Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Former GM Scott Pioli's Legacy Will Last In Kansas City


Scott Pioli was essentially run out of Kansas City by a mob of angry Chiefs fans, myself included. Although I witnessed it from afar on the east coast, as a diehard Chiefs fan I felt the effects. Scott Pioli entered the fray as Carl Peterson aka King Carl left on a high note, drafting guys like Dwayne Bowe, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Dustin Colquitt and don’t forget the amazing 2008 Chiefs draft class of Glenn Dorsey, Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers, Jamaal Charles, and Brandon Carr (Barry Richardson is an honorable mention). Pioli was not as bad as people made him out to be.

Pioli’s main issue was never finding a competent quarterback or coach to land in Kansas City after Dick Vermeil left. Not only that, but he was extremely stubborn with Matt Cassel as the quarterback as that was his baby. Todd Haley also was an issue. A successful offensive coordinator and wide receiver guru, Haley was brought in after Herm Edwards’ downfall. Things looked ok until Matt Cassel was hurt and Haley went rogue and played Tyler Palko over Kyle Orton just to grind Pioli’s gears. That move cost the Chiefs the playoffs in 2011 even with Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, and Tony Moeaki on the bench. After a successful couple games at interim head coach, Romeo Crennel was hired and things went downhill from there. The Chiefs went 2-14 and Clark Hunt had finally had enough. Romeo and Pioli were gone and the new era of Reid and Dorsey has begun.

Here’s a couple things Chiefs fans have to remember though. Scott Pioli wasn’t all bad. The hiring of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel (at defensive coordinator) were very good hires. It was shown by a fairly successful 2010 campaign. His draft classes also were pretty decent. Albeit drafting Tyson Jackson at third overall was a mistake, T-Jax has turned out to be a solid player. Pioli’s claim to fame had to have been his 2010 draft class though. In this class are names such as Eric Berry, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, and Kendrick Lewis. All of these guys made big impacts their rookie season and still make impacts today. Pioli’s 2011 class brought us Rodney Hudson and Justin Houston. His last draft class in 2012 brought us Dontari Poe, Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson, Cyrus Gray (he’s a personal favorite) and Junior Hemingway.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Pioli may have had a miserable end to his career in Kansas City. He may have done a lot of bad, (i.e. Matt Cassel, Todd Haley, etc.) but look at all the great Chiefs players still on this roster that we can thank him for. While most, if not all of us, are glad he’s gone, we still have a lot to thank Scott Pioli for here in Kansas City.

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  • Jarod Cain

    Hearing the name Scott Pioli makes me want to punch small animals…

  • Manhattan_Wildcat

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit

  • berttheclock

    His draft classes were decent???????????????????????????????
    Yes, he lucked into drafting Houston. I believe he would have never drafted him in the first round, but, thought taking him in the 3rd would be a snub to other GMs. Houston and Berry were his best picks, although, I will concede Poe is starting to show he will change the defensive schemes for the Chiefs and improve the game for Jackson. However, I give far more credit to Romeo Crennell for talking him into drafting Poe. RC thought he saw raw talent which he could develop.
    However, do tell us more about taking Stephenson instead of Russell Wilson. I screamed at the TV when, I saw he had passed on Wilson. No, I did not envision him to become the starter, but, having followed his career at Wisconsin, I thought he was a winner and would be an excellent backup QB. Just because the Chiefs, now, need the body of Stephenson, does not negate this as a huge miss.
    Tell us more about leaving Jimmy Graham on board and taking Moeaki. Or not taking Veldheer, but, selecting Asamoah instead. Had he taken Veldheer, he could have moved Albert to guard. Tell us more about drafting Stanzi and Gabe Miller and leaving Richard Sherman and Denarius Moore on board. His drafts were more about who he left on the board than the ones he took. He was involved with 4 draft classes and did not fill the roster with very much talent. Look at the work of Trent Baalke, the GM of the Niners, whose roster includes a very large percentage of draft picks by the Niners and many of them are from the 4th to 7th round. This does not even take into account for Pioli’s misses on free agents or the ones he did not pursue and who gained prominence with other teams, Leach going from the Texans to the Ravens comes to mind and Pioli was left with the leftover McClain from the Ravens.
    I love history, but, there is a time to simply cut your losses and forget the Dark Ages of Chiefs football. Rightfully, Pioli is long gone and may he never darken One Arrowhead again. As far as I am concerned, both Steadman and Pioli just wasted a great deal of building the Chiefs.

    • KCMikeG

      Houston wasn’t luck it was a brilliant move to trade back in the 1st and add the 3rd round pick we got him with. Why on earth would he want to pick him in the 1st when he could get him in the 3rd??
      Leach wanted too much money and everyone passed on him after the Texans didn’t want him any more. Veldheer is going on IR while Asamoah is solidifying our young OL. There’s no denying Wilson would have been a great pick but he went in the 3rd round so nobody had a clue he would be what he has turned out to be. Thing is on another team, in another system he might not of had a chance.

      What about Aaron Curry? KC fans went ape shit when we didn’t draft him and now he is “retired” after failing on 3 different teams. Pioli made a huge mistake in betting on and staying with Cassel. He deserves credit too for resigning DJ, Charles, Hali, Flowers, Succop and didn’t let Bowe get away.

