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Old 01-07-2009, 11:37 PM  
Count Zarth Count Zarth is offline
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Rufus Dawes takes one final parting shot

Anonymous my ass. That reads like Rufus.

http://www.bobgretz.com/chiefs-footb...iew-of-cp.html

Another View of C.P.

January 7, 2009 - Anonymous
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This posting comes from a reader to the site, a long-time Peterson watcher who has communicated with me for many years. He sent this piece unsolicited and I found the quality of the writing to be such that I wanted to post it. It took some convincing, but the author finally agreed, with the proviso that I not include his name. Thus, the post comes under Anonymous. I think it’s worth your time. There have been plenty of views of Peterson’s time with the Chiefs on this site in the last week, both positive and negative. I think this piece does a good job of walking down the middle. Enjoy!

The big band leader Artie Shaw, who outlasted most of his contemporaries, once asked a columnist rhetorically, “how do we know Mozart’s any good?”

Replied the columnist: “Because he’s lasted.”

When a piece of music endures 200 years, we know it has value. Shaw pointed out that his recordings still sounded good after 60 years, which isn’t bad for something as ephemeral as pop music.

The life of a football man and his work is far shorter. A championship season and the guy or guys who brought it to you are quickly forgotten if the team stumbles the following year. It follows the old Marty Schottenheimer dictum: “It’s not what you’ve done for me lately, it’s what are you going to do for me next.”

Carl Peterson was with the Chiefs franchise for 20 years as president and general manager, one of the longest tenures for a man in that role in the National Football League. He exited the stage yesterday to little fanfare. There’s something remarkable about Peterson’s years in Kansas City. Crowds jammed the stadium for the most part; fans bonded with popular players he brought here – most of them anyway with the exception of some of the quarterbacks – and a populace at large fell in love with professional football after almost two decades of embarrassing play.

Lasting in this sense is a better substitute for loving. There never was much love from the media for Peterson.

When Peterson took over the Chiefs it frankly came as a surprise because local media could never believe that Jack Steadman who had fronted the franchise for so many years and had a warm personal relationship with team founder Lamar Hunt would ever leave. When I later listened to Peterson’s opening remarks at the time of the announcement of his hiring, which I had picked up from a cassette belonging to a local reporter, he spoke much in the manner of IBM’s boss Lou Gerstner, who famously said, “that the last thing IBM needs right now is a vision.”

Indeed, despite continued reports to the contrary, Peterson gave nothing approaching the visionary except to say he was studying the situation and would make moves in due time. The media questioning was no less vague, mostly concerned with the future of then-head coach Frank Ganz. In all his remarks there was no mention of any five-year plan he later was accused of issuing. The truth is GM’s get into trouble by setting overly ambitious objectives such as a Super Bowl, then in trying to meet them they compromise long-held beliefs. If the media and fan base were anxious, if not a little bit skeptical, given the franchise’s nearly 20 years of failure, Peterson showed none of it himself.

Brought on board only a month before the disastrous 1988 season concluded, it’s doubtful he had enough insight to craft a detailed plan or an in-depth strategy or a five-year anything. But he certainly should have had a clear idea of what he believed, the key issues that he was going to be focusing on, and some form of organizing framework for the key actions he wanted to take.

What helped Peterson was that he had the clarity and fresh perspective of an outsider. Longtime habits and perceptions can blind a man to inefficient process or misplaced assumptions if he is elevated from inside an organization. Without even realizing it, he can fall victim to the “that’s not how we do things around here” trap, which cuts off the possibility of doing things differently. In time, Peterson brought in a whole new staff, many of whom went on to assume leadership positions at other franchises, a fact he never forgot to mention when their new appointments were announced.

Compared to most NFL GM’s, slash, presidents – and there aren’t any left in the NFL who hold that dual role anymore – Peterson’s career trajectory is enviable. That he managed to stick around for as long as he did at the same place in the same role is impressive. No other GM can claim that, much less match his won-loss record which many of the locals dismiss today as somehow poor. That he survived all these years with at least his national reputation intact is more than amazing. An awful lot of that can be credited to his attitude. He was different than most GM’s in that he acted in a role that was more than just acquiring players. He had an interest on the business side of the franchise when most NFL GM’s couldn’t tell you the price of their team’s tickets.

