My Two (Chiefs) Cents

It’s been a rough week for the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans. That is also probably the understatement of the week. Negative attitudes are at a high, and there are so many things at work that it’s difficult to sort things through and address things equally and/or fairly. But here’s my perspective on the varying issues, maybe you’ll agree, maybe you’ll disagree, but hopefully I can bring a few things to light which may have previously gone unconsidered. Some of what I say will be supported by facts, some by speculation in the absence of publicly available facts (such as Pioli’s “master plan”, assuming he has one), but the main intent is to present information or perspective that may not be currently represented (or is, at least, underrepresented). As some (if not most… if not all) of these views are likely to be unpopular or underrepresented, I’m prepared for a hailstorm of comments to the contrary. In the interests of perpetuating a well-reasoned, well-thought-out discourse, I kindly request such comments remain cordial.

Chiefs Ownership

Though owned by the Lamar Hunt family, through Hunt Sports Group, through Unity Hunt LLC, when one thinks of Kansas City Chiefs ownership, one thinks of the family-elected CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt. Simply saying the name “Clark Hunt” will send chills down a large number of Chiefs’ fans spines.

Clark Hunt has been associated with cheapness, caring more about the bottom dollar than team success/glory, and caring less about the Kansas City fanbase and community. That he lives in Dallas, TX is usually a shot taken by fans and media as indication of his lack of caring for the fanbase and community, and that cap availability numbers inaccurately represent how much a team is spending on its players have given him the label of being cheap.

I do not agree with a lot of the negativity surrounding Clark Hunt. For those of you who read my  article two weeks ago, you should know by now that the Kansas City Chiefs have not been cheap in their player spending, having amassed the highest paid team in the NFL this season according to salary cap figures. If you did not read that article, it may be more conducive to your fair assessment of Clark Hunt to do so now. The article provides insight into team spending for all NFL teams and how certain aspects of salary cap management function. To summarize the article for the sake of expedience, Clark Hunt isn’t being cheap on the player spending. This also feeds into how much Clark Hunt cares about the bottom dollar. Though I’m sure the Hunt family’s business interests in the Chiefs would keep them from wanting the organization to start functioning in the red, the same could be said of any business’s or organization’s owner(s) ever. Something can only be supported for so long when it’s not earning revenues equal to or greater than its expenses. That’s just basic economics.

In regards to his consideration for the fanbase and for the Kansas City community, more consideration is being given than the Hunt family has been commonly assessed. One of the chief complaints is that the on-the-field product is not equating to what a lot of Chiefs fans consider to be fair prices for stadium attendance. They don’t feel they’re getting the bang for their buck; a sentiment that is amplified in rough economic times where how one spends what money one has is greatly scrutinized by the spender. So, how does the Chiefs’ gameday experience stack up against the 31 NFL teams? Every year Team Marketing Report in Chicago, IL researches this very question. Here is a chart of the average ticket prices for a fan to attend a game at each of the NFL stadiums; it should be noted the cost and quantity of premium seating is not included in these averages:

Rank Team Avg. Ticket Rank Team Avg. Ticket
1 CLE $54.20 17 NO $74.99
2 BUF $58.36 18 MIN $75.69
3 JAC $59.54 19 ATL $76.78
4 OAK $62.23 20 HOU $78.77
5 CAR $63.32 21 GB $78.84
6 TEN $64.61 22 WAS $79.13
7 KC $64.92 23 SD $80.30
8 SEA $67.26 24 DEN $82.23
9 DET $67.60 25 SF $83.54
10 ARI $68.00 26 IND $85.34
11 STL $68.89 27 BAL $91.92
12 PHI $69.00 28 DAL $110.20
13 CIN $69.01 29 CHI $110.91
14 TB $69.72 30 NYG $111.69
15 MIA $71.14 31 NE $117.84
16 PIT $74.32 32 NYJ $117.94

Source: Team Marketing Report

The average NFL ticket price is reported as $78.38, well above what the average ticket price to Arrowhead costs. Even factoring out the five highest ticket prices (all above $100) the average ticket price for the 27 lowest price teams is $71.84, still firmly above the Arrowhead average. What may be of additional interest is that Team Marketing Report also tracks the percentage changes in ticket prices for each NFL team. TMR determined that the average NFL ticket price has increased by 2.5% compared to last season. Fifteen NFL teams saw no change in their ticket prices. Of the remaining seventeen teams nine increased ticket prices [the lowest being the Seahawks by 1%, the highest being the Bears by 9.2%], and six lowered ticket prices. The Kansas City Chiefs are not only counted among the six NFL teams that lowered ticket prices, but KC decided to decrease their prices by the second-most percentage* [2.6%]. As part of their report, TMR provided the NFL average cost dating back to the 2007 season; even going back that far, the current Chiefs’ pricing does not meet or exceed the league average.

