Hire the right head coach; select a quarterback with a strong and accurate arm; make shrewd picks at the top of the draft; fill holes on the roster via free agency.
Those are the four pillars for building a successful NFL franchise. Make the right decisions, and the club can enjoy long-term stability that produces perennial playoff teams, if not Super Bowl champions. Whiff on those choices, and it will set a franchise back into perpetual rebuilding jobs.
Pioli, who is midway through his fourth season running the club, appears to have struck out on all counts.
Here's how the first four seasons of Carl Peterson's tenure as general manager of the Chiefs, 1989-92, stack up to the first four years of the Scott Pioli regime, 2009-12.
Overheard: Defense from The Mothership
Q: What's the stamp of a Gary Gibbs defense? How are we going to know that you're the coordinator?
GIBBS: "This isn't about any individual. This is about our defense trying to play better than we have the last couple weeks, and our players and coaches alike know that we've got a big challenge, but it's a big stage, so this isn't about somebody trying to put a stamp on anything. This is about our guys going out there and playing well and us trying to coach them well."
Marty Schottenheimer: No Desire To Coach, Offers Advice from USA Today
Marty Schottenheimer says he has no desire to coach again and that contrary to reports he was not in Kansas City on Friday.
But the most successful coach in Kansas City Chiefs history told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday that he has indeed been in constant contact with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and within the past few days lent encouragement to embattled coach Romeo Crennel.
What Went Wrong In Kansas City? from ESPN
Many league observers, including this one, expected to the Chiefs to win the AFC West. However, they have been an abject failure. Kansas City is 1-7 and has looked undeniably horrible as it prepares to face the heavily favored host Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
Instead of talking about a team that could be January-tough, we will be looking at a team talked about in the same breath as the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only team ever to go winless in a 16-game schedule.
Harsh? Perhaps not. Kansas City has been spectacularly bad.
The New 'Romeo Rule': Chiefs Will Bench Any Player Who Turns The Ball Over from Yahoo! Sports
This all sounds a bit ridiculous at the NFL level -- you'd expect it of a coach trying to turn a Division III or high school team around, and you'd expect professional football players to know better. Then again, the Chiefs are a disaster from a fundamentals perspective, and what does Crennel have to lose? He's one of the nicest guys in the game, and people would rip him even more if he acted as if this current course was acceptable.
"He has every right to feel that way as much as we've turned the ball over this year," running back Peyton HIllis said. "It's been ridiculous. He's always been a rational man, he's been good to us, so he's not doing this for no other purpose but to make us better."
AFC Not As Dominate In Recent Years from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Point differentials do not entirely reflect a team's performance; a one-point win counts as much as a blowout. Still, it might not be coincidence that five AFC teams have been outscored by more than 50 points compared to none in the NFC. Three of those teams - the Jaguars, Chiefs and Titans - have been outscored by more than 100 points.
What To Watch For from The Arizona Daily Star
Fantasy Gold: Pittsburgh Steelers D
It's not exactly rocket science here this week, but in case you haven't been paying attention - the Kansas City Chiefs have turned the ball over 29 times in eight games, and four of those turnovers have been returned for touchdowns.
NFL Insider: Charean Williams' Five Cents from The Fort Worth Star Telegram
The Kansas City Chiefs have had seven offensive and defensive coordinators in the past 3 1/2 seasons. Gary Gibbs is the latest, having replaced head coach Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator. That's an average of a new coordinator every nine games.
NFL: Sunday's Must-Watch Football Games And Biggest Matchups from The Toronto Sun
The Chiefs are by far the sloppiest team in the NFL, and have not held a lead for one second this season during actual play (their one win came at game's end, in overtime at New Orleans). The Steelers have won three in succession, and their defence is as good as anybody's right now. And the Steelers are at home. On Monday night. You do the math.
Haley's Diverse Game Plans Provide Offensive Boost from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Wilson's story goes like this: "If you are going to fix a refrigerator and you have a toolbox full of tools, just take the tools you need to fix the refrigerator. Don't take the tools you need to fix the television and the air conditioner, too."
Such an approach is why the Steelers' offense has been successful in Haley's first season: It has been multiple, versatile and, most important, not predictable.
For The Gambler In You, Week 10 from CBS Sports
When will the Chiefs take their first lead of the season?
1st half Week 10 2-1
2nd half Week 10 7-2
Week 11 5-7
Week 12 or after 11-2
Well, the Chiefs are playing the Steelers this week, so I'll go no on Monday. The next four games include meetings against the Bengals (next week) and the Panthers (Dec. 2). The odds say Cincinnati will allow the Chiefs a lead, but I'm gambling that Kansas City will have to wait until the Carolina game before it's ahead.
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Kingdom: Stan's BBQ