October 19, 2017

Groundhog Day

logoThe Cleveland Browns have sought and obtained permission to interview Scott Pioli, the Patriots’ Vice-President of Personnel, for their newly vacant GM job. Another off-season, another flurry of Pioli rumors.

Here’s something I’m wondering – if Pioli has truly been on the fence about leaving the Pats (which, by the way, would have been in abject contradiction to his public statements on the matter), how was former college scouting director Thomas Dimitroff allowed to bolt to the Falcons last year? He was the obvious successor to Pioli if the Pats’ personnel chief left to finally take his alleged “dream job” with (insert team name here).

I just assume that people – especially long-term colleagues – discuss these sorts of things, and that Dimitroff took the Atlanta job in part because he knew Pioli wasn’t going anywhere.  The Patriots couldn’t stand in his way because they knew they wouldn’t have a worthy job for him anytime soon. Did that change in just twelve months? Or is this just another round of “dream job” conjecture?

Given the recent loss of an obvious successor candidate in Dimitroff, it sure would be a kick in the pants for the Patriots if it wasn’t. I’d have to wonder why Pioli worked so hard to dismiss these rumors in the past.

In early 07, Pioli told WEEI:

“It comes down to quality of life and happiness. No disrespect to any other job opportunities that may have been out there or may come in the future, but you know what my dream job is? My dream job is being with people I care about, people that I want to work with, people that I enjoy coming to work with every day, whether it’s coaches or ownership or the players. We’ve built something here that is pretty special. Quality of life has more to do with being happy, coming to work every day, and winning. The other thing that’s paramount is we’re winning here. It’s a great situation, with a lot of great people, and I enjoy being here.”

At last year’s Super Bowl, reporters again asked Pioli about the challenge of running his own team:

“What’s wrong with this challenge?” Pioli said. “Why can’t the natural progression to be part of a team that is good as long as possible?”

“Sustained success is the most elusive thing in this sport … Why isn’t that a greater challenge?”

Has that resolve changed in just twelve months? Did the Patriots lose a long-term successor for just one more year of Pioli?

Or are reports that that the personnel chief “is very interested” in the Cleveland job just more of the same?


  1. Bif Of Amesbury says:

    Good perspective Scott. AFA I can tell, yours is the only speculation I've heard along these lines. The media is running with the "Pioli victory tour" story.

    For me though, the heart of it is that nothing stays constant; things are always in a state of flux. Wanting the Patssuccess to last forever, I used to fret over all the coaching/administration/player changes. I've come 180* around on this though. I now enjoy watching how BB handles all these changes. FWIW, I think there is NO one better doing this than the guy we have. So, I'd rather Pioli stay — he's been a key component to this unbridled success — but whether he stays or goes, I'll just shrug my shoulders and watch the master deal with things again. I find BB's machinations to be almost as fascinating as watching the games themselves.

    Someday, the master will move along and all this will end. I'll worry about it then; for now, the ride is great and I'm enjoying it with all the windows down.

  2. You have a good perspective as well, Bif. I have to admit to some concern about the Pats having to deal with the loss of a couple of key Belichick aides, while dealing with a full off-season of personnel issues, and how this may impact their ability to come out flying next fall.

  3. Bif Of Amesbury says:

    Yup Scott, there's no doubt that losing his aides-de-camps complicates things. I think the upside to this is it keeps BB juiced. With all the success he's enjoyed, and all the media sturm und drang he tolerates, I always wonder how long BB wants to keep at this. I know I would be tempted to walk away from it all and just leave a photo copy of my ass for everyone to kiss. I hope that these types of challenges will keep BB engaged. No one in the NFL is scarier than a motivated Bill Belichick.

  4. Canadian Soldier says:

    While walking the dog I this a.m., I was wondering who in the Pats' organization would succeed Pioli if he does leave, and Reiss said the other day that he considers Kansas City, which has an opening for a President/GM with Peterson's retirement, a more appealing job for someone of Pioli's talents. (And why would/should Pioli consider Cleveland, apart from his ties there from the 1990s, when Lerner is already inserting himself into the HC selection process — even putting Mangini on the short list? That is a bad organization and the fish, as they say, rots from the head.) The Patriots have been moving their scouts, like Caserio, back and forth onto the coaching staff, and if they have groomed anyone as Pioli's eventual successor, his name is unknown to me.

  5. Good point about Lerner, CS. As far as a successor, Caserio comes to mind first from the in-house candidates. While did did move to coach WR's in 07, most of his time in NE has been as Dir. of Pro Personnel. There's also a guy named Jay Muraco who has coordinated college scouting for a long time, though I have no idea whether this preps you for something like Pioli's job.

  6. Well, as with all human beings, last year is last year. Things change as well as circumstances. If Pioli does go I wouldn't mind seeing Belichick move upstairs. And then try out Josh as the HC. Otherwise we might lose both.

  7. What about Dom Capers? I'm still wondering why a guy with 16 years of NFL HC and coordinator experience agreed to be a position coach. What might the organization had planned for him that he found enticing? Would it be crazy for BB to move to a Parcells like position, McDaniels to HC, and Capers to GM?

  8. Whatever…..Sports Talk is all about a bunch of people who HAVE NO CLUE, trying to "Predict the future"…….The Patriots don't play a game that COUNTS until September……eventually we will find the answers to our questions…..until then?….it's all a bunch of white noise……I guess some people find this "entertaining"…..I find it BORING AS HELL

  9. Dave Cyprian says:

    Re: Dmitroff; I recently heard an interview with Arthur Blank (Falcons owner), I think on SiriusNFL channel, where Blank stated that he called Robert Kraft personally to obtain permission to interview Dmitroff. I think Blank said that initially permission had been denied. So this may be off the wall, but I think its possible the Patriots reluctantly let Dmitroff go partially due to the sad and embarrassing state of the Falcons at the time.

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