*Only the Bengals decreased their ticket prices by a greater percentage[4.2%]; however TMR’s research showed that, of the six clubs that decided to decrease ticket prices, the Bengals were one of two clubs that decided to lower ticket prices following lower fan attendance during the 2011 season; the second team being the Bills.

TMR also researched the average premium ticket costs and the cost of beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, parking, programs and caps as part of their study. Their figures on beer and soft drinks are based on the smallest sizes available at each stadium, and their figures on caps are based on the least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps at each stadium. In these categories, the Kansas City Chiefs exceed the league average in only two of them: 1) Hot Dogs – in excess of 66 cents, and 2) Average Premium Ticket costs in excess of $26.30.

As part of their report TMR created a cost index comprised of the costs of four average-price tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two of the least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. The reported cost index for such a gameday experience for each team is as follows:

Rank Team Cost Index Rank Team Cost Index
1 JAC $342.70 17 ATL $430.12
2 CLE $343.80 18 PIT $433.17
3 CAR $351.25 19 HOU $439.02
4 KC $360.68 20 DEN $440.34
5 BUF $361.45 21 GB $448.24
6 ARI $367.98 22 NO $451.96
7 OAK $381.90 23 IND $452.34
8 TB $391.28 24 SF $456.56
9 TEN $394.43 25 WAS $461.53
10 CIN $397.03 26 SD $466.20
11 PHI $397.48 27 BAL $520.69
12 MIA $400.54 28 NYG $592.24
13 STL $401.58 29 NE $607.26
14 DET $403.38 30 CHI $608.64
15 SEA $408.04 31 NYJ $617.25
16 MIN $415.78 32 DAL $634.78

Source: Team Marketing Report

As can be seen, the Chiefs rank as the fourth cheapest team in terms of the cost index. TMR determined that the average NFL cost index has increased by 3.9% compared to last season. Only two NFL teams saw no change in their cost index. Of the remaining thirty teams twenty-six saw an increase in cost index [the lowest increase being the Cardinals by 0.3%, the highest being the Bears by 16.3%], and four saw decreases in their cost index. The Kansas City Chiefs are not only counted among the four NFL teams that lowered the overall cost of an average gameday experience, but KC decreased their prices by the second-most percentage [1.6%] with only the Jets showing a greater decrease [1.9%].

So though some, including The Arrowhead Adventurer, may not care for certain organization initiatives, such as the switch to paperless tickets (thereby depriving fans of the memento of ticket stubs), savings are being passed onto the fans by making such changes (I, for one, always tended to rip/disfigure ticket stubs from any events I’ve attended and, as a result, do not partake in that particular keepsake practice… as such, I’d personally prefer more efficient line movement).

Does this forgive the disparity between on-the-field product and the associated costs? Not incredibly. We’d still all like to see the Chiefs be more competitive and in championship contention; an increase in quality without an increase in cost. But at least you’ve been afforded the opportunity to see what other teams’ fans are paying out on gameday, and I think we can all agree that being a Jets fan has to suck considerably more by a quality to cost comparison.

As for the Hunt family living in Dallas, this is the way it’s always been. Lamar Hunt’s ability to finance a football team came from the wealth earned by his father, H.L. Hunt, in conjunction with Hunt Oil. Though Lamar Hunt’s branch of the Hunt family tree no longer holds a stake in Hunt Oil, there are many other business ventures they do own a stake in which are, for the most part, based in Dallas. In the early days, when the Dallas Cowboys (who at the time were much less successful than the Dallas Texans) started taking attention away from Lamar Hunt’s beloved football team, and he resigned to the fact that sentiment was not enough to continue functioning in Dallas when the previous three seasons found the organization in the red, he sought to move that team to a city that would give a damn. The speculated options at the time were for a move to be made to either Oakland or Kansas City. After what was described as a “cloak-and-dagger” affair,  Kansas City’s mayor and Hunt agreed to stage a season ticket run to determine if the new city would be devoted enough to the sport to garner the team with the attention Lamar felt it deserved. Obviously Kansas City met Lamar Hunt’s expectations as we know that he moved the team there; however, what may not be known is that Kansas City fell far short of the set season ticket goal (25,000 tickets) in that they only sold tickets in the 13,000-14,000 tickets by the given deadline. Lamar still felt that the city showed enough devotion and passion (despite not meeting the ticket sales threshold) that he decided to move the Texans to Kansas City.

