that fans want to accept. It's not one that true fans want to look at or face up to. But it is a problem none the less.
Last year when the examples of Miami and Atlanta were brought up on AP as a beacon of hope for our team, it stirred up a lot of deep feelings amongst the AP faithful. Some of us looked to them and their impressive turn around as hope. But, immediately there was an onslaught of excuses as to why their SOOO different and we can't use them as examples. Immediately. The same was true of Cassel debates, Bowe debates and on and on. Hardly anyone said "hell yah, if they can do it so can we". That is the inevitable result of being a fan in a losing culture.
Another trend I noticed, was the IMMEDIATE willingness to settle for mediocrisy. If someone said Cassel or Bowe was not playing at a franchise starter's level, OH man, the attacks came full force. It's all part of the conditioning we have received here in KC. We are so desperate for any sign of life or hope that we are so ready, willing and able to just shove great expectations aside in lieu of "serviceable", "okay", "he'll do". What happened to demanding and expecting greatness from this once legendary organization? There's nothing wrong with that you know. Your allowed to want the best here in KC. From the coaching staff, to the players, we should demand the best.
We pay this teams salaries. That's us. We do that. You and I. Therefore, we should expect great things in return for our investment and for giving great support through thick and thin. We deserve that much. We really do. It shouldn't always be another team going to the Superbowl. It shouldn't. It's about time it was our time.
Look, Pioli's not going to be loyal to Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe or anybody else for that matter. NO one is safe here anymore. As it should be (for once). There is no "immunity" here in KC for players any longer. Pioli has made that clear. We would do well to get on board with him, as fans too. We need to learn from his words. Read them again carefully. It's a poison that "permeates" into a losing culture. We're a part of that losing culture guys.
I say we need a change of attitude. We need to start accepting the fact that Pioli will not settle for a player just "because". He won't keep ANY player because he likes that player. Like it or not the NFL is a cut-throat what have you done for me lately business. Players know this going in. So do we. That's the deal. Period. I don't care what any player did for another team. I don't care what they did in their rookie seasons. I don't care what they did last season. I agree with PIoli, what happened yesterday, is yesterdays news. You show up every single day and re-prove your worth. If you don't then good bye. No hard feelings. It's a business.
I liked jrcnc's post recently. It got me fired up. We should all be getting fired up. Don't hang your heart out there and get all stuck on some silly loyalty to any one player. Replace that instead with the team loyalty concept. NO one player is that important. I don't care that they are pushing Jamaal to continue working at being great, by bringing in Jones. I applaud it. I hope they give Bowe and Cassel and Vrabel and T-Jack the same ultimatum. If we don't want the very best at each position, we will probably get our wish. Now, I'm not saying we WILL end up with the best player at every position, but why not WANT to? Never settle for OKAY again. We have settled long enough.
Look, if Peyton Manning is the greatest QB for the Colts, then good for him. If Brett Favre is great for the Vikings then so be it. That does not mean they would be the best for this TEAM. If Bowe didn't work out here, and went on to be the greatest thing to happen to another team; then yay! Good for them and good for us. If some 7th round DE comes in and wipes up opponents for us, then good for us. It doesn't mean he would do any good for another team. So I dont' care who stays or who goes or who gets drafted. I simply want whoever will be the best for the Kansas City Chiefs team.
I believe in Pioli. I know I get exasperated at times and say some knee jerk reaction things, but I believe we are heading in the right direction. Not just as a team that has to learn to quit "thinking" with a losing mentality, but as fans who have to do the same thing. We have to learn to expect great things before they will happen. To me, it's like learning Spanish. My teacher always said to really LEARN spanish, I had to quit translating English to Spanish and start THINKING in Spanish. We have to learn not to think like a losing organization anymore and start THINKING in a winning culture mindset. For me, I want the best player we can get at each position. The guy who wants to be here. Who wants to throw it all out there for us fans each and every game.
I want the best team in the NFL here in KC. Because only the best team wins the Superbowl. At a minimum I hope I never hear another Chiefs fan say they're okay with okay. Hey, we will always be biased and have wrong opinions because admittedly, we LOVE our Chiefs right? So don't be surprised that we all need a little fine tuning in our thinking from time to time. After all "love is blind". GOOOOO CHIEFS!!!