The Kansas City Chiefs need some positive public relations and the team has already went home for the winter, cleaning out their lockers after a frustrating season of 7-9 football. The end results of 2011 in the rearview mirror will bring a fired head coach in Todd Haley, a locker room fight, numerous injuries to nearly every top player and lopsided losses that deflated the team. Yet even after all of this, the Chiefs are now making news with even more negative press that will haunt the team through the off-season.
A recent article in the Kansas City Star by Kent Babb cited several unnamed sources painting Arrowhead as a workplace of fear and paranoia on the part of Scott Pioli's underlings. The Chiefs are already the defendants in a lawsuit claiming age discrimination played a major part of the team's executive culture. Now they face allegations that Haley's phone was reportedly bugged and that conversations were monitored for the sake of team loyalty. From petty micromanaging to illegal surveillance, the Chiefs' brass was accused of all of it.
No matter what is true, it's clear that something is toxic in the water. And Scott Pioli is finding himself getting slammed for his role at this point. Fans are taking to message boards in droves wondering why the Chiefs fail to spend the money under the salary cap and wonder why Pioli resorts to odd measures like those described in Babb's article. A recent post on Deadspin says winning has not covered this one up for Pioli.
"After qualifying for the playoffs last year, the Chiefs put up their second losing record in three seasons under Pioli. Attention to detail can go hand-in-hand with winning football, as Scott Pioli saw in New England," writes Barry Petchesky. "But he may not have absorbed the lesson that correlation does not equal causation, that being a royal ass of a boss will not necessarily lead into wins. It appears he was bequeathed none of Bill Belichick's football judgment and all of his paranoia, and because of it, the Chiefs aren't just losers. They're miserable losers."
There are two sides to every story, but it's clear that many fans are over the excitement of hiring one of the most celebrated football executives in recent NFL history. Instead, they're wanting answers to questions from a team that's known for not talking at all.