Nowhere is it mentioned or even suggested that Lamar Hunt agreed to pull up his family’s stakes to move to Kansas City. A lot of tradition and business interests already existed in Dallas for that to have been part of the deal. That same family tradition continues to this day. The Chiefs are but a part of Hunt Sports Inc., and Hunt Sports Inc. is but a part of Unity Hunt LLC. To expect numerous businesses, and a family’s tradition, to be uprooted for the sake of one of those business ventures (though the Kansas City Chiefs are the most recognizable) is asking a lot, and probably too much

Does this mean that the Hunts and the Chiefs don’t care about Kansas City? Not in the least. By my count the Hunts through the Kansas City Chiefs have 15 steady community service programs devoted to helping various aspects of the Greater Kansas City Community. Players are encouraged to actively participate in giving back to the community. And new initiatives such as the Chiefs partnership with the University of Kansas Medical School are geared towards ultimately helping the Kansas City community as a whole. These are not the actions of an ownership that doesn’t care about its fans or its team’s city’s citizens. In fact, their devotion to the community is a large part of why I am of a fan of the organization and have remained a fan through the tougher years; they may not always win (or even be competitive) but the organization’s devotion to contribute beyond what the game dictates is, by my estimation, admirable and should not be diminished by how they play 16 days a year.

Also, when it was obvious things were not progressing under Carl Peterson and Herm Edwards, Clark Hunt made a move to obtain one of the most decorated executives in the football industry, and spared no expense to bring him in to help the franchise (something an owner that doesn’t care wouldn’t do), which brings us to:

Chiefs Management

I don’t know what to think about Pioli. On the one hand Kent Babb has painted a pretty bad picture of Pioli. On the other hand, Babb also neglected to look into team finances and painted the Hunts as cheap on players though they appear to be anything but*, and generated negativity on that front where negativity wasn’t due.

Aside: I’m still astounded by that one. I’m a legal assistant in Pennsylvania, devoting nearly 60 hours a week towards my day job with a wife and 2-year-old daughter also garnering my attention, and I was still able to do more thorough research on that front (cross-checking my findings across many independent sources with no team affiliation for slant) and reported this as part of my contribution to this website. It was Kent Babb’s day job to do such things for which I’m sure he got amply paid, and he couldn’t do that much??? I guess I’m saying I’ve re-read Babb’s articles with a grain of salt as I am not satisfied with his research abilities (or lack thereof).

In Michael Holley’s book “War Room”, it is indicated (and I’m paraphrasing here) that when Pioli arrived in Kansas City, the Chiefs staff and scouts were complacent and unmotivated, which (by that point in the book) were distinguished as work habits in conflict with Pioli’s own work ethic. Holley (in juxtaposition to Babb) painted Pioli as a hard worker who would sooner have his work product exceed his paycheck than his paycheck exceed his work product.

If that is his work ethic, and the incumbent staff did not put their hearts into their jobs and strive towards the goal of making the Chiefs organization a championship product, I can understand the turnover ratio. There are no salary cap concerns in the front office; severance packages maybe (and they could be pillaging Hunt’s pockets for all we know), but not a set number that the organization may not exceed in accounting terms. If these people were not earning their paychecks (admittedly by Pioli’s standards), then I can understand Pioli taking swift action in terminating them and bringing in new people. I can even understand him bringing in people he knew from his time with the Patriots (as he likely had previous knowledge of these individuals’ work ethics, knowledge and talents).

The desire to have people who work for you do their damnedest and take more pride in doing their work in excess of expectations rather than taking the mentality of “I’m doing just as much as I think my pay warrants” (such people usually overestimating how much pay they’ve ‘earned’ through the work they’ve actually done) is also something I can understand, and would explain the so-called “wire-tapping”. I work for government, we have the same systems in check. E-mail, phone logs, etc. are monitored to determine how much company time the worker is spending on personal business (i.e. how much non-work they’re performing during hours they’re getting paid for). It isn’t incredibly shocking that a multi-million dollar business would partake in such monitoring. Again, if the workers were as complacent as Michael Holley indicated, it may be of utmost importance to changing the culture of football operations from people who care more for how much they could soak the organization for than how much they could contribute to the organization’s success.

If Pioli (or any other GM that could’ve been, or could still be, brought in) wanted to change a complacent culture satisfied with doing the bare minimum and having little interest in a championship that was gained by more than luck (if hard work was the alternative), I think we’d all be supportive of that change.

That being said, I doubt the candy wrapper story was made up, to which I can only say this: I can understand wondering why the hell you’re paying maintenance to do a job they’re obviously not doing (the wrapper was sitting for about a week after all… which by my count is at least 4 days too long, even if they were understaffed or only cleaned two to three days a week), but the taking of the wrapper as evidence makes the whole incident automatically extreme (and sounds on par with Mitch Hedberg’s “donut receipt” joke). That definitely could’ve been handled a lot better.

