Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Jan 2013

Chiefs Hire Andy Reid, Fire Scott Pioli

The other shoe drops, as the Chiefs today parted ways with GM Scott Pioli. All indications are that the Chiefs will be hiring Andy Reid as their new head coach, and they're going to want to join him up with a new GM who shares his personnel philosophies. UPDATE: And a few minutes later, the reports came out that the Chiefs and Reid have in fact agreed to a contract and he will become their head coach. Have fun splitting your "carries" next year, Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis.

Before you break into the tale of how none of the Belichick people seem to be having much success when they leave the Patriots and go to other teams, I just want to remind you: Thomas Dimitroff.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Jan 2013

50 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2013, 11:46am by Dean


by jklps :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:05pm

Don't blame KC for moving on, but what a rough couple of months for Crennel and Pioli. Witness a player commit suicide then get fired.

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:03pm

In that light, this might actually be the best thing for Crennel and Pioli. Both are smart guys who will easily find other jobs in the NFL (although Crennel probably won't be a head coach again). And this way, they get to move on, rather than parking every morning in the parking lot where they witnessed that horrible incident.

by DavidL :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:12pm

That's kinda my thinking too. Getting fired sucks, but if it was me in that situation, I can't imagine there wouldn't be a part of me glad to (maybe) never have to see Arrowhead Stadium again.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:37pm

Nobody would wish that tragedy on anybody.

But Pioli was horrible in KC and created an ugly situation in the front office. And remember when Haley came out saying he thought his phone had been wiretapped? People wondered if it would hurt his career, but he got another job almost immediately. Sounds like insiders at bare minimum thought Pioli was such a jerk it was understandable for his employees to wonder about stuff like that.

by Anonymous2 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:17pm

I would love to see a comparison between average DVOA of players drafted by Head Coaches who double as GM and GMs who report to head-coaches versus GMs who report higher up (Owners, Team Presidents, etc.). Without having any data, my instinct is that Gms who don't have to report to a head coach do better (Ozzie Newsome, Kevin Colbert, Jerry Reese, Ted Thompson, come to mind) than the reverse (Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren). But I could be cherry picking. Accordingly, I suspect the Chiefs are making a mistake by firing Pioli.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:26pm

Report to whoever you like, when you keep drafting poor defensive linemen with top ten picks and all the best players on your roster were there before you arrived then you your report is going to suck.

by JonFrum :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:02pm

I assume Eric Berry isn't included in your 'all.'

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:31pm

Picking a good player in the top 5 of the draft isn't exactly a challenge, unless you're Matt Millen.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 7:57pm

You're saying top 5 draft picks never bust? Good luck with that one

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 10:57pm

You said it. A lot of top-5 picks are made out of desperation, especially at QB. Whether you get a worthy player or not is often a matter of timing -- in other words, don't stink in a year when the draft looks bad.

by Spielman :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:34pm

They might be making a mistake by handing tons of power to Andy Reid, but I really don't think they're making a mistake by firing Pioli.

by RickD :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:50pm

A comparison like that wouldn't mean much unless you had it controlled for position in the draft. At which point you might at well just look at who's drafting without regard to job title.

Belichick has done a decent enough job drafting players. For all the criticisms of Reid, his teams have won a lot of games.

Not many head coaches have draft responsibilities, too. Shanahan had that power in Denver but doesn't have it in Washington. Who else has that much power? (I ask that seriously.)

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:59pm

Yes, Shanahan does have that power in Washington. He has finalsay in all football matters.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 6:38pm

Schnieder in Seattle reports to (and was hand picked by) Carroll. He seems to be doing a fantastic job drafting talent (with Carroll's collaboration).

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 10:52am

Kubiak has final say, and Rick Smith was brought in at his request after the 2006 draft (for which Casserly always rather dubiously claims credit). I don't think Kubiak often over-rules or otherwise bosses around Smith much in practice, though.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:40pm

A mistake by firing Pioli? He started in 2009 and went through two hand-picked coaches. Even assuming the losing was 100% the coaches' fault, how many shots would you give the guy to find a winner?

by Mash Wilson :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:33pm

I haven't heard anything officially yet, just that they hired him, but we presume they've hired Reid as both GM and coach, right? Either that or they're going to let Reid hire a 'General Manager' who will report to Reid and basically run the front office for him. I like Reid as a coach but coach/GMs rarely work out well.

