Dec 26, 2010; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt watches on the field before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Clark Hunt Needs To Look To 49ers To Fix The Chiefs

For the last four years, the Kansas City Chiefs have been doing their damnedest to become the New England Patriots of the Midwest.

Clearly, that strategy has failed.

I don’t think it was Chiefs owner Clark Hunt’s intention to try to “be the Patriots.” Hunt has gone on the record as saying he’d like to model the Chiefs after the Pittsburgh Steelers.

No, the hiring of Scott Pioli was not a move by Hunt to imitate the Patriots. In actuality, the hiring of Pioli was smart.

Scott Pioli was widely believed to be the best executive and talent evaluator available. He was highly sought after and, in the end, was highly paid by the Chiefs. We don’t know the exact terms of Pioli’s deal with KC but it is safe to say he very well could be the highest paid GM in the league.

Hunt, for all the flak he takes about being cheap, went after the best possible GM and paid him top dollar.

Whether or not Hunt was a factor in Pioli’s failure is something we can’t know for sure. Pioli has stated many times that there has been no limit placed on how much he is allowed to spend on personnel. Unfortunately, Pioli’s word is about as good as that of a snake-oil salesman these days. We’ll probably never know for sure.

Now that it appears the Pioli era is coming to an end, Hunt is left to search for another approach to rebuilding his father’s football club.

And he should look no farther than the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs have a long history of copying the 49ers. For years, San Francisco developed their backup QBs to one day become the starter in Kansas City. It was like a reverse minor league system.

Before your collective heads explode, I am not suggesting the Chiefs go after Alex Smith, should he be released this offseason.*

*The Chiefs will need a veteran backup and if Smith is the guy…well there are worse backup QB situations in the league. Though if KC takes a QB #1, Smith may prefer to go to a team that wants him to start.

What I am suggesting is that Hunt take a hard look at what happened to the 49ers between the 2010. The 49ers entered that season with high hopes. They were supposed to be the top dogs in a very weak NFC West and were hoping to build off an 8-8 2009 season.

Instead, they lost their first five games, including a 31-10 drubbing by Todd Haley’s Chiefs. Then head coach Mike Singletary was fired following a Week 16 loss to the St. Louis Rams, which dropped the 49ers to 5-10 on the season.

December 27, 2010; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York addresses the media during a press conference after naming Jim Tomsula (not pictured) as interim head coach at the Marie P. DeBartolo Centre. Tomsula was the defensive line coach for four seasons. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

After the Rams game, 49ers President and CEO Jed York, addressed his team in the locker room.

“Obviously, we didn’t achieve the things we set out to achieve. We should be a playoff team,” York said. “We aren’t a playoff team this year. Very disappointed about that. We need to figure out how we can get into the playoffs and how we can start competing for Super Bowls.”

Later, he added to the press:

“Money is no object. “I mean, our object is to win the Super Bowl, year in and year out, be there and compete for Super Bowls. We’re going to make sure we get this right.”

York made good on his word. He decided the results weren’t good enough and he fired Singletary, despite the head coach still having two years on his contract.

Not long later, the 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh, who was enjoying a successful run as the head coach at Stanford with QB Andrew Luck.

In his first draft, Harbaugh drafted Aldon Smith 7th overall and then, in the second round, selected QB Colin Kaepernick.

How did that work out?

The 49ers went 13-3 in Harbaugh’s first season and appeared in the NFC Championship game. If not for a couple of muffed punts, the 49ers could well have made the Super Bowl.

This season, Aldon Smith just passed Reggie White as the fastest player to 30 sacks and Kapernick was just named the starting QB over incumbent Alex Smith. The 49ers are 8-2-1 and are Super Bowl contenders once again.

Since Jim Harbaugh was hired, the San Francisco 49ers are 22-6-1.

When he was hired by the 49ers, Harbaugh stated “losing is not an option.”

Chiefs fans should be envious.

Instead of “losing is not an option”, Chiefs fans have been treated to “it’s a process” and “we all have to do better” and “I believe in Matt Cassel/Tyson Jackson/Todd Haley (who wound up fired)/Romeo Crennel.” We’ve been treated to terrible QB play, scoldings from their own team’s players and worst of all, more losses than wins.

Yet unlike York, Hunt has been silent.

Indications from various articles published in the Kansas City Star are that Hunt is quietly working behind the scenes. The paper has reported that he has been meeting privately with fans, listening to their complaints.

That is all well and good but I think what most fans want to see is action. Chiefs fans want to know that Hunt cares. They want to see that he cares.

In 2010, Jed York made certain that his fan base knew changes were coming. The time has come for Hunt to do the same. The time has come for him to fire Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel. The time has come for him to announce to fans that money is not an option and that they deserve a better product on the field.

If and when Hunt does start making changes, hopefully he’ll pay attention to what’s happened in San Francisco. Harbaugh and company didn’t gut the roster. There was no 4-12 “rebuilding season.” The team simply hired an excellent coach and let him turn the team into a winner.

The Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of talent. Fans and media members weren’t crazy this past offseason when they projected the team to win the AFC West. The talent was there.

It was the leadership that was missing.

Perhaps the thing Chiefs fans should most marvel at when looking at the 49ers is Harbaugh’s latest move to bench Alex Smith for Kaepernick. Do you think, in a million years, Scott Pioli would have allowed his head coach to bench Matt Cassel in the same situation? No way.

The 49ers have demonstrated a commitment to winning. They’ve allowed Jim Harbaugh to make the decisions he feels are best for the football team. There is no telling how the Kaepernick experiment will work out, but you can’t help but admire the guts it took for the head coach to make the move.

