Nov 18, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans hold up signs to fire general manager Scott Pioli (not shown) in the second half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. Cincinnati won the game 28-6. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
So, Scott Pioli sold out and took a job with NBC Sports’ “Football Night in America” coverage. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. After all, Pioli was barely out of a job in Kansas City before be teamed up with former co-worker and fellow displaced General Manager Mike Tannenbaum to break down NFL Combine performances. After doing everything in his power to limit media access and create a culture of fear at Arrowhead, he is now one of those which he despised. And not only does it allow Pioli’s ego a national audience, but it hastens the healing process for Chiefs fans whether we like it or not.
I’ve read the book War Room which goes into great detail about the Chiefs operations and strategy leading up to the 2011 draft. Pioli allowed Michael Holley almost unlimited access into the front office of the Chiefs, and I’ll admit, left me with admiration. And in his stints with NFL Network and interviews on XM Radio since his firing, Pioli has come off as intelligent and respectable. Pioli is very qualified for the “informationalist” position he was hired for, and I think Pioli can add good insight to NBC Sports. His perception around the national media has already begun to change from leader of a quagmire known as the 2012 Chiefs to a knowledgeable individual that will eventually get another chance as a General Manager. Heck, depending on how well he does with Football Night in America, maybe the conversation will start to skip his mistakes in Kansas City and just go back to concentrating on his New England days.
But Kansas City will never forget the mess that was the Pioli regime: the insane lack of depth in 2011; the internal bickering with Todd Haley; the failed loyalty to Matt Cassel; [speed round] Palko, Crennel, “right 53,” candy wrapper, 2-14. All these failures will forever be linked to Pioli, and Chiefs fans won’t forget like the rest of the country eventually will. But seeing Pioli on our TV sets every Sunday will confront us with the ability to, sort of, kind of, maybe, forgive.
Carl Peterson was a hated man in KC when he resigned. Now, he is remembered fondly as constructing the best times in Chiefs history. Herm Edwards was a joke in KC when he was fired. Now, I look forward to hearing him and his upbeat and unique takes on the NFL with ESPN. No hard feelings. So how long will it take Chiefs fans to look at Pioli and not want to start shouting profanities? Will it take success under the new regime? Will it take failure under the new regime? Or will Pioli charm his way into our hearts with his stories and shared experiences with co-host Rodney Harrison?
Will you ever be able to do that? Will you ever be able to forgive the guy that represents the worst season in franchise history? Whether we like it or not, we will have to confront that very notion every single Sunday. Personally, I’m not ready to forgive Pioli quite yet, but time heals all wounds. What about you Chiefs Kingdom? Are you ready to see Pioli actually give information instead of hide it?