Chiefs Left Out Of The Chase … Monday’s Cup O’Peyton

Somebody call the factory in Sri Lanka and pull the plug on that order for 10,000 red Chiefs jerseys in No. 18, with Manning across the back.

It appears that the Peyton Manning Chase is rolling towards a conclusion and the Chiefs are on the outside looking in. ESPN reported Sunday that the Chiefs and Seattle have requested the chance to meet with the most important free agent in NFL history. They’ve been turned down with basically a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” return message.

Insert inside-media information here – one of those ESPN folks reporting on the Chiefs being out of the race was Chris Mortensen. If it has something to do with one of Tom Condon’s clients, then Mort is going to have the scoop and the correct information. There’s a direct pipeline there.

I think it’s safe to say at this point that the Chiefs were obviously never a factor in the thinking of Manning or Condon.

Insert inside-media information here – I heard one of the local sports radio tin throats say that there was a chance that Condon would help the Chiefs get a “hometown” discount for Manning. The comment made me laugh so hard the Diet Coke I was drinking shot out of my nose. Condon did not reach his status as the NFL’s most powerful agent by giving hometown discounts. There certainly wouldn’t have been any reason for him to give one of the Chiefs. He has not played for them in 30 years, there’s no one left in the building that he knows and after years of living in Kansas City, Condon now lives in St. Louis.

Ok, so why couldn’t team chairman Clark Hunt and GM Scott Pioli get any consideration from Manning?

Let’s be honest here – what did the Chiefs really have to offer? We don’t know what his criteria might be in finding a new football home. But it appears he was able to conclude that the Chiefs didn’t have what he wanted in any fashion. If they did, he would have given them a sniff.

The K.C. negatives could have been any number of things. Manning thrived in a stable atmosphere with the Indianapolis Colts over a decade. Stability is not something that gets attached with the Chiefs these days, not with three head coaches in five years, the front-office upheaval and some of the bizarre practices of ownership and general manager in how they treat their employees.

There’s no positive track record that Hunt or Pioli have built to raise their level of credibility within the league. If there was, Manning would have given them a sniff. I’m willing to bet had the Chiefs trio of Lamar Hunt, Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer still been around the team, Manning would have visited Kansas City. Those three got Joe Montana to leave the Bay Area to come to the Midwest. They knew how to get that done.

Going after Manning was an experience-level far higher than Hunt and Pioli had previously attempted. The fact they couldn’t get an audience with him tells us one of two things: (1.) they were playing out of their league or (2.) they had nothing to offer Manning, or to entice him to at least visit K.C.

Either answer is not good news for Chiefs fans.

On top of that, the question has to be asked about how aggressively the Chiefs went after Manning? When the owner and the coach both publicly say they had interest in Manning, then we have to presume the entire organization was working in that direction. Still, the entire idea of being part of a chase after Manning was totally un-Pioli-like. He’s never operated on that side of chance; he likes more of a sure thing, especially when it’s going to be his head in the noose when things don’t work out.

The idea the Chiefs were going to make a real push for Manning never gained any traction in reality land. It’s just not the style of Hunt/Pioli, whether it’s going after free agents or committing big dollars over a gamble like Manning. Listen, sometimes the best deals a team makes are the ones that don’t get made. Manning at 36, with four neck surgeries and a season out of the game is no sure thing to reach the his MVP level of play.

Hunt and Pioli’s mistake was getting involved in the situation to begin with. Their failure to land the big fish opens the door for charges of being too cheap to sign Manning. They got their fans all fired up about the chances of No. 18 in red and now they’ve left them hugely disappointed, and no more willing to spend any more money for Chiefs tickets. If they were committed to playing the Peyton Place game, they had to be the winner; failure was not an option.

And, here’s another problem: what if Manning signs with the Broncos? It will be a twice-a-year reminder of how Denver got it done and Hunt and Pioli couldn’t even get in the game.

