Scott Pioli: The Cowardly Lion

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

For shame, Mr. Pioli.

I think I get it now. You don’t have an issue with responsibility. You’re just willing to shrink into the shadows while fans of the Kansas City Chiefs shoulder that responsibility.

A number of fans cheered on Sunday when a concussed Matt Cassel came out of the game. That’s a lamentable moment for Chiefs fans. Football is just a game. No one should ever cheer a player (check that: human being) being injured. That’s flat out despicable. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior from a community of fans who are known for unwavering support of this franchise. But therein lies the problem. Kansas City has had Cassel forced down its throat. Cassel is just a guy. The kind of guy who an NFL front office should never stand behind for so long, but that’s precisely what Pioli has done. Fans are frustrated and for a moment on Sunday, with Cassel lying motionless on the field, they couldn’t see a human being on the ground. They could only see liberation from the quarterback who has held this offense (and the team) back for three years.

Right Tackle Eric Winston weighed in on the controversy in a post-game interview:

When you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel — it’s sickening. It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams, I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there.

Those comments went viral and became a national headline. Fans are now the ostensible culprit in Kansas City. This is a convenient distraction for a 1-4 football team. The national media will spend the next several days not talking about what created that admittedly disgraceful moment: Pioli’s failure to admit his mistake with Matt Cassel is the real problem.

We can’t blame Matt Cassel. For what it’s worth, he’s done everything he’s been asked to do. He has the desire and work ethic needed to play well. He just doesn’t have the God-given ability. We can’t blame Romeo Crennel. He’s only following Pioli’s marching orders. Cassel’s not his guy, but he doesn’t have a say in the matter. The best he can do is try to hide him. That’s basically what happened on Sunday. Brian Daboll dialed up 50 run plays compared to just 18 pass attempts (three were credited to Brady Quinn). Cassel attempted only 7 passes throughout the first half. Crennel is taking a play out of Todd Haley’s playbook of defiance.

It’s tragic that Pioli has allowed this charade to go on as long as it has. At the very least, Cassel should’ve been benched last week. He’s regressing with every game. Cassel’s responsible for 13 turnovers this season. It’s time to move on. Brady Quinn is likely to be the Week 6 starter in Tampa Bay, but I suspect that he’ll be shelved again once Cassel is medically cleared to play. It’s just not fair that fans of this team are stuck with Matt Cassel. It’s worse that the highest-paid general manager in the NFL is going to allow them to take a bullet for a crime he ultimately committed.

Man up, Mr. Pioli! Take a proactive approach and reassure this town that you’re working diligently to put the best possible product on the field. Brady Quinn may or may not be the answer, but that’s beside the point. A message needs to be sent to players, to the coaching staff, and to the fans of this franchise that Cassel’s level of play is no longer acceptable. We’ll address a poorly-performing Brady Quinn when we cross that bridge. Make it happen, Scott. Give Romeo Crennel the green light to tell the media that Matt Cassel is no longer the starting quarterback for this team. Let him state unequivocally, injury or no injury, the Cassel experiment is over.

Now let’s recap:

Cassel deserves to be respected as a human being by the fans. The fans deserve a better quarterback. The team deserves a real shot at winning games. Romeo Crennel deserves to be evaluated on his coaching performance with players he can believe in. Scott Pioli deserves to be fired. I deserve something positive to write about! Sigh.

Until next week, Addicts!

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • micah stephenson

    Snoring……..somebody wake me up when he has something NEW to read. How Original. Cassel sucks, the sky is blue, and I will die.

    • chiefridgy

      Uh…He was talking about Pioli….Didn’t you read the article….it even has his name in the headline…Scott Pioli.

      • micah stephenson

        Yea but Cassels name is in the article 17 times. More than twice the amount than Pioli’s.

    • tm1946

      And you call yourself a fan? The Chiefs are reaching new lows on and OFF the field and all you got is you will die? Micah, you got all the comments about how good the Chiefs are but now you will die. You are a crappy fan, much as I suspected.

