October 28, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli greets fans on the sidelines before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Managing Expectations

The spin is in: our expectations were too high.

You might’ve thought this latest debacle was Scott Pioli’s fault, but you were wrong. This is, once again, our fault. Just like when we were too dense to understand the difference between cap space and cash spending, or when we weren’t smart enough to realize how good Tyson Jackson was. Or when we believed the sensationalist media’s rampant speculation about an unhealthy work environment at 1 Arrowhead Drive. This year, to top it all off, we had the nerve to expect to contend for a playoff spot.

We just can’t seem to get this right, Chiefs fans. It’s like we’ve never heard the word “process” before.

It could take 10 more years to right this ship. Or even 20. We won’t really know what we have in Matt Cassel til 2015, and Dontari Poe, being a defensive tackle, won’t be entering his prime til about 2020. I think by 2025 we’ll pretty much have this division on lockdown though. Then another 10-12 years and we’ll get a sweet taste of that AFC Championship game. We won’t win, of course. Not yet. That’s more of a 2050 project.

You’ve all seen or heard parts of Pioli’s recent “media blitz,” I’m sure. The standard, boring non-answers. No urgency, per usual. He did that thing he does where he says he’s taking responsibility but doesn’t take any responsibility. You know the one, usually something like “hey, we all need to do a better job, and that includes me.” A statement like that always sounds pretty hollow when followed up with a claim that Tyson Jackson is playing well or there weren’t any good QBs to draft. He “takes responsibility” and then explains why he hasn’t done anything wrong. And then his apologists get some talking points to parrot, we lose a bunch more games, rinse, repeat. Nothing new here, we’ve seen all this before.

The one nugget that caught my eye was when he said to Petro, “we talked over the summer about managing expectations.” Indicating that he had been warning people before the preseason even started not to get their hopes up. I certainly didn’t remember him doing that, in fact I remembered the opposite. I remembered him saying that expectations should be high. As it turns out, my memory was correct.

This doesn’t mean Pioli is lying. He very well might have talked with Petro about the need to manage expectations. Let’s assume he did. Is that not the most pathetic thing you’ve ever heard? That a GM in his FOURTH YEAR with a team would be cautioning against modest playoff hopes?

Only in Kansas City would someone even attempt this. After so many years of hearing nothing but excuses, KC fans have been thoroughly desensitized. Excuses no longer disgust us, like they do most people. It’s like we’ve been driving around with that puke smell in our car for so long, we don’t even notice it anymore.

We actually create excuses for the Chiefs now. Sometimes before they even get here. Fans were scrambling for ways to dismiss Brian Daboll’s past failures before his plane even touched down. The Daboll-Hillis reunion was something Chiefs fans were touting! Even at the time, I laughed at that.

After first hearing Pioli mention expectation-management to Petro, I tweeted some sarcastic remark and moved on with my day. It was a lame thing to say, sure, but Pioli is a lame guy. And since he obviously doesn’t communicate well, I assumed this was just some minor foot-in-mouth. Then I heard him trying to soft-sell the same idea two weeks later in an interview with Len Dawson. That tells me this is more party line than slip of tongue. And that just drives me crazy.

Is this seriously what this bunch of hacks is going with? That we were expecting too much? All joking aside, I’m surprised they’re willing to sink that low. Professional football executives essentially admitting that after four years on the job they still didn’t expect to contend. Why is Pioli not embarrassed by this? Why does he think this tactic can save him?

Dayton Moore is doing the same thing across the parking lot. It’s year six over there, and he’s talking about contending in 2014 (year eight) as if that’s a totally reasonable timetable. He actually says anyone who thinks otherwise “doesn’t do their own research” as if losing for many years is the only known path to winning.

Moore is a clown, but at least he actually is at a disadvantage payroll-wise. Pioli has no such excuse. The salary cap has made it so fortunes can rise and fall in the NFL every year…..as long as you’re not the Chiefs. Instead of our regular turn at contention, we get assurances that after a few more years of being bad, we’ll be good forever! The future, people! Consistent championships! What, are you one of those idiots who cares about the present? So shortsighted.

Then the future gets here, and we’re still bad and still being told to wait for the future. This is the reality of being a Kansas City sports fan. Your teams will be bad, and the men in charge will try to save their jobs by selling this ridiculous fantasy to the most gullible fans. “Patience, o ye Cananites, suffer five years of calamity, plague and pestilence and I shall deliver endless Super Bowls unto thee…….at a later, unnamed date.”

Someone on this very site recently told me he wouldn’t be satisfied to “just make the Super Bowl once, if it meant we had to suck for three years afterwards.” Are you f*#king kidding me?! We last made a Super Bowl in the 1960s. Pioli somehow hoodwinked half the city into thinking he’d take us there regularly if we just gave him enough time and looked the other way on enough losing seasons. It’s embarrassing. Kansas City is Springfield and he’s the monorail salesman.

Teams that talk about patience and processes are teams that lose. We know this better than anyone. Did Dick Vermeil tell us to be patient? Did Marty Schottenheimer and Carl Peterson?

I’ll field that one: no, they did not. They quickly turned bad teams into good ones. Herm Edwards, Allard Baird, Dayton Moore, Scott Pioli, these are the guys who talk about plans and processes, and how long everything is going to take. That’s loser talk, and we should recognize it by now. We’ve been hearing it from losers, and watching them lose, for the better part of a decade.

