New York Jets: Long Shot Candidate for General Manager, Scott Pioli
Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik looks on during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets are working hard to find John Idzik’s replacement at general manager. They are requesting and scheduling interviews left and right, with candidates such as Trent Kirchner from Seattle, Chris Grier from Miami, and Rick Mueller from Philadelphia. The new general manager will have a lot of work to do, so the Jets are, to their credit, working hard to find their man.
Now, I bring you my candidate. Last week, I wrote about why I believe that Mike Shanahan should be the next head coach. Well, you guys might like this one just as much as you did that one. This is another that is a polarizing name.
But, like it or not, he is a successful personnel guy, and has always been one.
His name is Scott Pioli.
Dec 31, 2014; Atlanta , GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff (right) talks to asst. general manager Scott Pioli (left) during the game between the Mississippi Rebels and the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2014 Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
After Pioli spent time with Bill Belichick in Cleveland, he was hired as the Director of Pro Personnel right here with our beloved New York Jets. By the way, he was part of the staff that drafted Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis. Those were some pretty good players he had a hand in selecting, no?
Remember the great year of 1998? In his role, Pioli had an influence on many of the veteran signings, such as Kevin Mawae, Vinny Testaverde and Bryan Cox. Pioli’s role propelled him to the forefront of the Jets rapid rebuilding process in the late 1990’s.
Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated the Patriots 17-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick go back a long time. They became friends back when the Bill was the defensive coordinator with the Giants. Pioli’s dedication helped forged a friendship that caused Bill to bring Pioli on to his staff in Cleveland. When he went to coach the Patriots, he brought Pioli along as the VP of Player Personnel.
As a head coach/personnel director tandem, Pioli and Belichick went on to become the first said tandem to win three Super Bowls in four years. Pioli was instrumental in creating the “model franchise”. During his tenure in New England, the Patriots posted a record of 102-42, with 14 playoff victories. Bill Belichick may have had final say over his personnel, but his trusted friend Scott Pioli did not go unheard. He would not have brought Scott with him if his opinion did not count a lot to him.
Their greatest pick was a guy selected with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL draft. Tom Brady. I don’t like to admit that he is pretty good, but…he’s pretty good.
Not for nothing, but New England hasn’t won a Super Bowl since Pioli left the franchise.
Oct 5, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel on the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Many will look at his time in Kansas City and remember his failures. He did have some significant failures while he was there, no doubt. One of the biggest was not getting a great deal of value back for Tony Gonzalez.
But, not all was lost in Kansas City. The general manager does not just bring in players. In 2010, Pioli had a role in bringing in Charlie Weis to run the offense, and Romeo Crennel to run the defense. That season, the Chiefs went from worst to first, earning Pioli one of his many “Executive of the Year” honors.
Dec 29, 2014; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets chairman and chief executive officer Woody Johnson addresses the media regarding the dismissal of general manager John Idzik (not pictured) and head coach Rex Ryan (not pictured) at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
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No candidate is going to be perfect. Everyone is going to have their flaws.
But time and time again, Scott Pioli has proven that he can build a football team. That is what the Jets need.
Woody Johnson could do a lot worse than a hire of Scott Pioli.