Pioli explains N.E. success

Mutual respect with Belichick

By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / January 15, 2009
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One question often asked over the nine years in which Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli teamed up to turn the Patriots into consistent winners was how the balance of power worked.

After being introduced as Kansas City Chiefs general manager yesterday, Pioli detailed the mechanics.

"Bill had the final say in everything," Pioli said. "However, it was a collaboration. I'm not sure I can think of many players that ever came into the program that Bill and I didn't completely agree on. The amount of respect that he and I had for one another, if there was a disagreement, the respect for the other person led us away from that player.

"It was never a battle over ego with Bill and me. We were more honed in on coming up with the right answer, rather than his answer or my answer. It was more about the right answer. It was a true collaboration."

Pioli said he was excited about the opportunity to help rebuild the Chiefs, but indicated it wasn't easy to leave the Patriots.

"I'm coming into a family here, and leaving another family of very, very special people," he said after thanking Robert Kraft, Jonathan Kraft, Dan Kraft, and Belichick. "It's been a privilege to work for the Kraft family for the last nine years. I learned an awful lot from them as a family. I learned a lot about business. I learned a lot about football. It's a special environment."

Pioli, who donned a red tie and Chiefs pin on his dark sportcoat, was emotional as he mentioned his 17-year working relationship with Belichick.

Pioli said he spoke with Robert and Jonathan Kraft as he went through the interview process, and both spoke highly of the Chiefs, specifically in regard to the respect they have for chairman Clark Hunt and his family.

"They told me they weren't happy to see me go, but if there was a place they wanted to see me go, it was to Kansas City," he said.

Pioli explained that part of what made the Chiefs a good fit for him was "the history, the Hunt family, and the opportunity.

"Any time I make a decision, there needs to be a confluence of beliefs and values, and everything from the beginning of this entire process has led me to believe this is the right situation for myself and my family," he said.

Echoing many of the same words he spoke along with Belichick in 2000 when both arrived in New England, Pioli talked about his plans for building the Chiefs.

"My job is not to collect talent, it's to build a team," he said. "Individuals go to Pro Bowls, teams win championships. That's our goal here - to build this team with the right kind of people and the right kind of players, and consistently compete for championships."

Pioli added that while he spoke with Herm Edwards yesterday, no decision has been made regarding the coach's future. Pioli plans to continue speaking with Edwards and provided no timeline for when he might make a decision.

"The only promise that I'll make today to the Kansas City Chiefs and to the Kansas City Chiefs' fans is that there will be no one in this league working harder than me to get this done," he said, noting that he hopes to implement some of the "Patriots Way" in Kansas City.

"The 'Patriots Way' starts with hard work, discipline, and creating a culture where everyone is on the same page, everyone knows their role, everyone believes in the system, and everyone does their job," Pioli said.

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