Friday, January 4, 2013
Andy Reid brings instant credibility
By Bill Williamson
On Monday, hours after firing yet another unsuccessful head coach, Clark Hunt reached out to season-ticket holders of the Kansas City Chiefs with a personalized email.
In it, Hunt expressed his sorrow and embarrassment over what has become of the franchise that his father, the legendary Lamar Hunt, made one of the most respected franchises in NFL history. The young Hunt, who has always preferred to stay in the background, promised better days ahead.
By the end of the week, the franchise's CEO gave his fan base huge reason for optimism.
By hiring Andy Reid -- arguably the biggest and best name of the available coaches -- Hunt has shown he is serious about making his team a winner.
“This is instant credibility,” said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. “It’s much like Denver hiring John Fox and St. Louis hiring Jeff Fisher ... it’s great for the long haul.”
Andy Reid brings lots of playoff experience and professionalism to Kansas City.
It became clear early that Hunt’s plan to revive the Chiefs -- who went from an expected playoff contender to a 2-14 team that has earned the No. 1 pick in the April draft -- was to get a powerful coach.
Four years ago, Hunt tried to keep the same structure that the franchise held from 1989 to 2008 when Carl Peterson ran the organization. Hunt hired Scott Pioli as general manager, and the hire was met with high expectations because of Pioli’s success as part of the process in New England. The Chiefs parted ways with Pioli on Friday, shortly before finalizing the Reid hiring.
Pioli was the hot general manager candidate in 2009. Hiring him was a sign that Hunt was going for it. Now, after the Pioli experience didn’t work, Hunt is going with a different strategy. But he’s still going for it.
Hunt is giving the power of the team to a coach. Reid will report directly to Hunt. It is a sign to the fans that Hunt is really serious about fixing this issue. A look at Reid’s track record suggests it is a worthwhile endeavor.
He won 130 games in Philadelphia and was a fixture in the playoffs. He knows how to run a team and an organization.
Reid is known for being a good man and a fair coach. He needs to create a happier atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium. Pioli was known for being abrasive to some employees and it wasn’t always a pleasant work atmosphere, even though recently fired coach Romeo Crennel was well-liked by players and team employees.
The tone of the atmosphere is set by the man running the program, and Reid can change the feeling around the building. The importance of that cannot be underscored. In Denver (even before Peyton Manning arrived), players and employees raved about the atmosphere Fox created after the not-always fun regimes of Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels.
The hiring of Reid and the departure of Pioli pushes the restart button for everyone involved.
In addition to the losing, the Chiefs had to deal with a December murder-suicide. Starting linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, Kasandra M. Perkins, and then took his own life in front of Pioli and Crennel in the team’s parking lot.
Reid also is coming off a terribly painful season. His son, Garrett, died at the team’s training camp before a terrible on-field season commenced.
This is a fresh start for everyone. Still, there is plenty of work to be done.
Reid needs to find a quarterback and find a way to get success out of a talented but underachieving roster.
But Reid picked this job instead of talking to the Cardinals and the Chargers, for many reasons. He likes the stability of the Hunt family. He likes the roster. He likes having the No. 1 draft pick. He likes the passion of Chiefs fans. He probably also likes the fact that coaching in Kansas City will be less of a fish bowl than in Philadelphia.
He likes the idea of making Arrowhead Stadium a dreadful place for opponents to visit again.
And Hunt likes the idea of Reid's getting the job done. Will it work? That is yet to be seen. But there is no doubt Reid is equipped to handle the job, and give Hunt credit for quickly recognizing that in an attempt to end the misery in Kansas City.