Scott Pioli has made his bed. Now he has to lie in it. Given the results from the first game after his questionable move to fire Todd Haley with three games left in the NFL regular season, Pioli is going to sleep quite well.
Before the Chiefs’ unexpected 19-14 win over the Green Bay Packers today, the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs had endured a full week of criticism. After letting Haley go and naming Romeo Crennel as interim head coach, Pioli’s draft record has been brought into question and the seemingly untouchable aura around Pioli seemed to finally evaporate. Some fans even wanted Pioli to be fired along with Haley.
But one win later, Pioli looks like a justified man. Could Todd Haley have coached the Chiefs to victory today? No one will know that, but what is clear is that Romeo Crennel had a great game plan heading into today’s game at Arrowhead and that the players loved to play for him. Even quarterback Kyle Orton, who reportedly didn’t want to report to anyone but the Chicago Bears when waived by the Denver Broncos, was passionate on the Chiefs sideline. It was a memorable day for all involved.
Not only did Pioli’s coaching move work out, at least today, but some of his personnel moves looked good as well. Defensive end Allen Bailey hit Aaron Rodgers hard for his first career sack. Justin Houston continues to look great opposite Tamba Hali. Hali himself, who Pioli locked up long term, had a monster day with three sacks. New acquisition Kyle Orton played great and enjoyed the presence of first round receiver Jon Baldwin among others. Several of Pioli’s acquisitions stepped up and responded well to the new head coach.
It’s impossible to tell what the Chiefs will do moving forward in these final two games of the regular season, and it’s even harder to tell what the Chiefs will do in the off-season with Crennel’s interim tag and their own head coaching search. But what is clear is that Pioli has cast his lot with this head coaching stand against Todd Haley. He had the power and pulled the trigger. Now he only hopes that bullet doesn’t ricochet back somehow and take out two instead of one. Today was a sign that perhaps Pioli knew what he was doing all along.