As far as his plans for rebuilding and his apparent secrecy of these plans are concerned, it’s frustrating as hell only being able to speculate what his intentions are/were. I, for one, believe (or maybe just really hope) that the plan was/is to build up the supporting cast first and drop in the intended franchise QB last. This would help prevent “David Carr Syndrome” or other 1st round busts such as Brady Quinn was in Cleveland. Instead of custom building an entire team to one guy’s talents (thereby making it more difficult should that one guy go down), it would entail building a talented team and allowing the last guy (QB) to adjust to the talents around him (thereby making it less disastrous should that one guy go down temporarily). To get the QB first and build the team around him is akin to making the QB the entire foundation’s cornerstone. If it’s later learned that that cornerstone is not of the quality it was believed to be, the building stands to get irreparably damaged. To get the QB last is akin to building a quality structure first and using the QB as the capstone. If the capstone is of lesser quality than was expected, so what? It’s less damaging to the structure to replace a damaged capstone than to replace a damaged cornerstone. The downside is that, as fans, we don’t know if this is the plan until it happens. It could very well be. It could very well be that Cassel was perceived to be the guy for real (rather than a QB deemed adequate to man the helm while the rebuilding took place… I guess in my metaphor “the scaffolding”). Will Pioli say? No.

Which brings us to the secrecy. I can understand this to an extent. Part of the existence of a salary cap in the NFL is to promote competition and to provide no team with an unfair competitive advantage due to finances. But each team wants a competitive edge to build the strongest team possible within the restrictions of these limited resources. Kansas City is not a large market, so the competitive edge of “come here, we’ll make you famous” isn’t much of one for Chiefs execs (past, current or foreseeable future). Fan loyalty can help lure talent, but that’s more our thing than a FO thing. The Chiefs don’t have overwhelming, modern day championship prestige (yet). So what competitive edges can there be? I would reason that not letting your competition know your goals heading into deals would prove to be a great advantage. If everyone expected KC to draft a QB in the first round of next year’s draft (let’s say they finished with a pick lower than No. 1 Overall), and a move was made to jockey the team in the position to draft the QB of their choice, how much greater would the trade cost be knowing that the team’s intent is to draft a team’s most valuable asset (QB)? If, however, you lowered your trade partner’s expectations to believe that your intent is in the interest of drafting a lesser position player, that deal will likely become less costly (meaning that your own team can hold onto more assets, be it player, asset, or money to re-invest in another portion of the team). It’s a competitive edge built on manipulating others’ speculation of your intents, and there may be considerable success in doing so; unfortunately, the decision to put your competitor’s speculation in doubt also casts doubt within your fanbase’s speculation.

As for owning up to his mistakes, I’ll go back to Babb and the salary cap situation: Babb (local media) fabricated a negative misconception of something the Chiefs were actually doing well and it spread like a fire causing a wave of damage in its wake. That was with bad knowledge of a situation the team was actually doing pretty well. What could be expected of this same local media if Pioli admitted to an actual error? Holy bejeezus, that would not end well.

Overall, I can appreciate wanting personnel dedicated to making the franchise a perennial contender, and I can understand building the supportive components of a team up first before dropping in the franchise QB. It’s not the broad goals behind (what I think is) Pioli’s rebuilding plan I question, so much as Pioli’s execution of this plan. Keep the ideology, but do better at enacting the plan (or, Clark, find someone else who can).

Eric Winston

Spoke in a moment of passion. While morally justified in sentiment, he lacked the censorship to scope his claims down to only indicate the fans that partook in the behavior. CBA dictates that players are open to media. He spoke to media in conjunction with this clause. So, I really can’t begrudge him the action of speaking with the media.

I’ve been saying for weeks that negativity from fans affects the players more than fans might think. After weeks of negativity, and the greetings of a negative banner on Sunday, he construed some cheers as being in the morally negative bent. Looking through comments on various sites pertaining to this issue, it’s easy to find people admittedly partaking in this deplorable behavior (cheering a player getting injured), so Winston’s perception of the intent behind some of these cheers does hold some merit.

There is some understandable and justifiable betrayal felt on behalf of the fans (at least the portions whom, in a moment of passion, Winston lumped in with the bad ones), but attempting to look at thing empathetically from Winston’s point of view, the portion of fans that cheered Cassel’s injury are a part of the same fanbase whose overwhelming response to his FA visit convinced him to stop seeking potentially greater fortune, and a greater media market, elsewhere and to settle for less money if it meant great fans. He made a major life choice based on how great the fanbase presented itself to him, and in short time saw just how negative the fanbase/local media could get [the local media is crawling with negativity, fans (though not all) have been acting out in negative fashions for weeks (even if just verbally), and it culminated with a portion of those fans doing something so deplorable and anti-supportive of the players]. Given that consideration, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winston felt a little bit of betrayal, too.

