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Pioli is the new Parcells


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Shanoff's W.U.C.: Cowher? Nah: Pioli Power!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Posted By Dan Shanoff 8:10 A.M.




The Opening Pitch: Scott Pioli is the new Bill Parcells.


Coming out of the NFL's annual "Black Monday," all of the attention is on the head coaches who lost their jobs. But the attention should be on the true architects of any team's success — the general managers.


Want to know who is most responsible for the NFL turnarounds of the decade in Miami and Atlanta? Sure, first-year head coaches Tony Sparano and Mike Smith are the leading candidates for NFL Coach of the Year, but more credit should go to first-year head honchos Bill Parcells and Thomas Dimitroff.


Parcells and Dimitroff hired those coaches and signed off on their staffs. Parcells and Dimitroff made the personnel moves. Parcells and Dimitroff proved what kind of impact the super-savvy GM could have on an NFL franchise.


With that as background, the team that fired its coach yesterday with the best chance of turning its fortunes around fast is the same team that also fired its GM in the house-cleaning process: The Browns.


Sure, the Browns were snubbed by Bill Cowher — good riddance to him. Let the Jets overpay to bring him in. Instead, the Browns should focus their spending — and lots of it — on poaching Pats personnel guru Scott Pioli.


That could trigger THE “triple-play” of the offseason in the NFL: Get Pioli. Then have Pioli hire away Pats offensive coordinator/wunderkind Josh McDaniels. Then, break the bank for Matt Cassel — or, more realistically, hope McDaniels can transform Brady Quinn into the next Cassel.


But it all starts with Pioli. I have never understood teams that are willing to pay tens of millions for a franchise QB, but wouldn't consider paying $10 million a year for a superstar GM. Wayne Huizenga is no genius, but he knew enough to pay to get Parcells. And it paid off, immediately.


The Jets fired Eric Mangini ... but kept GM Mike Tannenbaum. The Lions fired Rod Marinelli ... but promoted assistant GM Martin Mayhew and elevated COO Tom Lewand to team president. Under the Parcells/Dimitroff Theory, these execs should have been the first to go, and their mistakes will simply continue.


The Browns opted for the hot NFL strategy of 2008: The extreme executive makeover. It worked for the Dolphins and Falcons; now, if the Browns are willing to pay whatever it takes to land the best personnel exec in football — Tom Dimitroff's former boss, no less — Cleveland can be the 2009 edition.

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