Goober Pyle

Schultz: Scott Pioli’s exit is a significant loss in the Falcons’ front office

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https://theathletic.com/981988/2019/05/16/schultz-scott-piolis-exit-is-a-significant-loss-in-falcons-front-office/

 

Scott Pioli kept his message short and personal.

“We will get caught up — I promise it!” he said in a text message to The Athleticon Thursday. “Everything is good.”

When a high-ranking sports executive suddenly steps down from his position, people often take the shortest distance between two imaginary points and jump to conclusions. He must’ve gotten fired. He must be sick. He must be taking another job.

But when Pioli stepped down as the Falcons’ assistant general manager, ending a five-year run working for close friend Thomas Dimitroff, it wasn’t about sudden friction in the front office, or declining health, or his imminent departure for another job. It’s not like the Falcons were going to stand in Pioli’s way to take another job (read: New York Jets) or make him go through the exercise of a resignation announcement.

“This isn’t to take another job right now,” Dimitroff told The Athletic. “This is just something Scott and I have been talking about for a while now. We talked about it a year ago at this time and we said we would revisit it after we got through the draft. We’ve been talking quite a bit over the last few days. Scott wants to look at other things. I don’t want to answer for him, but he’s in a great place and we’re in a great place.”

There’s no evidence to dispute that. Pioli attended the Falcons’ minicamp last weekend. The two of us chatted briefly, and he appeared to be in a great mood, enjoying the post-draft exhale period that follows the January-to-April grind for scouts and personnel executives. He looked forward to spending more time with his family, doing social justice work and giving the commencement speech at his alma mater, Central Connecticut State, on Saturday.

But there was more on his mind.

As he said in a statement released by the team Thursday, “I’m ready for a change.”

Pioli’s exit was not stunning from the standpoint that he stayed five years in what was expected to be a three-year term, at most. But he chose an interesting time to leave. Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn are coming off consecutive non-playoff seasons, and everybody in the building is a little bit on edge, including owner Arthur Blank. There have been changes in the coaching staff and in the front office.

Make no mistake: Pioli’s departure is a significant loss. The Falcons have lost not only a bright football mind but also one of the truly good people in the building. The culture at team headquarters has changed significantly in recent years. The atmosphere is far more corporate and less genuine than before, with some employees looking over their shoulder, particularly as Blank has started to take a step back. The marketing and business side of the franchise has increasingly crept into the football side of the building.

This isn’t to suggest it’s why Pioli wanted to move on. He could not ask for a better ally than Dimitroff. It’s probably also a good time to move on, given the uncertainty of where things are headed.

Mostly, this is about Scott Pioli. He’s a different guy. He’s not going to stay in a job just for a paycheck. The Falcons’ job was not moving him forward to his ultimate goal, which was to be a general manager again. He needs a new challenge. He can spend a year doing social justice work and focus on the issues that shaped him, as he spoke about at length with The Athletic in February.

In a statement, Dimitroff called Pioli “a dear friend and he will be missed within our organization.”

Pioli said in a statement that he “came in to work closely with Thomas on personnel structure, processes and decisions. I loved the concept, was confident I could provide value and have enjoyed the challenge.” But now, he said, it’s time to “pursue other potential opportunities.”

What those opportunities are remain to be seen. He spent the 2013 season out of football after being fired as Kansas City’s general manager before yearning to return to a competitive environment.

Dimitroff hired his former mentor (Cleveland and New England) in 2014. Pioli gave the Falcons an experienced and valued talent evaluator in the personnel department — where things had seemingly slipped — and it put him in Atlanta, the birthplace of the civil rights movement, something close to his heart along with other social action initiatives.

Pioli sometimes fought perceptions that he cared more about social causes than football. Nothing could be further from the truth. He reaffirmed many times that he hoped to be a general manager again and believed he would be better with a second opportunity if that came about. But he said in February that he was not obsessing over it.

“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “I just want to win, and I want to be a good dad. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about anything else.”

The Falcons job also gave Pioli a chance to rehabilitate his image, which took a beating after the Chiefs job. There was a belief that Pioli would get a phone call from an owner looking for a new GM within a few years. Surprisingly, that hasn’t happened. (Some expected him to get the Cleveland job in 2017 that went to John Dorsey.)

