Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid speaks during a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

"The Process" Arrives at Arrowhead

Andy Reid sat down with the NFL Network and Scott Pioli at the NFL Combine to have a little discussion about quarterbacks, “The Process,” and being neighbors with his good friend Scott Pioli.

It was awkward.

Royals fans know very well the meaning of “The Process,” but for the uninitiated Chiefs fans out there who are unaware of the complexity of  “The Process” let me briefly break down some the various meanings for you.

Dec 2, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli (right) talks to Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt (left) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

First, “The Process” can be used in several situations, such as a way to avoid a question or to make a simple answer complicated for no particular reason. “The Process” is a go-to answer that can and will be used to distract interviewers, listeners, and readers from the actual question. Here are some sample questions and answers.

Question: Will Dwayne Bowe be re-signed? Answer:  Part of the process for the future is figuring out what to do about the wide receiver position and Bowe has been a part of that. We’re going through that process right now and we’ll see what happens.

Question:  How do you intend to fix the quarterback situation?  Answer: It’s a process. We’re going to look at the guys that we have now, the players in the draft and free agency, and then figure out where to go from there. But the important thing is we’re in the middle of the process, and to make sure we go through it and stay true to what we have in place.

(Note: “What we have in place” or “the system we have in place” are code phrases for “The Process.”)

Question: Which bar-b-que place do you plan on eating at next? Answer: Well, I’m in the process of figuring that out. You know, you have a process and you trust the process to provide you with the right answer and then you move forward.

Question: How did you get to Indianapolis for the combine? Answer: We’ll there’s a process for getting here. First, you have to figure out where the combine is being held. Is it in Houston? New York? You have to figure that out. Then once you figure it out you have to figure out the best way to get there. Do you drive? Walk? Take a train? It’s not an easy thing to figure out sometimes, the answer isn’t always right in front of your face. Then once you figure out how you’re going to get there you have to figure out what you’re going to bring. You know, shoes, socks, underwear, shirts, pants, etc. I mean, you don’t want to forget anything, because then you’ll have to go through another process to figure out how to get the things you forgot. And if you forgot things, then that probably means you didn’t go through the process right, you messed something up somewhere and need to go through the process of identifying the problem and correcting it. You see it’s all one big process that if you’re not disciplined enough you won’t be able to compete with the other clubs who are going through the process better than you. You have to stay on task so it’s important to trust the process. Because I guarantee you Bill Belichick isn’t going to forget his socks when he comes to the Combine, you can count on that.

Question: Can an organization sometimes have too many processes or maybe trust the process too much? Answer: Well, we have a process that evaluates our processes. It looks for inefficiencies and potential flaws that could lead us to false conclusions. You know you spend a lot of time building these processes and making sure they work that you don’t want to just throw them aside at the last minute and go off track. That’s when you make mistakes. You have to trust the process and that everything is going to fall into place.

Question: Is there really a ‘Process’ or are you just making this up to avoid answering the question? Answer: It depends. There’s a process to determine how I should go about answering your question. For instance, I have the former general manager of the team I now work for who was fired barely a month ago sitting right next to me. He is also my neighbor and has a daughter who may or may not be trying to vandalize my house. So of course part of the process of answering your question will be acknowledging that the process of finding a quarterback has found a couple guys on the roster that, if put through the right process, can win you some games. But if this was an off the record conversation or I was considered an anonymous source and I was nowhere near Pioli I’d say, “The process has concluded that all of our quarterbacks are terribly flawed and we’re going to be held back a year or two because the quarterbacks available to us in the draft and free agency just are not good enough to win with in the immediate future.” Really what I’m saying is it’s a process and we’re going to stay true to it and hope for the best. Also, Pioli makes me feel uncomfortable.

The second thing Chiefs fans will notice about “The Process” is it is so ingrained into the minds of leadership that “The Process” will just fall out of their mouths even when there is no reason for it to be stated. For example, at around the six minute mark of the interview Pioli randomly takes a shot at the two gentlemen directing the questions to Reid and Pioli after feeling the questions were too focused on the quarterback position. “Don’t be so locked into the quarterback,” Pioli whines. “There’s a lot of other football players out there.” Reid is caught off guard and seems to feel a need to defend Pioli because, well, Pioli is his neighbor and if Reid doesn’t say something nice his daughter will tee-pee his house. Reid says something disjointed about the quarterback position being important buy also not important and then drops “The Process” to clean everything up. “The Process,” as you will find out Chiefs fans, solves everything. “The Process” has never failed, only the people in charge of executing “The Process” have failed.

The third and final thing to remember is “The Process” can be used as code for “the present is bleak.” The reason why there is a process at the quarterback position is because the quarterback position doesn’t have a true answer. If Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III was in this draft there wouldn’t be a mention of a process about the quarterback position but instead a focus on how the team was going to stay disciplined and focus on “the process of the combine” to make sure they did their due diligence.

There is a fine line between “avoiding the question” and “the present is bleak” so Chiefs fans will have to learn how to pick up on the details that help separate the two. In general, know that if Reid or John Dorsey is asked about the state of a position or the team’s immediate potential and the answer is “The Process” then know things are not looking good for the Chiefs.

As a special side lesson, notice how when Branden Albert is discussed there isn’t a “process” for the left tackle position as a whole but instead about Albert’s contract situation, where there is doubt about whether a deal can get done. When there are clear solutions either in place or are readily available to obtain the need for “The Process” suddenly vanishes. “The Process” rarely exists when doubt is present. But whenever the unknown appears, “The Process” makes its entrances.

I know this can be confusing. “The Process” brings up so many more questions than it does answers. How will I know if “The Process” is being used in a “the present is bleak” way or a “words are just falling out of my mouth” way? How will I know if “The Process” is working? How much time do I give “The Process” before questioning “The Process?” What exactly is “The Process?”

Do not be afraid, Chiefs fans. Before too long you’ll notice what “The Process” means in the grand scheme of winning and losing football games is this:


Tags: Andy Reid Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City Royals Scott Pioli

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