NFL Nation: Steve Spanguolo

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Scott Linehan's reputation will take a hit if he interviews with the Raiders after citing family reasons for turning down the 49ers' offer.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation echoes those sentiments.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee explains Linehan's potential interest in the Raiders. Linehan and Tom Cable played together at the University of Idaho. They also coached together at UNLV.

Niners scout Todd Brunner says college quarterbacks John Parker Wilson, Rhett Bomar and Pat White impressed him at the Senior Bowl.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers took a chance on defensive back Jimmy Williams despite the player's off-field troubles.

Bob Young of the Arizona Republic quotes Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson as calling Anquan Boldin a "stand-up guy" who probably needed time to cool off following a sideline exchange with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The Arizona Republic's photo gallery following the NFC Championship Game is definitely worth a look. Stunning photography.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Travis LaBoy plans to play in the Super Bowl despite his injury problems.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals would miss J.J. Arrington if the running back's knee injury prevented him from playing.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com tells the stories of two fans who survived game-day heart attacks. The men visited team headquarters and met with players.

Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic says Boldin should apologize for his recent behavior.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune examines how Boldin's sideline exchange with Haley might help Haley while hurting Boldin.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind says Haley conceivably could have been the Steelers' offensive coordinator if he had accepted a job offer from Pittsburgh years ago.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times recalls how Haley could have been with the Bears -- along with Kurt Warner.

Jim Corbett of USA Today looks at the emotional impact of the Cardinals' success.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has confirmed the hiring of his coordinators. Spagnuolo: "Both are very strong leaders, character people. They're exactly what I laid out (Monday) in terms of faith, character, core values, and team first. I'm looking forward to working with both of those guys." 

VanRam of Turf Show Times wonders what the Rams might do if the Lions took an offensive tackle instead of a quarterback with the No. 1 overall draft choice.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says NBC has hired Mike Holmgren to participate in its Super Bowl pregame show.

John Morgan of Field Gulls sizes up potential free agent Shaun Cody and examines how he might fit in Seattle.

Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson thinks the Seahawks should draft Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. Cris Carter warns against drafting a receiver that early.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' hiring of Tim Lewis rounds out Jim Mora's coaching staff.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The hiring of Scott Pioli as head of football operations is a monster move for the organization.

 
  AP Photo/Robert E. Klein
  Scott Pioli's first priority will likely be deciding whether to retain coach Herm Edwards.

A strong general manager is as important as having a strong coach. Judging from his work in New England, Pioli could be a franchise-changing GM.

Give the Chiefs a lot of credit for making this happen. When the team announced on Dec. 15 that it was parting ways with Carl Peterson after 20 years, I said that Pioli had to be the target. He was the general manager prize. There were some rumblings around the NFL that the Chiefs could blow it because they were taking their time.

Now that they have secured Pioli, the Chiefs should be recognized.

The GM opening in Kansas City could have been considered the best available in the NFL for several reasons, including a young ownership in place, a good football market, a rich history and a young roster. The Chiefs managed to marry the best opening with the best GM candidate.

Kansas City looks to be on the way up. Yes, there is still a long way to go for a team that went just 2-14 and lost the trust of season-ticket holders. Yes, the Chiefs have many holes and they need another strong draft. But the building blocks have been in place for a year. It is not a total disaster. The rebuilding phase has already begun. Now it is time for Pioli to move forward with the reconstruction of the team.

His first step, of course, is to figure out what to do with the coaching staff. It's very likely that coach Herm Edwards will be replaced. It's been reported that New York Giants coach Steve Spagnuolo could be Pioli's choice. It makes sense, especially now that former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is in Denver.

Pioli saw the importance of a defensive coach firsthand in Bill Belichick. Spagnuolo is widely considered the best defensive coach available and the job his Giants did on Pioli's Patriots in last year's Super Bowl will not be lost on Pioli as he prepares to hire his first coach in Kansas City.

If there is a coaching change, there will be other candidates, but Spagnuolo and the Chiefs will likely be mutually interested.

Once the coaching staff is addressed, the attention will turn to players. If Matt Cassel isn't given the franchise tag by the Patriots, he'd likely be very attractive to Pioli.

Many dominoes are going to fall in Kansas City. But, in the end, the first domino may be remembered as the most important as the Chiefs begin an exciting new era.

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