Patriots V.P. Scott Pioli Stephan Savoia/Getty
With the resignation of Kansas City Chiefs CEO/President/GM Carl Peterson on Monday, the day after one of the most humiliating losses Chiefs history, this team is moving forward. At the helm of the ship is Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt, who has exercised his right for change and now has the task of hiring a new general manager.
There wasn’t any question among the insiders I’ve spoken with over the last several months that no matter the Chiefs’ record at the end of 2008, this would be the end of the Carl Peterson era in Kansas City.
As we first hinted on Sunday night, after KC’s disturbing loss to the San Diego Chargers, impact changes were on the horizon in the front office and possibly the coaching staff. Now we know one of those changes is Peterson’s departure.
The decision was ultimately made by Hunt, who wanted to begin the search for a new GM as soon as possible. In my opinion, the only reason Hunt pushed Peterson to make the decision on Monday is the fact he has someone specific in mind to take over the Chiefs.
“I plan to look at a very wide variety of people in terms of experience, certainly some of them will have had general manager experience or may in fact currently be in a position that’s like a GM,” said Hunt. “I also expect some of them will have roles where they’ve been the head of college scouting or head of pro personnel.”
Hunt added the fact that the Chiefs will look outside the organization to fill Peterson’s GM vacancy. That means that V.P. of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich, thought by some to be Peterson’s successor, isn’t in line for a promotion.
Hunt has specific talents in mind for his new general manager.
“I want somebody who’s a shrewd evaluator of football talent, that’ll be the primary thing that I’m looking for,” he said. “I would also like them to have some experience with a winning franchise, preferably in a role where they had some impact on the team’s selection of talent. I want somebody who’s a strong leader and an effective communicator, with high integrity and high moral standards.”
To me, that ignites immediate speculation that New England Patriots V.P. of Player Personnel Scott Pioli could fit the bill in Kansas City. For years he’s been the man who has uncovered all the gems on the Patriots. His recommendations have led to a trifecta of Super Bowl Rings and Pioli is generally regarded as the next great NFL GM.
However, prying him away from the Patriots won’t be easy. But there is little doubt concerning his skills, and he meets every criteria Hunt is looking for. The other factor will be money, and Pioli will want to cash in on his success at New England. He’s turned down several offers already.
A year ago Pioli turned away overtures from the Atlanta Falcons, who ultimately hired Pioli’s Director of College Scouting, Thomas Dimitroff. The job Dimitroff has done in Atlanta in one season pushes him high into consideration for GM of the year.
Another candidate could be former Tennessee Titans GM Floyd Reese, who was forced out a few years ago. His cap management ultimately did him in at Tennessee, but he has the experience that Hunt is looking for and with better ownership could make a fine and safe successor to Peterson.
But if Hunt wants to be bold, another option is Chris Polian who is the Assistant GM/V.P. of Football Operations for the Indianapolis Colts. Like Pioli and Dimitroff he was high on the Falcons list a year ago but the Colts refused to give Atlanta permission to speak with Polian. It remains to be seen if they'll give Hunt the permission to interview him this year or not. However, if Polian emerges as the guy in Kansas City that could lead to the safe return of Head Coach Herm Edwards.
Polian works very closely with Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. His style of coaching is very similar to Edwards and based on the relationship the two head coaches have with one another, it's likely that Pioli would give Edwards at least one more year to finish the youth movement he started at the onset of this year.
Whoever is hired, this marks a new chapter in Chiefs franchise history. The decision to accept Peterson’s resignation signals that Hunt is taking control of the franchise. That means employees in other departments could be following Peterson out the door.
“The way I want the organization to think, whether we are in the good times or the tough times, is that we’re all in the same boat rowing in the same direction and that we win together and that we lose together,” said Hunt. “I’m going to have a very open interview process. I want it to be fairly extensive. I want to see a wide variety of people in terms of experience and positions that they’ve had. The decision will be mine, but it’s one that I will seek the input of people who I trust and respect.”
Who those people are at this point remains to be seen, but it’s clear Monday’s events were a calculated decision from Hunt. Those who felt he didn’t have the guts to make a move like this should now feel more confidence about the future of the Chiefs.
Now Hunt has to find a new GM and a new team President all the while making a final decision on his head coach, Herm Edwards. None of it will be easy, but this was the direction Chiefs Nation wanted, and Hunt backed them. Now all he has to do is make all the right moves going forward.