After extensive meetings with former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs' executive branch flew back form Philly to KC and promptly reduced its number by one. On Friday morning, Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced that Pioli would no longer hold the general manager position.
Hunt, from the Chiefs' website:
“After several productive conversations, we made the difficult decision to part ways with Scott Pioli and allow him to pursue other opportunities. Scott has been an invaluable member of the Chiefs family since joining us in 2009, and we sincerely appreciate his tremendous contributions over the last four years.
“I know that this was a difficult decision for Scott as well. He has a great deal of appreciation for the history of this franchise, for our players, coaches and employees, and especially our great fans.
“There is no way to overstate the level of respect and admiration I have for Scott on a personal level. His character, loyalty, integrity and commitment to a team are extraordinary, and throughout the last four years, he has consistently put the best interests of the Chiefs ahead of his own. I know he will go on to enjoy further success in the National Football League, and I certainly wish him the best in the future.”
Pioli issued his own statement:
“I would like to thank Norma, Clark and the Hunt Family for the opportunity that they gave me four years ago. I’d also like to thank the players, coaches, scouts and countless other employees, throughout the organization and at Arrowhead Stadium that have worked so hard during my time here. I would also like to genuinely thank Chiefs fans.
“The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to do. To the Hunt family – to the great fans of the Kansas City Chiefs – to the players, all employees and alumni, I truly apologize for not getting the job done.”
Pioli, Bill Belichick's former right-hand man in New England, took the Chiefs job in 2009 after turning down other offers for years. He earned many Executive of the Year nods in 2010 as the franchise went 10-6, and got a free pass in 2011 when the team won just seven games because the Chiefs were gutted by injuries. But the combination of a 2-14 record in 2012, Reid's desire for his own man in the GM's chair, and reports of Pioli's abrasive style made this move a relatively easy one for Hunt.
In January 2012, Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star published a story in which it was claimed that Pioli, who had just fired head coach Todd Haley, had just about everyone in the building living in an environment of "secrecy, intimidation, and fear."
Chiefs president Mark Donovan, who is still with the team and who worked with Reid in Philadelphia, told Babb that the shade in his office was drawn for the sake of consistency, to give the impression that no business-side employee is trusted more or less than another.
“This is making sure that everybody feels the same,” he said.
That's not the way Reid likes to operate, and if he's as close to accepting the job as Romeo Crennel's replacement as everyone says he is, he'll most likely want to bring in his own guy -- former Eagles personnel man and Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert is the primary name mentioned.
Pioli's undoing, however, was really a series of drafts in which questionable moves were made, and the decision to make former Patriots backup Matt Cassel the team's future at the position with a six-year, $63 million contract with $28 million guaranteed in July of 2009. Cassel has been very good at times, average most of the time, and spectacularly bad more than any franchise quarterback can afford to be. Many believe that Cassel, who is due a base salary of $7.5 million in 2013, will not return for another season.
We now know for sure that the man who signed Cassel will not be back. Now, we'll stay tuned to see what this means for a possible Andy Reid administration in Kansas City.