BUILT TO LAST: Reiss Sunday Article on Pioli and Team Building Approach
This is kind of buried on the Globe web site with the positioning of Cafardo's and Shaughnessy's columns. Too bad as it's a lot more interesting piece than either - well if you're a Pats fan anyway... :rolleyes:
Enduring success is Pioli's priority
By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | June 18, 2006
FOXBOROUGH -- Classical music plays in the background as Scott Pioli leans back in his chair behind the large wooden desk, three computer screens flanking him in the meticulous office.
On the wall to his left is the depth chart of every team in the NFC, in alphabetical order, from the Arizona Cardinals to the Washington Redskins. On the wall to his right is the depth chart of every AFC team -- Baltimore Ravens to Tennessee Titans.
The NFL's 32 teams are aligned in neat rows, top to bottom. Every player has his place on a rectangular white card.
So it's only fitting that the topic of discussion is one of Pioli's favorites: team building.
As vice president of player personnel for the Patriots, the 41-year-old Pioli is in the team-building business. The squad has been constructed based on a philosophy he helped create, along with head coach Bill Belichick.
``When we first came here [in 2000], we wrote it down in our manual -- we're building a big, strong, fast, tough, smart, disciplined football team that consistently competes for championships," Pioli said. ``We don't want to subscribe to the theory that the window is only open for a short period of time, take a run at it, then worry about the next year, or worry about two years in two years.
``This is a `now' society. Now is important. But so is the future. From a team-building standpoint, you have to think that way."
It's been seven years since Pioli and Belichick -- the duo targeted by owner Robert Kraft and vice chairman Jonathan Kraft to run the team's football operation -- took the first steps in their team-building process in New England. Seven years is an eternity in today's NFL.
Only two organizations have had the same head coach and personnel chief working together in those roles for a longer period of time -- coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Floyd Reese with the Titans (12 years) and coach Brian Billick and GM Ozzie Newsome with the Ravens (eight years). The Steelers, with coach Bill Cowher and personnel chief Kevin Colbert, match the Patriots with seven seasons together.
For Pioli and the Patriots, new challenges are always arising in the team-building process.
``There's a natural attrition on every NFL roster," Pioli said. ``Seven years later, depending on when a player is picked up, they're at different points in their careers -- some guys toward the end, others entering their prime, others entering free agency. Those are the things you have to keep in mind; there is always going to be that cycle and motion of players at different points in their careers.
``That's where the personnel job differs from the coaching job. The coaches are focused on this week, right now, this moment. From a personnel standpoint, you have to think about that, but you also have to keep an eye on the future."
(See Cardinals, AZ 1980-2005) or the players might not be good lockerroom influences (Bengals ) and might not have the success he has here. While it might be a challenge to turn around a franchise as Parcells has done repeatedly, it can be pretty good enjoying success and constant talk of being contenders or favorites for a Super Bowl.
Secondly, the ability to draft for the future is a byproduct of the success. If you're a 2-14 type team, as the Patriots were for more than a few years, you don't have the luxury of drafting backup tight ends in the early or mid rounds
in the hope that they can take a year or two and be ready to step in THEN and contribute. The poorer performers need people to contribute now and there's less long term planning, out of necessity and ultimately less long term success. Think of the Cowboys for the better part of two decades or the 49s thru the 80's and 90's and what the Pats have done over the last 5 years.
The first two teams did it in a no-salary cap era and both were ultimately destroyed or hampered by the cap. What makes it more impressive is that the Pats have done it in a salary-cap era when other teams have been crippled by bad contracts (see Titans and the choice of $23million cap for McNair if they kept him or $14 million in dead money tolet him go- IIRC and Miguel can correct me if I'm wrong)
While some of the columnists may moan that the Pats didn't give player X what he demanded and so he left via free agency, it seems that Pioli and Reiss (as usual) 'get it' and look at the big picture and the whole pie. If you give to one or everyone, pretty soon there's not enough left for anyone.
It may seem like the obvious but after reading some of the columnists from afar and having the advantage of not having to suffer through the talk radio
folks, it's nice to read an article that sums up the Pats Weltanschauung, their philosophy and view of how things should be done. It is as Holley wrote in Patirots reign, a successful corporate mentality distilled and transferred to the NFL. Sometimes, you have to make painful and difficult decisions for the ultimate long term good........
End of rant, back to the family
(OT) Happy Father's Day to all.......
Just my $0.02,
The Avatar is a picture of the 2006 NFL draft from the top level of Radio City Music Hall
This is the type of article that holds a reader's interest. We buy Patriot books to get this kind of a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes.
I will say that Bill and Brady have helped make Pioli a genius, and the previous comment, about success allowing at team to have the luxury of planning for the future, is true.
But Pioli works hard, and helps Bill do his thing. For that I am grateful!
Just a great article.
The Patriots seem to be the best team to bet on if you were trying to pick Most Wins in Next Seven Seasons Combined.
Lying about his age?
Scott has been 41 for a couple of years now. Welcome to the age reduction club Scotty.
Good to see Reiss get this interview, well deserved!
With all the not-so-well-written/researched articles put out by the majority of Boston's media, this one shines like the gem it is!
I've been reading this board for a while but just today decided to register. The reason for this isn't necessarily to make waves, but I do have a question as an admitted outsider.
I read pretty much everything I can get my hands on regarding the Pats. But I just don't understand the total infatuation with Mike Reiss' work. I like Mike and I believe he does a solid job. (So do dozens of others). But he can write some of the most innocuous stories and then get lauded here for some ground-breaking work. His Pioli piece on Sunday is just the latest example.
By the looks of these posts you'd think he told us something we didn't know. Basically he said the Patriots model is working (big news flash there). If I have to read that "big, strong, fast ... football players quote" from Pioli again I'm going to hurl. Nothing in the piece was fresh and there was nothing we haven't read elsewhere countless times. Yet the praise flows in for this guy like he's the second coming of Peter King. I don't get it.
Blasphemer! Kneel down and worship Reiss and reject the false gods of Globe writers, you apostate!
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