There's only been two things on my mind lately: the election, and ... uum ... do I go there? Do I do it? Do I dare trot one out? (dramatic pause ...)
* "Stevo!" -- Dusty J, KCK.
Do you have a point, sir?
* "Stevo!" -- Dusty J, KCK.
I'm not Zeus champ, there's no need to call for me like a Meaty Bone awaits me. What the hell do you want?
* "Oh. Scott Pioli, he has to go right? I mean, surely you're leading the anti-Pioli, "fire his ass as soon as f*cking possible charge", right? I know I'm right!" -- Dusty J, KCK.
In the words of my favorite quote you've ever said to me, and champ, I've waited FOUR DAMNED YEARS to throw this back in your face.
Shut up! And no.
* "WHAT?!?!?! (spitting boulevard wheat out in shocked disbelief)" -- Megan K, City Market.
In the words of a quote I love that I get to say way too infrequently: do I need to get you a towel so you can clean up?
* "OK, that was genuinely funny. Usually your cheap shot sex references aren't funny ... but that one kind of was." -- Drew K, Shawnee.
Thanks! You have a question?
* "Yeah. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?!?!?! You think Pioli should STAY?!?!?!" -- Drew K, Shawnee.
Well, you can't lose what you don't have. And yes, I think Pioli should stay.
* "OK, I'm going to throw one of your said way-too-often phrases in your face." -- Kellie J, KCK.
I've had worse things thrown at me than a phrase. Fling away, chica.
* "Justify this! There is not one justifiable reason -- not one! -- to keep Scott Pioli as the general manager! Not one! How can you be so stupid and delusional! Why do you keep backing idiocy on display! Incompetence everywhere! How can you justify this decision, sir?" -- Kellie J, KCK.
Wait, wait, wait, HOLD IT! Hold it just a damned minute here! I'm voting FOR Romney! What do you mean I defend idiocy and incompetence? I'm voting to fire it!
Oh. You meant Scott Pioli. God, does anything good ever happen when I shoot before I aim? (nope.)
I can give you four reasons why he should stay off the top of my head.
1. Every position on the roster is at least as talent-deep as when he arrived, and almost all of them, are better and deeper. Even quarterback, Chiefs fans. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn may stink so bad that it makes the inside of the Superdome at the height of Katrina smell like a tropical paradise ... but would you rather have Cassel and Quinn, or Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen? I know, I know, that's like choosing how you're going to die on death row: lethal injection or Ol' Sparky. (I'd opt for Ol' Sparky. If you have to go, come on -- it's "Ol' Sparky"! Who doesn't love Ol' Sparky? Other than anyone who's ever sat in it, of course.)
2. Year one was clearly a rebuild, although the situation wasn't nearly as bad as it was painted to be in hindsight. Year two? Division title. So far, so good. Here's where we're gonna disagree I think, readers: I think you have to toss year three out the window. He deserves a do-over for that year. You simply put cannot play AT LEAST half your season without your starting quarterback, starting running back, starting safety, starting middle linebacker, and first round draft pick, and expect to contend. If anything? Season three is to Mr. Pioli's credit! Despite starting three quarterbacks, neither of whom would start anywhere else, despite the coaching change, despite the toughest schedule in football, the Chiefs were still just one missed field goal away from back to back division titles. He gets a do-over for that in my book. And because I believe that barring criminal activity or gross neglect of duty, you should have 5 years on the job to attain your championship or bust trying to get it, I view this as year three of Pioli. He has at least one more to go before he can be fairly analyzed.
3. With all due respect, look at who the Chiefs have faced this year in starting 1-5. There's no shame in losing to the last unbeaten team in football (Atlanta). There's no shame in losing to four others teams at or within a game of .500 (Buffalo, San Diego (who, in the interest of disclosure, was my preseason AFC champion), Baltimore, and Tampa (who, in the interest of disclosure, was my preseason NFC champion). The only "awful" this team this team played? They beat (New Orleans). And ...
4. Firing a general manager after 3 1/2 to 4 years on the job? Is not the way to create and sustain a stable franchise. Do I think Scott Pioli has done a bad job this year? Well sure, and he's been the first one to agree with me, admitting on Soren Petro's show today that "I have plenty of room to grow as a general manager". (Note: Pioli also appeared before the KC Star's sports department, and 610's Big Show, today as well).
And with that comment, let me add a fifth point:
5. Call me a dreamer, say I'm a little naive ... but I believe people that are humbled? Arrogant little pricks who've gotten away with murder for all their lives, then are suddenly humiliated and ridiculed and, for lack of a better phrase, "put in their place" by those they look down to? They tend to emerge far better people (and employees) after the downfall. I think Pioli will learn from this humiliation.
