While the Kansas City Chiefs are likely weeks away from making decisions on next season’s football and coaching staff, one former Kansas City executive is drawing attention for a hotly contested NFC job opening.
According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter on Thursday afternoon, ex-Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is set to interview for the Detroit Lions job next week. Pioli is the latest addition to a list of candidates including three internal employees, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, former Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith.
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Pioli Brings 27 Years of Experience Across 5 Teams
Pioli, 55, has been away from the front office life this season after signing on as an analyst for NFL Network and CBS Sports. He most recently served as the Atlanta Falcons assistant GM from 2014-19 alongside Dimitroff, a fellow NFL Executive of the Year award winner.
Prior to that, Pioli was tapped as the fifth general manager in the Chiefs’ storied history in 2009 after a nearly decade-long ascent with the New England Patriots front office, during which time Pioli was a part of assembling three Super Bowl-winning rosters.
As was the case with many before him, his time in Kansas City was marked with both highs and lows, the latter ultimately leading to his dismissal in January 2013. After inheriting a 2-14 team in 2009, Pioli helped deliver Kansas City’s first AFC West title in seven seasons with a 10-6 showing in his second year in charge. In 2012 however, Pioli tenure was muddled by a multitude of off-field incidents, including the tragic death of linebacker Jovan Belcher and an odd cell phone tampering controversy with head coach Todd Haley, whom he hired (and soon after fired) to lead the team upon his arrival.
His Chiefs draft classes were middling overall but did deliver long-time kicker Ryan Succop (2009), superstar safety Eric Berry (2010), pass rusher Justin Houston (2011), center Rodney Hudson (2011) and nose tackle Dontari Poe (2012).
Pioli’s Patriots Connections Run Deep
Pioli spent his early days in the league in varying pro personnel roles for the Cleveland Browns (1992-95), Baltimore Ravens (1996) and New York Jets (1997-2000) before joining the Patriots.
The New York native bears many connections to the Bill Belichick-Patriots tree, including former Lions GM Bob Quinn who he also worked with during his time in New England, as well as his wife Dallas, the daughter of former Patriots head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells. His early days in Kansas City also saw Pioli bring on 14 former Patriots players and coaches such as Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel.
Should he impress the Detroit brass next week, the Lions, who are also actively searching for their next head coach after parting ways with ex-Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, would be Pioli’s sixth stop on the NFL circuit.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!