The Kansas City firing and the criticism that came with it stung Pioli. Some was justified, some overstated. Much of what was reported about the Chiefs’ turmoil didn’t tell the whole story — some employees I spoke to came to his defense — but Pioli took the rare step of publicly apologizing “for not getting the job done.”

When I asked him why, he said, “I failed. When you succeed, you don’t do it alone. When you fail, you feel like you’re alone as the leader, and you realize how many lives that will impact.

“Change is difficult, and sometimes when leaders make change for the first time, you make mistakes. Obviously, some of the personnel acquisitions could’ve been better. I could’ve done a better job with some of the relationships. I come from a culture where everything was focused on football and winning games. The biggest mistake was probably I could’ve been more patient with the people who were unwilling to change and more patient as they adjusted.”

Pioli deserves another shot at being a general manager. But he’s also too smart to take a job with ownership or an organization that he believes is set up for failure. If he doesn’t get another GM job over the next year or two, he would be the ideal person to head social action initiatives in the NFL. He also could do radio and television work, as he did in 2013. But the NFL is a lesser league and the Falcons are a lesser team without him.

 

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Not sure if this was said in any of the other threads but the timing with the Jets situation may be just a coincidence.

I really think that this was decided before this point but I think there was a promise to finish the offseason first.

If you notice, this decision came at the same time our last draft pick, Lindstrom, was signed. 

Ezekiel 25:17 likes this

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Pioli has a huge impact on the star players the falcons have on the roster right now. Let’s not forget the changes Blank made restructuring the FO. IMO  Pioli was the center piece to that success. Let’s just hope he’s not missed.  I’m not convinced TD can do it without a Pioli in the background. It’s showtime for TD and sounds like AB IS getting restless. I’ll reserve judgement for a couple of yrs but in the meantime I’ll be pulling for ole spiky hair.

Flying Falcon and Cheap Talk like this

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1 hour ago, Francis York Morgan said:

"Consecutive non-playoff seasons"

Dunno how stuff like this slips by editing. We were in the playoffs in 2017.

Glad I'm not the only one who caught that piece of misinformation

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Only loss I see is that we will have more food at the buffet line.  Might be good with the new offensive linemen we got

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1 hour ago, Atl Falcon said:

Pioli has a huge impact on the star players the falcons have on the roster right now. Let’s not forget the changes Blank made restructuring the FO. IMO  Pioli was the center piece to that success. Let’s just hope he’s not missed.  I’m not convinced TD can do it without a Pioli in the background. It’s showtime for TD and sounds like AB IS getting restless. I’ll reserve judgement for a couple of yrs but in the meantime I’ll be pulling for ole spiky hair.

Well said, and on target!

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2 hours ago, Atl Falcon said:

Pioli has a huge impact on the star players the falcons have on the roster right now. Let’s not forget the changes Blank made restructuring the FO. IMO  Pioli was the center piece to that success. Let’s just hope he’s not missed.  I’m not convinced TD can do it without a Pioli in the background. It’s showtime for TD and sounds like AB IS getting restless. I’ll reserve judgement for a couple of yrs but in the meantime I’ll be pulling for ole spiky hair.

Dunno about that TD did it without Pioli from 2008-2014 with a fair amount of success.

In saying that Pioli is a big loss,himself and TD have no doubt a really good dynamic and working relationship.

raysnill1, sandtrap and vel like this

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4 hours ago, Atl Falcon said:

Pioli has a huge impact on the star players the falcons have on the roster right now. Let’s not forget the changes Blank made restructuring the FO. IMO  Pioli was the center piece to that success. Let’s just hope he’s not missed.  I’m not convinced TD can do it without a Pioli in the background. It’s showtime for TD and sounds like AB IS getting restless. I’ll reserve judgement for a couple of yrs but in the meantime I’ll be pulling for ole spiky hair.

Bit of a stretch to say Pioli was the center piece to anything here. 

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7 hours ago, Falconsin2012 said:

Came into say this...come on Schultz.  Though last year felt like 2 seasons

Even three! 