      The draft is a crap shoot. Funny how accurate 20/20 hindsight is. Yes there are players that would have been better picks – again in hindsight but ignoring all the failures before and after his picks is talking with the blinders on. McCluster will be one of Pioli’s greatest picks in Reid’s offense. Here’s a few to support the picking of Dexter at #36 – Total bust Rolando McClain at #8, the oft injured Ryan Matthews at #12, Tebow at #25 who even though he was part of the run game that got the donkeys to the playoffs, is on his 3rd team, didn’t even play last year and will be moved to a TE to if he even gets on the field in NE. Or Javid Best at #30 – Best is expected to never play football again after suffering two concussions in the 2011 season. Or #10 pick Tyson Alualu who has battled knee injuries which have slowed his progress thus far. He has shown some ability to be a disruptive force inside, but his play has been unsteady. ProFootballFocus gave him a grade of -17.7 last year, noting that he was equally bad against the run and pass. I could go on & on & on but I believe that the point has been made.

      • berttheclock

        Mike, 20/20 is a legitimate argument if it could be used for an occasional miss. Pioli had 4 years and his misses kept building into a pattern.
        I said he lucked in taking Houston because of the drug problems causing him to drop to the 3rd round. Had Houston been considered safe and had been in the 1st round, I do not believe he would have been taken by him. As for Veldheer being hurt, that is really 20/20 hindsight on your part. He played very well before being hurt. My point is it would have allowed Albert to have been moved to guard before he and his agent realized the dollar differential between LT and guard and wanted to go for the bucks.
        Yes, Leach’s economic value to teams became too high and he has been passed over. But, he would have given the Chiefs at least two solid years. That was the year when the writers at the Star and many fans thought Pioli was going to hit running in free agency and spend some of Clark’s money. Pioli appeared to be more of a deer staring into the headlights when FAcy began. BTW, if you will reread my post, you will see I wanted Wilson to be a backup in our system as I didn’t believe the Chiefs had a solid one in either Quinn or Stanzi. Even the best of the NFL pundits were putting Wilson behind other QBs in that draft, but, believed he could play backup. One thought he could come off the bench and win 3 or 4 games for a team.

        • KCMikeG

          I agree Pioli had plenty of issues in his picks. The pick for Cassel was the killer. Just saying the guy got it right more than he is given credit for and that he did some things that will significantly contribute to this team being successful. After this year McCluster, Hemingway and Cyrus Gray will be picks that will look like some of his best. Is that 20/20 hindsight or some serious crystal ball action?

      • berttheclock

        Brilliant move to trade down from 21st, so, we could take Baldwin and be prescient enough to know Houston would free fall to the 3rd round? That is really 20/20.

        • KCMikeG

          The brilliance was in the trading down and picking up the extra #3 so that when he did fall we had the pick to get him. There’s no guarantee that picking at #21 would have been anymore successful than Baldwin. The beauty is that we still have the opportunity to develop Jenkins which would offset the failure in JB. Houston staying clean and outplaying Hali was the frosting on the cake taking away some of the JB sting. Burfict was a favorite of mine and he reminded me of the Houston pick. Who knows how much he could have change our year for the better – on and off the field.

    • Jeff Grasser Jr

      Im with you on the Russel Wilson thing…i was yelling at my tv too…such an easy call in my opinion but god forbid we bring in competition to rattle Cassel’s cage

      • toperspective

        Pioli had absolutely no vision

  • Trent Taylor

    You won’t hear it from me. Pioli was a cancer, a bully and a drain on the entire organization. A few quality draft choices cannot make up for the downward spiral he created. Another year or two of Pioli would have caused another decade of unrest and instability. Bowe, Albert and Colquittt would have followed Brandon Carr among others. Legitimate free agents would’ve continued to scorn KC. And the influx of Patriot cast offs and coaches would’ve continued to mar the franchise with inept, unwatchable football. No thanks will ever be given to Pioli from this Chiefs fan. Good riddance!

    • Jim Harper

      The only person sad to see Pioli gone is Belichick. He lost his place to dump players he no longer wanted. Patriots West indeed.

  • calciomoti

    I’ll admit they were great picks when we win a playoff game. Until then, no.

    • Jim bernard

      Yeah really

    • toperspective

      Agreed. He must assume the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl with all of their great players. Most knowledgeable people are suggesting 8-8 and most Chiefs fans will be accept that result. Perhaps a Scott Pioli day at Arrowhead would then be in order to thank him for his service. Yuck.

      • Chris Tarrants

        I like that Idea, The Scott Piopi archery day where all of us compete to see how many “arrowheads” broad heads we can stick through a picture of his face on a hay bale

        • toperspective

          Sounds like a winner

  • ArrowFan

    To much power and not enough leadersship skill.