25 Responses to “Chiefs Left Out Of The Chase … Monday’s Cup O’Peyton”

  • March 12, 2012  - Dave Boman says:

    This puts our favorite franchise in a very bad light I’m afraid. I like your coverage of this, Bob and you are spot on (in my opinion) about the perception around the league of the instability and issues surrounding the present ownership / management of the organization contributing to the lack of interest by Manning and his camp.
    I wonder how much of his lack of interest stems from the way players were treated when the change over occurred and Pioli/Haley came in and essentially ignored the players when they wanted to be heard or have a meeting? I wonder how many of those players were/are clients of Tom Condon? This makes me wonder if we will ever again be a team other prime free agents will listen to, or get excited about joining.
    I must admit that I am torn… it would have been interesting to see Manning in a Chiefs uniform with all the weapons he could potentially unleash on another teams defense, but can he repeat the magic that he had in Indy? Honestly, I don’t think he will be able to revive those days. Perhaps this has all been a big PR job by Hunt/Pioli to placate the fan base about pursuing a big fish when no actual “chase” was ever planned. Only time will tell. Just my thoughts, good sir Bob!

  • March 12, 2012  - KC_Guy says:

    and on top of all … the Chiefs’ #18 jersey was retired when ET was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bad omen?

  • March 12, 2012  - milkman says:

    While I appreciate your point of view Bob, I’ll have to disagree with you this time. I don’t think Lamar, Carl, and Marty had as much to do with Montana coming here as you do. In that case there was a trade involved. This decision is all Manning’s. I also think it remains to be seen how stable the Colts are without the front office that was there the whole time Manning was. I do agree with you on one thing though- we just may have dodged a bullet by him not signing here. There is still a BIG question mark about his health and how long he can stay healthy- especially with one hard hit to his head…

  • March 12, 2012  - johnfromfairfax says:

    All good points but c’mon folks. First, how hard do you think Pioli and Hunt pushed to try to get Manning? I find it hard to believe that after all of the pinch penny ways that have been highlighted and Pioli openly talking about executing on behalf of Hunt and his money the two of them would mortgage the franchise for what may or may not be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Milkman, if you think that any trade that took place was not negotiated with Montana’s complete input and approval when he came to the Chiefs you aren’t considering the relationship and respect that existed between him and the 49ers’ ownership. Also, the point Bob made was that the organization in Indy WAS stable during the time PM played there, not what is happening now. I’m sure both these points factored into the decision. Fans will draw their own conclusions based on what their point of view is but I think the Chiefs probably never were really players in this. I also think that the word is out on the Chiefs management not being an top flight organization and an unsettled franchise to play for these days. I wanted PM as much as everybody else but I’m okay with not making the deal as long as we’re not dishonestly told we went all out when it’s evident Denver and others did and we didn’t. I also want to see what we do in FA and the draft to address some of the issues that are evident and to seriously improve. If PM goes to Denver and they win the division and go deep into the playoffs or win a SB it will go down to many as a tremendous missed opportunity. If not others will claim it vindicates the obvious inaction and half hearted attempt that placated them anyway. We’ll all see how it turns out.

  • March 12, 2012  - R W says:

    Is anyone really surprised by this outcome? Yet another wakeup call to Jr. Hunt that his stewardship of the Chiefs is not working nor is his hand picked lapdog of a GM, both of whom got the bony middle finger of Manning and Condon in this latest example of NFL disrespect.

    You think this won’t resonate with other first tier free agents who might consider joining the Chiefs? Think again. Until Pioli is long gone and Jr. Hunt removes himself completely from the day-to-day and has a genuine experienced GM (Polian?) in place, the Chiefs will continue to be seen as a flyover franchise.