Some leaders operate, like Thomas Jefferson said, through the “feints of other men” or, as it was said of Martin Van Buren, that he “rowed to his object with muffled oars.” But Peterson, from the day he came to Kansas City until his last days when he was being daily vilified by an angry fan base and vengeful media, steamed toward objects with flags and horns blowing. GM’s are largely unknown figures compared to the A-list of head coaches and owners. Peterson was front-and-center in everything the team did up until his final year and that probably had something to do with his unpopularity. He was never bashful in his public appearances and he seemed to be everywhere, especially in those early days.

From the outset, he took no guff from Al Davis, which anyone in town could admire after a decade of getting pushed around by the Raiders strong man. He made no foolish trades; quite the contrary he pursued blockbuster ones that landed a franchise that few outside of Missouri and Kansas cared about on the front page of national magazines and other publications. He had his share of flops, but signed three of the most prominent unrestricted free agents in league history in Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and James Hasty. He talked to the press when he wanted, it seemed, and changed everything about the team from what was a bland game day experience to include a tail-gate atmosphere that was the equal of any major college football program. He prowled the parking lots, interacting with fans, spoke to groups and business organizations, did a live radio show. He played and dressed the part of a business executive.

But the minute you start hailing his in-your-face attitude, you run up against someone for whom that’s the chief obstacle. Accusations of arrogance abound in local coverage over the years although the reports never indicate exactly what they mean. I think most of these reporters or columnists are indulging in what a psychologist would call displacement; if you’ve spent your whole career attacking everyone and everything teams attempt to do, the strains are bound to show. In reporting on the troubles of any team, there’s no minimizing the psychic effects of regularly consuming a world-view rooted in laying blame, much of it on the man who heads the organization.

I’ve often wondered what it was that turned the media off. He had come to Kansas City with more than a reasonable reputation for openness from Philadelphia, a city known for its tough fan base and skeptical media. Newspaper articles from the City of Brotherly Love, the nation’s fourth largest media market, clearly indicate that and his hiring as president/general manager of the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars, for example, was emblazoned in War-ends-in-Europe type in one of the local sports pages I went back and read. But in Kansas City the press repeatedly described him as a man who was tough-minded, especially with player agents and the public bought into that charge as if anyone should care. If Peterson even talked about drafting, signing or re-signing a player it was red meat to any local reporter.

This and other charges against him were repeated so often they became clichés. Like most clichés they tell us more about the people who use them than about the state of affairs they were supposed to describe. One of them, perhaps the most bizarre, was the accusation that all he cared about was filling the stadium, not winning. As late as 2006, a Kansas City Star columnist could write “in more than a few fans’ eyes, Carl Peterson cared about winning,” stated in a context that it was somehow surprising that any team official of his status would suddenly care about such matters. My goodness, what GM didn’t believe you had to win to sell seats?

But no accusation carried more sting or more truth than his tenure lacked a championship. Indeed, his teams only came close once but what is perplexing is the idea that most people believed the teams he and his head coaches built – and he always insisted that it was the effort of a staff not one man – had the personnel to make it there. If they believed that the players were on board, that the home field advantage was set for a trek to the conference championship, and it was many times, how did it then fall to the GM, whose job at that point ended when the team took the field? Shouldn’t the head coach shoulder some of the blame?

The truth is there is every indication that Peterson saw his role, no matter his outward presence, as a collaborative one. He routinely gave to his coaches what they wanted in players whether it was old established vets that Marty Schottenheimer and Dick Vermeil favored or youngsters that Herm Edwards believed in. He stood by his coaches even when it meant the dismissal of a favored player that he loved like Donnie Edwards. The idea that was suggested that he struggled with Marty Schottenheimer over control had no foundation. Since he left the Chiefs Schottenheimer has never publicly uttered a negative word about Peterson to this day.

And yet few locally in the media would buy it. In fact the argument in the media that Peterson must go proceeded with rancor and picked up steam, with each participant becoming more personal in his attacks and always keeping an eye out to see if any of the others in the community would have the temerity to actually defend him. The media eventually settled into a comfortable spot on the ideological spectrum, talked to the same like-minded sources and colleagues, and eventually became predictable and stale. The local newspaper kept a feature on the home page of its web page implying that 2008 could be the year that Peterson was dismissed. Likely more wishful thinking, the editors kept it on the front page for months. That’s how it was when covering Peterson.

As the decade of the 2000’s wore on, the signs in the stadium started appearing and the blogs upped the vitriol. No one can doubt the sincerity of the fans’ reaction. But reactions do not make it any less repellent that too many people have swallowed wholesale the vocabulary of the worst sports talk fan on record, a depressing enough prospect. But when it came to Peterson they fused it with the brutish vulgarity of modern sports culture to create a horrible mutant: aggressive idiocy resembling the worst elements of the British soccer fan.

