January, 13th 2009, Scott Pioli is hired to be the Kansas City Chiefs new general manager. A move that, at the time, was viewed as one of the best in the entire NFL. Pioli was a two time NFL Executive of the year with the Patriots, helped build a 3 time Super Bowl championship roster, and was clearly the best candidate to turn the Chiefs franchise around.
Scott Pioli, the man who had so much promise, lead the Chiefs to one of the worst era’s in the franchises history. He brought his “Patriot way” and at one point, had the fan base saying, “In Pioli We Trust!”
He kept media in check, often treating them as if they weren’t welcome. He was quiet with fans, not giving information about something as simple as injuries during press conferences. He married the franchise to an unproven quarterback, Matt Cassel, and never brought in serious competition for him. He hired a head coach, Todd Haley, who ran off legends like Tony Gonzalez and Brian Waters, and butted heads with the whole 2 and a half years he was there.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Pioli did do some good things for the franchise.
He was cheap, leaving a big spending cap for the new regime. He drafted a few studs like Eric Berry, Dontari Poe, Jon Asamoah, Kendrick Lewis etc. He re-signed crucial players like Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson. Pioli has somewhat of a hand in the Chiefs 2013 turnaround but it will never out weigh all the bad he left behind. The worst thing that Pioli ever did with his time in KC, was create a disconnection between the franchise and it’s fan base.
Last season was hands down, the worst season in franchise history. The thing that bothers Chiefs fans most is that you didn’t really see it coming. The Chiefs won ten games in 2010, enough to claim a weak AFC west title and looked to have an excellent foundation moving forward. The 2011 season rolled in, and the Chiefs were decimated with injuries but still made a push for the playoffs late in the season. So, going into 2012, there was a ton of promise for the Chiefs. Or so we thought.
They looked, and played, like the worst franchise in the league. After a horrible start, fans were rallying together, forming the group Save Our Chiefs, who flew banners over Arrowhead Stadium that said “Fire Pioli” and “Bench Cassel”. Fans were so frustrated with the franchise and things continued to get worse.
The Chiefs hosted the Baltimore Ravens week 5 in what would turn out to be a pretty competitive game but, in typical Chiefs fashion last year, they lost the game on turnovers and bad penalties. The real story out of that game was the fans cheering of Matt Cassel’s concussion. The players, with good reason, took to the media to express their frustration, particularly tackle Eric Winston. This is when the fans really started to fire back, especially after being called out on shows like ESPN’s Outside The Lines.
Fans were calling in every local radio station wanting answers. Where is owner Clark Hunt, and why hasn’t he said anything? Why isn’t Pioli speaking on all these issues? Why can’t the fans get any damn answers? Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
December 1st, 2012 is one of the most tragic days in Kansas City history. Linebacker, Javon Belcher, shot his girlfriend and mother of his child, Kasandra Perkins, 9 times before driving to the Chiefs practice facility where he took his own life in front of Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel. Chiefs fans came together to support a grieving family, team and community.
As the season continued, there weren’t many bright spots for fans to hang their hats on. Jamaal Charles was having a career year, but it wasn’t translating into wins. The fans were refusing to support a franchise that still had Crennel and Pioli as its leaders and the upcoming off season was for sure going to be a blow up of firings and new hires.
Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, stepped up to the plate. He went and got his guys in Andy Reid and John Dorsey. He’s more hand in hand with the franchise, making it that everyone answers to him and not pawning that duty off to his GM. He’s traveling with the team more and is attending every home game.
He’s made a bigger effort to give the fans more of what they want. The Chiefs website KCChiefs.com has gone through a tremendous over haul. They’ve put together a great staff for 65TPT, a digital media group that handles all of their amazing video footage of games, practices, and events. They’ve marketed the Chiefs better, often tailoring their adds towards the history of the team and its fans. And of course, he’s got his franchise at 6-0 for only the second time in team history.
So with this fast and refreshing start to 2013, the Chiefs fan base decided to rise up and take back a title that they had proclaimed so many years before. This time, it would be official.
Many stories have been told about how hard it is for teams to come into Arrowhead stadium and beat the Chiefs. The ground will rumble, and, if you let them, the sea of red will swallow a team whole as it begins to fall apart.
With the franchise behind them and “The Guiness Book of World Records” on hand, Chiefs fans reached a crowd level of 137.5 decibels, cementing their place in history as the loudest open stadium in the world, and the loudest stadium in the NFL. To outsiders, it’s just a dumb number that is up for meaningless pride, but to Chiefs fans, it’s the reuniting of a community and its team.
Chiefs fans have been starving for a good football team and with the hiring of a top level coach, a new general manager, and a motivated owner, they’ve reunited with their team and it’s pride. After everything that the fans, and team, have been through the last few years, it’s refreshing to feel the connection with them once again.
No more secrets, no more Patriot Way, and no more of an owner hiding in Dallas. It’s back to football and creating a top notch atmosphere for Kansas City sports. For Chiefs fans, 137.5 decibels is more than just a record. It’s a message of how far we have come, together, and who we are as a community, a fan base, and a professional football team.