The Kansas City Chiefs announced Friday night that Andy Reid is now the team's head coach.
The Chiefs released a picture of Reid and Chiefs owner Clark Hunt signing Reid's contract, which is reported to be a five-year deal. Reid's hiring had been an open secret since Thursday.
The team's announcement at 7 p.m. concluded a day of many events at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs released a statement at 9 a.m. Friday saying that General Manager Scott Pioli was out. Former chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel finished cleaning out his office ahead of Reid's arrival. The day ended with Reid touring the team's facilities and signing his new deal.
Hunt and his wife traveled to Philadelphia on Hunt's private jet Friday morning to pick up Reid and his wife, Tammy. The two men and their wives landed at Kansas City's downtown airport about 1 p.m. Friday.
The two men, both wearing dark suits and red ties, traveled to Arrowhead to tour the stadium, offices and practice facility.
While at Arrowhead, Hunt and Reid spoke to a handful of fans who had gathered in excitement. Reid signed autographs. Both men thanked fans for their support, but declined to speak with reporters.
Reid, Chiefs president Mark Donovan and others dined at the Capital Grille on the Plaza Friday night. Reid said it felt great to be in Kansas City, but didn't comment further.
Rumors are swirling about how will join Reid in Kansas City.
Some of the existing Chiefs assistant coaches could remain on Reid's staff, which he is already assembling.
Reid's arrival occurred four hours after Hunt announced Friday morning that Scott Pioli was out as general manager.
"The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to do. To the Hunt family, to the great fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, to the players, all employees and alumni," Pioli said in a statement, "I truly apologize for not getting the job done."
The Chiefs are expected to introduce Reid officially on Monday. It is also expected that someone close to Reid will be hired to replace Pioli.
John Dorsey, the director of football operations for the Green Bay Packers, has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Pioli. Dorsey and Reid worked together in Green Bay.
Dorsey's wife is an attorney for Polsinelli Shughart, a Kansas City-based law firm.
Reid, who had been the NFL's longest tenured coach, was fired last weekend by the Philadelphia Eagles. He will have much say over the team's football operations and report directly to Hunt.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie congratulated the Chiefs on their hire.
"Congratulations to Clark Hunt and the Kansas City Chiefs for hiring a good man and a good coach," Lurie said Friday night. "We wish Andy, Tammy and their entire family all the best in their new home."
Reid is the Eagles' winningest coach of all time and took them to a Super Bowl, but his teams have struggled in recent years. He has also seen much off the field trouble, including his son dying of a drug overdose at the team training camp in August.
Hunt fired Crennel on Monday after the Chiefs concluded the season 2-14 and secured the top pick in the NFL draft. Crennel led the team for three games in December 2011 after the firing of coach Todd Haley. Crennel was named in January 2012 the permanent coach.
While Hunt said he has much admiration and respect for Crennel, that a change was needed at the head coach position. Another change is Hunt said the coach would no longer report to the general manager, but would report to him.
He also said on Monday that Pioli's future was in limbo and would be determined after the next head coach was selected.
Most NFL observers thought Hunt was waiting to see if the next head coach would want his own general manager or would be able to work with Pioli. Another consideration was negotiating a severance package with Pioli.
Some sports radio talk show hosts and fans had mocked Hunt for including Pioli when a Chiefs entourage had traveled to Atlanta to interview two head coaching candidates and Philadelphia to meet with Reid. The criticism quickly evaporated.
The meetings with Reid on Wednesday lasted an estimated nine hours. They apparently went so well that Reid canceled plans to interview in Arizona and San Diego for their vacant head coach positions.
The Chiefs reportedly have submitted a contract with Reid to the NFL league officers for their blessings. The announcement of the hiring of Reid could come as soon as Friday.
ESPN reports that attorneys are still working out the details, but the agreement has been reached in principle.
But at 9 a.m. Friday, the Chiefs made the announcement on their website that many fans had desperately wanted.
"The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Friday that the club and General Manager Scott Pioli have mutually agreed to part ways," the statement said.
Hunt wished Pioli well and said he knows he will soon have a job in the NFL.
"After several productive conversations, we made the difficult decision to part ways with Scott Pioli and allow him to pursue other opportunities," Hunt said in a statement.
