The path to relevance for the Kansas City Chiefs started the day that Scott Pioli was hired as General Manager just a few short years ago. Sure, there were talented players on the roster that had not yet reached their potential. But much like a chef that can take the same ingredients in the same kitchen and make something fantastic, most people wouldn't have the vision or knowledge to make something that most people would enjoy.
Scott Pioli's leadership and vision have come to be realized each passing day of free agency, all the while Chiefs' fans are clamoring for 'more spending' and 'more big-name' free agents. The man has a plan and to this day, that plan has got us a AFC West championship after just two years at the helm. There are a lot of similarities between Scott Pioli's building of the Kansas City Chiefs, and my life over the past year as a newlywed that just celebrated my wife and I's one year anniversary.
Scott Pioli and Todd Haley started this thing off by completely over-hauling the roster and basically starting over. They had some talented players but even they started from scratch. Derrick Johnson and Dwayne Bowe spent some time on the 3rd string there for a while. Remember that? They were starting from scratch and they had a clear picture of the kind of players they were looking for. Their first priority was to change the culture of the organization and get a single mindset from all of the players. They were going to know how to practice, know how to practice the right way, their expectations would be clear, and they were going 'to get' 'the process' on how this was going to be done.
My wife and I started from scratch as well, we threw out just about everything we owned once we got married and filled our brand new place with brand new wedding gifts. We had to get on the same page with finances, chores, schedules and how we were going to do things. Anyone who is married will know that it's the little things that you never think about that soon become discussions that must be decided upon. Something as simple as "what's for dinner?", now rather than you as an individual figuring that out, it becomes a two-way discussion. Just like setting a practice schedule and a particular way to do certain drills. Everything must be explained and discussed when starting from the beginning.
The next step in our marriage was to figure out how to build the life we wanted. Just like Scott Pioli's vision of how this team would be assembled in a way that has the Chiefs competing for a Super Bowl in the near future. It was important that we surround ourselves with the right people, make logical decisions and not letting our emotions dictate our decisions, but most importantly not live above our means. It was made pretty easy in the beginning living in San Diego because the cost of living is so high. But with each passing month we would get more and more comfortable with our situation that we continued to discuss the best way to do what we wanted to do while still living within our means.
This is exactly like what the Chiefs did with their personnel both on the coaching side, and the players side. Scott Pioli wanted to surround himself with some of the best in the business. He went out and got Alan MacCracken, who was considered around the NFL as a 'salary cap guru' and hired him as the Director of Football Administration. He and Haley went out and got Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to run the offense and defense. Not to mention the hiring of Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas to coach the Chiefs secondary. Pioli hasn't let emotions dictate his decisions. They gave Larry Johnson a fair shot to be an asset to this team long after his welcome had been worn out in Kansas City. They haven't got caught up in any of the hype during free agency and they've continued to stick to their plans, which have worked out so far for the Chiefs. And most importantly for the Chiefs, they have not lived above their means.
They didn't go out and start 'makin' it rain' by throwing multi-million dollar contracts at all of the free agents that might have made the team a little better. They took their time and did their due diligence on the players they've brought in to this team and this offseason is a great example. They didn't rush out and sign anyone. They took their time and will walk away with Steve Breaston, Kelly Gregg, Brandon Siler and LeRon McClain. A great haul for any team and throw in the fact that they re-signed their most important defensive player in Tamba Hali and locked him up for five-years, their patience, while difficult for fans to withstand has been the perfect level-headed leadership that creates a winner.
My wife and I are at a point now where we can start to look at a few luxuries with our money. We moved into a better place in San Diego in an area that we both love, paid off our debt, got a second dog, I bought her an Ipad 2 for her birthday, and we'll be taking another trip to Cabo San Lucas in January. We can afford these luxuries because of the way we went about our business when we were first building this life for ourselves. We didn't put the cart before the horse and just start buying all this stuff on credit hoping that one day it'd all just work out and be paid-off. We remained patient and didn't make decisions based on our emotions.
This is just like what the Chiefs have experienced this offseason. The foundation for the team has been laid and the structure was in place to go ahead and add a luxury to the team. Drafting Jon Baldwin in the first round of the draft filled a need for the Chiefs at wide receiver, but following that up with the signing of Steve Breaston just adds another option for Matt Cassel in the passing game. Throw in the LeRon McClain signing and you have another luxury that has given the Chiefs a formidable offense heading into the 2011 season. Scott Pioli's patience over the past two offseasons in which there were plenty of players out on the open market that may have helped the Chiefs in the short term, they weren't the right fit for whatever reason - money, attitude, scheme, etc.
We didn't go out and get a lot of shiny toys until we were settled. Once we got settled, we added some small pieces that enhanced our quality of life. But just like a bulding a football team is hard work, so is marriage. Nothing worth while is ever easy and there always needs to be a plan in place for either of them to be successful. If my wife and I along with Scott Pioli and the Chiefs continue to surround ourselves with the right people, make logical decisions not based on emotions, always have a firm grasp of the big picture and never look for the quick fix, we should both be alright.