Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli fired

The Kansas City Chiefs NFL club has parted ways with general manager Scott Pioli just four days after axing head coach Romeo Crennel. The club is reportedly in contract negotiations with former head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles, who was also let go on Dec. 31, the same day Crennel received his walking papers. The Chiefs released a statement to the press on Jan. 4 that said the franchise and Pioli came to a mutual decision to part ways. Pioli was in charge of the club for the past four seasons, but was criticized for his poor draft record, coach hiring, and free-agent signings. Pioli apologized after being released for not being able to do the job.

The Chiefs finished the 2012 NFL season with a record of 2-14, which equaled their worst-ever showing. After letting Crennel go as head coach, it was reported that the team’s new head coach would determine Pioli’s fate and it’s believed that Reid would rather work with a new general manager if he’s hired. The new GM and coach will be able to immediately improve the team as the Chiefs own the number one overall pick in this summer’s draft.

When Pioli took over the reins four years ago he fired several veteran staff members and the Kansas City fans never really took to him from day one. Some fans went as far as renting small airplanes to tow banners behind them during games that stated Pioli should be removed from his position. Eventually their wish came true. However, it wasn’t the fans requests that led to Pioli losing his job, it was his own performance and that of his team and coaches.

Of course, Pioli was ultimately responsible for the on-field performance of the Chiefs since he put the roster together and was in charge of the hiring and firing. The franchise also went through some off-field turmoil in 2012. Linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide on Dec. 1 at the club’s practice ground in front of Pioli and Crennel shortly after shooting the mother of his child, Kasandra Perkins, to death.

Pioli released a statement which thanked the Chiefs for hiring him as its general manager, but he admitted that he didn’t get the job done during his time in Kansas. He then apologized to the franchise and its fans for letting them down. One of his most notable moves was trading for New England’s backup quarterback Matt Cassel and offering him a six-year contract worth $63 million. Things looked good at first as Cassel was named to the Pro Bowl team in 2010 and Chiefs won the AFC West. Cassel struggled after that though and found himself on the bench this season.

Pioli also struggled in the free agency department by signing players such as Kevin Boss, Peyton Hillis, Eric Winston, and Stanford Routt. He didn’t fare any better in the draft either after selecting Tyson Jackson in 2009 with the third overall pick, Jon Baldwin in the first round in 2011, and Dontari Poe in 2012. If that wasn’t enough, his coaching selections were also questionable. Pioli let Herm Edwards go soon after he took over as GM and brought in Todd Haley, who was then fired in December of 2011 and replaced by Crennel.

Ian Palmer

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