The following is a message paid for by the Chiefs
Fans Leaders for Excellence campaign.
I’m writing this because Mr. Hunt has asked me to document his continued commitment to turning the Chiefs into a champion. He’s a very private man and a doer rather than a talker, so he has delegated to me the honor of explaining how he’s running his GM search. I can report so far that he’s pleased at how well the Andy Reid hire has gone over with the fans, and, IMHO, I suspect he’ll be even more pleased with the bump in season ticket sales that result from it.
Mr. Hunt wants folks to know that he has long since given himself a ‘come to Jesus’ talk wherein he admitted how he had gotten it all so wrong 4 years ago. Naturally, he didn’t say anything to me at the time, but I’m pretty sure this talk happened in early October, after the 4th or 5th blowout loss to an inferior team. ‘Sure,’ he said to himself, ‘Scott Pioli was the hot GM candidate, and everyone – fans and pros alike – congratulated me for landing the big fish. Unfortunately, it appears in hindsight that I bought the binder rather than the contents.’ (Ed. note: Ted Sundquist, former Broncos GM, describes this error as focusing "on the results of the team they’re looking to raid and not on the candidate they’re raiding." http://www.thefootballeducator.com/new-coach-or-gm-leadership-over-playbooks-pedigree)
This time around, Mr. Hunt wants everyone to understand that he has taken a step back and given due consideration to defining for himself the kind of man he wants to hire. Must he be a consensus builder, a trader, a recruiter, or all of the above? "All of the above" sounded good to Clark, but he knew that to begin and end there meant never to set his priorities. Instead, he’s decided he wants a GM who a) is a proven and successful leader; b) knows how to identify and recruit talent; c) is willing to pay for value but does not overpay for it; d) can implement strategies and tactics that improve the likelihood of item c) occurring on a consistent basis; e) can work closely with the coaching staff to build a team around an identity or playing style; and f) isn't afraid to surround himself with top-notch people. And yes, his public statements don’t exactly mirror the above qualities, but trust me. This is what he wants.
Secondly, for the last several months Mr. Hunt has talked to as many experienced personnel people as possible. He hasn’t shared names or details, but I believe that these are men who aren’t currently employed by any teams and who have maintained their industry connections. They don't have an ax to grind or scores to pay. They have given Hunt some valuable background on how teams operate, who really holds the reins on the personnel staff, and where the leadership is. Again, even though Clark and I are quite close, he hasn’t really shared all of his thoughts with me. However, I do think he’s been talking to guys like Ernie Acorsi, the former Giants GM, and Marty Schottenheimer (I don’t have to introduce him, do I?), Mike Holmgren, and Dick Vermeil.
Finally, Mr. Hunt brushed up on his interview techniques. He sadly acknowledged to his inner circle that he thought he had already mastered this skill, but he also knew he had clearly missed something with the Pioli hire. Now, Hunt will ask questions that truly probe the candidate's character, his ability to communicate, to lead, to take risks, to spend energy on what’s important, etc.
Since I’ve remained cruelly and unjustly ill-informed by Mr. Hunt, I decided to do my own research about who might fit the bill for the Chiefs. I compiled a list of professionals who’ve caught my eye – men who’ve got deep and broad experience, have earned promotions, and have a good track record in the draft and/or in signing free agents. They also come from teams that, for the most part, have a history of maintaining the talent level in spite of consistently lower draft positions.
Here is that list: George Paton (min), Ted Sundquist (den), Kevin Colbert (pit), John Dorsey (Gb), Brian Gaine (mia), Ron Hughes (pit), Scott Studwell (min), Doug Whaley (pit), Eric DeCosta (bal), Marc Ross (nyg), Mike MacCagnan (hou), Brian Gutekunst (GB), Brandon Hunt (pit), Tom Telesco (Ind - survived the Polian purge), Jason Licht (ne, arz), Jimmy Raye (sd), Boby Grier (hou - drafted tom brady), and Dave Gettleman (nyg)
Of course, I have no idea whether any of these guys are looking to move on or whether Clark is interested in them; it’s pure speculation on my part. The public information is sparse, so I see no way to order the list by talent or quality. As usual, this
fan employee, is going to have to hope for the best on this hire.