After reading Kent Babb’s article in the KC Star, I charged to the airwaves of our Out of Bounds Podcast. But unfortunately the recording became corrupted. So did the Chiefs have a hand in it? Heck no. It’s something that was out of my control and what’s done is done.
And the same can be said about the article written by Babb.
Since it came out Sunday, I’ve been asked to offer my take on radio airwaves around the Midwest. On first glance, it’s clear Babb has an axe of some kind to grind with the Chiefs. He’s a great writer. But in this instance, the article simply doesn’t portray enough solid fact to merit the national attention its been receiving.
And though that my indeed be the case, that matters very little to the men in charge of the Chiefs, Chairman Clark Hunt, President Mark Donovan and General Manager Scott Pioli. All three, to some degree, were attacked by the words within the slam piece we read over the weekend.
Over the last three years there have been numerous changes within the organization. When Carl Peterson departed and Scott Pioli arrived, there wasn’t a man or women within the Chiefs organization that didn’t know that their jobs were in jeopardy. So what did they do? They panicked.
In the NFL, or any other industry for that matter, whenever there is change at the top, turnover is inevitable. For those that were let go, some I personally know very well, it’s never easy being fired or laid off. And I feel bad for them.
But in a down economy, things like long tenured loyalty, good working conditions and job security, are replaced with the bottom line.
The Chiefs are a business. And Hunt, Donovan and Pioli have the right to run that organization any way they see fit. Now in defense of the Babb piece, some of the items he mentioned like the bugged phones and the paranoia that set the tone for the article, may very well be true.
But if that’s indeed the case, then NFL Security and the FBI would be all over the accusations pointed out by the teams former Head Coach, Todd Haley. Time will tell if Haley’s comments have any merit to them whatsoever.
However, that’s not really the point.
The legality issues will be resolved in a court of law. Because when employees are fired, for whatever the reason, lawsuits mount for those that feel they were unjustly let go that had nothing to do with their performance on the job.
But all may not be what it seems. I suspect that the Chiefs had just cause in some cases. In others, the new administration wanted their own network of people within the organization. Again, there isn’t anything wrong with that.
But because so many of the workforce were replaced, the Chiefs are in a fire storm that won’t fizzle out any time soon. This nightmare of this story won’t go away - even after the team hires a new offensive coordinator. It’s going to take much more than that to wash away the stench left behind by this unflattering portrayal of the Chiefs.
However, if the organization is wise, they can make it go away with some simple maneuvers - the first of which is not uttering a single word to the media in response to Babb’s piece.
The Chiefs should completely ignore it. Instead they must focus on putting the best team together in 2012 and set their primary goal to winning the Super Bowl. Forget the issues of the unhappy former employees, let the lawyers deal with that mess.
Thus the men in charge, need to get down to business and re-build the organization within the model set forth by Lamar Hunt.
For Clark Hunt, he simply needs to commit to spend the dollars in free agency to add depth to his football team - which I believe he will. For Mark Donovan, he needs to assure advertisers and season ticket holders that the Chiefs are still the best show in town.
But the hardest job falls on Pioli.
He needs to be bold in the offseason and on draft day. He can’t be afraid to pull the trigger by overpaying for some key offensive lineman come March when free agency begins. Nor should he be unwilling to trade up in the draft to get one of the top quarterbacks like Baylor's RG3. If that fails, he should make a run for Peyton Manning. And if he fails to land either, so be it. At least he tried.
Lastly, he needs to lay down the Iron Curtain that surrounds him and let the fans in on his plans. He needs to take the same course that John Elway has taken with the Broncos who openly speaks to the media about what he intends to do to build a winner in the Mile High City. Thus Pioli, like his predecessor Mr. Peterson, needs to become the ‘Voice’ of the Chiefs.
Pioli is on the hot seat and he knows it. There is little doubt that after promoting Romeo Crennel to head coach, that he won this round. And how many more rounds he gets as General Manager will depend on what he does over the next four months. He needs to do everything within his power to insure that Crennel has every tool necessary to win it all in 2012.
If he doesn’t learn from his past mistakes, then the Babb piece gets more credence. If Pioli is passive, as he’s been in some cases over the last three years going outside the organization to lock down talent, then a year from now we’re talking about another shake up in Kansas City.
And should that happen, then the article that has caused so much stir, angst, anger and resentment, will bring to light the beginning of the end of the post Peterson era.
That would mean the organization would have to start the process again under new leadership. Which would include more layoffs, further job instability and ultimately force Chiefs fans, who are already a bit sour on the franchise, to put their hands up and consider never coming back to Arrowhead.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will being bold and winning erase the perception within the Chiefs organization?
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