‘Nother real bad game in the books, gang. That makes four so far on the year, and we’ve yet to hit the difficult part of our schedule. If this season were a game of Mario 3, we’d have lost all our lives before we even got to the Pipe Maze*.
*Remember the Hammer Brother Suit? God, what a rush it was to don that thing. Who on the Chiefs should that represent? My boy Kendrick Lewis? Could his nickname be “The Hammer Brother Suit”?
Yes, it was an ugly loss, and yes, it is made worse by the fact that the opposing team’s quarterback throws like me after 10 beers and still had a better game than our quarterback. And now said quarterback is in a cast.
Cassel said he’ll be ready Monday night “unless he’s told otherwise.” Looks like the Chiefs have found a neat new way to not say anything. Hey Cassel, are you playing? “Yes, I am playing. Unless I’m not.” Hey Todd, you callin’ plays? “Yes, unless someone else is.” Hey Pioli, what the f%#k were you thinking signing Sabby Piscitelli? “He was a good fit, based on my interpretation of that word, which I will not explain.” I can only think of one word to describe these guys: straightforward.
Our season had basically just ended, and Pioli’s first move was to go on information-lockdown regarding Cassel. It was automatic. Like that, more than anything, is what he knows how to do. I’m not going to beat this drum again; that isn’t the point of this article. But man, this team’s media presence depresses me.
On the plus side, the Patriots are probably totally freaking out about who to prepare for, right? Cassel or Palko, talk about a Sophie’s choice. Pick your poison, Belichick. Or just call Pioli and ask him. Something tells me you’re the one person he can’t lie to.
This is an important week for our GM. He’d never admit it, but this game means far more to him than any other on our schedule. Possibly more than any game since he got here, and that includes the playoff game. Pioli knows he’s living in Bill Belichick’s shadow. He knows every loss brings him closer to joining Mangini, McDaniels and Weis on the list of high-profile former Patriot failures. He knows Whitlock and others make jokes about him getting Belichick’s coffee. And he knows, on some level, that Belichick has been far more impressive than him on draft day these past three years*. A win against his mentor on MNF, in front of the whole country, is his only way to justify himself this season. He certainly won’t do it in the playoffs.
*We were all giddy about the trade down that netted us an extra third round pick this year. That was a choice move for Pioli. The Patriots had two second round picks and two third round picks in the very same draft, and still picked well before us in the first round. All because of Belichick’s trading prowess. This is a man who knows how to pull that trigger. Pioli is simply not capable of that (nobody was calling).
more after le jump:
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot Pioli can do to influence the outcome of this game. Or rather, his act in this play happened months (or even years) ago. Now he just has to sit back, relax, and watch his guys do their thing. You know, Jones, Cassel, Tin Man, McCluster, Copper. The good players.
In all seriousness, Pioli will likely suffer a humiliating defeat next Monday. And honestly, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’ve been looking at this game all season as one I wanted to win at all costs. But do we really want Pioli’s offseason performances justified in his own mind? Because thats what a win here would do, and I’m starting to think that would have devastating consequences.
Pioli has always thought that establishing his (also known as “The Patriot”) way was the key to building a winner here. In his mind, it isn’t about talent, and it isn’t about skill, it’s about everything being done exactly the way he wants it done. We must run a 3-4, we must have his former team’s backup QB, and the media must be subjugated and shunned. Pioli knows best.
He’s not alone in this. Football general managers are usually ego-maniacs (and liars by trade). They’re always right, and their mistakes are always justifiable. And that’s if they’re admitted to (Pioli is still saying he’d pick Tin Man if he had that draft to do over again). Every GM thinks he’s the smartest man in the NFL.
Pioli is in a unique situation though, because he doesn’t need to win to have the city (and owner) fawning over him. All he has to do is talk about patience, reference the future, and keep the payroll low. Not many GMs have that kind of leeway. Think about it, if the Chiefs lost their final seven games and went 4-12, he would still be nowhere near the hot-seat. And his overall record at that point would be 18-31. Is there any other team in the league whose GM wouldn’t be worried about his job after a three-year stretch like that?
I’m not saying we’ll lose out, in fact I don’t think we will. But the problem is that even if we go 6-10, with a win over the Patriots, Pioli gets to spin that (even in his own mind) as some form of perverse progress. “Hey, remember how bad things were three years ago? Remember when Berry and Charles got hurt? Remember when I still managed to beat the greatest man in history? The obvious remedy here is……more patience! Stay the course!” Pioli wouldn’t say as much, but that’s what he’d be thinking.
I hate to say this, but I think a loss on Monday benefits our team more than a win. And I don’t mean this in a “suck for Luck” way. I’m not a believer in losing for draft picks, particularly with so many games to play. But Pioli needs a wake-up call in the worst way, and a win over the Patriots would be the opposite of that.
It’s a strange thing to want your GM to have his confidence shaken, but in my mind we need that more than a win. If Pioli heads into this offseason 100% convinced of his own infallibility, we’re due for another seven months of substance over sizzle. That would be far, far more damaging than a meaningless loss to a team that is clearly better than ours.