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Todd Haley Feared Kansas City Chiefs Had Bugged His Phone

When Scott Pioli took over as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, he vowed to change the culture of the club. The team has gone 21-27 in his three years and has undergone many changes. More than half of the 155 people employed by the team since Pioli was hired are gone. Many current and former employees describe the work environment as uncomfortable, and built on secrecy and fear. That includes former head coach Todd Haley, who was fired in December.

The Kansas City Star interviewed several current and former employees who suggest that “intimidation and secrecy are among the Chiefs’ principal management styles — and that Haley wasn’t the only one with paranoid thoughts.”

Haley stopped talking on his phone, believing that his conversations were being monitored. He even though his personal cell phone, which he had prior to taking the Chiefs head coaching position, had been tampered with.

The Star described in great detail some of the franchise changes aimed at secrecy.

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Two Parent Homes Attractive for Character Conscious Scott Pioli

About a month ago there was a fantastic feature in SI written (of course) by the great Joe Posnanski about Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. Pioli is private and often avoids interviews in an effort to keep his personality and business methods to himself. In this sense the GM is able to maintain a competitive advantage over his competition — keep in mind, Pioli played a large role in forming three Super Bowl-winning teams with the Patriots.

The SI piece (well worth your time) provided excellent insight into Pioli’s ideals when building a team. He searches for high character team players who love the game, want to win, and aspire to achieve greatness for their teammates. One aspect for Pioli in identifying high character players is finding ones who come from two-parent homes.

This point was brought to my attention while watching Inside the NFL on Showtime. I didn’t realize it, but this was actually the subject of an article in the Montreal Gazette two weeks ago, and though it doesn’t mean Pioli restricts himself to players from two-parent homes, it points to the stability two-parent homes provide that is appealing for the Chiefs. Six of the seven players they drafted were captains of their college teams. 11 of 17 key players on their squad came from homes where their parents played a prominent role in their lives.

Kansas City may not have the absolute best players, but they’re going for the right players for what they want to do. And that’s not to assemble the greatest collection of talent in the NFL, but to create the best team.

Bill Cowher and Scott Pioli in KC in 2010?

Bill Cowher made it clear to the Jets that he wasn’t going to coach this coming season, so teams have proceeded in their hirings without considering him. Cowher’s plan all along was to take two years off before deciding if he would return to the NFL. Well now that the Chiefs have wisely hired Scott Pioli as their new GM, Boomer Esiason is speculating that Cowher could join Pioli in KC in 2010:

CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said on his WFAN-NY radio show this week that he wouldn’t be surprised if Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli hired Bill Cowher to coach the team in 2010. This is intriguing on any number of levels. For starters, Esiason works with Cowher and is familiar with his thinking. Then there is the matter of Esiason also saying that Cowher and Pioli are close friends. Also, Cowher served as the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator from 1989 to 1991, so he is familiar with the city.

I know the players in KC like Herm Edwards and that Edwards has another year on his contract. Furthermore, Pioli supposedly likes and respects Herm, so there’s a good possibility Edwards and his staff could be retained for the upcoming season. After that point, if Pioli brought in Bill Cowher, you could really be looking at a blockbuster front office. The only reason for me to think this wouldn’t happen is that KC doesn’t have a clear cut franchise quarterback. Jerome Bettis said in the past that Cowher wished he had a franchise QB in Pittsburgh and will look for a job where he’ll have that. If Cowher does go there, I could see a Miami Dolphins-like turnaround happen pretty quickly, especially with all the draft picks they’ve stockpiled. This would be quite the combination.