Firing Pioli definitely isn't a mistake, but letting Reid be the GM might be. But hey, let's be optimistic: Reid can't really do worse as a GM than Pioli did.

by DavidL :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 12:41pm

Supposedly Reid will only go to a team if he gets Tom Heckert as his GM. It's a combination that had some success in Philadelphia, including the 2001-2003 drafts.

by Mash Wilson :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:03pm

Great. Now all he needs is some necromancy and he's right back in that thing.

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:05pm

Word is that Heckert has some free time on his hands...

by DEW (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:13pm

Well, on the one hand, Charles will be underused. But at least he won't have half his carries given to the likes of Hillis or Thomas Jones. (Actually, if you think about it, Reid treats his feature backs like they're part of a two-back set...except he replaces the change-of-pace back with a bunch of passes.)

I wonder how soon the "Will Vick Follow Reid to KC?" speculation will begin? At least KC has a respectable offensive line (pending Albert free-agency news, of course), so between a coach that likes the passing game and a line that will probably keep an adequate passer from getting killed, it could be an attractive destination for a QB.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:13pm

I . . . I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Jamaal Charles keeper league fantasy owners suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:23pm


by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 1:29pm

Wow! Who knew the secret to Reid's dark side persona was his very own running game death star. Makes perfect sense.

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:05pm

That's an awesome post

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:42pm

Reid's offenses have produced some recent top-notch RB fantasy seasons. I would imagine that as a fan of the actual team, his disdain for the running game is aggravating, but his RBs make up for it in their stats through tons of use in the passing game. The most recent 5 Eagles seasons in which a RB has been healthy enough to start at least 14 games are as follows:

McCoy 2011: 1624 total yards, 20 TD (15 games)
McCoy 2010: 1672 yards, 9 TD (15 games)
Westbrook 2008: 1338 yards, 14 TD (14 games)
Westbrook 2007: 2104 yards, 12 TD (15 games)
Westbrook 2006: 1916 yards, 11 TD (15 games)

In Charles' 3 healthy seasons, he has averaged 1700 total yards and 7 TDs. So if past history says anything, his yardage totals will stay about the same while his TD total increases. Maybe it's not as good as Charles could be if he were a lone featured back in a running offense, but it's not exactly the end of the world for keeper league owners.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 8:04pm

Yep I remember drafting Westbrook and then Brady in 2007, both of whom were #1 at their position

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 11:20pm

The difference is that Charles has not been particularly good as a receiving back. I can't say why that is, but he's much more effective running, and running to the outside in particular.

by TomC :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 3:06pm

No! Jamaal Charles owners are peaceful. We have no weapons. You can't possibly–

(And yes, I am a Jamaal Charles keeper-league fantasy owner.)

by tuluse :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 6:08pm

I hope it's ppr.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 6:26pm

I think you meant PPG, and those are from Babylon 5, not Star Wars.


by JonFrum :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:10pm

So much for the Belichick haters who claimed that Pioli was the brains in the organization. I think it's fair to say that Pioli really did prove himself in New England. This just goes to show how hard it is to succeed in the NFL. Pioli made mistakes in his first head coach hire and in his choice of quarterback. Since every hire is a gamble, it's not so hard to come out on the losing end twice in a row.

The simple truth, which a lot of sports writers and fans (and coaches and GMs and owners, for that fact) don't want to hear - is that you need to be both good and lucky. The draft really is a crap shoot, and you never know how a coach will work out, no matter what he's done in the past. Pioli deserved to be fired, on the captain-goes-down-with-the-ship principle. That doesn't mean that given a do-over, you'd get the same results. Maybe you would, but you just don't know.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:47pm

And if you start slowly, it helps to not be universally despised, too. Having coaches you hand-picked leave claiming you'd wiretapped their phones doesn't paint a pretty picture.

And the thing about proving yourself in the NFL is you need to constantly prove yourself again. He succeeded in NE and was beyond horrible in KC, spanning multiple coaches. My money would be on his next gig ending up more like KC than NE, but time will tell.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:49pm

Bizarre spam filter note: The much more common term for wiretapping phones, the one that starts with a "b" and ends in "u g g e d", will block a post.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 2:12pm

Sad thing for Raiders fans thsg S. Poilo get axed. Kc hiegs going to surpass Chargers soon beucuAse of A. Reid. 3rd placegoing to vbe regular spot for Chiesf

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 4:11pm

This is not a bad hire. Andy Reid is thought of as a passing guru, and that is the Chiefs' weak spot. Certainly Jamaal Charles is a good fit for the "Westbrook" role in the offense, and Bowe as an "X" receiver seems like a natural fit. The Chiefs have an offensive line (the injury-plagued failure of which was the cause of the Eagles' woes on offense this year), and the second pick in the draft to obtain whichever college prospect QB Reid thinks he can train up (or, I suppose, Michael Vick).