      • micah stephenson

        Out of ALL the people who comment on here yo comments b so far out into left field that most of the time noone knows wat u talk n bout or even cares. I know u a lil slow so let me try to explain. Wan I say Cassel sucks, the sky is blue, & i will die, i mean some things are ovious. Wen I said how original, they been writing about how Cassel sucks for a yr now. Write something new. We all know Cassel sucks. We dont need to get on hur to read it again for the 435,724,904th time.

        • chiefridgy

          Cassel is our quarterback.That’s why we discuss him. He just so happens to suck.

          • micah stephenson

            Well now Brady Quinn is the QB. Talk about him. Lol

          • chiefridgy

            that’s kinda how it works huh

    • Danny W

      Check out ESPN’s front page this week on their website, it’s front page news Chief fans are cheering Matt Cassel’s injury. We as fans got thrown under the bus by Mark Schalerath, Ron Jawarski amongst others on ESPN and Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli didn’t come out to say “Hey we back our guy but we don’t let a few bad apples in the crowd disparage the whole bunch.” This write up couldn’t be more relevant!
      You want to try and slam it because it opens a wound you have with being wrong about Cassel, but this is all relevant. As a fan you should be pissed off the front office hasn’t stood up for us as fans who the majority of didn’t cheer for Matt Cassel going down. Think about the perspective of the article as Scott Pioli being a Scared Little Lion. The premise is they said nothing nationally as we as fans are getting slammed. Hell Romeo Crennel acted like today he didn’t now what Winston said!!!!!
      Perfect opportunity for Clark Hunt or Pioli to come out make a public statement and to kill this national story and they didn’t!!!!!! This article has so little to do with the play of Cassel it’s unreal. It just seems your angry because you were wrong here brother I got a say your kind of sounding a bit like a hater.

      • micah stephenson

        I thought about that myself being one of the fans that was not cheering. Im like dang all this losing and bad publicity, Pioli and came out said nothing. Not we got the coache, fans, QBs, back. I feel like he is hiding like a coward. Wen you called him a scared lil lion, im think scard lil pussy cat. He needs to take his *ss kicking like a man. Ill admit i was wrong about cassel(- the 2008 2010 season) im moving on to the B.Quinn era. Lol. Wow the B.Quinn era that didnt even sound right. Wen is the draft? Lol

    • Matt Finucane

      you’ve been making comments like this since last season. It must be a bitter pill to have been so very, very wrong about Cassel.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s all you took from the article? It’s significantly more nuanced than that. It’s not Cassel’s fault that he sucks. He just doesn’t have the God-given ability to succeed at this level of football. It’s Pioli’s job to recognize that and move on.

      But let’s say for a second this was another “Cassel Sucks” article. I mean, why would that be problematic? Wouldn’t that be the biggest storyline for this football team? Seeing how he’s STILL our starting QB, he’s STILL playing miserably, and this team is STILL losing games largely because of all of that?

      If you don’t like the article, I can live with that. Comes with the job. At least try to be honest in your assessment of its content though.

      • micah stephenson

        Im just as glad as everyone else Cassel aint the QB anymore. I dont know about the cassel dont hav the god given ability. You dont go 11-5 & 10-6 with out ability. Mayby cassel plays better wit NEs cordinators Weis & McDaniels. Glad Cassel aint the QB so he cant b used as a scapecoat anymore.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He doesn’t have the ability necessary to being consistently good in the NFL. He also doesn’t have the talent necessary to take this team to (and win) a Superbowl. Cassel doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. He has mediocre arm strength. He doesn’t throw anything over 10-15 yards with much accuracy. He has no pocket presence. His footwork is bad. He has a slow delivery. He has to wind up to throw the long ball (which he throws poorly). He’s just not that good. He’s had a couple of excellent coordinators who’ve been able to truly minimize his weaknesses, but he needs lots of care to succeed.

          • micah stephenson

            Well I aint gon argue with all that. Im done talking bout Cassel. Quinn is the starter now. I Dont think he is any better Cassel, but like Palko, I guess we will hav to see it for ourselves.

