The House That Clark Built

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Clark Hunt has been characterized as everything but a caring owner concerned with building a winning NFL franchise. Hunt was named Chairman of the Board of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005. Since then, the Chiefs have a combined record of 48-80. It’s tough to stare a .375 win percentage in the face and make a reasonable argument that the Chiefs are the “No. 1 priority” Hunt said they would be when he took over. So why should the new regime inspire any confidence? I’m glad you asked.

Here’s what general manager John Dorsey had to say, in a post-Draft press conference, about the Chiefs’ sixth round pick fullback Braden Wilson (Kansas State):

He fits the type of person that Andy wants as a fullback. The way Andy described the fullback position to me, how he wanted that filled, I thought it fit his makeup very well.

This suggests that Reid and Dorsey had pre-Draft conversations about the kind of players he’s looking for. It’s probably also safe to assume that Dorsey was open to suggestion. By a show of hands, who thinks former GM Scott Pioli did this with either Todd Haley or Romeo Crennel?

Bueller?…Bueller?…Bueller?

The relationship that Reid and Dorsey seem to share, in the nascent stages of the new administration, is refreshing. It also brings to mind the new organizational structure that Clark Hunt put into place back in late-December. Here’s what he had to say after the Chiefs relieved head coach Romeo Crennel of duty:

You have the structures where the coach answers to the owner, and the general manager answers to the coach. You have the structure we’ve had, where the general manager answers to the owner, and the coach to the general manager. And there are a number of teams that do it as we’re going to do it, as a dual, with the coach answering to me and the general manager answering to me.

What better way to ensure accountability than to have both Reid and Dorsey answering to the owner for their own individual responsibilities? I think such a structure encourages compatibility. That’s something that was sorely lacking in the failed Pioli administration. I never sensed any real solidarity in that group.  I can’t imagine Reid having a Tyler Palko moment to spite John Dorsey.

My early impression of the Reid-Dorsey marriage gives me hope that irreconcilable differences won’t the be roadblock to success. I won’t make any bold predictions here, but I’m persuaded that this administration will succeed (or fail) on the merits of its football philosophies, and nothing else. There’s still the matter of identifying the right football players to help turn the franchise around, but I’m encouraged by the aforementioned Dorsey quote about Wilson. I believe he will make it a point to equip Reid with everything he needs to effectively run his schemes. We’ll have to wait and see how well they ultimately work, but I’m excited that Dorsey won’t stand in Reid’s way.

Q. What happens when the general manager can’t scapegoat the head coach for multiple losing seasons?

A. He has to do his job and either sink or swim as the team’s hunter-gatherer.

Q. What happens when the head coach’s handpicked players don’t succeed in his system?

A. He has to own his failure to either install successful systems or effectively use the talent he’s been given. 

There’s nowhere for Andy Reid and John Dorsey to hide. Their best bet is to have one common goal - to field the best football team possible. If the two of them can extract the best elements from their previous stops, they’ll have an excellent shot at turning things around and having long-term success in Kansas City. If they can’t, our apathetic owner might have to pull the car over and separate them…from the organization. I suggest you two play nice.

Until next time, Addicts!

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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  • chiefdeorty

    With free agents and the draft I think the two of them can build a good team and be very competitive. I know we don’t have draft picks stock piled like 49er’s have or the Dallas cowgirls had in the early 90′s so they will have to do some wheeling & dealing.
    I do think they will be able to do so because we are growing some good players now and even though we could not get what we wanted out of Albert we should not think they won’t be able to get some deals done in the future that can bring in needed draft picks.
    I am choosing to be open minded as to what they are doing, after all what else can I do? I could be negative and adopt
    the mind set of here we go again, we get enough of that from so many every year.

    • ArrowFan

      Why do we a stock pile of draft picks? We are not rebuilding our entire team.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        The best rosters can still afford to have their overall talent upgraded.

        • ArrowFan

          Don’t get me wrong I would love to have the wonderful problem San Fran is going to have when they need to start cutting the roster, both in 2013 and 2014.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Stockpiling picks gives you a chance to move around in the draft. That’s the main benefit of it.

          • ArrowFan

            That applies to Pioli’s last ditch effort year not his over all legacy. True or not he has and always will be perceived as a cheap roster GM while in KC.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Some of those cap hits were created prior to his last season with Kansas City. That’s a bad argument at this point. The evidence doesn’t bear that out.

  • ArrowFan

    As a fan of the Chiefs the last season I had to agree with the save our Chiefs group and how they called out Clark. I think he responded in a glorious way in fact I can’t think of any better group he could have gone after. Sure there will always be a list of guys that everyone wants that never will take a position. However all I have seen Clark do is open his wallet for this team. Not only for player but for coaches and executives alike.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I could only align myself so much with the SOC movement. The idea that he was a cheap, disinterested owner never rang true for me. He went out and hired the top GM available after Peterson was walked. He paid that man better than any other GM in the league. That says anything but “cheap” or “apathetic.”

