Chiefs fans, as you may recall, I work in the retail industry. Right now we are in the midst of our physical inventory process where we prepare for one night where we count everything in the store. This process is very labor intensive and is the reason you were deprived of my Blitz last week. In a major corporation with dozens of different ways inventory can enter or leave the system, sometimes something as simple as counting an item to ensure that you have the correct amount can become a daunting task.
The same can be said of a football team. What I have realized in the several years I have spent regulating inventory is that everyone seems to take for granted that when they check the computer that everything is going to match up. What is perhaps a more astute observation is that no one cares about inventory until it is wrong. No one cares until they need something and it is not there when all of the tools at their disposal show that it should be. These deficiencies seem to erase the vast plethora of other times where everything has been right on, and the focus compacts into a singularity where the memories taken for granted are destroyed like matter in the center of a black hole.
I get to how this relates to the Kansas City Chiefs after the jump.
As much as I hate to admit it because it sounds like I am giving credence to some of the ridiculous spouting of spoiled overpaid athletes, players are the inventory of a team (yeah read this Adrian Peterson and GFY, slave my ass). In the macro-vision of the NFL players are little more than products within a giant revenue generating corporation. The teams can be like stores if you wish to look at it that way, and the fans are more like employees than customers in that they continually audit the inventory of the teams and find what deficiencies are there to be had.
Quick Stock Count for the Kansas City Chiefs:
-1: Backup Quarterback
-1: Elite Wide Receiver
-1: Nose Tackle
+1: Elite Running Back (Come on Thomas Jones is a beast)
-1/Even: Head Coach (Depending on who you talk to, all eyes go to Double D)
(I know this is incomplete so please feel free to add your own variances in the comments)
The problem with going through these counts is that it is a hell of a lot easier to find the variances than it is to fix them. As alluded to above, there can be dozens of variables that affect the outcome of inventory. Finding the correct solution does not always happen, but one thing is known for sure: If things go unfavorably blame will come much swifter than praise. Scott Pioli is basically the inventory manager for the Kansas City Chiefs. Through my observations over the time he has been the General Manager in KC as well as NFL GM’s in general, public opinion offers few options. Option one is that you are not part of a winning team in which case you get blamed for not putting one together. A vast majority of GM’s fall into this category. Option two is that you put together a winning team that either falls short of making the playoffs or loses in the first round, in which case you get blamed for not taking the team to the next level. Option three is that you put together a winning team, make it to the later or championship rounds of the playoffs but still lose, in which case you STILL get blamed for not taking the team to the next level. Option four is when you take your team to the Super Bowl and lose, in which case you don’t necessarily get blamed, but people question whether or not you can put the pieces together to make a championship team. In option five, you win the Super Bowl, and everyone gives credit to the players and the head coach.
As you can see here, the life of a GM is not that glamorous as far as public praise. Sure Pioli came into town looking like the football guru for the ages, but also remember he was not the GM of the Patriots. This goes back to the previous argument that no one cares about inventory until it is wrong. The hard thing is that inventory is never right. In a large enough scale something is always off, and thus imperfection is something you have to accept and minimize. If you think I am being a little easy on upper management here, did you ever really praise Carl Peterson for Trent Green, Priest Holmes (an undrafted trade from the Ravens no less), Joe Montana, Tony Gonzalez, Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, and more recently Tamba Hali and Jamaal Charles? I know these have been mentioned, but I think the general consensus is that these were lucky picks at the end of an otherwise failed tenure. Do these memories get erased by the singularity of the glaring deficiencies, or can we step back and realize that you can check the product in, put it on the shelf, get it ready to sell, but ultimately it is beyond all of these processes to determine whether or not your business will be successful? That is the question I pose to you Addicts out there.