  • NicholasAlanClayton

    I’m not crazy about Pioli’s drafting acumen or his sense of humane office management, but I think Crennel has been a bigger piece of the problem so far this season than Cassel/Pioli. This defense (Crennel’s domain) was supposed to be top-5 this year. Instead came out as tied for worst, and only got out of the basement when we barely beat the team with THE worst defense. They’ve played tough the last couple of tames, but the team in general looks unprepared and lost in portions of every game. That is the HC’s job. We blamed Haley for the way the team came out flat. We were 2-3 at this point on our way to 4-3 last year and were without Charles, Berry Moeaki or a shred of safety depth. We are now a much better team at 1-4 that got slightly less manhandled in its first two games than last year. Some of this buck has to stop at Romeo.

    • spencer

      you have one problem with calling Crennels defence flat-19 turnovers in 5 games….19!,almost 4 a game, most teams can very rarely win with just 2 a game, we double that, our defense gives up triple the amount of points off of turnovers then every other time, the oiffense can be to blame for the defense this year so far…

      we’ve been stack down the past 3 games easy, bill game we wern’t doing good then a couple turnovers made a defense that was underperforming in that game, but performing still, to just being bad, a good offense is a good defense, a shitty offense is a shitty defense, offense dictates games, we have basically two offenses vs one defense…

  • Jeff B

    Thank you!!! Pioli is on radio silence these days…how convenient. I see no form of accountability for the way his team is playing, and he’s done nothing to stand up for the fans of his organization. Any politician would take this opportunity to defend his supporters or even those that oppose in a heartbeat to try and earn some trust/loyalty. Scott Pioli is a coward!

  • tm1946

    We made CNN with Tiki Barber, needless to say we got taken to school for the incident. Tiki threw in the race card, guess with the helmet on he did not know Cassel is a white guy. Guess we made the big time.

    The sooner Pioli is gone the better, oh, for me, take Winston with him.

  • david schroeder

    Outstanding! I’ve been wondering since Sunday if Pioli or Hunt will say something about this… anything!

  • jimfromkcj

    The only thing that chaps me is that you all are saying the same things I was saying 3 or 4 years ago and was taking smart assed kool aid remarks from most of you.

    • Matt Finucane

      No kidding. This has been pretty obvious for quite a while.

  • cgriffeth

    Overreaction and someone-needs-to-be-blamed mentality does not get the franchise anything. I can’t speak for Pioli’s leadership capabilities, but a GM’s job is not to bench a QB. It’s to build a team. The roster from top to bottom is amazingly improved since the day he walked in, despite having a terrible ’09 draft as his inaugural test. To be clear, I shudder at the thought of Cassel being ‘the guy’ next year. It can’t happen. That being said, Pioli shouldn’t be fired. He’s missed on a few people, the problem being this one is the most important position. Everyone loved the Stanzi pick, but he’s not there yet. Time will tell whether Quinn will be a more viable back up QB than Palko (not that he could do much worse). Even football coach friends that are NOT Chiefs fans have told me they are impressed with the roster. Cassel is a huge issue, but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because Cassel has inexplicably become a turnover machine after being among league leaders in not turning it over just 2 years ago. Cassel should definitely go. Pioli must stay.

    • Joe

      our roster is not good because Pioli; it is good because of how Herm E drafted. Pioli has had about 4 picks that have made any difference and only 1 pro bowler (berry, who has been horrific in coverage thus far) Pioli has done nothing in improving this roster, and has failed us with not re-signing carr. Plus, Brian D is horrible and has never had an offence ranked higher than 22. Pioli is this the reason we suck! chooses to hire a head coach that failed as a head coach and same with our OC. Clark needs to clear house, if not then we will always suck

      • AkChieffan

        I agree, but don’t forget he stands by his decision about Cassel. Cassel was his biggest disappointment. Not recognizing that the biggest hole on your team is at quarterback is simply unexusable. If your ego prevents you to make sound decisions you gotta-go! I didn’t care for the Stanzi pick, I really hate that fact we gave so much for Cassel. poor decision and after decision,

        • cgriffeth

          Don’t you think he knows Cassel is the weak link? What good does it do for the team to come out and say that publicly? The reality of it is that there was nothing viable on the market in free agency and all elite QBs were taken by their pick. In hindsight, I would have loved to have seen them sell the farm for RGIII, but I thought WAS was crazy for giving up that much at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 and Pioli can’t say “Cassel sucks, I know it and I”m trying to figure out what to do” until they have a viable replacement…which they hoped to be Manning.