      • ArrowFan

        It was Pioli’s management style that gave Clark the cheap owner label Sure he spent on the GM however our payroll was not top of the line. I know this was not Clark’s call it was Pioli’s. But someone needed to make it clear to Clark that as Chiefs fans we wanted our team saved from Egoli. I never agreed with some of SOC methods but I did agree in principle.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Spotrac debunked the theory that we were hoarding cap space.

          • ArrowFan

            I don’t know about hording but we where constantly way under the cap and never even seemed interested in any upper level FA only the kind that came at a discount.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Those reports about being last in spending weren’t true at all. Andrew Gilbert wrote an excellent piece on this very subject last year: http://arrowheadaddict.com/2012/09/27/findings-of-a-chiefs-fan-who-gotaclue/

            “That was not a misprint: the Kansas City Chiefs, owned by Clark Hunt and family, managed by Scott Pioli, appear to be paying the most of any team on active player contracts this season.”

          • KCMikeG

            Thanks for bring the reality Stacy.

      • Chris Tarrants

        That was the problem, he thought that he could bring in Pioli to run every thing and then Clark could go back to Texas and rake in the cash and not worry about it, except that Pioli set the cruise control and pointed the ship straight to the bottom

      • KCMikeG

        Agreed!

  • Danny W

    To me Pioli seemed to be overly concerned with cap dollars than winning. This regime doesn’t strike me as that type. I think if Pioli were here we would be missing Dwyane Bowe and maybe even Albert and would be looking at Matt Cassel as our potential starter this season. I am super grateful to Clark Hunt for making the best moves he possibly could once again. I don’t guess it was him being cheap all a long it was Scooter.

  • Troy Utt

    Great Article…and Great Point! It would appear as though R&D have a master-plan they are in the midst of…You are correct they must continue to play nice in the sandbox or they both will be answering to “HUNT!” This is actually the first time I feel he has stepped up to the plate since his fathers passing. There have been many times, and many instances when I find myself asking,
    ” I wonder how Lamar would have handled this?”
    Point in case… I just had this conversation with a fellow Chiefs fan, about Tony G’s #88 finally being reissued to Jr. Hemmingway… That to my knowledge was the first time since he left in-which it had been done? Not a big deal to some folks, but giving it up to someone such as Jr. Hemmingway??? *SORRY FOR THE SIDEBAR
    I am encouraged early on for the way R&D have handled things so far this off-season… As well the additional staff that has been added! It would appear at first glance anyway that we are rebuilding the organization with some quality personel as well!

  • dominicscarlatti

    Wonderfully written article, Stacy.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thank you, sir!

  • Chris Tarrants

    I honestly think Clark didn’t really care the last few years. When banners started flying over the stadium and people stopped buying tickets midseason and then the talk about hundreds of people refusing to renew their season tickets that is when we got his attention. Sadly enough it wasn’t the legacy or the prestige that his dad built crumbling that woke him up but rather it was the all mighty dollar that woke him up but either way I am glad he is finally putting this team back together

    • ArrowFan

      It could have also been that he final saw through Egoli’s crap.

    • KCMikeG

      Couldn’t disagree more. While the money matters some fans over estimate their ability to effect change at 1 Arrowhead Drive. The league receives more than $2 billion a year from its television contracts alone and rakes in billions more from sales of tickets, advertising, and merchandise. A hard salary cap on player contracts, which fixes spending on players’ salaries at 59.5% of gross revenues, all but guarantees profitability for even the worst NFL teams. So Clark makes money win or lose. We can chip away with reduced merchandise and ticket purchases (season ticket sales are all paid in advance) but the big money is in the advertising sales and TV contracts. So the money wasn’t the real motivator.

      So what really brought about this change?

      Clark had always been in his father’s shadow which was immense. It is clear that Clark honors and respects what his father built. I think after Lamar passed he felt he needed to trust “football guys” to run the team to keep his father’s legacy alive. Unfortunately he ended up with some real flops. Now he is running the show and better decisions are being made daily. His stepping in and stepping up in a big way shows he is ready to start to fill Lamar’s shoes and will see that the honor and the glory of the Kansas City Chiefs is restored.

  • KCPauly

    Good read Stacy, I think R&D are good for each other as they both have had success and I think they honestly check the egos at door, I think they both want the utmost success for themselves and their players, and I think Reid is a players coach, but not a door mat like poor ole’ Crennel. I think that the coaching was 98% of the problem the last few years, just getting that moron Dabehole out is a 100% improvement, that guy could ruin a, a, a , a unruinable thing…anyway I think we will be 10-6 just from the talent we have and competent staffing…again good read Stacy….Go Chiefs!!!!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      For the sake of the kingdom, I hope you’re right.

  • Erik Hild

    It is articles like this that have made me use arrowhead addict as my favorite source for chiefs news. The writing on this site does laps around almost everything at bleacher report. Great writing Stacy!!

  • Shawn Duce

    Great story,Very well written,nice work Stacy. I love that they (R&D) are both reporting to Clark. It eliminates the blame game-finger pointing crap that goes on all across the league every year and holds both men accountable

  • P Heitman

    Excellent stuff. Great read.

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