Pioli vs. Peterson

Since Scott Pioli was introduced as the new Head of Football Operations for the Kansas City Chiefs, much has been said. It has been noted that little fanfare accompanied his first press conference, that he revealed little of real importance during it, that he gave no indication on the future of Herm Edwards.

None of that really stood out to me as I watched Scott Pioli talk to us for the first time as a Chief. Instead, I was struck by his humility, his easy demeanor and the fact he took every question in stride like a professional.

There wasn't a hint of arrogance during Pioli's introduction despite the fact he possesses more postseason bling than anyone else running the Chiefs today. In fact, none of Pioli's three championship rings were present on his fingers Wednesday. He also wasn't sporting a USFL Championship ring, or a leather coat.

In other words, nothing Scott Pioli did this week reminded me one bit of Carl Peterson.

Honestly, I was sort of concerned when the Chiefs hired Pioli. There's no questioning his football chops, but everyone knows how the media has been handled in New England since Bill Belichick first donned his hoodie. I've heard stories from people who covered the Patriots that put me ill at ease. I wondered if the Chiefs hadn't replaced Peterson – not known for his love of the media – with a GM who could be even more disagreeable.

Maybe those stories just came from bitter mouths. It doesn't appear that Pioli will be anything but a total pleasure to deal with from a media standpoint after observing him during his introductory press conference.

In fact, if what's running around is true – that Pioli really prefers not to deal with the media all that much – then we're all going to be much better off. Not just those of us who cover the team, but the fans and anyone who gives a lick about the Chiefs winning or losing on Sundays.

Really, should we be surprised that the Chiefs didn't win a playoff game in the last 15 years? When your GM is spending too much time worried about what the media is or isn't saying and tries to fight them at every turn through the team website, he's losing precious hours that could be better spent evaluating talent, better spent doing what the best front officers in the NFL do.

If Pioli intends to ignore the opinions spouted weekly by any number of writers covering the Chiefs, what else is there to do besides the work of a true GM? I don't imagine he'll be watching soap operas or playing video games. I imagine most days, when he's not on the road scouting, he'll be hunkered down inside his Arrowhead Stadium bunker watching tape and working like a demon to bring the most talented players and coaches to Kansas City. The Chiefs can only be better for it.

This leads me to a little story I want to share with all of you. If you ever wondered just how far Carl's obsession with the media extended, look no further than the following.

It was just last season when I found out that the tiniest of jabs could distract Peterson. I wrote a throwaway column, nothing groundbreaking, speaking of the players the Chiefs had jettisoned during the 2007 offseason, and their replacements. I praised the Chiefs for ridding themselves of Trent Green, Lawrence Tynes, Ryan Sims, Eric Hicks and Sammy Knight, most of whom went on to unspectacular seasons elsewhere. Let's ignore for the moment that dumping Tynes, in hindsight, was a terrible move.

But none of that mattered. Because in the midst of all that praise for the Chiefs, was an inconsequential sentence about the fact that UCLA kicker Justin Medlock was a terrible pick who, to quote myself, "blew up in Carl Peterson's face." To validate that statement, it was later learned the pick went against the consensus in the Chiefs' War Room (some preferred Mason Crosby, who was taken a round later by Green Bay).

OK, maybe the wording was a tad harsh. Maybe I was wrong to bring up Medlock in the middle of an otherwise positive column. But can anyone sit here today and say it wasn't the truth? Apparently, the truth really hurt Peterson, because it was only a few hours before I got word that apparently, he wasn't too happy about it.

What did it really matter? Why was he bothering to read anything I wrote (ESPN and Sports Illustrated aren't exactly banging down my door)? How was it moving the Chiefs closer to a Super Bowl? Was the Medlock pick – a fifth-rounder - really that big of a deal?

We'll never know the answers to those questions. Peterson is gone. In his place is Scott Pioli, who probably doesn't care what I write about, as long as it's the truth. By the way, the mid-round kicker he drafted in 2006 (Stephen Gostkowski) also blew up, to the tune of a Pro Bowl appearance this season.

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