The next six or seven weeks will be very crucial for Hunt. His team is likely going to have a bevy of valuable draft choices. KC is on track to hold the #1 pick which means it is crucial that the team fins themselves a franchise QB. Hunt needs to hire the right folks for that job.

And just like Jim Harbaugh and Jed York made perfectly clear back in 2010, Hunt needs to make sure the new regime and the fans know that losing isn’t an option.

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  • David Schroeder


  • twillisurfer5

    Ironic…the Royals need to follow the Giants model for success too

  • Jonathan Aldridge

    breaking news the royals just traded for justin verlander

    • Joshua Staggs

      I don’t get it

  • Derek Jamison

    Why don’t we support them to not immitate other teams? You can’t make a team exaclty like another. As soon as we have an Owner, GM, and Coach who understand how to build with what is available to you…they will have much more success.

  • Matt

    Chiefs don’t have a choice, rather there is a QB worth KC’s first overall draft choice they have to take a QB with their first pick. Barkely or Geno Smith? I don’t know; the way RG3, Newton and now Kaepernik maybe Geno Smith would be the better of the two options as USC QB’s haven’t faired well in the league and the league changes and you better be on top of things or you’ll get left behind. I’m all for taking a QB with our first selection rather that’s No. 1 overall or not and if the GM decided to double down and draft Tyler Wilson from Arkansas with another draft pick then I’m all for it. We have the team, we need the leadership and talent from the QB position and if we drafted a QB in all seven rounds and ended up with a franchise QB then hell I’m all for it. Obviously what I’m really saying is get a QB and get it right; of course KC doesn’t have the bennefit of having a toss up between Andrew Luck and an RG3 but we also don’t have a choice at this point, KC has to land a QB Chiefs fans can rally around and really get behind as the Chiefs leader.

  • Joshua Staggs

    I understand the call for action, but what is Clark Hunt going to do if he fires Pioli and Crennel and their replacements aren’t available due to other contractual obligations (like coaching a bowl team, or currently an OC for another team)?

    • Patrick Allen

      He’d have to wait. Ridding himself of Pioli and Crennel now will at least be throwing a bone to the fan base.

    • Lyle Graversen

      I totally agree Joshua, but only with the coaching candidates, not the GM. Firing Romeo now or after the season doesn’t matter at all. However, firing Pioli soon is VITAL. If Clark waits until after the season then while other GMs are snatching up the best coaches, we’ll be looking for a new GM. By the time the new one is in place all the best coaches will be off the market. That is why the new GM must be in place before the end of the season. Plus, the sooner the new GM is in place, the sooner they can start letting the scouts know what the game plan for the draft will be AND get deals done for guys like Albert and Colquitt so they don’t hit the open market.

  • Lyle Graversen

    Totally random, off topic comment. I just watched a former student of mine win 100K in tuition money from Dr. Pepper during half time of the Stanford/UCLA game!

  • Skylor Kingrey

    Pioli needs to be fired right now!!! I’d say after sunday’s loss then there is zero excuses for him to still be occupying a chiefs seat. I really can’t believe Hunt has kept both around this far. I mean how bad is it when they keep losing and losing and the owner just stands by? I mean come on Hunt!!! Romeo is a horrible Coach, and pioli has proven he is a bad GM, do your job!!! help us build a real team!!! We aren’t going away. not till they are gone!!!

  • sidibeke

    It burns me a bit that KC had two shots at Kaepernick and instead settled for Stanzi in the 5th. I remember reading a bit about him here on this site. Doh! Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

  • Travis Forsyth

    or we could what the ’69 chiefs did and get to the super bowl a lot quicker. tom brady, is the “patriots way” and i don’t even want to see the “niners way” how about the “lamar way”? and if we should do any imitating, the 1969 kansas city chiefs would be a great start.

  • Travis Forsyth

    i just read an article on NBC that a chiefs player and another person were shot outside the chiefs facility this morning. this to my fellow chiefs fans, we all love out chiefs and we are all pissed that once again the chiefs are a terrible team and it’s even worse now, being lied to by pioli and being fooled to think this team was heading into the right direction what with the 2010 year and all, but please keep in mind it is just a game and it’s no reason to shoot anybody…..


    Clark, Just when is it the last straw? Tomorrow when the Chiefs get embarrassed by the Panthers and their second year QB? Or perhaps the next week when we lose to the Browns and a rookie QB? Or, how about we go to Oakland a get thumped by another crappy Raiders team? Wait! I have it. Let’s just let the end of the season roll around and watch the team get blasted by the Broncos for a second time this year. That way the team can come back to Arrowhead to clean out their lockers and wonder why somebody just doesn’t do something. Can you not come forward and address this team as an owner that is hurting just as much as the players and the fans? ‘Cause you know something? We are hurting. And as for the players, when they come off the field after another disheartening loss, do you not think that they want this all to end? Hell yes they do. But I feel that they would like hear it from the owner firsthand that he is not going to take this any longer. That he is going to do everything in his power to bring back the long-lost glory that this team used to have in their DNA.
    Why is it that the only representative of the Chiefs that the fans ever hear from is the head coach. And he is the one guy who has absolutely nothing of interest to say. Crennel might as well just put it on a loop and replay it every week, because it is the the same old song and dance. We know why we haven’t heard from Pioli. He knows that both he and Romeo are on the “Green Mile”. But as fans, we would like for that to come sooner rather than later.

  • drtold

    We need a coach, not a GM, and I hear Saban is available, or Maybe Kelly. I’ll take any coach who has turned around a team that has forever been losers.