      • Stacy D. Smith


        Jon Asamoah
        Kendrick Lewis
        Eric Berry
        Justin Houston
        Steve Breaston
        Eric Winston
        Peyton Hillis
        Jovan Belcher
        Javier Arenas
        Stanford Routt
        Ryan Succop

        Those are ALL contributions made to this team by Pioli.
        Even the Peterson/Edwards holdovers have improved by leaps and bounds under the current administration.

        To say he isn’t responsible for this roster overhaul is asinine.
        Go compare that ’08 roster to the ’12 roster. There are 20 players from the 2008 squad who aren’t even in football anymore.

        • cgriffeth

          Well said.

    • chiefridgy

      It’s just that Pioli insists on Cassel being the guy no matter what…he brought in no real competition for qb in the offseason ….it was clear a long time ago that cassel is not a starting caliber qb

      • cgriffeth

        Agreed, but they tried to get Peyton Manning, but didn’t get an opportunity to pitch him. None of the top QB prospects were available at #11, and the top free agent QB lost out to a rookie in Seattle. Point being, there wasn’t much on the market.

        • jimfromkcj

          I was a big supporter of picking Weeden in the last draft. We got Poe instead. If there is one given in drafting it is that you don’t draft a prospect in the first rd. You draft someone who has demonstrated that he has played extremely well in college and has the tools to play from day one in the NFL. If you have been following the NFL you will see that weeden is putting up numbers that only Luck is exceeding, and with a group of WR’s that are even more fumble fingered than ours. but to say that there were no better options that Pioli could have drafted is pure unadulterated horse puckey.

          • cgriffeth

            I was a big fan of picking Weeden as well, but never envisioned doing so with the #11 pick. I don’t think anyone did. I was all for taking him in the 2nd or trading up in the late 1st/early 2nd. Time will tell whether Poe was a good pick, but I don’t think anyone would have looked at Weeden there as even an option. Tannehill, definitely. Point being is that Poe already is playing the majority of the snaps at NT as part of a defense that held BAL to 9 pts. The Chiefs must make a move at QB, but looking back with 20/20 hindsight isn’t the way to do it.

          • micah stephenson

            Weeden? Last time I checked Weeden and the browns wur 0-4. Weeden is already old. As far as Poe goes every rookie is a prospect. Poe has the size, speed & stamina u cant teach. He is already looking good.

    • TOperspective

      “Even football coach friends that are NOT Chiefs fans have told me they are impressed with the roster.” I’ll console myself with that rubbish when the Chiefs don’t make the playoffs again. You feel good about that Poe pick? How about Crennel as the coach? Only an idiot would think that Cassel could lead a team to the Super Bowl. Pioli definitely needs to go.

      • cgriffeth

        I agree, winning is where it counts. Poe? Who knows, that question is being asked 2 1/2 seasons too early. Crennel? I’m up in the air. Daboll has JC as the leading rusher in the NFL. Cassel needed to be a game manager and get the ball to their weapons…which seemed to be the plan, and he has yet to do even that. No one could have forecast him to perform so poorly.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      You’re right, it’s not the GM’s job to bench a QB. Or for that matter, to force a head coach into retaining one as his starter. Leave that for the HC. That’s a fireable offense, especially when Cassel’s been so bad for so long.

      Pioli’s ALSO responsible for an impressive roster overhaul, but that’ll all be for naught if he can’t find the right QB.

      I’m okay with Pioli staying. So long as he’s ready to admit the mistake he made in signing Cassel to long-term deal before he ever took a snap for this team.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      What exactly am I overreacting to? 3+ years of being forced to watch a QB who clearly isn’t the guy? That’s an overreaction? Pioli’s being paid to be held accountable. Failure to allow your head coach to relieve this man of his duties is a fireable offense.

      I’m perfectly capable of acknowledging a monster roster overhaul that Scott Pioli deserves credit for. If you can’t get the centerpiece though, it won’t matter that you have the best team in the NFL that isn’t yet ready to contend.

