1) This is my first fanpost, so please go easy on me :).
2) My viewpoint is that Scott Pioli should be retained for another term (3 year extension minimum). I know this is an unpopular view and that I am in the extreme minority. I went to the Colts game on Sunday and shared this same view with a few Chiefs season ticket holders. They almost bashed my face in, and I completely understand.
3) PLEASE read the entire post instead of just randomly making a "Pioli sucks! and/or You suck! and/or You're high man!
Let's begin the defense of................The Don
Narrative: Let's take a quick stroll down memory lane to the end of the 2008 season. Our QB of choice was Tyler Thigbone, who if nothing else offered a small amount of entertainment for the most brutal season of football (if you can call it that) that I have ever witnessed. And yes, I have watched every single game this year. The O-line was anchored by such talent as Damion Macintosh and Rudy "Doc" Niswanger (he was pre-med! he HAS to be a good center...right?? RIGHT?? He's smart enough to read any defensive front ever and GAG me with a spoon). Jarred Allen is gone to greener pastures (can't run the risk of another DUI, right Carl?) and Tamba is just not the same without him. Rocky Boiman is getting his chance to shine at ILB and failing miserably. Tank and Turk are proving to be interesting characters off the field, but are non-existent on the field. Page and Pollard are making big plays in the secondary but spend just as much time getting burned/whiffing on tackles as they are making bone crushing stops and interceptions against the Raiders (looking at you Page. Glad you could show up on Raider day, but lets try for some consistency). D. Bowe is a promising rookie, J Charles has some potential, and the rest of the offense is well.......offensive. The amount of talent on that team is a complete disgrace. It's obviously time for a signficant change from the top down. Below is a definition from About.com on what a General Manager in the NFL does:
"The General Manager will have ultimate authority over the players, coaches, scouts, trainers, and basically anyone who can conceivably have an impact on the product the team puts on the field. Despite having hiring/firing power over the Head Coach, most GMs are expected to treat the coach as a near equal. The GM will consult closely with the Head Coach when selecting players, and it is universally expected that the Head Coach will have substantial powers delegated to him including total control of his roster once the offseason acquisitions are made, and control over his staff."
I feel this is a pretty good definition. Particularly the part of giving the HC total control after offseason acquisitions have been made. Translation: GM brings in all of the working parts to include players and coaches, and then spends the rest of his career maintaining the football juggernaut he has built. Since he's gone, and it's been awhile since we beat up on everyone's favorite whipping boy (Carl P) lets condemn him a little further:
1) Roster acquistions:
See above narrative. after a 19 year reign of mediocrity, that is the end result. An absolute disgrace.
2) Head Coach:
TRADED (yes, gave up a draft pick) for Herm Edwards. With all due respect, Herm was a great motivator and evaluator of talent (particularly the secondary), but a HC he was not. His inept game/clock management was second only to our current beloved head coach (sorry Romeo, but it's true). Talk about being completely unimaginative in your HC search. Lets just trade away valuable assets for the a guy who had a minimum amount of success in NY. In Herm's defense, he should have maintained the status quot of mediocrity in KC with his football mindset, but absolutely could not with the abysmal roster he inherited.
3) Maintaining the "juggernaut":
Larry Johnson contract....fail; Jarred Allen departure...fail; Multiple DL draftpicks....fail, fail, fail.
In summary, Carl had a 19 year span where he consistently tried and failed which resulted in the worst Chiefs team to ever take the field of Arrowhead Stadium. I only harp on the previous regime, to remind fans how far from grace the Chiefs had fallen. And he had NINETEEN years. Uuugghhhh.
FAST FORWARD: "You are what your record says you are".
TRUTH: the Chiefs are once again on the cusp of a 2-14 season; the Chiefs have a miserable coaching staff; The Chiefs QB situation is pathetic.. Absolutely pathetic. Scott Pioli has swung and missed on the two most important positions in the history of professional sports, HC and QB, and that can not be refuted. This has without a shadow of a doubt resulted in the same record as that sinking ship of an organization under Carl et al. But does the record define this team such as the laudable Parcells would suggest? I think not. I think that the current roster/record is the oft quoted exception to the rule. Let's dig a little deeper than the bottom line of 2-14, shall we?
1) Player aquisition:
Take some time to compare and contrast the below tables. It is absolute night and day in respect to the talent on the 2008 squad vs the current squad. Are there holes at certain positions (ILB, depth at safety, QB, QB, QB)? Sure. But the overall improvement is staggering IMHO. Not only do we have talented starters at most positions, but we actually have solid depth at the bulk of those positions as well. Pioli has missed on the QB, but the rest of the team is def coming together.
QUARTERBACK: What a mess.
As are buddy over at Walter Football will say ad nausea, A new regime means a new QB. And in this situation, Pioli didn't have much of a choice anyways. I will honestly say that I hated Matt Cassel from the preseason of 2008. He looked miserable in those outings, but had a lot of success in replacing the injured Tom Brady mainly due to talented wide receivers and an offensive scheme tailored to make him succeed (see also: Charlie Weiss, 2010). But I also agreed with the decision to bring him to KC. Cassel and Vrabel for a 2nd round pick? Yes please. Lets take a moment to look at past KC 2nd round picks (pre-pioli).
