On Scott Pioli officially joining the media
The Kansas City Star
So now Scott Pioli is officially what he has never seen much use for: a member of the media.
This is both predictable and funny, on a few levels. Scott has an active mind, truly, a brain with a high metabolism. His life has been professional football. It wasn’t hard to know he’d want to stay involved in the sport after being fired as Chiefs general manager in January. Scott did some segments on various outlets leading up to the draft, and when interest from NFL teams apparently remained tepid, he decided a spot on NBC’s Football Night In America would be best.
For Kansas City purposes, the money quote in Richard Deitsch’s piece is here:
“Evaluating in my old job the things I did well and the things I did not do well, I certainly believe understanding the media and what their job is was something I did not do a good job of. I thought this was a good opportunity to learn and grow, and get better in a lot of different areas.”
You guys know where I stand on Pioli. It’s where a lot of you stand on him, I suppose, with a few variances. I’ve always thought of Scott as very smart, very driven — and incredibly insecure. Scott As Egomaniac became the accepted narrative, but where others saw arrogance I tended to see insecurity. Lots and lots and lots of insecurity. Either way, those qualities were a toxic mix here in Kansas City, as Scott spent WAY too much of his time on things that had nothing to do with winning football games.
I’ve always thought of Scott as very self-evaluative — even if he surrounded himself with too many yes-men to get the most honest evaluation — so if he truly sees “understanding the media and what their job is” as a weakness from his time in Kansas City, that’s a good start.
But only a start. Because while Scott was pretty terrible with the media, especially that last year or so, too much focus there can distract from the fact that he was bad at other parts of his job, too. And not just the head coaches he hired, or the drafts he blew, or that the best personnel moves he made in four years were signing guys who were already here to long-term contracts.
Scott talked a lot about creating “a championship environment” in the organization, but mostly it turned into an environment where too many people were scared for their professional lives. He tried to do way too much himself, especially things that didn’t matter — right down to limiting the number of color copies employees could make, and making sure pens didn’t go to waste — which had much more to do with Scott’s failure in Kansas City than “understanding the media.”
I just don’t know that that’s something you can un-learn. From a professional perspective, Scott is smart to take this opportunity. Guys on TV have a way of seeming smarter, and if Scott finds a comfort in front of a camera then maybe the football world will remember New England more and Kansas City less. Scott has a lot of tools — intelligence and drive, for starters — that can make for a good NFL executive. As a holding pattern until something inside the league materializes, a spot with Tony Dungy and Bob Costas and the rest of the NBC crew is a great spot.
But if Scott really wants to prepare for his next NFL job, he can’t think this job fixes the problems that surfaced in his four years running the Chiefs.