Ultimately my point on this is that fan attitude does affect player attitude, and this whole fiasco is a case in point.

Fans who cheered Cassel’s injury

Winston was correct in stating that this is not the Roman Coliseum and the players are not gladiators.

For those that use the flawed logic that NFL stadiums are constructed in the image of the Roman Coliseum so football is like the modern equivalent, you should probably know that the architectural design of NFL stadiums is not intended as an allegory to ancient Rome. The Romans designed the Coliseum as they did because it architecturally allowed for greater seating capacity. The properties of such design haven’t changed, and this is why stadiums are made in such a fashion. Incidentally, uncomfortable-as-all-get-out bleacher seating may also be used to accommodate more people. It’s an attendance maximization thing, not a throwback to days of yore.

For those that use the logic that “it’s okay to cheer MMA and boxing, so why not a football player’s injury?”, you should probably know that the rules are different going into each contest. Beating the crap out of each other is an integral part of MMA and boxing matches, and the participants willingly submit themselves to such punishment. Incidentally, it’s not unheard of for professionals in these sports to schedule matches several months apart to accommodate for the fact that they’re going to get brutalized and need copious amounts of time to recover in between bouts. Injuries in football, on the other hand, are incidental to the sport (not integral) and any action done by a player to intentionally injure another (or even that increase the odds of injury, such as helmet-to-helmet shots) are generally frowned upon. Remember that whole Bounty scandal thing? Yeah, the main part of that was the targeting of players for the purpose of injury (that money may or may not have been put towards these goals is secondary). Remember all those fines players accrue for helmet-to-helmet hits? Yeah, that’s what those are about, too.

There’s no denying that big hits or hard hits get a viewer’s adrenaline going, or that it is pants-crappingly awesome to see a player pop back up from such hits like they’re no big deal. But sometimes those players don’t bounce back up, and that’s when it’s time for humanity to kick back in. Maybe if the injury is a more minor one (ankle sprain, broken finger, etc.) to an opponent’s superstar, you can thank your lucky stars that your team got a reprieve from his awesomeness for the rest of the game, but when you get into potentially life-altering injuries such as concussions, ACL tears and the ilk, it’s time to dial it down.

To those of you convinced that Cassel’s injury is the only thing that would take him out of the line-up and that your voice isn’t being heard, you may be right, you may not be right. Maybe Cassel really was the best QB on the squad (I just vomited in my mouth a little). That being said, I personally didn’t care for the public display of discord by use of a banner flying over Arrowhead; such displays have the potential to place the fanbase as a whole in a bad light. That being said, I respect that you care so much about your team to spend extra money for such a display,

I would suggest and alternative: it may go against younger generations’ grain to not make public statements (ala Facebook or Twitter), but there’s a thing called letter writing that involves a pen and paper which would be more low key (as in less inflammatory to the fanbase) and cheaper, too. I’m in no way condoning sending threatening letters to One Arrowhead Drive (that’s kind of illegal), but sending letters highlighting your devotion to the team and expressing your disapproval of certain things that are being done which you don’t agree with (preferably with well-reasoned arguments, as you’d be taken more seriously) might be much more effective. As I write this, it occurs to me that Lamar Hunt was fond of conducting business via letter writing (even as technology advanced into allowing more instant communications), so to do so as a fanbase may very well strike a personal chord within the Hunt family as it pertains to fan concerns. The least that could be expected? Solid evidence of fans’ concerns that can’t be as easily discarded and ignored as pressing a “Trash” button in e-mail. Pioli flipped over a candy wrapper, how much attention do you think will be paid to stacks of letters filling up the joint?

Hopefully some of what I said has shed new light on certain things. Again, some of it is speculation, so my guess is as good as yours, but hopefully you have gotten to considering alternative intents. Tune in next week when I’ll be looking forward to 2013’s expected cap hits/player personnel moves. As always, Go Chiefs!!!

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Tags: Arrowhead Addict Chiefs Clark Hunt Kansas City Chiefs KC Chiefs Scott Pioli

  • tm1946

    Interesting insight into our “situation. But you seem willing to give up on the 2012 season and are “looking forward to the 2013 season” without any sense of outrage or sadness? You expecting the same cast of characters? The Pioli plan, 4 season later, and whatever or if it exists is ok by you?
    If we are headed for a superbowl, we seem doing it in a roundabout method but that is ok with you?