I know it felt like another one for the last three games at least!

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7 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

"Consecutive non-playoff seasons"

Dunno how stuff like this slips by editing. We were in the playoffs in 2017.

This is where I stopped reading!

Does this guy realize we where a play away from eliminating the Eventual Super Bowl Champions at home? Possibly making it back for a rematch?

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8 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

"Consecutive non-playoff seasons"

Dunno how stuff like this slips by editing. We were in the playoffs in 2017.

Because their isn't any reporters any more and several of those guys don't follow the falcons. 

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6 hours ago, kiwifalcon said:

Dunno about that TD did it without Pioli from 2008-2014 with a fair amount of success.

In saying that Pioli is a big loss,himself and TD have no doubt a really good dynamic and working relationship.

TD did ok from 08-14 but most of star power came with Pioli here

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The corporate side creeping into the football side and people looking over their shoulder ? We haven’t played our first game. Sounds like fun at the Branch.

Pacific_Falcon likes this

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TBH it sounds like to me pioli came in here thinking TD would get fired at some point soon and he'd take over as GM and that never happened and pioli ran out of patience and decided to leave. 

Pacific_Falcon likes this

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12 hours ago, Francis York Morgan said:

"Consecutive non-playoff seasons"

Dunno how stuff like this slips by editing. We were in the playoffs in 2017.

Because Schultz is a Falcon-hating trash reporter who consciously tries to slant everything negative he writes about us.

I’ve said this before and been contradicted. He’s not a fan of this team and consistently tries to throw subtle shade our way.

I assure you he was giddy to write this article and tell everyone how bad this is for us.

Notice how he subtly inserts that the organization has gone “too corporate and less genuine”, and “everyone is on edge”, but then goes, “but this isn’t why Pioli is leaving”?

He’s of the same hater ilk as DLed, just more subtle about it.

Vandy and Brewcrew like this

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13 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

The culture at team headquarters has changed significantly in recent years. The atmosphere is far more corporate and less genuine than before, with some employees looking over their shoulder, particularly as Blank has started to take a step back. The marketing and business side of the franchise has increasingly crept into the football side of the building.

This is the first I’m hearing of anything like this. Is there anything else to back this up? 

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15 minutes ago, Beef said:

Because Schultz is a Falcon-hating trash reporter who consciously tries to slant everything negative he writes about us.

I’ve said this before and been contradicted. He’s not a fan of this team and consistently tries to throw subtle shade our way.

I assure you he was giddy to write this article and tell everyone how bad this is for us.

Notice how he subtly inserts that the organization has gone “too corporate and less genuine”, and “everyone is on edge”, but then goes, “but this isn’t why Pioli is leaving”?

He’s of the same hater ilk as DLed, just more subtle about it.

Never been a fan of Schultz, Bradley, Dled et al. Bunch of hack journalists. 

Beef and Pacific_Falcon like this

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13 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

https://theathletic.com/981988/2019/05/16/schultz-scott-piolis-exit-is-a-significant-loss-in-falcons-front-office/

 

Scott Pioli kept his message short and personal.

“We will get caught up — I promise it!” he said in a text message to The Athleticon Thursday. “Everything is good.”

When a high-ranking sports executive suddenly steps down from his position, people often take the shortest distance between two imaginary points and jump to conclusions. He must’ve gotten fired. He must be sick. He must be taking another job.

But when Pioli stepped down as the Falcons’ assistant general manager, ending a five-year run working for close friend Thomas Dimitroff, it wasn’t about sudden friction in the front office, or declining health, or his imminent departure for another job. It’s not like the Falcons were going to stand in Pioli’s way to take another job (read: New York Jets) or make him go through the exercise of a resignation announcement.

“This isn’t to take another job right now,” Dimitroff told The Athletic. “This is just something Scott and I have been talking about for a while now. We talked about it a year ago at this time and we said we would revisit it after we got through the draft. We’ve been talking quite a bit over the last few days. Scott wants to look at other things. I don’t want to answer for him, but he’s in a great place and we’re in a great place.”