  • March 12, 2012  - ChuckXX says:

    Iam afraid that R W above has some good points. I said 2 days ago that Peyton would not sign with the Chiefs. It was so clear and simple. He makes 3 appointments (Denver, Phoenix, and Miami). If he was at all interested he would have made an eyeball to eyeball appmt. with the Chiefs. He just simply didn’t want to play for them. On another note, do you remember last year in free agency how Pioli “waited” a few days and even weeks before he started picking over the scrap heap???? He was not active at all in the first few days. Thats because once again he did not want to overpay. That seems to be the Chiefs mantra ever since he arrived. The guys I would like to see him go after would be Solai and Michael Bush or even Mike Tolbert. But just watch him “wait” while these guys sign elsewhere.

  • March 12, 2012  - TimR says:

    I opined last week, the Chiefs were probably pursuing him to rehab their rep. Amusing, and very troubling, Manning hasn’t given us the time of day. Well Boy Wonder Hunt, where’s all this penny pinching, gum wrapper pick up culture change gotten you now? We’re gonna have to over pay FAs for a few years AND stop with the perceived CIA atmosphere to get some of the FAs here again. They begun to leave when Carl P was an a-hole in contract negotiations. Now it’s this. Clark can’t espouse the stability line & then not walk it. Fact is Romeo will be here a few years, then more change. If Manning came here…same thing.

  • March 12, 2012  - Niblick says:

    I’m not sure that Hunt and Pioli had anything to do with Manning not coming here. Seattle requested a visit and also were turned down. I just felt he had specific teams in mind and Chiefs and Seattle were not in the mix. Some sources say Seattle and Kansas City are still in the mix but most feel they are not. The Titans also may have been turned down. Their owner, Bud Adams, wants Manning badly.

  • March 12, 2012  - the other dave says:

    Niblick – good points and I’m inclined to agree with you.

    Now that it appears we’re out of it and he doesn’t want to be a Chief, I hope he does go to Denver so that we can kick his ass.

  • March 12, 2012  - Michael says:

    ChuckXX…I’ve got the same fear. I have a list three to four deep at each position of free agents who would really make the Chiefs better, and I have my doubts Pioli will veer from his do-nothing policy. I get the feeling Pioli and Hunt think the Chiefs are one, maybe two, drafts away from being a championship team. Who knows, maybe they are right, but why not speed up the process by filling holes and adding depth through free agency when you have the cap space to do it?

  • March 12, 2012  - Canada Brad says:

    I think I am okay with the Chiefs not landing Peyton. At first, it felt like he would be a great 2 or 3 year plug, which he might still be. But then I started doing some math and it looked like all the Chiefs would be able to do is sign Manning and re-sign Carr (apparently they were only going to have $37 million under the cap before spending 16 of that on Routt and Bowe). The more I thought about it, the more I figured it would make more sense to go out and try to get a veteran Centre, Bush or Tolbert (big RBs that can carry the load if needed), Soliai (NT), and take a real run at Finley (TE-GB) + re-sign Carr. They have the money to do all this and the only player that should come across as really expensive would be Finley (and Carr probably).

    I also don’t think they damaged anything by going after Manning and missing (even if it was a half-ass attempt). When Romeo and Hunt both mentioned Manning, they didn’t say we needed to go get him. They pretty much said it would be ridiculous to not consider any player that would improve their team (which a healthy Manning would, not offending anyone). I am also realizing just now that maybe Manning opted not to include KC in the conversation because they wanted to see a “pro-day” or something, but the other organizations don’t seem to care. If this is the case, then I think it makes a lot of sense to just let it go. The team that lands Manning could be getting an expensive player that does nothing (because he can’t play) but screws up what you were trying to do at QB already, especially in DEN and ARI. For MIA it’s not such a big deal, except that they might miss out on Flynn (could play for a decade, although we don’t know how well really) if they sign Manning (will only play 4 years tops).

    All in all, I feel like Hunt/Pioli do want to spend money in FA this year, and I’m excited to see wo we can land. Especially Soliai (and Bush). Time will tell.

    GO CHIEFS !!!

