The View From Under the Bus

GM Scott Pioli

Based on the last couple week of media saturation, Scott Pioli has come out in full on damage control mode. This is not a surprise other than the fact that his stated goal of not being the face of the franchise has been pretty much thrown to the wayside.

Pioli is performing a mea culpa with a degree of unease that is obviously unfamiliar to him. Each of the interviews that I've seen and heard, his body language and answers don't match the territory he's walking in. He is essentially throwing himself under the bus.

Every leader has to accept responsibility for their actions, so in that regard he is spot on. Where I have questions is why has it taken so long for him to admit he has made mistakes? Typically, you own up to them near or as near to the recognition of the mistake as humanly possible. Was he so focused on other issues that he didn't realize there were problems? I don't buy it. This whole thing about leadership is fully dependent on the leader holding himself accountable for his mistakes WHEN they happen.

Without beleaguering the obvious mistakes he's made, he should have had the presence of mind to identify them sooner rather than later. After all, he was recognized as an NFL Executive of the Year for his front office prowess with the Patriots. Problem solving is absolutely a part of the job, recognition is the hard part. This 11th hour admission is very nearly too little, too late.

I am worried that the Hunts will let this slide. If Clark refuses to adjust his organizational thinking regarding Pioli's status, this team is in big trouble. Admitting you made a mistake is simply being accountable. When it takes far too long and the organization suffers, the results can crush any hope of recovery in the short term.

This is the critical point at which the owner has to make the big decision. He has to balance the long term health of his franchise with the immediacy of impact on the current management team. The football operations side is not getting it done and that is plainly obvious. But for a short period of time in 2010, the failings have continued to build.

I cannot, in good conscience, try to put a positive spin on the future of this franchise in its current state. It just can't happen. What I can do is take a critical look at the events leading up to this point and what should be done to rectify an untenable situation.

The first critical event that I believe was the wrong move at the wrong time were trading for Matt Cassel after 15 and three quarter games of the first meaningful first string, starting experience since he was in high school. He did get New England to an 11-5 record but they missed the playoffs. He was an unproven commodity out of USC in the seventh round after riding the bench behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. His career totals at USC over four years were 20 completions on 33 attempts with no touchdowns and one pick. Not exactly a stellar career. Especially not one worth $63 million.

The second critical event was the "oh so late in the day" hiring of Todd Haley as head coach. Most of the proven possibilities for head coach had already received and/or accepted offers so I think Pioli actually waited too long and the only guy that was willing to take the job under the terms that Pioli set was Haley.

The last event I'll highlight was promoting Romeo Crennel to head coach. I've already called out his record as less than adequate. His level of responsibility as the head coach and defensive coordinator seem too much for him especially during games.

What do these three event s have in common? New England ties. This is the overwhelming modus operandi of Scott Pioli. Apparently if you haven't been part of the Parcells/Belichick coaching tree or have been former/current players of either one, then you are persona non grata.

Some may say I'm being too harsh. Others may say I'm getting personal. What I am saying is this is not what this city is used to when it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs. Not since the final years of the Jack Steadman era when he was the alpha and omega of the Chiefs; has this city seen the disarray this beloved franchise is in.

As a writer and a journalist, my job is to put a discerning eye on every subject I write about. When I analyze the issues I'm presented with, I try to put myself in the role of the decider. Let's take a look at trying to solve the Chiefs woes.

It starts in the front office and here's the first thing I think needs to be accomplished. The team president needs to be in charge of the ENTIRE team. Football operations included. He needs to then hire a general manager to run the operations side. Could that GM also be the head coach? If it's the right guy and one who can balance both responsibilities but that kind of decision needs to be made in concert with the owner and president.

The concepts of span of control and delegation of authority need to be employed. Choosing the right people for the job rather than the right relationship should be the operating method. Successful franchises start with the right people for the job and then the relationships build over time. Hiring your buddy might feel good but when it wrecks your business, who do you blame? Who will the fans blame?

It's not necessarily a bad thing to have a relationship with a subordinate but ensuring that individual can do the job you ask of them should be the most important part of that relationship. Pioli talks about the "Right 53" when it comes to players, how about the right management team to run the organization.

One has to go hand in hand with the other. There is no excuse or explaining away the current state of affairs. If the product isn't there, the fans won't be either.

There's no way Scott Pioli can stay on the bus can he?

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