His final years at the helm were the least of his work. With the team flailing, he changed direction with a new head coach and went with a youth movement that was unlikely to do him any good reputation-wise since he was admittedly in the final years of his time here. He hadn’t been served well by everyone on his staff and he likely stuck too long with some of the old veterans and older cronies. Watching some of his more favored players limping around the field while pulling down significant sums of money was sometimes more tragic than it needed to be. His drafts were a mix of the good and bad and he was ill served there in the period between when Mark Hatley left and Bill Kuharich arrived.

In time, most of the myths about him became self-perpetuating, repeated so often that they became common knowledge, difficult to overturn from the sheer certitude of their acceptance. The disturbing point about this is not that Peterson has been portrayed in such a negative light, but that so much of what he did and who he was has been lost.

It’s easy looking back to take for granted how large a figure Chiefs football cut on the Kansas City scene. But it’s important to recognize that in the context of the ’70s and ’80s, fans had come to a point where the team barely evoked much interest at all good or bad.

Whoever takes up Peterson’s reins now will likely never achieve all that Peterson did given how poor a shape the franchise was in when he got there, but if his successor can get the team to a Super Bowl, and here’s hoping that he does, will it dim whatever accomplishments Peterson can take credit for? Will it really take anything away from the fun and excitement we’ve had from the Chiefs most of these past two decades?

The truth is Peterson lived an all too human existence, fraught with the usual dilemmas and decisions that would challenge the sturdiest NFL boss. He handled some situations well, others with error. Never did he turn away, however, and even his sharpest critics could not question his steadfastness. He could be as self-serving as any of us, but was just as likely to go out of his way to do things for others without anything in return. People I know who know Peterson closely have told me what a generous and loyal friend he was especially when they were in dire straits.

As people examine Peterson’s time here and, believe me, it will be examined and reexamined from the perspective of what those who come after him achieve or do not achieve, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs without him. Anyone undertaking that task, however, will need to face reality: it’s a lot tougher for anyone to be an NFL general manager today than it was twenty years ago. Expectations of what an out-in-front public figure like Peterson can accomplish have escalated dramatically.

In time, history will judge them all.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:51 PM   #2
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As people examine Peterson’s time here and, believe me, it will be examined and reexamined from the perspective of what those who come after him achieve or do not achieve, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs without him.

Not really.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:54 PM   #3
Count Zarth Count Zarth is offline
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Seriously this is really pathetic. It's like the Chiefs wouldn't let him put it on the official site so he limped over to Bob's blog. What a joke.

GO AWAY CARL
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:57 PM   #4
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once i heard, because he's lasted. I couldnt read any further. If the next GM wins a Superbowl for the Chiefs in the next 5 years, then CP will be forgotten.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:00 AM   #5
J Diddy J Diddy is offline
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once i heard, because he's lasted. I couldnt read any further. If the next GM wins a Superbowl for the Chiefs in the next 5 years, then CP will be forgotten.
hell the next one's got 20 years....
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:22 AM   #6
Darth CarlSatan Darth CarlSatan is offline
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it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs without him.

In the wake of Carl's departure, I'm learning a few things about him that I wasn't aware of until now.

It's late, and I'm not going there tonight, but I plan on revisiting this tomorrow.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:23 AM   #7
Darth CarlSatan Darth CarlSatan is offline
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once i heard, because he's lasted. I couldnt read any further. If the next GM wins a Superbowl for the Chiefs in the next 5 years, then CP will be forgotten.
I disagree, and per my post a minute ago, I'm going to outline why.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:27 AM   #8
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Bob Gretz is the most pathetic pile of shit in the entire galaxy.

Period.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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I just could not bring myself to read past the first couple sentences.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:36 AM   #10
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Hard to imagine the Chiefs without him?
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:41 AM   #11
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I just could not bring myself to read past the first couple sentences.
Yeah after scrolling down to see how long it was I was the same.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:12 AM   #12
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:15 AM   #13
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I just could not bring myself to read past the first couple sentences.
Yeah, my sentiments EXACTLY
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:17 AM   #14
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Yeah, my sentiments EXACTLY
i read it all and am none the wiser
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:29 AM   #15
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Yeah after scrolling down to see how long it was I was the same.
This.

...I mean, seriously. How pathetic is that?? They fired Gretz from the sidelines, he shouldn't even be writing on the website any more...if the Chiefs are cleaning house, he needs to go too...

...right. He just got this from a Chiefs fan who is a Peterson watcher...what the hell ever...
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