There’s no evidence to dispute that. Pioli attended the Falcons’ minicamp last weekend. The two of us chatted briefly, and he appeared to be in a great mood, enjoying the post-draft exhale period that follows the January-to-April grind for scouts and personnel executives. He looked forward to spending more time with his family, doing social justice work and giving the commencement speech at his alma mater, Central Connecticut State, on Saturday.

But there was more on his mind.

As he said in a statement released by the team Thursday, “I’m ready for a change.”

Pioli’s exit was not stunning from the standpoint that he stayed five years in what was expected to be a three-year term, at most. But he chose an interesting time to leave. Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn are coming off consecutive non-playoff seasons, and everybody in the building is a little bit on edge, including owner Arthur Blank. There have been changes in the coaching staff and in the front office.

Make no mistake: Pioli’s departure is a significant loss. The Falcons have lost not only a bright football mind but also one of the truly good people in the building. The culture at team headquarters has changed significantly in recent years. The atmosphere is far more corporate and less genuine than before, with some employees looking over their shoulder, particularly as Blank has started to take a step back. The marketing and business side of the franchise has increasingly crept into the football side of the building.

This isn’t to suggest it’s why Pioli wanted to move on. He could not ask for a better ally than Dimitroff. It’s probably also a good time to move on, given the uncertainty of where things are headed.

Mostly, this is about Scott Pioli. He’s a different guy. He’s not going to stay in a job just for a paycheck. The Falcons’ job was not moving him forward to his ultimate goal, which was to be a general manager again. He needs a new challenge. He can spend a year doing social justice work and focus on the issues that shaped him, as he spoke about at length with The Athletic in February.

In a statement, Dimitroff called Pioli “a dear friend and he will be missed within our organization.”

Pioli said in a statement that he “came in to work closely with Thomas on personnel structure, processes and decisions. I loved the concept, was confident I could provide value and have enjoyed the challenge.” But now, he said, it’s time to “pursue other potential opportunities.”

What those opportunities are remain to be seen. He spent the 2013 season out of football after being fired as Kansas City’s general manager before yearning to return to a competitive environment.

Dimitroff hired his former mentor (Cleveland and New England) in 2014. Pioli gave the Falcons an experienced and valued talent evaluator in the personnel department — where things had seemingly slipped — and it put him in Atlanta, the birthplace of the civil rights movement, something close to his heart along with other social action initiatives.

Pioli sometimes fought perceptions that he cared more about social causes than football. Nothing could be further from the truth. He reaffirmed many times that he hoped to be a general manager again and believed he would be better with a second opportunity if that came about. But he said in February that he was not obsessing over it.

“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “I just want to win, and I want to be a good dad. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about anything else.”

The Falcons job also gave Pioli a chance to rehabilitate his image, which took a beating after the Chiefs job. There was a belief that Pioli would get a phone call from an owner looking for a new GM within a few years. Surprisingly, that hasn’t happened. (Some expected him to get the Cleveland job in 2017 that went to John Dorsey.)

The Kansas City firing and the criticism that came with it stung Pioli. Some was justified, some overstated. Much of what was reported about the Chiefs’ turmoil didn’t tell the whole story — some employees I spoke to came to his defense — but Pioli took the rare step of publicly apologizing “for not getting the job done.”

When I asked him why, he said, “I failed. When you succeed, you don’t do it alone. When you fail, you feel like you’re alone as the leader, and you realize how many lives that will impact.

“Change is difficult, and sometimes when leaders make change for the first time, you make mistakes. Obviously, some of the personnel acquisitions could’ve been better. I could’ve done a better job with some of the relationships. I come from a culture where everything was focused on football and winning games. The biggest mistake was probably I could’ve been more patient with the people who were unwilling to change and more patient as they adjusted.”

Pioli deserves another shot at being a general manager. But he’s also too smart to take a job with ownership or an organization that he believes is set up for failure. If he doesn’t get another GM job over the next year or two, he would be the ideal person to head social action initiatives in the NFL. He also could do radio and television work, as he did in 2013. But the NFL is a lesser league and the Falcons are a lesser team without him.

 

This is a big loss but we will bounce back i have faith that TD doesnt need the pioli training wheels anymore.thanka for all the work you put in and good luck in whatever is next 

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