Pioli had put much faith in both Crennel and quarterback Matt Cassel. Pioli, 47, joined the Chiefs as general manager on Jan. 13, 2009.
"Scott has been an invaluable member of the Chiefs family since joining us in 2009, and we sincerely appreciate his tremendous contributions over the last four years," Hunt said.
Pioli came to the Chiefs with high hopes, but he led the Chiefs to the playoffs just once in the four years. His total record was 23-42 in four years.
"I know this was a difficult decision for Scott as well," Hunt said. "He has a great deal of appreciation for the history of this franchise, for our players, coaches and employees, and especially our great fans."
Some of those fans had openly called for Hunt to fire Pioli, including the normally mild-mannered Midwest fans raising money to fire banners over Arrowhead calling for Pioli's firing.
That group, Save Our Chiefs, said they were "eternally grateful" to Hunt "for restoring hope within the Chiefs fan base."
"We look forward to a great 2013 under Andy Reid and the revitalization of Arrowhead Stadium to its former glory," the statement concluded.
Pioli came to the Chiefs after eight years with the Patriots where he served as vice president of player personnel. He has been named the NFL executive of the year five times in his career.
Working in concert with head coach Bill Belichick, the duo rapidly developed the Patriots into a consistent championship contender. When he came to Kansas City, Pioli also brought Cassel, the Patriots backup quarterback. That decision would be one of the most controversial of his tenure.
The Chiefs finished 4-12 in his second season. They finished the 2010 season 10-6 and won the division, losing their first playoff game. But that was the high mark under Pioli as the losses piled up in the next two seasons under first coach Todd Haley and then Crennel.
Hunt lauded Pioli in his statement.
"There is no way to overstate the level of respect and admiration I have for Scott on a personal level. His character, loyalty, integrity and commitment to a team are extraordinary, and throughout the last four years, he has consistently put the best interests of the Chiefs ahead of his own," Hunt said. "I know he will go on to enjoy further success in the National Football League, and I certainly wish him the best in the future."
No matter the on-the-field struggles, Pioli's darkest day with the Chiefs was Dec. 1 just 90 minutes before a scheduled team meeting.
Just before 8 a.m., starting linebacker Jovan Belcher pumped 10 bullets into the body of girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. He then called Pioli as he was driving to the Chiefs practice facility at the Truman Sports Complex.
He asked Pioli to ensure that both Pioli and Hunt looked after his infant daughter, Zoey. As police began to arrive on the scene, he took his own life despite pleas from Pioli, Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.
In his statement, Pioli thanked Hunt, Norma Hunt, widow of Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, and the Hunt family for the opportunity.
"I'd also like to thank the players, coaches, scouts and countless other employees, through the organization and at Arrowhead Stadium that have worked so hard during my time here. I would also like to genuinely thank the Chiefs fans," he said.
And then he apologized to the fans for the on-the-field failures.
Pioli had expected better success with the Chiefs.
"I am going to spend every waking hour of my day bringing a winner here and trying to improve this football team," he said in January 2012. "I know this football team has improved, but we are clearly not there yet. But we are on our way. No one is putting more pressure on me than I am myself."
Pioli said he was fully aware of how he can improve as a general manager.
"I know where my mistakes are and where my failures are and where I need to improve," he said. "I've got a long list."
Pioli spoke about the storied history of the franchise and the heartbreak fans have endured as previous teams have come close, but not delivered, on their potential.
Kansas City is an extraordinary community, the general manager said at the time.
"It's the Kansas City Chiefs. This is an amazing place," Pioli said. "This is an amazing legacy that is here. I came here to win as well."
But Pioli wouldn't be pinned down on when Chiefs fans could see the playoff win promised land again. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since 1994. Only the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals have seen longer playoff droughts.
"I came here to win games. I do believe in my heart, to my core that we are going to win," Pioli said. "I know we are. It is a matter of time. But I am not giving you an exact date."
Hunt became chairman and chief executive officer for the Chiefs after the death of his legendary father, Lamar Hunt, in December 2006. Clark Hunt played a key role, along with his father, in negotiating with Jackson County officials for new leases for the Chiefs and Royals that led to voter approval of renovations and expansion of the Truman Sports Complex. That voter approval came in April 2006.
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