  • Chris Tarrants

    Yeah I have a lot to thank him for, thanks for making me break three remotes and two iPhones over the last three years! Thanks for making my neighbors tink I am a nut job for screaming at my TV in the middle of April. Thanks for making me waists money buying tickets last year to a game that I refused to even go to. Thanks for making our once great franchise the laughing stock of the NFL. Oh and a special thanks for being a dick, DICK! All of the stories we have all read about the way he treated people in the office makes you want to snatch him up by the throat and choke him til he turns blue, let him catch his breath and then choke thecshit out of him again! I hope I never have to hear that name again it’s just makes my skin crawl

    • Jim Harper

      I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for making my night Chris. Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • oldchiefsfan

      Awesome…. Deep Breaths Deep Breaths….. HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Jim Harper

    Come on now Kenny. You will have a tough time selling Pioli as a sympathetic character. Yes, he had a few good draft picks. Where he failed miserably was not in who he drafted, but rather who he had the chance to draft and did not. The number of QB’s currently starting for other teams that he could have taken is nothing short of criminal. Russell Wilson. Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and even Kirk Cousins would be a starter on a lot of teams. He also passed on guys like Jimmy Graham. Combine that with his Nazi like way of running the ball club, and it will leave a bad taste in peoples mouths for years to come.

  • toperspective

    This has to be the most asinine article I’ve ever read at Arrowheadaddict. At least let the funeral take place before you argue for a pardon for the murderer. Let me guess – you’re also impressed that Hitler got the trains to run on time. Good gawd, I should have known when I read your bio and it said “get you guys to think about things and just enjoy some of my opinion, even if they want to make you punch me in the face. That’s just good journalism.” It’s not good journalism, but yes, someone should punch you in the face (metaphorically speaking of course).

  • jimfromkcj

    Sorry Kenny, you are wrong on so many levels that I could never address them all in any less than 4,000 words or so. But the #1 issue that no one wants to address is why under Pioli we came from one of the most cap friendly teams to spending cash money at the highest level and have no cap room to speak of and still have a team that I think will struggle to go 8 and 8. And we don’t have a franchise QB who is drawing a high salary, and we don’t have quality backups at hardly any position. That is Pioli’s legasy. I can’t think of any player who Pioli has drafted who was worthy of the pick, with the possible exception of Houston.

  • berttheclock

    This morning at the Green Bay local paper, there is a very good interview up with Ted Thompson, John Dorsey’s former boss. In that interview he was asked what was the most important thing he had learned from working with Ron Wolf, the former great GM of the Packers. Thompson said, “Always be a scout” He went on to say how important it is to always be on the lookout for players by scouting and evaluating talent. I believe if you asked John Dorsey the same question about what he had learned from working under both Wolf and Thompson, he might well say the same thing. That answer would have never been given by Pioli.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Pioli’s administration isn’t entirely without merit, but he left a bad, bad taste in the mouths of this fanbase. 23 losses in the final two seasons of his administration? That’s absolutely pathetic. There are only a precious few good things I can say about the man professionally. At least during his tenure in Kansas City.

    • Patrick Allen

      Right on the money.

  • Ian Nathaniel Hill

    Live in San Antonio. Is there a way to watch Chiefs game tonight?

  • Hank Stram

    I think this is a well balanced article. The writer does not say he loves Pioli. As a matter of fact he points out all of his problems. he just says that he had some decent draft picks. He does point out Pioli’s follies eg. Todd Haley, sticking with Matt Cassell too long etc. But it must be noted that 5 of the 11 starters on a very good defense were Pioli picks. Berry, Poe, Houston, Lewis and TJax and that 3 of the 6 are the best defenders on the team, Poe, Berry and Houston. Yes Pioli sucked and the writer says that but these are very good players. If Pioli missed on Wilson so did 31 other teams. And Tjax is the only decent player left from the top of that draft in 2009. To say the article is asinine says something about the person who put such a comment up.

    • Chris Tarrants

      Let’s be clear most people are simply saying that it will be a cold day in hell before we thank Him for anything. A blind folded, locked in a dark basement Ray Charles could have seen that Berry was the best pick available, and if you think Lewis is elite then you should rewind some film. He did have a few good picks but out of 30 something picks he hit on 4 good ones. Haley was a good Coach who held guys accountable but his hands were tied the whole time because of the guy that I refuse to name. He did absolutely, positively more harm than good to our beloved franchise so if there is a thanks to be handed out well then thanks for keeping arrowhead clean of candy wrappers

      • toperspective

        Well said.

    • toperspective

      2-14 and the franchise was the laughing stock of the league. He had very high draft picks. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn occasionally. The team had to trade two 2nd round picks to get a serviceable QB on the roster. So that makes 3 very high picks to get a QB considering the trade for Cassel. 31 teams didn’t pass on Wilson because 31 teams didn’t need a QB. The Chiefs needed a QB and Pioli whiffed again. He was a bad person and a horrible GM. So no, we do not “still have a lot to thank Scott Pioli for here in Kansas City”. The article is asinine.

  • Chelsii.

    I love how everyone thinks drafting is so easy. If that was the guess not sure why everyone was so sure Geno Smith was our answer this year.

    I’m glad someone finally wrote this article about all the good Mr. Pioli did during his tenure.

  • Nicholas Wilkinson

    wow this article is really really bad in retrospect especially after this last offseason. One player left from that 2010 draft.