    Just do not get it, if you ignor Cassel injury, fans issues at that game, and Winston’s comments, where is this team headed? Playoffs, championships, HOF players? I suggest we are regressing from middle of the NFL downward under current management.

    • BigGil

      Huh. Ironically (and though almost certainly unintended) your comment actually furthers my overall point that perception is in the eye of the beholder. Without the asinine amount of turnovers, and now that the defense showed us that they can, indeed, play an entire game at the level most of us were expecting them to play at from the get-go, I do think this team can turn things around this year and be more competitive/contenders. Unfortunate as Cassel’s injury is (I was really pulling for him to have a career year), his follies (both the ones that were all on him and the ones where another player could be reasoned to share blame) have undeniably hampered the team’s competitiveness and success in all four losses (other players/units have also made mistakes all their own, but I accept that Cassel’s mistakes outnumber these individually, and possibly come close to outnumbering them collectively). So I’m not giving up on them this year and they have my full support. I do think Pioli’s successes have helped the Chiefs build a stronger foundation for now and future (meaning I don’t think a rebuild from the ground up would be necessary in the foreseeable future). I do think the roster is strong enough that any GM should make the move for a high level QB next year (preferably Geno Smith). I do say “any GM” b/c Pioli has had his share of failures, and he frankly sucks at politics (meaning how he deals with fans/media), and could very well lose his job as a result. Hypothesizing on what I believe his masterplan to be (if the decisions he made that failed resulted in successes instead, and if certain unforeseeable setbacks, such as the injuries to last year’s ACL crew, hadn’t occurred), I believe it is a sound plan for building a perennial contender. For him to get better at increasing the success rate of his decisions (or by Clark hiring someone who can), I think the plan (as I see it) need not be altered (again, meaning I don’t think a rebuild from the ground up will be necessary), it justs need to be executed better. As for my “looking forward to 2013″ remark, next week’s article is being posted before a bye week (meaning no “Know Your Enemy” for absolutely sure), and after posting such less- or un-popular perspectives this week, I figured I’d let readers know that next week’s article will be more popular in subject after possibly ruffling some feathers… so they don’t just see my name in the byline and figure “screw that guy” :-) Predicting how the bye week affects the writing schedule, I’ve been planning next week’s article for a couple weeks now (which, of course, you had no way of knowing) and I didn’t consider how that line might be construed differently (what with not considering how readers such as yourself had no way of knowing what I’ve known for weeks as they were my inner, previously unvoiced, plans). Good call. Sorry for the confusion (and my long windedness), and thank you for the read and for your continuing contributions as a commenter.

      • BurtGummer44

        The proof and perception is in the pudding and under Pioli the Chiefs get blown out (by 14 or more points) 1/3 of the time. Hell, getting blown out by a Buffalo is now an annual event. How is that even remotely acceptable?

        What Pioli successes? And don’t say 2010, which was the result of an easy schedule, the only playoff team they beat were the 7-9 seahawks. Hell, that’s the only playoff team the Chiefs have beaten with Cassel (Pioli’s franchise qb) under center. The other 2 victories over playoff teams were with Orton under center. Did you get that? ORTON DOUBLED CASSEL IN THIS CATEGORY! Yet Orton packed his bags for Dallas, and long suffering fans were left with the limp wrist-ed turnover machine as a starting QB.

        Words can not express how much of a Charlie Foxtrot this franchise has become. I thought we saw some bad years in the 70s and 80s, but this is team is just outright embarrassing.

