This is the first time since joining the AA staff that I am writing a piece that I hope is completely irrelevant by the time most of you read it. I hope more than anything that shortly after this post hits the sight that news breaks that Scott Pioli has been fired and you can just stop reading this post right now. I hope that by mid-afternoon this post is pushed down the sight into obscurity.
Sadly, I don’t think that will be the case.
Most of Chiefs Nation seems confident that owner Clark Hunt will fire Scott Pioli. This season has been such a complete and total disaster that it almost seems impossible for there not to be wide spread changes in the organization. You add to that the fan unrest and protests by the SaveOurChiefs group and it would seem that Hunt will be forced to make a move, right? Maybe, I guess we’ll all find out in the coming hours, days, or weeks. The common thought seems to be that Pioli will be fired once this dumpster fire of a season is over.
Well here’s the problem. The time for making that move, at least effectively, is running out. If today comes and goes with no news of Scott Pioli’s firing it most likely means that he will keep his job for another week. If that is the case, then one of two things will happen. Either Scott Pioli will keep his job for another season or the Chiefs will be so behind schedule in getting their new regime in place that they will be playing catch up with the rest of the NFL and setting themselves up for failure.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the timeline of how things went down the last time Clark Hunt replaced his general manager.
Carl Peterson resigned (not that he had much choice) on Monday, December 15th. That was the Monday after the Chiefs week 15 game. In other words, today is the equivalent of that day. So if Scott Pioli isn’t fired today, the Chiefs will be operating behind the timeline that happened four years ago.
Clark Hunt hired Scott Pioli on Tuesday, January 13th. So it took Hunt just over four weeks to get his new GM hired. Perhaps he would move faster this time around, but I don’t think we should assume that. Some may suggest that he is possibly already talking to candidates behind the scenes, but in today’s age of news breaking tweets that seems awfully risky. I think that a four week turnaround from firing Pioli to hiring a new GM is probably a fair estimate. Putting that off another week would be very costly, in my opinion.
Scott Pioli then took 10 days to fire Herm Edwards on Friday, January 23rd. Hopefully a new GM would be sensible enough to fire Romeo Crennel immediately upon taking the job, but even then, if the new GM wasn’t hired until the second week of January, many of the top coaching candidates would already be off the market.
It then took Pioli two weeks to hire his new coach Todd Haley on February 6th. By that point, all the top assistants were off the market and Haley ended up with Clancy Pendergast as his defensive coordinator and holdover Chan Gailey staying on (although just temporarily) as his offensive coordinator because there simply wasn’t anyone else available.
UPDATE: Here is a list of recent coaching hires in the NFL by the date they were hired.
Mike Shanahan – January 6th
Jim Harbaugh – January 7th
Mike Mularky – January 10th
Ron Rivera – January 11th
Jeff Fisher – January 13th
John Fox – January 13th
Pat Shurmur – January 13th
Chan Gailey – January 19th
Joe Philbin – January 20th
Chuck Pagano – January 25th
Dennis Allen – January 25th
Greg Schiano – January 26th
Mike Munchak – February 7th
If you asked me to pick the five coaches on that list that I would most want to coach the Chiefs I would pick (in no particular order) Shanahan, Harbaugh, Fisher, Fox, and Pagano. Of those five, four of them were hired on January 13th (the date Hunt hired Pioli) or earlier. If you divide that list into two and look at the coaches hired after January 13th compared to the coaches hired before that date, I like the early list a lot better. That is why Clark Hunt can’t afford to wait any longer to start this process.
Now perhaps things will be different this time around. Perhaps Hunt will fire Pioli the day after the season ends and hire his new GM the very next day. Perhaps that GM will make firing Crennel his first act upon taking the job and will then be in on any and every good coaching candidate available. Perhaps, but I don’t know that we should be holding our breath on that one. I think if we want to have realistic hope of the kind of changes that most of us want to see that the ball needs to get rolling, and fast.
Hopefully that ball is already rolling. Hopefully you stopped reading this post after the first paragraph because Pioli’s firing has already been announced. Hopefully this post has already been pushed down the sight by rumors of Pioli’s firing, news of his official firing, a statement from Clark Hunt, and a post on the rumored replacements for Pioli. I’ve never hoped for my weekly post to be irrelevant before today, but boy I hope it is. Because if the game on Sunday taught me one thing, it’s that this team as it is currently constructed is an embarrassment. It’s a bad group of players that are poorly coached and give their fans very little to get excited about.
The thought of watching another two weeks of this without any hope of real change on the horizon is painful.
Hopefully those fears will be made irrelevant when Pioli is fired. If that’s the case, then most of you already stopped reading. If it’s not the case and Scott Pioli still has his job, then I’ve never been so bummed so say this…….
Thanks for reading (sigh) and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!