Pioli was hired to be the resident genius three years ago, the man who helped New England become a dynasty right alongside Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Right now, it's hard to believe the hype. This offseason he made little attempt to improve a roster that had some glaring flaws, and his biggest acquisition in free agency was wide receiver Steve Breaston. Standing pat after a strong season works well when you're as loaded as Green Bay or Pittsburgh. It's a pretty big gamble when you're a team that feasted on a weak schedule in 2010 and then wilted in a blowout playoff loss to Baltimore.
Even the luster of Kansas City's division championship seems tainted now, more fluke than feel-good story. When you look at the end of last season, you see a team that was outscored 61-17 in its final two games. That should have been a major red flag, an omen that this team faced a much longer climb to reach the NFL's upper echelon. Now it is simply a squad that has to question everything about its organization, starting with the invisible man at the top of the power structure.