  • March 12, 2012  - TimR says:

    I never felt they were after Manning in a full-blown manner anyway. The media blew it out of proportion. All they said was they would explore it…or consider it. Others have read into it what they will & it resulted in heaadlines saying they were putting on the full-court press. As I’ve said before, a good argument can be made either way. The important thing to remember is what we end up with. Rightly or wrongly, I believe its going to be harder, & perhaps more expensive, to acquire top-flight free agent because of our perceived rep & questions about the organization. Pioli says it takes two to make a deal. He’s right. The thing to look for is WHY the other side doesn’t want to. If its money, that may be easy to see. If its not money, then you know what the issue is…

  • March 12, 2012  - St Paul 1 says:

    Canada Brad makes good sense. Manning would have been exciting IF everyone is now healthy and IF they stay healthy and IF the holes in the line are filled.

    As it is, time to fix the offensive line. There are some nice pieces in place, and if Cassel has time to throw, he may not be a top 10 qb, but he can compete. It could be the ’90s all over again. Good enough to get to the playoffs, just not good enough to do anything once we get there. It was a fun decade, if ultimately unsatisfying.

  • March 12, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    I agree the Manning chase was probably more in the eyes of fans rather than the front office. I’ve said that I’d be OK if we didn’t get him. More concerned with what the front office does with FA and the draft. Jr better start spending. St Paul, I fully agree with you.

  • March 12, 2012  - David says:

    Let’s not go crazy here. 12 teams wanted Manning, so getting him has been a long-shot from day one. What really counts is if the Chiefs now go out and use their cap money wisely, bringing in 3 or 4 free agents who will improve the team in a meaningful way, plus some productive draft picks.

  • March 12, 2012  - ED J says:

    Bob you’re funny guy you went from saying Manning must be signed by Hunt/Pioli to it was stupid to go after the guy. Please make up your mind it ruins your credibility as reporter. Then every chance you get you got your lipstick on ready to kiss the butt of Carl Peterson. Seriously getting old. He won 3 playoff games in 20yrs I mean he didn’t have a track record of success. ON top of that Joe Montana was traded to us he didnt sign as free agent. Its little different when team tell you your choice when you’re being traded vs being free agent and choice is yours along to make. That’s where Peyton is. I said all along this was crap shoot and that Pioli/Hunt had no control over whether they could get him or not its Peyton decision. And his decision not to come here is by no means any indictment on the organization. Their will be other teams like Seattle and others he’ll choose not to go to for whatever reason.

    Either way as long as Pioli can get some good signings during this free agency period it’ll still be good offseason for us whether he goes to Denver or not. I would love for them bring Orton back but that may not happen seeing its so many teams trying upgrade QB position he bound to end up somewhere he doesn’t have to compete. My thing is as long as Scott handles his business in free agency with new OC we have this is going be good season for Chiefs. Espcically if they are very serious about giving Stanzi and whatever Vet they bring in opportunity to actually compete with Matt.

  • March 12, 2012  - txchief says:

    Pioli better get on with stoking the roster to beat Denver with Manning, because that is probably wher Peyton will land. The Cardinals were already in cap trouble, and they just let their (albeit overrated) starting LT go. I’m pretty sure the quality of his blindside protector will figure into Peyton’s decision on where to sign.

    I believe pursuing a trade for Drew Brees is the best way for the Chiefs to make a run this year. I’ll be bitterly disappointed if the starting QB for the 2012 season is Cassel, or Henne, or Campbell, or Quinn. Orton would be a better option than the other obvious suspects, despite being historically mistake-prone. He can at least make all the throws, find the open receiver and get rid of the ball faster than Cassel.

  • March 12, 2012  - TWC says:

    Bob, great work as usual. The current Chiefs have been secretive to a fault on everything and now they publically show their hand on going after Manning. Either they had no real intention of signing Manning or they now realize the need to change their MO to attract fans. Personally, I think it is the former.

