In Defense of Scott Pioli


I have not been a part of the sports reporting world for very long. In fact, until Arrowhead Addict hired me in mid-December, I was simply an armature blogger. In the short time that I have been a professional, I have already found myself shocked at some of my “colleagues” and some of the things they have written about coach Todd Haley and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

I am still trying to find my way as a professional sports blogger. AA isn’t a newspaper. It isn’t ESPN.com. I don’t have to designate which columns are unbiased news and which are pure opinion. I always have the luxury of giving my opinion and that is what makes AA and the whole Fansided Network of sports blogs so great. Adam and Zach have a long tradition of giving it to the readers straight and not pulling any punches. That is going to continue as long as Andrew and I are running things, I assure you. However, I also hold myself accountable for what I write in my columns. For instance, when I write that I think Larry Johnson is a jerk and that I am glad he has left the Chiefs, I have a pretty nice pile of evidence in my corner that Larry isn’t that great a guy and that the Chiefs are better off without him.

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you what I thought about any and all things Chiefs but I do have a responsibility to be fair. I owe the folks in the Chiefs organization and the NFL a fair opinion. I’m never going to write anything here if I don’t believe it, just to stir up controversy and drive up readership.

That is why I am appalled at the way some media types have portrayed Scott Pioli. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just one windbag over at the Kansas City Star but it isn’t.

It was all sunshine and daisies when Scott was hired. Everyone applauded Clark Hunt for going out and getting the best personnel man available. A guy who had won executive of the year awards and had a fist full of Super Bowl rings to boot. Everyone was excited for the changes in KC. The evil King Carl had been tarred and feathered and run out of town.

Oh, how short the honeymoon was.

Soon the stories started coming out that Arrowhead had turned into a fortress. Stories that even former players couldn’t get within 100 yards of the place. Stories that you had to go past security guard after security guard, locked door after locked door, all in the name of protecting information. I was starting to get the impression that Scott Pioli must be some sort of evil dictator, locked away in his castle, plotting the downfall of the other AFC West teams and declaring war on the media.

Maybe there are some locked doors at Arrowhead but how do we know it isn’t for a good reason? Maybe Scott Pioli isn’t just worried bout Josh McDaniels sneaking a horse into his office as a prank or Tom Cable climbing through the window in a ski mask in an attempt to steam the Chiefs playbook. Maybe there is tightened security for reasons other than keeping Jason Whitlock away from the mini-fridge.

There may just be security for, well, safety. In fact, I can assure you that safety actually is why things are so tight at Chiefs headquarters.

It isn’t always about football, even in the offices of a football team.

The rumor of Scott Pioli’s arrogance only grew as the season went on and the young Chiefs team he assembled, failed to win many games. The accusations got worse as disgruntled fans, having suffered through years of frustration, looked for somewhere to place the blame.

I have never met Scott Pioli. For all I know, behind closed doors, he may very well be a puffed up jerk. However, in everything I have seen with my eyes and heard with my ears, in every interview and press conference I have seen Scott give since he came to Kansas City, he came anything but arrogant. In fact, one of the first things that struck me when Scott was first introduced as the Chiefs GM, was how articulate and likeable he seemed. He always seems quite genuine, honest and straight forward so it is hard for me to imagine that the moment the cameras are off, he turns in to Richard Nixon.

Scott Pioli has one job and that is to run the Kansas City Chiefs and ensure that they turn in to a winner sooner rather than later. His job isn’t to pander to the media and make public the reasoning behind every single one of the thousands of decisions he has to make for the organization. The answer is always going to be the same. Scott is doing what he thinks is in the best interests of the Kansas City Chiefs, in both the short and long term.

As I said, I am new at this, but I get the impression it sells more papers and causes more blog hits when you can demonize someone and make them responsible for all your reader’s ill during the bad times. Once Peterson left, someone had to be the new punching bag.

In the end, Scott Pioli and Todd Haley and everyone on their staff is going to be judged on how many games the Chiefs win. I know that and you know that. They know that.

We’ll tray to keep things fair here at AA.

We’ll leave the mudslinging and clever name calling to those who stir up controversy instead of providing a real opinion.

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Tags: Jason Whitlock Scott Pioli Todd Haley