This assault on expectations will probably be Pioli and Co.’s final spin attempt. Not their best effort. I suppose I should’ve been managing my expectations for the front office spin as well.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs Scott Pioli

  • SlickGoldie

    Absolutely PERFECT article and fun read as well…nicely done

  • tm1946

    Paddy may well accuse you of being a “pessimist”.
    Hope you are wrong, I cannot live that long. Suspect you are correct, after this season ends Clark will make a move or you are 100% right. If that is the Hunt family plan, they should pack the chiefs bags and move, no point waiting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1007642638 Travis Graf

    Scott’s goal isn’t to build a winning team. His job is to wear us down so we’re completely indifferent when Clark opts to move the team to more profitable Los Angeles. I am of course kidding but sadly — I wonder if I could be close.

    Great article!

    • Jeremy Parkercom

      I don’t think it would actually happen either, but considering clarkie boy hasn’t canned pioli and crennel yet makes one wonder if there may be some truth to it.

    • Chris turner

      You brought up a good point.It does make one wonder.

  • Leon Ritz

    Man I love how many crybabies there are around here. I also love how everyone on here seems to jump all over Tyson Jackson. Remember he didn’t draft himself, and just think about this, if it wasn’t for him taking up two OL then Houston may not be as productive as he is. Don’t fault the guy for doing his job.

    • Jeremy Parkercom

      You have got to be kidding, right?

      • Leon Ritz

        No I’m not kidding. He does his job which is to play the run and take on as many OL as possible on pass plays so that Houston can get to the QB. As far as I can tell and I believe i have read it somewhere before that Jackson does his job very well. I believe he is one of the best DE against the run in a 3-4 D. People constantly jump on him because he doesn’t get sacks when that simply isn’t his job. On the plays where DJ fires through the line to get a tackle in the backfield or Houston and Tamba get a sack why do you think it’s possible for that to happen, It’s because Jackson, Poe, Dorsey, or which ever DL is playing at the time did his job and did it well. Don;t hate on the player because he doesn’t rack up the sacks, hate the scheme that is being run which tells him that’s his job.

        • tm1946

          hahaha… the other DEs in the league should have you for an agent. To get paid to stand around and take up against two OL, to think the other DEs are expected to get sacks, make tackles….what a waste of their talents.

          • Leon Ritz

            Please read above comment and reapply to yourself

        • Jeremy Parkercom

          Lmao! Yeah, heaven forbid he should read pass on a pass play and actually go after the QB, “Oh no it’s a pass, let me just stand here at the line of scrimmage and take up two lineman, I don’t want to get to the quarterback, that’s not my job.” Lol!

          • Leon Ritz

            Let me ask, how many DE get to the QB when they are double teamed. If you don’t understand the game shut up.

          • Matt Finucane

            Someone disagrees with you and, of course, that means they don’t understand the game. Classic.

          • Danny W

            Smith is the only other DE getting paid more than Jackson Sir. He’s due to make 14 million next year. If Justin Houston had 10 sacks already and Tyson Jackson maybe had more than 2 sacks in his ENTIRE career then I might side with this narrow opinion. Tyson Jackson may HELP stop the run from time to time, but he’s not worth 14 million over his entire career let alone one years salary. Understand the game? Come on man.

        • Matt Finucane

          “And then his apologists get some talking points to parrot, we lose a bunch more games, rinse, repeat.”

          Does the “apologists get more talking points” part hit home for you at all?

          • Leon Ritz

            I’m not apologizing for anything I’m simply pointing out the man does his job, just because you don”t like the pick doesn’t mean he isn’t good or doesn’t do his job. BTW does the crybaby part hit home for you

          • Matt Finucane

            What you’re doing is repeating what you’ve been told. There wasn’t an original thought in there, just the same excuses you guys have been making since 2009. Then someone disagrees and you say “if you dont understand the game shut up”
            This is a perfect illustration of exactly what I referenced in the post. Thanks for the comments.

        • konnor ervin


    • Lyle Graversen

      Look, Tyson Jackson is not great. He’s also not a worthless waste of a roster spot. He’s a good 2 down run stopper. He’s good at that job, but he’s one dimensional. Just because he’s good enough to earn a roster spot doesn’t mean Pioli should be praised for taking him. The third overall pick should be more of an impact player. That having been said, it seems like some people can’t stand to have him on the roster because he hasn’t earned his draft slot. It’s like if they admit he has any value at all then Pioli wins. If Jackson will restructure his deal for a lot less money then I’ll be fine with him being on the team next year. If he won’t then the Chiefs will cut him. If that happens I’m betting a team like Pitt or Balt will sign him and use them in their d-line rotation and their fans will be just fine with his role since their team didn’t invest a high first round pick on him.

  • Daego3

    you guys have been on a roll, keep it up

  • ArrowFan

    Sounds a lot like another level of our current leadership that lives in Washington.

  • Ribs61

    The point of managing expectations is to keep people coming to games, buying gear and watching the product on television. The Chiefs are a cash cow. If they happen to be competitive, great. Whether competitive or not the goal is to make money, not win championships. The fans need to understand this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thad.langenberg Thad Langenberg

    Great article, Matt! I loved it and absolutely spot on!

  • Danny W

    You mean we’re going to the Super Bowl in 2050? If I live that long I’ll be 70! Oh hells yea!!! Chiefs go Super Bowl!!!!

    • Matt Finucane

      all we’ve got to do is make it 38 more years and we’ll be livin the dream.

  • Lyle Graversen

    Sadly, the Chiefs have sunk so low that there aren’t many homers left to argue with you. It appears the pessimists have been proven to be realists. Good post Big Matt.