The dust from the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs draft is settling and while I am relatively happy with the draft class at this early stage, I thought now was the time to climb atop my soap box to address Chiefs Nation on a topic that I find somewhat troubling.
Actually, it isn’t a topic so much as it is a phrase.
“In Pioli We Trust.”
I’m not sure who first uttered this phrase but it has spread across the Chiefs blogosphere like wildfire and quite frankly, it is getting out of hand.
Let me begin by saying that I like Scott Pioli. I have never met the man but I find him to be a thoughtful and engaging person whenever I see him being interviewed. I like his calm and confident demeanor and I feel he seems to treat those interviewing him with respect.
That being said, the mere fact that he seems like a nice guy, has had success in New England (and some in KC) and is the GM of the Kansas City Chiefs does not make the man infallible.
What concerns me about some KC fans is that the seem to trust Pioli with such a reverence that the Old Testament God would probably send a plague of locusts to eat them alive for worshiping a false idol.
Let’s not get it twisted as former Chiefs “coach” Herm Edwards might say. Pioli is a man. Men make mistakes. Therefore Pioli makes mistakes. Making mistakes doesn’t make Pioli a bad GM. It just means he is human. In fact, a good mistake every now and then is good for the soul. It keeps us sharp and prevents us from becoming reckless.
A GM who thinks that every move he makes is brilliant is a dangerous, dangerous person to have running your football team. Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli’s good friend and GM of the Atlanta Falcons, just may be suffering from being a little overconfident. Dimitroff traded away a bevy of valuable picks to the Cleveland Browns Thursday night in order to move up in the draft to take WR Julio Jones from Alabama. The move cost the Falcons their 2012 first round pick, their 2011 second round pick, their 2011 fourth round pick and their 2012 fourth round pick.
Julio Jones is an exciting NFL prospect but does a single one of you believe he is worth two first round picks, a second round pick and two fourth round picks? Five picks? For one guy? For a player that wasn’t even the best receiver on most draft boards?
Dimitroff’s move wasn’t bold, as many in the media are calling it. It was reckless. In fact, if the Falcons fail to win the Super Bowl in 2012 or 2013, I would even go so far as to call the move foolish. Dimitroff has mortgaged a very big part of the team’s future on one man and that man isn’t even a QB.
I am not saying that Dimitroff’s move is not going to pay off but I am saying that it should be open season for criticism of the Falcons GM in Atlanta. If Jones busts or the Falcons end up having a severe lack of depth because their GM traded away five picks for one man then fans and media alike should nail Dimitroff to the wall.
I popped over to a few Falcons blogs to see what their fans thought of the move. On more than one occasion I saw a reader who gave a thoughtful critique of the move get viciously attacked. One poor guy merely said he was worried the the team spend two first round picks on the second best receiver in the draft and was called a “moron” and was told he was “not a real fan.”
“I trust TM (Dimitroff),” said the fan.
Hold on now. Not agreeing with every single, solitary decision the organization makes means that someone is not a true fan? That is the same kind of ridiculous thinking that makes people claim someone who speaks out against a war doesn’t support the troops. How the hell does that make any sense? Please explain the leap of logic from “I don’t want any more Americans to get killed so I am speaking out against the war and I want the government to bring the troops home” to “you don’t support the troops and you are un-American.”
I’m not going to wade any more into the political arena but criticizing your favorite football team’s personnel decisions does not mean you are not a fan.
Blindly supporting your team and your team’s players, however, does make you a fool.
Not every Chiefs fan is like this. When Larry Johnson’s scumbagness got so great that Chiefs Nation couldn’t take it any longer, some fans actually started a petition asking for the Chiefs to cut him before he broke Priest Holmes’ franchise rushing record.
Yet there are other disturbing examples of blind fan following that concern me deeply. While there are plenty of Pittsburgh Steelers fans who are absolutely repulsed by the idea of having a man twice accused of rape by two different women living on opposite sides of the country, as the QB of their favorite football team, there are some Steelers fans who still wear their Rapelesburger jersey with pride and would come to blows in order to defend him.
Look, there is nothing wrong with trust. There is nothing wrong with initially deferring to the expertise of the guys getting paid to make the decisions. There is nothing wrong with being passionate and hoping that every move your GM makes is the right one. Fan is short for fanatic. This website is called Arrowhead ADDICT. We get it.
But to go around muttering “In Pioli We Trust” after every move the man makes is not only short sighted but it closes one off to any sort of useful critical thinking. Attacking another fan and questioning their devotion to their favorite team because they dared question the organization’s moves is the same kind of childish bullying you’d expect to find at your local junior high.
I want all of Scott Pioli’s draft picks to work out. I like a lot of the moves he made this weekend very much. There are a few that, while I am not crazy about them, make sense to me. I am excited about the possibilities and right now I am deferring to the expertise of the guy getting paid to make the big decisions.
However, if the 2011 draft class turns out to be as bad as the 2009 draft class, you are going to hear about it here on Arrowhead Addict. We’ll give credit when credit is due and hell when hell is due. Hopefully you will too.
Otherwise we’ll be nothing but a bunch of folks wearing the same colors, spouting the same propaganda laden catch phrases drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.