One year out of the NFL was enough for Scott Pioli.
As it should be. He’s 48 years old.
The man selected by Sports Illustrated as the No. 1 GM/Executive in pro sports for the first decade of this century, was great in front of a camera but he belongs either on the phone, in front of a laptop, or alongside a practice field evaluating players.
Pioli didn’t just help author the opening chapters of the Patriots dynasty, he was the architect of the team’s reinvention in 2007 that saw them go 18-0 before the team’s somewhat disappointing loss in Super Bowl XLII. By the time the latest incarnation of the Patriots was built by Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio, Pioli had gone to Kansas City where he brought in players that helped the Chiefs turn from a 4-12 team in his first season to a playoff team his second year.
But that was the high point in Kansas City. The 2011 Chiefs backslid under head coach Todd Haley, a talented offensive mind but a combustible personality and in 2012 -- even though six Chiefs made the Pro Bowl -- the on-field results were even worse. The football results paled in comparison to the trauma of the Jovan Belcher situation in which the Chiefs linebacker killed his girlfriend then went to the Chiefs complex. Pioli tried to calm Belcher as Belcher held a gun to his head. Then Belcher committed suicide.
Now, Pioli is back in the game. Working alongside Falcons GM and longtime friend Thomas Dimitroff, Pioli will be working in the NFC for the first time.
"Scott is one of the most respected and adept talent evaluators in the NFL and a member of three Super Bowl championship teams," Dimitroff said in a statement released Wednesday. "We have worked together well in the past and been friends for more than 20 years. We have had the opportunity to experience a lot of success together, and I am very pleased that he has agreed to join our personnel team so we can work together again.
"We have made the commitment to improve every aspect of our organization this offseason, and with the addition of Scott to our personnel department, we have taken an important step to enhance our scouting staff."
Given Pioli’s experience and prior success, it probably won’t be long before he’s in a position to move back into a lead role as a GM of another team.