2008 - B. Flowers. By far the best 2nd round pick in years (Thanks Herm).
2007 - Turk McBride
2006 - Bernard Pollard.
2005 - N/A
2004 - Kris Wilson
2003 - Kawika MItchell
2002 - Eddie Freeman
2001 - N/A
2000 - William Bartee
Other than B Flowers (again, thanks Herm) can you say that any of these previous 2nd round picks were better than Cassel and Vrabel? If you are the GM and taking over a talent depleted team such as the 2008 Chiefs, would you not jump at the chance to get some senior/pro bowl leadership at LB as well as a QB from an 11-5 team? I for one would be all on board.
2010 - Weiss gets Cassel to the Pro Bowl. Pioli must think he has at least an above average QB at this point.
2011 - Cassel is hurt and regresses at the same time. I can see the Oh Crap alarm sounding in Pioli's head. Time to go after a QB in 2012.
2012 - Peyton gives you the middle finger. Luck and RG3 command insane demand (and are well worth it). Hopefully Cassel can return to pro-bowl form with a new OC. Alas, the wheels come completely off and we find ourselves in a giant pool of suck. But did anybody predict this degree of suck at the beginning of the season? Peter King himself picked the Chiefs as a dark horse candidate for the super bowl. The Super Bowl!! Unfortunately, we were left with no other option than to embrace the "suck".
Let me be clear. I am not giving Pioli a pass on the QB catastrophe that now exists in KC. But I also don't believe that he blindly sat by and tied his entire ship to Cassel which has been postulated again and again. He could have done better, but I can understand (not condone) how he failed.
2) Head coach:
Todd Haley: A disciplinarian! He can get our Chiefs on track! Did you see that Anquan Boldin blah blah blah blah blah? In all actuality (Hat tip to Outkast: SpottieOttieDopaliscious), Todd was a solid choice at the time. A good football pedigree and coming off a remarkable showing in the superbowl against a vaunted Steelers defense where he ALMOST pulled off a dramatic upset. AP approval rating of Scott Pioli in April of 2009 is 89% approve with an additional 7% unsure. Todd is coming in with a less respectable approval rate of 69% with an additional 25% unsure following the infamous "22 guys off the street" comment. I personally have always been a fan of "the business man's hobo", and was sad to see him get the axe. He forever endeared himself to me with this unforgettable moment, which to me characterized everything that was and has ever been wrong with the Chiefs......
HALEY RIPS BRODIE CROYLE (via badmajama406)
Bottom line, I ( and the majority of the Chiefs fans at the time) can/did not fault Pioli for this hire. It was a good shot that failed.
HC part Deux:
Romeo takes command following the expected release of Todd "lucky beard" Haley. We all agree that Romeo can run an elite defense and we all salivate at the prospect of the number one ranked D in the league. AND.... he shut the previously undefeated Packers down quicker than an all you can eat BBQ extravaganza. Pioli approval rating in March 2012: a paultry 29% with an additional 27% not sure. However, I contest that this low approval rate is more related to the QB position at the time, and not the HC choice. Romeo approval pole for the same time period: 76% with an additional 18% unsure. Many people will fault Pioli with "sticking to the Patriot Way" and/or "sticking with the good ole boy system". But I have a hard time finding fault with this hire at the time. Again, a good shot that failed miserably.
3) Maintaining the Juggernaut: Many will point to the recent selection of Hali, Johnson, Charles, Flowers, and Colquitt as a point of failure for Pioli. But he was the one who recognized the talent of these players (BEFORE they were pro-bowlers) and signed them to a long term extension. If these guys were all on other teams at this point and going to the pro bowl, then I could concur. But they are still in-house (and at a reasonable price) thanks to Pioli.
But wait! He let B. Carr walk!! Herm's legacy is gone!
Make no mistake, B. Carr is an elite cornerback. And is getting paid like an elite cornerback as well. And what has that done for the Cowboys? They are sitting at 8-7 and fighting for their playoff lives against a dominant rookie QB. Another illustration on how a rookie QB can impact the game exponentially more than a $50 million CB. Just saying. And unfortunately, the 50 Mil CB did not make the pro bowl this year.
1) Pioli has made mistakes. But his overall performance as GM re: bringing in/keeping homegrown talent has been at a minimum above average. Pioli's approval rating was as high as 85% in June of THIS YEAR. With the bulk of Chief's nation now calling for his head, it is a clear demonstration of how fickle the mob can be. I sincerely hope Clark can look at the body of Pioli's work before he makes a decision.
2) Pioli has a lot of work to do. It's time to find a solid head coach and an elite QB. He is set up perfectly for that heading into the off season.
4) Winning cures everything. If the Chiefs come out and dominate in 2013 with a new HC and QB, there will be roughly one metric ass-ton of articles written on how Pioli is a genius, and Clark is a saint for keeping him on board through the tough times. That's life, and I'm willing to accept it.
5) GO CHIEFS!!