So far we've taken a look at how Scott Pioli has changed the culture of this team by hiring Todd Haley, his use of picking up free agents, and how he's used trades to move this team along. The natural progression of this series would have a write-up about how he's used draft picks to build this team. But to be completely honest, talking more about the 2009 draft, or any particular draft pick that has already been dissected six-billion times doesn't sound like something that I'd want to write, or that most people would want to read right now.
We're going to talk about the change in culture and pysche of being a Kansas City Chiefs fan over the last 2+ years. AP user Chiefsfan85 had a great write-up in the different kinds of fans that are out there. It puts people in five different groups of fans from hardcore to bandwagon. Most people reading this are probably very close to hardcore, or semi-hardcore because you're reading Arrowhead Pride, during a lockout, in June.
Although I don't personally live in Kansas City right now, I would venture to guess that there will be a sizeable difference in the amount of red being worn around Kansas City next fall. Before we (hardcore fans) start throwing out the "B" word, no not that one, it rhymes with Hamshmagon, let's take a closer look at who these people might be that find themselves right next to us on game day.
Not everyone follows the Chiefs as much as AP'ers, obviously. But while you're sitting in Arrowhead surrounded by 80k screaming fans, it doesn't mean that every single one of them are hardcore fans, or even have to be. It doesn't make their screaming "Chiefs" during the National Anthem any less-awesome, and yes it's freaking AWESOME. I'm yelling it in the bar in San Diego that I watch the games. It's part of the tradition of Arrowhead and is as lucid in my mind from the memories of going to Arrowhead every Sunday with my dad growing up as was watching the Nigerian Nightmare.
I won't go as far to say that it's a better feeling for fans who have been there through the down times, for me it was the pre-Pioli days, for a lot of more seasoned fans out there I'm sure there were dark days in Chiefs history that I wasn't around for. But there is a special appreciation shared by those who critiqued and discussed every move the Chiefs made from originally hiring Scott Pioli, I even wrote a really popular post on Trip MacCracken back in December :), to trading Alex Magee and turning that pick into Ricky Stanzi.
With all of the excitement built around Scott Pioli's hire we all seemed to watch a little more intently in the things that he was doing because you either thought he had a lot of pull in New England and made great decisions, or you thought Bill Belichick made all the decisions and Pioli had no real influence over there. Either way you were watching and discussing.
It was just the other day that I was talking with my wife and we were discussing things about moving back to the KC area at some point and some of the benefits. I knew in the back of my mind one of the things I was going to be really excited about but without any provoking I heard this, "I know you're probably going to freak out, but I think we should get season tickets to the Chiefs whenever we move back". I'm sure many of you could understand how completely awesome this was to hear. She isn't a hardcore fan, she isn't a bandwagon jumper, she loved our trip to Arrowhead last year to see the game against the Titans. We froze our tails off that day and now she wants to get season tickets after that. She had liked the Chiefs, as if she even had a choice :), but winning provoked an excitement out of me that projected onto her.
It's not as if casual fans don't get excited on game day, but positivity is contagious and it's catching on in Kansas City right now. Most fans, not AP'ers, don't like talking about a team when they're down or struggling, at least not to the point of going out to the game or wearing red around town. It could be wives, transplants (mostly here in SD), or just the casual fan that gets labeled bandwagoner because they aren't excited to wear red on Monday after a thrashing by the Chargers. They are still fans and their fandom makes Arrowhead a better experience.
Scott Pioli has brought a winning team to Kansas City with all of the decisions he has made. He has had a lot of help and it all started with Clark Hunt going out there and getting him. Scott Pioli's effect on this team can be seen in every city that each of you live, when all of the sudden you notice more Chiefs shirts being worn around town. It's something that I notice in San Diego and it's a pretty cool thing to see. He has built, and continues to build a contender in Kansas City and Chiefs fans all over the country are noticing, and getting excited.
This is the last post in this series on Scott Pioli, but starting next Monday there will be a four-part "Choose your own adventure" series in which you get to play general manager, coach, and quarterback. You get to see where your decisions take the organization.
Do you have any stories of Chiefs fans you know about that have made a change since the hiring of Scott Pioli, maybe a friend or family member?