When it comes to judging the Chiefs’ higher-ups, your boy Big Matt can be a hard man. Too hard, some might say. I’ve written some pretty strong words over the last five years. But then, our record during that time is 29-51. Seems to me a (fake) journalist should have some strong things to say during a stretch like that.
You all know what I think of the owners. But honestly, I’m just as suspicious of head coaches and GMs until they prove their worth. Many of them do. I was a big fan of both Marty and Vermeil and Pioli is winning me over. Even Carl Peterson had a special place in my heart until he got really, really bad at his job. Before that I thought his personality was funny.
But the bottom line is that these guys all grow rich and fat off this game we love. Most of them are accomplished liars, and a great many of them aren’t good at their jobs. I don’t trust men like this. And I’m not talking about our guys specifically here, but head coaches and GMs in general. It’s a weird, murky world where one’s livelihood isn’t necessarily based on the job they do. You get a foot in the door (often through a relative), make contacts, say the right, safe things, and all of the sudden you’re part of the club, employed for life no matter how awful your job performance. Herm Edwards and Matt Millen, perhaps the worst head coach and GM in the history of the sport, are paid handsomely to give expert analysis on television. Within a few years Herm will be a coach again, and Millen will be a suit in somebody’s front office. This is pretty much the opposite of a meritocracy.
Jimmy Raye was hired to be the offensive coordinator for the 49ers at the age of 64. He’d been the offensive coordinator for seven teams over the course of his career to that point, and his offenses were always bad. Yet he got hired again as an old man. Eight times he was hired for that job. The Rams hired him twice. There are examples like this all over the NFL. Hell, all over professional sports. Buddy Bell and Trey Hillman both have jobs with major league teams at this very moment. We are right to put these guys under close scrutiny, because clearly the people who hire them often don’t.
What we’re not right to do is hate for the sake of hating.
Has the leopard changed his spots? Find out by clicking that thing. You know, the one that says “continue reading this post”? Click that sh*t, son!
I’m hard on these guys, but I’m no hater. Not intentionally, anyway. I will congratulate, when congratulations are due. This year’s draft class earned two thumbs up from me, as did last year’s free agent class (before I knew how many carries Thom Jones would get). I was a borderline Haley homer his first year. This lockout has soured me, but not permanently. Our big three can all earn my respect this season, and here’s how:
Todd Haley- My feelings on Haley are complex. I was wild about the hire. I’m pretty sure I’d like him in person. I like that he isn’t a re-tread. He doesn’t point the finger like Herm did, in fact he’s an anti-Herm in a lot of ways (see having his players exercise). And I loves me some gambles, even when they go astray. I’m a man who chases a flush draw.
And yet…….Haley drives me crazy, too. Every few months he says something no intelligent man should say. He thought Larry Johnson was better than Jamaal Charles in 2009, and on some level he probably still thinks Thom Jones is better. Vrabel, Croyle, Mays, Quinten Lawrence (!), he singles some weird people out for praise. In a lot of ways, following him is a bit of a wild ride.
I want Haley to place less of an emphasis on intangibles in 2011. Thats pretty much the long and short of it. He can call the plays, he can take the risks, he can have all the sideline tirades he wants. I just don’t want to see old, bad players taking snaps away from young guys with promise. Thats a deal-breaker for me.
Scott Pioli- I really want Pioli to lighten up with the media. I know this doesn’t matter to a lot of you, but it matters to me. Granted, this isn’t strictly related to his job performance. Sly non-answers in press conferences don’t hurt the Chiefs on the field, and I won’t claim they do. This is a personal thing. I think the way he handles the media reflects poorly on him, and it sows a lot of discontent that could be easily avoided.
As for his job performance, he’s already halfway there for this year in my book. That draft was muy caliente! And even if all those guys bust (which they won’t), you’ll never hear me criticize a draft class I thought was great at the time.
Free agency, if it happens, will be another matter. If Pioli lands a few solid players, I’ll stand, applaud, and call this offseason a vast success. But lest ye forget, in 2009 we were hearing about what a great find Corey Mays was and how Mike Brown was the QB of the defense. We were hearing this during the season, mind you. The Chiefs will laud their own approach regardless of its results, that much we know. I’m looking for a few actual solid players.
What I’m scared may happen is that we’ll essentially sit out of free agency. Even if it ends tomorrow, this lockout would provide the perfect excuse for that. Sign a few bad veterans, talk about character, have Gretz, AP, or someone from their official PR department float the idea that they didn’t have enough time to prepare. Beast Nation would seize on that excuse the second it manifested. The fact that every team will have the same amount of prep time hardly matters. A few of us (scant few, mind you) would bring it up, only to be declared haters (heretics). Our internet bodies would burn at the stake.
Seriously though, if Pioli brings in a few good role players I’ll be happy. He has shown he is capable of that.
Clark Hunt- From this fella, I want an admission of guilt. No more, no less. I know I’m not going to get it, and to a lot of you the mere suggestion probably sounds ridiculous. Maybe it is. But would it really be that hard, after this lockout is resolved, for Clark to say something like, “I still think we were within our rights, but looking back, maybe we did get a little greedy. For whatever part that had to play in this prolonged situation, I apologize.”
Seems like that would be pretty easy, right? It would go a long way with a lot of people, myself included. And at the expense of what, pride?
Look, the lockout happened, its happening, and we all have our opinions as to who is at fault. In any case, we can’t turn back time (can we?). What we can do is move forward. This lockout will eventually end, and at that point there will be nothing at stake anymore. If Clark wants to be candid or, god forbid, introspective, instead of just using the word ‘process” as much as possible, he’ll be free to.
Personally, I doubt he’ll take advantage of that amazing opportunity, or even recognize it. He’s got a city full of people dying to love him and all he wants is our money. Its a damn shame. But make no mistake, if he surprises me and offers some kind of apology, I’ll respect the hell out of that. Will it make me like him? Probably not. But its all I’m asking.
What about you, Addicts? What do you want from our big three this year? I already asked Paddy. He wants a pony.