He’s baaaack. (Kinda.)
Beloved former Kansas City Chiefs general manager will be invading your living rooms this fall in his new Sunday gig as a pundit on NBC’s Football Night in America.
Here is how the excellent Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated described Pioi’s new job:
NBC Sports has hired the former Chiefs general manager for its Football Night In America studio program. Pioli will appear weekly on either the FNIA studio set in New York City or at the game site of Sunday Night Football. He’ll also appear every Monday on the NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk in segments with FNIA analyst Rodney Harrison.
Pioli said NBC Sports executives have told him they want him to be an “informationalist.” He described that position as “being able to talk about experiences, tie them into what is happening currently, and attempt to educate fans and viewers about how things really work behind the scenes.”
This is all well and good on a national level but I was a bit more interested in what Deitsch wrote later in his piece.
Pioli, who SI.com named the NFL’s top personnel executive/scout of the 2000s, was fired by the Chiefs last January after his teams went 23-41 in his four years. Pioli said he was contacted shortly by a number of different TV networks and NFL teams after he lost his job. Intending to show Pioli they were serious about him as a potential broadcaster, NBC Sports executive Dan Steir flew out to Kansas City in January to pitch him on the network. Pioli picked Steir up at the airport and they had a long dinner together at a local steakhouse. Then, at this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans, Flood spoke with Pioli about the prospects of him appearing on FNIA.
“I am evaluator by nature so I wanted to spend time taking it all in to make a thoughtful decision,” said Pioli, who made appearances on NBC Sports, NFL Network, and Sirius XM Radio leading up to the NFL Scouting Combine. “I decided this would be a great, new opportunity. 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.”
A few things here.
1. Holy crap, Pioli admitted he did something wrong. Granted it was about his inability to work well with the media and not his inability to construct a sensible roster or find a quarterback but, hey, baby steps.
2. It is good to remember Pioli was considered one of the best executives in football when Clark Hunt hired him. This is good to remember because it helps prove the point that Hunt cares about this organization and winning, otherwise he wouldn’t spend the money to go out and get the best guy available as he did again this offseason.
The other thing here to remember is even though KC hired both the best head coach available (Andy Reid) and general manager available (John Dorsey) it doesn’t mean things will work out. What is good to know is these guys both have long track records of success and have an abundance of talent, but converting said success and talent into wins in Kansas City is not guaranteed. It is fine to have high expectations and get excited about the future of the Chiefs, but remember that success is not guaranteed.
Never forget Pioli.
3. The way this story reads, it would seem Pioli had job offers from the television networks almost immediately after his firing January 4. But Pioli didn’t accept any of those offers until after the Super Bowl, meaning there was a lot of down time – including having an executive flying out to Kansas City to convince him to take the job – before Pioli finally made a decision.
This leads me to speculate whether or not Pioli had potential job offers within the NFL or if he was holding out for one. Before Pioli was fired there were rumors the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, and Cleveland Browns were potential landing spots for his services. The wait between his firing and the start of his media career makes me wonder how serious those rumors were. Did he interview with a team? Did he think he was going to have interviews with teams? Was he close to joining Michael Lombardi in Cleveland?
So what do you guys think of Pioli’s move to NBC? Will you still be able to watch NBC’s Sunday night studio show if you know there is a possibility you’ll have to see Pioli?