        • BigGil

          There’s more to a successful rebuild than the W-L column. Don’t get me wrong, the W-L column is incredibly important and we all want to see the Chiefs become SB champs and perennial contenders. But what goes on with the W’s and L’s isn’t the sole indicator of successes and failures during an “in-progress” rebuild. “Successes”, by my definition, include, but are not limited to, re-signing key talents (though the initial pickups of the likes of JC, DJ, Hali & Flowers were not Pioli’s doing, re-signing them for long-term deals both fair/team-friendly in price and non-overbearing to future cap considerations is important and should be counted among Pioli’s successes), being mindful of the use of available salary cap space not just in the current season but in its applicability towards future years (by maintaining cap space last year, he was able to rollover cap money into this season which not only helped with the re-signing of Hali & Flowers last season, but helped with solid FA additions of Winston, Routt, Quinn, Boss, Hillis, Elam and Pitoitua; I know Boss and Hillis are both injured now, but, again, blaming someone for an unforeseeable circumstance isn’t exactly fair and reasonable, and that Moeaki, Draughn, Gray and Eachus were all Pioli adds and help lessen any detrimental impact pertaining to the loss of these two players, further supports that this should be counted amongst his “successes”). Really, the WR corps is deeper and more talented (though underutilized due to QB limitations), the RB corps is deeper and more talented, the OL is deeper and more talented, the LB corps is deeper and more talented, the secondary (overall) is deeper and more talented through Pioli adds/re-signs. Lacking (or not improved enough) positions are QB and DE (though Bailey and Pitoitua are starting to look really good). Which brings me to “failures”, which include, but are not limited to, negotiating contracts for players whose NFL abilities are not quite yet fully known (specifically, he overpaid for Cassel and overpaid for Jackson; Cassel’s abilities as a starter was based on an 11 game look, Jackson obviously hadn’t played a snap of an NFL game as he was drafted and not signed yet, both received contracts based on their perceived potential, both have not consistently lived up to that potential, and, as such, are overpaid; though with prior knowledge of how great a player can play, but also how inconsistent they can be, such as with Hillis, Pioli has struck much better deals that are relatively low cost and does not put the team in a compromising position down the road, should things not work out), a revolving door at the OC position (whether the previous ones left by their own choice, or by Pioli’s choice, he should’ve done better picking one to stick around and do well) and, as previously indicated, his politics suck and have allowed for negativity/hard feelings to fester and grow. Compared to 2007 & 2008, the team is leaps and bounds better overall (though the W-L record might not indicate as much, yet), and next offseason is prime time to get a high talent QB to bring it all together. As for this year thus far, turnovers (mostly from Cassel) have been killing them on offense, and Kendrick Lewis was cited by players as being a huge component to the defense’s on-field leadership and communications (which is ironic given he’s a former 5th rounder and most of the other players on D were 1st or 2nd rounders, with Houston being a 1st round talent that fell for character concerns, and Jovan Belcher being the only legitimate starter to had lower status coming in, being a former UDFA) and it would certainly hurt a defense to lose someone with those qualities and with playing skills of his own to match. Again, these are just opinions coming from a differing perspective; if your opinions differ, that’s perfectly fine, they’re opinions, everyone has them and they aren’t always the same, we can agree/disagree on any or all of them. I don’t agree with opinions that the team/organization isn’t making progress and/or will need to start from scratch, and have given my rationale why I don’t agree with them. Whether anyone agrees/disagrees in full or in part with any of my rationale is entirely up to individual.

          • BurtGummer44

            “There’s more to a successful rebuild than the W-L column”

            No there isn’t! Your words are the words of a fan who has gotten accomsted to losing. In 4 years Pioli has built a loser, there’s been very little progress. This team is no closer to winning a playoff game then they were before Pioli arrived.

          • KCMikeG

            I agree that winning is the ultimate goal and what BigGil is saying, if I may Gil, is that the steps in getting there deserve to be recognized and celebrated along the way. He has stated a long list of Pioli’s successes which are not subjective – we are a better team now than before him. Ignore all of Gil’s reasoning if you like – use only your standard of wins vs. losses as the measure of success. We were 4-12 then 2-14. Pioli arrives and the rebuild begins we go 4-12 then 10-6 (playoffs) and still managed 7-9 after losing our RB, TE, Safety & QB AND HC and were within one play of having back to back AFCW Champs and another playoff game. The last three turbulent and chaotic years have still been better than the the two horrible years that proceeded Pioli’s arrival. I still have hope for us this year. The defense is finding its groove and getting KL back, Charles is tearing it up and Draughn & Gray show promise, I think BQ will give us the ability to stretch the field making us better across the board while utilizing our receiving weapons. There are only 7 teams in the entire NFL that have more than a two game lead on us with ELEVEN games left to play. Way to early to give up on our team.

      • KCMikeG

        Bravo! Excellent post! I truly appreciate the time and effort that you invest in presenting a fact based, fair and balanced perspective of our beloved Chiefs. I hope our OC figures out who to use his weapons and that BQ lights it up and we take the AFCW by storm starting Sunday in TB!

  • wolfpalk

    Clark?, Scott? is that you?

  • PGA GM

    Fantastic Job! Best article in a long time!

  • metalchief

    keep in mind, the giants won the super bowl last year at 9 – 7 and beat a 13 – 3 patriots team….it’s not over til it’s over and now that the cassel circus is on the bench (unfortunately) maybe we can get back to work and win some games! GO CHIEFS !!!!!!!!!!!! 2 – 4 INTO THE BYE TO PREPARE TO FRY THE RAIDERS!!!

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Excellent article. Gives Chiefs Kingdom some much needed perspective.

    • tm1946

      Looking forward to 2013 after being 1-4 and 11 games to play, what kind of perspective is that?

