December 23, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) is congratulated by wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) after Hali sacked Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) (not pictured) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
n Philadelphia, anyone who traded with the Eagles for quarterbacks were sorry. Kevin Kolb’s debacle-filled career in Arizona speaks to that, and it’s not the only example. Reid propped up mediocre QBs, made them desirable, then dealt them. What Reid does is make whoever is under center better. Simple as that. It’s what he did for years in Philly, with Nick Foles being the most recent one. The Chiefs could draft a QB in the second round or so, have Reid work with him and then suddenly have stability at a low cost. That’s what history tells us will happen.
As far as talent on the roster, Reid will have significant say, and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s learned from his personnel mistakes with the Eagles over the past two years. If he starts signing a bunch of big-name free agents from different systems, we can assume he hasn’t. If he makes wacky assistant choices, we’ll assume he hasn’t. The Chiefs will have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which gives them plenty of fuel to rebuild. Either way, I like this marriage between Reid and the Chiefs. Kansas City got a proven winner who makes them immediately better to play in front of a fan base that will appreciate him. Reid got a head coaching job, which is big since there were only seven, and a chance to start new.
Pioli — part of a five-man traveling party with Hunt, Chiefs president Mark Donovan, vice president Ted Crews and Hunt Sports Group executive Ryan Petkoff — got some face time with Reid. But it was clear to everyone involved who was in charge. Hunt took the time. Hunt asked the important questions. Hunt would make the decision. Pioli waited to be told.
The first major football hire done without Pioli’s input would also be the last one done with him as an employee. Pioli was professional, but nobody could ignore the awkward setup. He sat outside, researching on his phone or computer, working on contingency options in case Reid did not agree to come to Kansas City — just like the others who would not be making the decision.
The next day, on Friday, the Chiefs announced what they called a mutual decision for Pioli to walk away from the biggest job of his 20-year career in professional football. The Chiefs went 23-41 in his time in charge, the worst four-year stretch since Hunt’s father founded the team in 1960.
Inheriting a team that previously struggled is nothing new to Andy Reid. When he began his 14-year tenure, the NFL’s longest-active streak until his release this week, in 1999, the Eagles were 3-13 the season before, good enough for a three-way tie for the league’s worst record. Reid led the team to a two-game improvement in his rookie season under the headset. The Eagles reached the playoffs the following season, after earning an 11-5 regular-season record.
Reid’s successful coaching campaign in the City of Brotherly Love was just getting started. In 2001, the Eagles won their first of four-consecutive NFC East titles, the longest streak in franchise history, advancing to the conference title game in each of those years. Despite losses in his first three NFC Championship Games, the now 54-year-old head coach led the Eagles on an incredible journey in 2004.
Philadelphia’s 13-3 record in ’04 was exemplified by six wins earned against its NFC East division rivals, topping the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins twice each, en route to Super Bowl XXXIX, before falling to the New England Patriots, 24-21.
Kansas City has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history, so there will be pressure to dissect the college football all-star games, visit the pro days hosted by schools, and then prepare for the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.
“We have the first pick in the draft and that’s a unique opportunity,” Hunt told the AP in an interview earlier this week. “On one hand I’m sad we have, because we had to earn it through playing poorly, but on the other hand it’s a great opportunity for us. I think there’s going to be a lot of thought that goes into that pick.”
The first task of the Chiefs’ brass will be to figure what to do at quarterback. There will be several options. One could be former Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. He is now in Seattle. The Seahawks paid handsomely to make Flynn their potential starter last year. But they struck draft gold in the form of Russell Wilson.
Flynn could be available. Flynn was well respected and well thought of in Green Bay. If Dorsey is among his fan club, there could be a nice connection. Reid’s roots are in Green Bay, and he’d likely have little trouble taking on a quarterback from the Packers’ tree.
The key would be to not pay too much for Flynn in the form of a draft pick. I think he’d be worth a conditional mid-round pick, because there are no guarantees he will be the starter. Also, his contract might have be adjusted to some conditions.
“I think it’s a terrific decision,” said Marty Schottenheimer, who has the second-most victories among Chiefs coaches, behind Hank Stram. “Andy Reid has got instant credibility. I’ve always had the greatest respect and admiration for him. He’s exactly what they need. I think the important part is that he has prior experience as a head coach in the NFL. It doesn’t matter what you do at any level until you get to that coaching level. The best way to prepare yourself to be a head coach is to be a head coach. Andy’s not learning on the job. He knows what he’s going to have to deal with.”
“He’s a great teacher and he’s demanding and I think that’s what you have to be. Telling players what to do is not as important as telling them how to do it. Andy’s that kind of guy.”
Patrick Allen is VP of Content for the FanSided Network. He also serves the managing editor of the network's very first site, Arrowhead Addict. Originally from Ohio, Patrick is a Chiefs fan first and a Browns fan second (I know!). He also pulls for the Buckeyes, Indians and Cavs. Guinness is thinking of naming him the most miserable sports fan of all time. @rpatrickallen