TD admits mistakes in private....what could they be? Jones perhaps? Ryan perhaps?
Former Patriots executives Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff, now general managers of the Chiefs and Falcons, respectively, joined The Big Show in Indianapolis Thursday. The two discussed their days with the Patriots and what they hope to achieve with their current franchises.
Bill Belichick has been more friendly with the media since arriving in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, to the surprise of many. Neither Pioli nor Dimitroff are surprised to see this side of him.
“Bill and I worked together for 16 years, and I’ve known him since 1987,” Pioli said. “That’s the Bill I know. Maybe it’s not shown that often publicly.”
Dimitroff said that neither he nor the city of Atlanta are strangers to Belichick’s perky persona.
“What I know of Bill is last year he came on one of our local radio stations and was waxing poetic about the Grateful Dead and Bon Jovi, and we had a half-hour talk,” Dimitroff said. “It’s not that new for me I guess.”
Said Pioli to Dimitroff: “Maybe getting rid of you and me is lighting him up a little bit. With the two of us not being around, we don’t wear him out as much.”
Pioli said he isn’t surprised to find Belichick still making it to Super Bowls, as he feels the Patriots organization, from Robert Kraft down, has set a standard from which they haven’t strayed.
“A large part is consistency,” Pioli said of what makes the Patriots such a good franchise. “It’s stability and consistency. It starts with Robert, Jonathan [Kraft] and Bill quite honestly. … It’s a matter of consistency and being the same people every day. Everyoone knows what to expect. When you know what to expect in the work place, whether you’re a player, a trainer, an equipment guy, a video guy, the entire [organization], everyone knows what to expect. The leadership, they’re the same people every single day, and that just makes for a great work environment. It allows people to do their jobs more efficiently and better.”
While the people and the philosophies have remained constant for the most part, Dimitroff said that one of Belichick’s best qualities is the ability to constantly analyze his decisions and find others who do the same.
“I think what’s very, very impressive about Bill and about Scott and I hope, hope me, when we’re putting together our teams and our groups of guys, whether it’s the players or the personnel or the coaches, that we’re getting the people that are their harshest critics themselves,” Dimitroff said. “That’s what I think is very important. Bill, it seemed, never had to really go around the people and lay into people, nor did Scott. We all beat ourselves up more than I think anyone else would beat ourselves up.”
Added Pioli: “And you try to surround yourself with people with that [mindset]. You don’t want them to be necessarily like-minded, you want them to have similar values and similar pride, quite honestly.”
The three haven’t been afraid to deal with one another since Pioli and Dimitroff departed New England, as major trades, such as the Matt Cassel trade to the Chiefs in 2008 and the trade of Tony Gonzalez from the Chiefs to the Falcons in 2009, have gone down between the executives. Dimitroff and Pioli noted that they stay in close contact and talk shop, and that the trust they’ve built over the years pays off in the workplace.
“Before we ever get to the point of criticizing one another, with Thomas and I, what absolutely happens is Thomas will call me and say ‘Scott, what do you think about this? I think I might have made a mistake,’ and I do the same thing with him,” Poilio said. “… I don’t need Thomas to criticize me, because I’m throwing it all out there. … I don’t mind that he sees the core of what I am and the mistakes I’m making, because I know whatever feedback I’m going to get is real.”
The Chiefs fired coach Todd Haley in December, after which a Kansas City Star piece ran saying Haley believed Pioli was bugging rooms at the team facility.
“I read that,” Pioli said. “[Chairman and CEO] Clark Hunt and [President] Mark Donovan said it at the time and I’ll say it again: Unequivocally, completely, totally untrue.”