Kansas City Chiefs: Creating the Winning Formula

Craig BrownCorrespondent IApril 14, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20:  Vice President of player personnel Scott Pioli of the New England Patriots celebrates after the Patriots 21-12 win against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Championship Game on January 20, 2008 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Life in the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" gig, no doubt about it.  The recent successes of our new GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley are about to be put to that test. 

You only have to turn the page a few years to witness the failures of supposed saviors for NFL franchises.  We need not look any further than ourselves for justification.

It was not so long ago when Super Bowl Champion coach Dick Vermeil buzzed into Arrowhead with a full head of steam and a three-year plan to restore the Chiefs to glory.  In hindsight, the mess that was left behind still has the Chiefs scrambling to re-stock the cupboard. 

In other cases, re-treads who bombed elsewhere suddenly found themselves—Bill Belichick from Cleveland to New England comes to mind.  Did he wake up one morning and suddenly learn how to coach?

So what gives?  What is the formula for success in the parody stricken NFL?  Seems easy—a few free-agents, a couple good drafts, then POOF, you're a winner.  But college football analyst Lee Corso would say..."Not so fast."

Winning organizations have a winning grand scheme of things, a vision that transcends a game or a season.  It starts at the top and trickles down to the coaches and players. 

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When Herm Edwards began dismantling the Chiefs, he had a vision.  He saw a rapidly aging and declining team in great need of turnover.  His intentions were good and his intuition correct, however, the grand scheme was erroneous.  Extending LJ, letting Jared Allen walk, those decisions didn't fit.  I know Herm, those errors were not all on you.  Good riddance, King!

Throwing a group of inexperienced kids without significant veteran leadership was a recipe for disaster.  Yes, Gonzo and a few holdovers were there, however, even the most loyal of Chiefs fans had to be expecting something similar to the debacle of last year. 

The new leadership appears to have a grand scheme that is logical and fundamentally sound.  Pioli and Haley's emphasis remains strong on building through the draft, ensuring we don't end up with a heap of aging veterans crippling the development of our younger players.

The recent additions of veterans Bobby Engram, Mike Vrabel, and Zach Thomas also indicate the belief in a strong locker room presence and the importance of leadership.  

The contributions of these veterans on the field may be questionable, but I sense the importance of their signings will be felt on a much deeper level...teaching the Chiefs how to win again.

The key to the Chiefs resurgence: finding the winning formula.  The right group of veterans with a healthy dose of hungry youngsters...there's a long way to go, but it looks like these guys are off to a great start! 

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