Certain head coaches and executives are obvious candidates to join the media once their football career is over (or on hiatus). Tony Dungy and Bill Parcells were always going to be good in front of the camera.
On the flip side, certain guys seem like they would melt if told they had to actually analyze freely in front of a camera. Parcells son-in-law Scott Pioli was always at the top of that second list, but now without a spot in the NFL he finds himself as a member of NBC Sports.
The former Kansas City Chiefs GM will contribute to NBC’s Sunday Night Football coverage and also appear on the NBC Sports Network’s “Pro Football Talk”. He will continue to serve as a contributor to Sirius XM.
For his part, Pioli acknowledged he had his shortcomings (to put in nicely) when it came to the media during his time with the New England Patriots and Chiefs.
“Evaluating in my old job the things I did well and the things I did not do well,” Pioli told SI. “I certainly believe understanding the media and what their job is was something I did not do a good job of. I thought this was a good opportunity to learn and grow, and get better in a lot of different areas.”
Someone like Pioli having what it takes to perform in front of the camera isn’t out of the question. One of his former coaches, Eric Mangini, had the same type of relationship with the media but was one of ESPN’s strongest analysts (though he didn’t get much attention due to a lack of flash) before taking a job this offseason with the San Francisco 49ers.
In order to follow in Mangini’s footsteps, Pioli will need to find a comfort level with criticizing people he worked with/for and could again in the future.
“I think there is a big difference between criticizing the performance and criticizing the performer. I am not going to be a person who criticizes people. Most of my background in the media is theoretical and academic so I have not entered the realm, but I think that is part of our obligation in the media is to try not to make it personal.”
After seeing only small parts of his thoughts on the game, it will be intriguing to watch Pioli every weekend. Both fans in Kansas City and New England know him well, but it can be argued we don’t know his personality at all.