  • March 12, 2012  - Michael says:

    Bob, how is it that all these NFL writers are “hearing” that this guy is going to sign with this team and this guy is going to sign with that team even before free agency starts? The rules about talking to free agents (and their agents) before the official start of free agency seem to be a bit of a sham. Will the league ever do anything about it?

  • March 13, 2012  - Craig says:

    I have an idea: reason 1 cut all-pro guard just because he was a player rep!! That makes the other players in the league trust you!

  • March 13, 2012  - milkman says:

    JFF- The point I was trying to make was that the decision for Montana to come here was not only his to make, unlike Manning. So in that sense, you can’t say you’re comparing apples to apples. Bob made some great points in his article and I think everyone who has followed the Chiefs for as long as we have would agree there is a huge difference in the way this team is being ran now compared to then. Had the Chiefs been ran that way back then, I do agree with you that Montana would have probably nixed that trade. I agree 100% with the rest of what you posted. I think the Chiefs have gotten a bad reputation after some of the local reporting of the way they do their day to day business went national. If they can’t get any of the 1st tier free agents to come visit, there will be little doubt. We will know soon enough.

  • March 13, 2012  - Michael says:

    If you are right and the Chiefs have become an outcast organization, the only way they will get free agents to come to KC is to overpay tremendously. Those few guys they pay the ransom, drafted players and much lesser free agents will be what the Chiefs are left with to build the team. That’s a much harder way to go than other teams.

  • March 13, 2012  - el cid says:

    Michael, truer than most of us would like to think. Sometimes you are what your public image is, in Chief’s case, cheap, willing to accept substandard talent, good enough.

  • March 13, 2012  - Kent Pulliam says:

    I don’t generally contribute to the forum unless it is something I have written. But a couple of facts about the similarities of Montana-Manning have been distorted in this discussion.

    Montana was not a free agent. It was a trade. That being said: The 49ers told Montana to talk to whomever he wanted, get a deal done and then they would work out the trade with the team. It was a recruitment exactly like the Manning recruitment. It was exactly the same agent.

    The biggest difference, in my opinion, was that in the new regime of the ’90s years prior to the Montana recruitment, the Chiefs added significant players to the mix to put them in a competitive position.
    Some of the successful additions:

    Derrick Thomas in the 1989 draft
    Tim Grunhard and Dave Szott in the ’90 draft
    Dale Carter in ’92

    Free agency
    Dan Saleaumua in 89
    Starting LB Chris Martin in ’89
    Mike Webster in ’90 (mentored Grunhard)
    Serviceable RB Barry Word in ’90
    LB Tracy Simien in ’91
    DT Joe Phillips in ’92
    QB Dave Krieg in ’92
    FS Martin Bayless in ’92 (replacing Deron Cherry)

    All those guys made significant contributions to the team before Montana became available. There was a track record of being aggressive (but not foolhardy) in spending money in free agency.

    Many of you hate Carl of the later years. But in the early years he was aggressive and made some really good moves and selections to lift the Chiefs from the doldrums to winning more game in the ’90s than almost anyone in the NFL. I haven’t seen moves from the current regime that have netted the same results.

    So this is the long-winded way of saying the Montana-Manning recruitment is almost exactly the same. The difference is that the track record of the organization was entirely different and that is the biggest reason (in my opinion) why Manning has seemingly made KC a flyover option on his NFL tour.

  • March 13, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    Canada Brad, nice mature post with reason.

    I still think Manning didn’t feel comfortable playing for Pioli/Crennel when they were part of the Pats that owned him for all but one of his years.

    My boss made a funny comment. Why would you want an old QB with a broken neck?

    We need that cap space to address starting RT, NT, ILB, depth at OT, OG/C, TE, SS, RB, QB and SS/FS.
    In that order… but all important and all fillable in this off season between free agency and the draft.

    Go Chiefs!

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