I honestly don't know what offensive scheme the Chiefs were running under Romeo and his staff (if, indeed, there was one).

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 11:01am

Bowe's a free agent. I doubt he'll be back.

by johonny (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 4:51pm

Isn't the main point here that most coaches, GM, managers etc in all sports are about average. Once in a while you get a true horrible stinker that clearly can't do anything. However most coaches are about as good as the talent on the roster and most GMs are about as good as drafting as each other. Every time someone is dumped there is a hope for a true magic gem, but the reality is the team is likely getting another guy that will prove themselves about as good. If your really pessimistic you could argue it is a lot easier to find the wrong guy than one of those magic great coaches.

The big difference here is Andy Reid has a track record a mile long. This is similar to when KC picked up Marty Schottenheimer or Dick Vermeil(both who actually had their best winning percentage in KC). Unlike rolling the dice on an unknown guy this seems like the biggest no brainer move of the of season.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 4:56pm

So which QB will jump up to the #2 pick? Geno Smith? Glennon? Barkley? Andy did pretty good last time he had the second pick and picked a QB.

by Thok :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 7:50pm

Hey now, Alex Smith could join the long tradition of QB's going from San Francisco to Kansas City. (I thought Philly was a possible landing point for Alex if Reid stayed there.)

by Dean :: Mon, 01/07/2013 - 11:46am

If you're Andy Reid and you know you're going to throw the ball 40+ times/game, why do you bring in Alex Smith? Square peg, meet round hole.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 11:28pm

I doubt Reid will care much who goes on the second pick, since the Chiefs have the #1 pick. I also agree that the possibility that they'll sign Alex Smith has more merit than drafting any of this year's college QB crop at #1.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 10:42pm

Gerat chance G. smith going to tets well in combine and pro day andbKC cheosf going to draft him #1. Hope KC draft some other guy insgstad

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 5:08pm

the one thing I really wonder about this move is how much does andy reid still have it in terms of energy. He's remarkably young for having had such a long tenure in philly, age 54, but he's no spring chicken. He's very fat, though it's hard to know what his health situation is. And he lost a son to a drug overdose just a few months ago, and I can't imagine he's even close to getting over that.

Of course maybe KC will do him good as a change of scenery. It's supposedly a great sports town, though i've never spent any time there, whereas philly may be the worst sports town in america.

by Dean :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 5:34pm

"philly may be the worst sports town in america."

So you've obviously never spent any time there, either. It's right near your [SHIFT] key.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 6:25pm

Nice troll there. I'm not a Philly fan at all, but that's clearly a hugely passionate sports town full of fans who will cheer for their team no matter what. Yeah, there are famous incidents of negative behavior (Santa, batteries at J.D. Drew, Michael Irvin on the field), but the fans are there, win or lose. Contrast that with a town like Atlanta (I lived there for a while, so I can make fun of it), where the Braves and Hawks couldn't sell out during times of success, and only the last few years have really caused Falcons fans to show up. Heck, I'm a huge Bucs fan, but they barely sell out (to be fair, the economy is excrementally bad), and Florida teams in general have issues attracting fans because there's just so much to do there outside of sit in a stadium.

by Mash Wilson :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 6:59pm

He exaggerated like people on the internet do, but he has a point. Succeed in KC and the fans there will love you and sing your praises for years to come. Succeed in Philadelphia and the fans will still stand ready to jump all over your ass and boo you out of town the second you stop winning. Philadelphia fans are passionate, but not in a way that makes it a lot of fun to coach there. Or run a team there. Or play there.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 11:30pm

Passionate sports fans aren't necessarily smart ones.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Sun, 01/06/2013 - 12:11am

" but that's clearly a hugely passionate sports town full of fans who will cheer for their team no matter what"

By cheer, you mean "boo and throw batteries" right?

Philly sports fans are certainly passionate, but its almost always negatively channeled.

by towishimp (not verified) :: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 10:46pm

I agree; he wasn't questioning their passion. That would be foolish; their passion is obvious. But I lived in Philly for two years and I can attest that the fans were crazy. Many of my students disliked Reid and McNabb, and this was the year they went to the Super Bowl.