  • Trey Pilliard

    The fans were cheering because it was gonna be a change…Not the injury. Get real folks.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Because of an injury. That’s still tacky.

  • Justin Jones

    i hear Hunt is at arrrowhead as we speak. maybe this storm has finally caught his attention. i have never seen such a crazy season before. so much anger on our part. as fans we really thought we had a great season coming. thats whats so aggrevating. we know we have good players. we were willing to give cassel a last shot. he showed quickly he couldnt do it. there has been so many chances for pioli to make this better. not saying Quinn will do better but i still hold out hope for the guy. we need to give him a chance too. i want to see our front office atleast try to fix this. we dont have that bad of a schedule left this year. i just wont be at another game this year. too long of a drive to be treated like a dollar sign. i went to home opener and left with such a bad taste in my mouth. horrible football and higher prices……. again. its been too long to not win the big one and expect fans to be calm when we c a great team suck and nothing is done to fix it. its sad.

    • TOperspective

      $$$ is all Hunt cares about. Year, after year, after year. It’s really depressing to be a Chiefs fan. Look at how quickly St Louis was able to turn it around with decent coaching and management. Pioli and Crennel must go.

      • Justin Jones

        st loius is on the mend. true. much quicker than i thought. fisher is good. i like when i watch a rams game the fans are wearing fisher staches. lol

      • Stacy D. Smith

        That’s nonsense. The same Clark Hunt made Scott Pioli the highest paid general manager in the NFL. He did that because he cares about money and not winning? Come on.

  • chiefx22

    Since Sunday Chiefs fans have been getting trashed….and in response, Pioli is silent. Way to have our back Pioli. Basically what I’m hearing is: Keep sending up money, but we’ll throw you under the bus as long as nobody questions why I keep backing Cassel. I spend close to $500 a year in Chiefs gear, and since I have season tickets and live in California, I spend another 10k going to games. No more until I hear that the front office supports the Chiefs fans. I’m done supporting their mistakes and stubborness to admit mistakes

  • Danny W

    Very relevant piece, Stacy I think this is the write up of the week since we made National News on how shitty KC fans are and how no one including Hunt, Pioli, and Crennel came to back us as fans.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I tend to agree. Eric Winston didn’t do us any favors. Had he appropriately called out the select few instead of a whole fanbase, this wouldn’t have become a national headline.

  • ArrowFan

    Nailed this one, if Clark doesn’t at the least adress this on the Chiefs web site then it is only getting worse. ESPN can bite me they are the worst bunch of sports reports around it is nothing like the old days with Berman and company.

  • Chief Hokie

    Great article!

    • Stacy D. Smith


  • Danny Casto

    I Think we’re pointing the fingers in the wrong direction. This mess is clearly Tom Bradys fault. If not for coming off the bench in 01′ after Mo Lewis took out Bledsoe and winning 3 superbowls in 4 years, Piolis ego and skull would not be so thick. This “patriots way” as we know it would not exist.Its perfectly fine to be secretive and intimidating when your golden boy 6th round pick freak of nature is putting championship rings on your fingers, but you dont have arguably the best qb who ever played on your roster anymore and your ways have grown old. Pioli firmly believes he can make chicken soup with chicken siht. Pluck a qb out of any round,rule buy intimidation and secrecy and win some championships.Thus we have MCassel,undrafted career backup who studied under the “golden boy” for a few years, took a stacked patriots team that my 10 year old boy could have won 8 games with, to the playoffs.Cassel symbolizes the failiure of this whole Pioli experament. I cherred when Cassel got knocked out;hell it might as well been Pioli in that uniform when I was cheering.People were voicing their displeasure AT Pioli through Cassel at that moment. Could you imagine if Pioli had walked out on the field during that game, the boo’s would have registered the rhicter scale. Which has lead us to piolis morbidly obese ego,refusal to pull the plug on his gloden boy part duex, Eric Wistons comments about fans booing King piolis boy, negative publicity never happening had Tom Brady not jacked with Piolis mind.Shame on you Tom Brady I Think you owe KC an apology. I also think Belichec and Pioli owe you at the very least a Hallmark card for their success.

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