I mean look it folks, the guy has never failed. ANYWHERE. He was with Belichick in Cleveland, and any Browns fan will tell you the second worst decision in franchise history, was firing Bill Belichick and his front office and staff. He moved on to Baltimore, where the Ravens won the Lombardi a couple years after he arrived. He went back to work with his old boss in New England and built what might be the last NFL dynasty we'll ever see. Even here in Kansas City, he's gotten far more right than he's gotten wrong.
(hoosiers voice) GM stays.
* "But surely you agree, if Pioli stays, that Romeo has to go, right?" -- Damien J, Midtown.
As I asked you politely at the Chargers game: if Romeo returns next year, you'll contribute to my bail fund when I storm the field and do my part to end his coaching tenure, right? If ever a coach has displayed "gross display of incompetence", it's Romeo.
* "I'll offer my services for free if it comes to that!" -- Anthony V, Overland Park.
* "So who would you hire?" -- Phil S, Overland Park.
The same person I would have earlier this year: Brian Billick.
* "Why Billick? What the hell has he ever done?" -- Brent S, somewhere in incorporated Johnson County.
Where to begin?
(1) he presided over the highest scoring offense in NFL history, the 1998 Vikings (who went 15-1, and lost the NFC Title Game in overtime). Care to guess who his quarterbacks were? (cue "Jeopardy" theme song music ...) And, time. The immortal Brad Johnson (who somehow won a Super Bowl five years later. How did that happen? Oh, yeah. Sur William Callahan was the opposing coach), and a 38 year old Randall Cunningham, who replaced Johnson early in the season when Johnson was injured.
He went 15-1 and scored more points than ANY OTHER TEAM in NFL history, before or since, with two retreads under center.
(2) If you want to argue that "wonderful Stevo, but his offense in Baltimore stunk" ... I would counter with a piece of logic you can't assail, and it is this: he still won the damned Super Bowl! In year two! With Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer under center! With the Ravens offense going TWENTY THREE consecutive quarters without scoring a touchdown! And he STILL had a solid enough gameplan in place to win the damned Lombardi!
(3) if you want to argue "nobody will ever replicate the 2000 Ravens defense, Stevo", an argument I won't even attempt to counter, I'd pull an Obama and change the subject to the fact that this guy made the playoffs with (here we go) Elvis Grbac, Anthony Wright, Kyle Boller, and a 38 year old Steve McNair.
Plain and simple: Brian Billick is a winner. He can win by stressing offense; he can win by stressing defense. He's not ridiculously loyal to players he's affectionate for -- Christ, the guy cut his Super Bowl winning quarterback less than a month after said QB won the Lombardi by a 37-7 margin! (That would be Trent Dilfer, tossed for Elvis Grbac.)
* "Steve ... (sigh) ... I know you too well. We all know why you love Brian Billick." -- Gregg G, Bonner Springs.
Hang on, let me see if I can do this right. (stevo thinking ...) ok, got it. "Blank a doodle doo. Blank a doodle doo." Wait, I can do better than that. Ready? "Blank willow. Blank willow." Seriously, if you have never seen "Private Parts", drop everything you're doing and either rent it, buy it on iTunes (if it's available), watch it on Netflix or Hulu (if it's available), you will not regret it. As great as the linked scene was? I wouldn't even rank it in the top five best scenes* of the movie.
To answer the question: I can neither confirm nor deny that Brian Billick appearing on my favorite game show of all time affects my opinion of him. Oh who am I kidding. The man was a contestant on "Match Game (insert year or time of day here)"!!! That's awesome! The only way this could be better, is if he legally changed his name to Soupy Sales!
(*: my five favorite scenes (search on YouTube! as you want): (5) subwoofer sex! (4) any scene involving Howard and Alison, in light of what happened within a few years of the movie's release (huge unintentional comedy value). (3) the black traffic reporter bit from his time in Detroit. It's racist, it's stereotypical, it's absolutely tear-inducing funny. "Who you callin' b*tch, b*tch!" never fails to crack me up. (2) the thirteen inch kilbasa lady. Sweet. Jesus. And the look on Ross Buckingham's face as she swallows the entire thirteen inches is worth the price it costs to view this alone. But by far and away, (1) the closing credits scene with Pig Vomit. Left unsaid, and brace yourself fellas. You ready? Naked. Jenna. Jamison. Before. She. Made. It. Big. Probably don't want to watch that scene with your wife, girlfriend, or friend with benefits. They will get jealous.)