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I think those are separate items though. Most of the article dealt with the prevailing ideas of quite a few Chiefs fans in the area. I think that’s the rub of the article. Separating the facts from the fancy. His alluding to the future isn’t strictly a concession of the season. At least I didn’t take it that way. I could totally be wrong about that though.

        • BigGil

          Yeah it was a misinterpretation that I didn’t consider could be made. Hopefully I have since sufficiently clarified myself (to tm directly, and also to any other readers who thought I meant the same at first read). In the preseason staff predictions I did predict the Chiefs going to, and winning, the SB based on my belief/faith in this team’s overall talent, and my support is unwavered.

      • KCMikeG

        That of a quitter. We were 1-4 last year w/o Charles and still were a play away from 8-8 and back to back AFCW Champs. I get the frustration, I feel it too but giving up is not the answer.


    Excellent article! This shows what a true Chiefs fan is all about, supporting every aspect of the orgainization. This is the type of motivation this team needs. Get rid of all the negative crap from the past 5 weeks (i.e. thoughts about the GM, comments from players, and poor QB play) and get on the bus and SUPPORT this team. GO CHIEFS!!!

    • BurtGummer44

      Yeah and get blown out again. Give me a break, this franchise is a disaster, and a laughing stock………….and it’s not because of the fans.

      I’m glad there are fans trying to keep Management’s feet to the fire, instead of just cheering failure.

  • Matt Finucane

    I think the reason fans care more about the cap space than the “cash spending” Pioli likes to reference is that, regardless of how much cash we are spending, if we have a lot of room under the cap it means we could’ve done more, could’ve tried harder. We intentionally downgraded at CB to save $. When the cap #s come out and we’re near the bottom AGAIN, its hard to forget letting Brandon Carr walk. Nor should we forget it.
    So if your contention is that Pioli has put together the highest-paid team in the league, I guess you also think he’s about the worst GM in the league in getting bang for his buck, right?

    • BigGil

      If you haven’t read my article of a couple weeks ago, you should; it may help understand the cap space and why cap availability looks so bad (but really isn’t). It’s not enough for a GM to focus on just the current year’s spending, there should be an eye towards the future and balancing next year’s cap accounting (and the year after that, etc.) or else they’ll shoot themselves in the foot and have to partake in the harmful practice of cap casualty cutting. We don’t have to worry about that as much with Pioli as he appears to be one of a handful of GMs to take that forward looking mentality into consideration to negotiate contracts well. To not consider future costs and only act in a way that best helps the short-term is suicide for investments (in this case the rebuilding of a team). By allowing Carr to walk, Pioli would’ve taken less benefits in the short-term (Routt over Carr, though I will point out that a ranking of CBs heading into the offseason ranked Routt many spots higher than Carr), but by allowing financial wiggle room (allowing the available cap to roll over) he sets the franchise up for greater benefit and stability in the long term. I don’t know about you, but I would not be satisfied with a team that was competitive for one year (if they made a SB push) if it meant sucking for 5+ years after (or being in a constant state of rebuild), I want a dynasty and a perennial contender and sometimes you have to take a cut in the short term for the sake of the long term rewards. As for your last sentiment, I can think of two players that are being overpaid: Cassel and TJax. Both did not have enough NFL experience (Cassel 11 games, TJax none) for Pioli to assess their actual talent/consistency against how much he offered them, and he overestimated their worth significantly (I count these two contracts among Pioli’s failures and this apparent inability to predict future performance with a lack of background among his flaws that he, or the next GM, needs to get or be better at). The other 51 players are getting pretty fairly paid compared to their talents, abilities, and usual consistencies (though many are probably getting paid a little more team-friendly than they could’ve gotten on the free agent market). If any players have played with an uncharacteristic lack of consistency thus far this year which has not been comparable to their pay (after years of otherwise having the consistency) (and yes there are many in this category) that’s on the players, not Pioli. Our boys need to get out there and earn their pay with the talent we know they have (that they’ve shown they have), and we should support their efforts.

      • Matt Finucane

        “If you haven’t read my article of a couple weeks ago, you should”
        People don’t usually say things like this about their own work.

    • KCMikeG

      Welcome back Matt. I think fans care more but are also very uninformed. Gil really does a nice job laying out the facts in the post he referenced and it is definitely worth the read. I am still waiting to see how Routt ends up working out compared to Carr but the truth is Routt is a much wiser investment. You can’t “let a player walk” if he is already out the door on his own. Carr has always wanted to be a Cowboy his entire life and it would have taken more than we paid Flowers for him to even consider staying and he is not worth $50M as his play this year has proven already – 6 tackles & 1 pass defended vs Routt’s 14 tackles, 2 PD, one FF and one INT.