Losing gets old. In Kansas City, it's nearly archaic. The Chiefs franchise has certainly mastered that facet of playing football in the NFL. When you do anything frequently enough it becomes a habit. I would say that 40 plus years of losing (whether it be weekly contests or in an all important, few and far between playoff game) is more than frequent. In fact, it can be argued that losing has this team in a near death grip. A grip that is wringing the life out of it's fans at an ever increasing rate. What can be done to overcome it? At this point, I don't know if it can be overcome.
To overcome the legacy of losing that this franchise has created will take a much more tenacious (to put it mildly) effort than the one we currently are getting from Crennel and Dabol. Pioli may be that GM from the perspective of talent acquisition (although the jury might just say he's gotten rid of better talent than he's added), but he's so far falling short when it comes to creating the working environment necessary to build that winner. The man at the top of the leadership pyramid can't feed his ego at the expense of those who carry the water. Before long they start to poison that water. It's a prescription for disaster, and one that I think, unfortunately, has befallen the current Chiefs regime.
Treachery. It's what Pioli fears. He fears that that his subordinates will do as they see fit rather than what he tells them to do. If that were to happen, someone other than Pioli might get credit from Clark for any success, and if that happened, Clark just might start listening to someone other than 'the Don'. Right now, about the only success that he can point to during his tenure in KC is the AFC West title in 2010. Whose name comes to mind when you think of that? The way things are right now, Todd Haley's name comes up first, don't you think?
Yet when you think of the failure that is the 2012 Chiefs, RAC's name comes to mind, but by replacing Todd Haley with RAC, Pioli has given the impression that he believed Haley was the problem. Right now, that seems pretty hard to prove. Firing the only leader you can point to for success can only be done by very powerful swaying of your superior. If this team goes on to finish with another losing season, that firing will backfire. Pioli's name will go to the top of that list. All because Pioli wasn't willing to let Todd run the team as he saw fit.
Could this all be related to his time in New England? Was/is Pioli sporting a chip on his shoulder created by his authoritative inferiority to Hoody during his time with the Patriots? Could it be that Pioli made himself a promise that he'd never bow down to the arrogant wont of ANY Head Coach in his future? All interesting points to consider as we fans continue to wade hip deep through the swamp of our losing ways discontent.
I've been seeing stats pulled from the deepest, darkest holes imaginable to support the idea that "it's only the first four weeks" so not to lose faith. Those prognosticators would have you believe that the Chiefs have just been 'unlucky'. That what has befallen this team in the first four weeks concerning turnovers, while unexplainable, is getting ready to "turn the corner".
I've told you before that gamblers believe in and bet on trends, they do not bet on a trend coming to an end. That is like timing the stock market. Stock analysts will tell you that you cannot time the market. Gamblers will tell you to bet with a trend, not against it. So far this year, concerning the Chiefs anyway, they'd be right.
Teams don't have losing seasons and consistently lose the big games for forty years because they are unlucky. It happens because they are built that way. At some point, you have to very closely examine the ownership because they are the ones making the decisions about who is building that team. An owner that consistently makes poor hiring decisions and/or makes decisions about how to run the team for reasons other than winning football games (i.e. not paying market rates for players that can win you those games), create their own trends.
I had hoped that Clark was going to be different than Lamar in that regard. Lamar was loyal to a fault. It is beginning to look as though Clark could be following in those footsteps. Rumors heard on KC radio are that Pioli has been given an extension on his contract. I don't think it's being impolite at this point for the fans to ask what for.
In three seasons plus four games, Pioli has changed HCs twice (yes Herm counts), made so many reaches in draft picks that his arms are now a foot longer than they were when he started, refused to pay to keep some of the best players on our team (Gonzalez, Waters, Bowe--you could add in Carr here if you wish), gotten the team sued for firing a ton of long term, loyal front office employees in an effort to disguise his own leaking of information to the press, and won exactly SIX more games than the previous three seasons under Herm and Carl Peterson.
Herm and Carl had 15 wins in those three years and Pioli and Haley/Crennel have 21 (thanks in large part to Haley winning 10 in 2010, that is the most wins in a season since 2005 under Vermeil). In other words, I think it's fair to be asking just exactly what Mr. Pioli has done that is so much better that he deserves to have his contract extended? If it's good for players to have to play for that next big contract, why not the GM?
While we are talking about stats, how about this one. During the first four games in 2011 (you know, when the Chiefs had a monster at the helm) the defense allowed 31.5 points through four games. Pretty bad, I'll agree. The 2012 version through four games has allowed 34 points per game. I'd call that wretched. Don't worry though, I've heard through VERY dependable statisticians that this pathetically skewed existence is about to magically return to the norm--because it's time--yeah, ok. If you believe that, see me about some stock I have for sale in a company selling ice in Fairbanks.
The difference between this team and the one that existed in 2009 is what Pioli has done to it. He's added and removed players, added and removed Coaches. He's had nothing but time on his hands to decide what to do and how to go about it. Haley wasn't cutting the mustard? Fine. Get RAC in there. Develop those players. Change schemes, make deals, fire front office staff and have shit fits over finding a wrapper laying in a stairwell. Create controversy by leaking information to the press. All of those things belong to Pioli. As do the 30 losses the team has garnered in the last 49 attempts.
I could have sworn that I saw something somewhere, that said winning football games was what a team is supposed to do. In 3.25 seasons Under Pioli, this team is only six losses away from having as many losses as Dick Vermeil and Carl Peterson had in FIVE full seasons. At the current rate, how soon do you think Pioli will get there? Remember about those trends.
So here we are, approaching Armageddon once again. Many cling to the idea that our talent is so much better right now that the Chiefs simply can't be as bad as they are playing. To a certain extent that is true. The problem is that the changes that are needed to make that losing habit go away are not being considered. Instead, we grind forward to the eventual, same old familiar ending that we fans have seen year in and year out (with minimal exceptions) for over four decades. Ending the season out of the playoffs, having to watch our second favorite team play on.
Losing sucks. One thing that all Chiefs fans have in common is an intolerance for losing when it looks like nothing much is being done to change the dynamic. The reason that so many fans are fed up now is that we've heard this story before and we were all subjected to watching it happen over and over again. These fans are tired of watching inept football on Sundays. I hope Clark is aware of that. What's more, I hope that he's planning on doing something about it.
Armageddon? Chiefs fans have been subjected to their own form of football Armageddon so often that they've now come to expect the worst. Too bad that is self fulfilling prophecy. We're getting exactly what we expected.