The year looked to be one of return. One of relevance. One of eventual dominance in the division and hopeful playoff resurgance.
What happened instead, turned a season full of hope and promise into one teetering on the brink of record setting failure and despair. With all the talent on the Kansas City Chiefs roster, fans everywhere were certain this team would compete for the division and finally restore the glory days of playoff games and head-splitting crowd noise to Arrowhead.
Instead, the Chiefs have struggled all season. Banners have been flown over the stadium calling for the removal of General Manager Scott Pioli. They also called for the benching of then starting quarterback Matt Cassel and pled for Clark Hunt to show his fans he cares.
The Chiefs have been plagued with injuries all year. Most recently Dwayne Bowe was put on injured reserve due to broken ribs suffered in the loss against the Browns.
The season has spiraled out of control since day one. They were able to pull off a win against the Panthers the day after a horrible tragedy. Possibly because they were riding an emotional high. They would be blown out the next week by the Browns 30-7.
This season has also shown us something new. The fans have taken it upon themselves to try and collectively affect how the Chiefs operate. They are calling for the dismissal of the GM and others. The Blackout Arrowhead movement encouraged all fans to wear black to the game against the Bengals to voice displeasure with the organization.
When their demands were not granted, one phrase seemed to be on everyone’s lips…
“Clark Hunt doesn’t care”!
Go to any Chiefs site that is discussing this team’s myriad of problems and the changes that need to come. I guarantee you, you will hear at least one person make the above statement. Even when the national media outlets are covering the Chief’s situation and adding their own fiery opinions, his silence continues. Why hasn’t Clark Hunt released a statement? With all of the displeasure and anger being voiced at the organization that he is the Chairman of, why the silence? Why not do what the fans want and get rid of GM Scott Pioli immediately? Why does he continue to say nothing while allowing fans to fly banners and organize blackouts that are directly aimed at sending him, Clark Hunt, a message? Does he care? Some say he is only in it for the money. They say that as long as he is making money, he doesn’t care about the product on the field. He was very prominent in the media when the Belcher incident occured and has only been tight-lipped when it comes to his very irate fan base.
Well folks, I am no professional when it comes to reading silence. Nor am I a very wealthy football team owner (although I do like to dream). However, I am going to give you my opinion as to why Mr. Hunt has remained silent thus far.
Clark Hunt is a wealthy businessman. With his position in that business comes very hefty responsibility. While he has controlling interest in the Chiefs, he still has a board that he has to answer to.
While fans want Scott Pioli fired when they say, that’s just not how a business works. When multiple people complain to the man in charge about a problem they have, he must gather his information, take notes, and adjust from there. If any boss, be it a boss of a thousand employees or a boss of ten employees, begins changing his organization just because some people are complaining, he is basically giving the public free run of his company. He’s the boss. The public is not. If he begins making the changes the public demands without investigating the accusations first, he is then going to be questioned as a competent owner. Nobody will want to work for him if he can’t be relied on to make his own decisions. Another reason Scott Pioli might still be employed is because of his contract. The Chiefs do not discuss contracts publicly. So, if there is a clause in Pioli’s contract about paying him a certain amount of money if he is fired mid-season, that could be another consideration for his continued employment. I also firmly believe, that while firing Scott mid-season would make many people happy, it would not change the direction the team is headed. It could also cost more money than firing him in the off-season. Sometimes patience is key and when it comes to changing a position at such a high level, patience is an absolute must. Clark needs to have his facts straight, such as possible replacements including coaching staff, and other changes that come with firing a general manager.
I think Clark does care. If he didn’t care, why did he go after one of the hottest executives when he brought in Pioli from New England? He seemed to be the right man for the job at the time. Now we all know he wasn’t. The fact is, Clark proved he was willing to go after the “big fish” when he needed to. It’s not Clark’s fault that Scott hasn’t been efficient at his job. Now that he is seeing it, perhaps he will make the necessary changes. It’s not often that an owner has to admit he was wrong and move on. Especially when bringing Pioli in was one of the first moves he made as an owner.
Sure, we can all stomp and scream and voice our displeasure at this organization. The fact of the matter is, its still a business. Decisions made within the organization are paramount to the success of it in the long run. Whether the fans like how things are being done or not, Clark Hunt is still the man in charge and must take all precautionary steps before making such a big decision. That includes getting the approval from the board.
Now anyone can say, “well he should listen to the fans because he makes all of his money from them”. The Kansas City Chiefs do not make all of their money from the fans. Sure, they make a considerable amount from ticket sales, merchandise and gear but the biggest chunk of profit they receive comes from television contracts. Just from television contracts alone, last year, the Chiefs made a little over 100 million dollars.
Hypothetically, let’s say 100% of their annual income IS purely from the fan base. If you, the fan, want sweeping changes to hit your favorite team (such as most fans currently do with the Chiefs), what is the best way for Clark to approach the situation?
Think about it, if the fans pay every dime the organization makes, do you want quick swift changes? If Clark Hunt releases Scott Pioli because the fans want him to, and he immediately names a replacement, he risks sinking the organization lower than it already is and having to make the same changes multiple times in one season. Whereas, if he waits (like he is doing) and collects his notes, talks to his confidants, plans ahead, and waits for the season to end, it can all be done in the off-season. Doing it in the off-season will not only save money, but it also gives the new executives and staff time to form relationships with new co-workers and players. This ultimately strengthens the franchise. Sometimes, we get ahead of ourselves and when we decide we want something, we want it now. This philosophy just doesn’t apply in the world of professional football.
Mr. Hunt has been silent all year. However, do not think for a moment that the man isn’t paying attention or that he doesn’t care. I assure you he does. His first decisions as an owner prove it. He cares about his staff, he cares about his team, and he absolutely cares about his fans. Give it three or four weeks. If no changes are made following the Chiefs last game, I will admit defeat and defend him no longer. I don’t think that is going to be the case.
The fans have gone from hopeful, to saddened, to downright angry. Don’t worry Chiefs Nation, Mr. Hunt will give you plenty of things to smile about in the coming months. Wait and see.
Thanks for reading!
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