* "Why not Bill Cowher? Jon Gruden? Marty?" -- Chris N, Quality Hill.
Because they ain't coming here. Don't delude yourself folks. The last time Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer coached a NFL regular season game, I was in my 20s. (I'm 35, with 36 edging closer by the day.) Jon Gruden has a virtual iron clad contract with ESPN that, if I remember right, has a $2 million buyout to return to coaching. Clark Hunt isn't going to pay not one, not two, but three head coaches salaries over the next two seasons. It ain't happening. (I honestly forget if Haley accepted the buyout, or if he enforced his contract. If he took the buyout? I still don't see Clark paying two multi-million dollar head coaching salaries at the same time if he doesn't have to.)
* "So you're saying Billick is the best option that will come here?" -- Scott H, Liberty.
Well ... if you're thinking solely of coaches from the ranks of the pro game? Yes. He's the only one worth hiring, with proven experience, who'd listen. Well, Jim Fassel might, but (stevo having a thought) hey! Another feather in Billick's cap: you know he'd bring Fassel in as offensive coordinator! All that guy did was mold john elway into the greatest quarterback of all time, and won a division with Danny Kanell under center, and reached a Super Bowl with Kerry Collins back in his "showing up drunk" days.
* "Do you think Chip Kelly would listen? He was ready to bolt for Tampa until a last second change of heart." -- Jasson W, Prairie Village.
Honestly, yeah, I think he would, but I don't think Kelly would make a good pro head coach. There is, however, one guy I have long had a ridiculous man-crush on who I believe not only would listen, not only may be ready to make a change, not only would at least serious consider a serious offer, and would be the kind of hire that the entire fanbase in this part of the country would not only get behind, they'd be ridiculously optimistic about it.
* "Wait, what?" -- Brett H, Harrisonville.
* "Well, you said there's one guy out there that you like a lot who might listen, might be ready to make the jump, would consider a serious offer, and would be a second f*cking base hire." -- Brett H, Harrisonville.
What's your point?
* "Oh. I thought you were going to tell us who that guy was." -- Brett H, Harrisonville.
No, there's no point there, I just like that damned story! I just like that story ... Oh! Oh, I see!
Sorry. I'm slow sometimes. Bob Stoops. Sorry about that.
* "Bob Stoops?!?!?! (spitting out boulevard wheat beer in shock)" -- Heath C, Harrisonville.
I'm not getting you a towel.
* "Bob Stoops? Bob Stoops? Why? What in the hell makes you think he would even pick up a phone call from the 816 area code?" -- Will D, Independence.
Well, what more does he have to attain at OU? He's won a national championship. He's played for the national title what, four times? (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008). He's made more BCS bowls than anyone can possibly comprehend. And let's face it: OU ain't the OU it was ten years ago. Everyone eventually wears out their welcome. If ever there was a time to make the move? Maybe this is it.
* "How in the hell is hiring a Sooner going to unite a team's fanbase? Give me a break!" -- Frank L, El Paso.
Can we please refrain from any more Nell Carter references? Please? Watching Candy Crowley in HD last night was enough pain on my eyes for a lifetime. Having said that, you're letting your UT bias cloud your thinking here. No matter who you root for around here, is there ANY doubt that Bob Stoops is at worst the second best coach with a job in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Colorado? (The seven states that draw the largest number of season ticket holders, by the way.) You can argue Bill Snyder's a better coach (and I would 100% agree with you) ... but Snyder's 73 and not going anywhere. Stoops is 52. He has a solid 10-12 coaching years left in him at whatever level he chooses.
If you're going for the inspired, out of nowhere, "WOW!" factor hire, it has to be Bob Stoops, doesn't it?
* "OK, ok, I'll concede that makes some sense. But how do you know a guy with zero coaching experience in the NFL could succeed?" -- Vineet T, Queens.
* "Huh? Isn't he a NASCAR driver?" -- Gus B, Raytown.
You're thinking of Jimmie, not Jimmy, although with all due respect, the 48 is so damned good at everything he does, that if he'd been our head coach for the first six games of this season, we'd be at least 2-4.
No, Jimmy Johnson, the former Cowboys and Dolphins head coach who jumped from The U to Dallas in 1989, and won two Lombardi's in his five year at the helm.
* "I think there's something you're holding back, and you know I know what it is sir. Also, thanks for being the only person in the five state area to think I don't deserve to get fired." -- Scott P, One Arrowhead Drive.
Oh, you deserve to get fired. I just don't think Clark will do it, and for the reasons I listed above, I wouldn't do it either. Yet.
But yes, you read my mind. And what a tale my thoughts can tell.
* "Jesus, lay off the late 70s music already!" -- Tyler C, Raytown.
Nah. It's too good. And for what it's worth, I'm veering back into the late 60s and early 70s now to boot. I'd forgotten how epic "Tapestry" is. To say nothing of the early Stones stuff. "I said hey (hey) you (you)? Get off of my cloud! Hey (hey) you (you)? Get off of my cloud! Don't hang around, fall down to the ground, get off my cloud baby!"
* "So what exactly is this something you held back about Coach?" -- Justin B, Olathe.
That he's stacked? (rimshot!) I kid, I kid. Come on Bunch, you're never living that hookup down. No, what Stoops brings, and I honestly believe this was the reason why Jimmy Johnson had such tremendous success as early as he did: you know the talent level coming into the league for your first 3, 4, 5 years in the league better than virtually anyone else in the sport.
Because you've just spent the last decade recruiting, coaching, and coaching against the talent pool. I will never forget 1990, when the Cowboys kept trading back, trading back, eventually landing at 17, and they stunned the world when they took what virtually everyone considered to be a stupid flyer on an overlooked afterthought running back from Florida. Jimmy Johnson coached against that kid every year. He KNEW that guy would be a smash success.
That kid? The NFL's all time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith.
* "What do you think about the Chiefs running Jamaal Charles into the ground? Is this LJ 2006 all over again?" -- Katie H, Raytown.
Well, if it is, look out women on the Plaza. Chiefs running back with serious anger management issues is headed in your direction!
* "Have you seen me? If you have, can you let me know where I am?" -- Steve B, Anywhere But One Arrowhead Drive.
I thought I saw you in the team photo, but that might have been a smudge from my thumb or something. I'll get back with ya, I promise.
* "What's the worst thing about this season so far. (Pause.) Assuming you can narrow it down to one." -- Gordon G, Clinton.
Easy: this team has trailed by 18 or more points in all but one game this year. When you're trailing by three touchdowns in the third quarter, you usually aren't going to win. This is a trend that HAS to get fixed over the next ten days, or we are going to get rolled on our way to 2-14.
* "2-14? What the hell? Are you on crack? Who else is your team going to beat?" -- Wade B, Gering.
For the record: I’ve never done anything heavier than weed, sir. I know my personality. If I ever go harder, I’ll be that dude in the SATOP class when I’m 43 that spends 90 minutes recounting how meth cost him his wife, kids, dog, house, car, boat, rental property, etc. etc.
I will always count denver at home in the win column right up to the moment when I leave yet another 33-3 beatdown at the hands of my most hated team. There's denial, there's that river in Egypt, and then there's the blind faith I have in the Chiefs' ability to beat denver at home. I need help.
* "I can help you Steve! I'm a licenced psych and everything!" -- Shannon H, Harrisonville.
I appreciate it, but you'd make me quit drinking. And with all due respect -- have you SEEN these guys play? How can ANYONE watch this without a boatload of booze available to you? Plus, if you had my job, you'd hit the bottle hard as well.
* "I can only promise you a couple more years man. I'm struggling down here." -- Stevo's liver, parts unknown.
Hey now. I watched (and loved) the Dallas reboot this summer. If Larry Hagman is still upright, ambulatory, and of full mental faculties at 81? You've got a lot more abuse headed your way pal.
* “So how did the first bowling excursion go tonight?” – Stevo’s mom, Lenexa.
Normally, I’d close the “fake mailbag” with a blatant ripoff “email” of “yup, these are my readers” … only. I choose not to for this one.
I normally try to use nicknames, intials, or at worst first names and an initial only on this site, because people deserve their privacy.
So as I already sent to you sir via email, allow me to post for recorded history to see: thank you, DJ. I know you did something tonight that you (safe guess) have never done before. I appreciate that.
What I admire, respect, and will never forget ... is that you did it after I gave you the free pass to avoid saying that two word phrase.
Thank you, if for nothing else, than restoring my faith in the idea that no matter how much we evolve, no matter how much we change, how you treat another person? Matters.
Was as close to that magical night as I’ve had since.
And you deserve to know that.
Coming manana: week seven picks, possibly political thoughts (if I’m motivated enough to launch another “fake mailbag”), and your worst case scenario? (jose in south philly voice) I got nothin’, yo. Until then? This song perfectly describes how I feel at this point …