The Chiefs named Andy Reid as the team's new head coach in a five-year deal that “reportedly will give the longtime Eagles coach broad authority over football decisions,” according to Mortensen & Schefter of ESPN.com. The deal came hours after the Chiefs announced they had parted with GM Scott Pioli "after four tumultuous seasons." It is "expected" Reid will "pursue longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey to work with him as general manager" (ESPN.com, 1/4). ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson wrote by hiring Reid, who is “arguably the biggest and best name of the available coaches,” Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt has “shown he is serious about making his team a winner.” Hunt is “giving the power of the team to a coach.” Reid will “report directly to Hunt.” It is a “sign to the fans that Hunt is really serious about fixing this issue.” A look at Reid’s track record “suggests it is a worthwhile endeavor” (ESPN.com, 1/4).
FRESH START: ESPN.com's Williamson in a separate piece reported Hunt was “open to keeping Pioli, perhaps in a similar role to the one he had in New England.” But firing Pioli was “the right way to go.” Williamson: “I don’t think it would have worked between Reid and Pioli. Starting a new era without Pioli makes sense for everyone.” The decision has been “met with celebration by much [of] a fan base that was fed up with a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in 20 years” (ESPN.com, 1/4). In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, “Two years of stubborn deterioration gave way to one week of aggressive reconstruction. A once-proud franchise seems to be back on its feet. This is Clark Hunt’s moment, and barring a massive departure from character, he will let others soak up the spotlight.” But if the Chiefs “scratch back to respectability, these are the decisions we will remember.” This is Hunt’s “finest hour” (K.C. STAR, 1/5). In Boston, Greg Bedard wrote, “Some hotshot coordinator was probably not going to boost ticket sales all that much.” With Reid, the Chiefs have “immediate credibility” (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6).
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said that his plans are “for the franchise to remain in his family forever,” now that he is “nearly seven years removed from almost selling” the team, according to Dwain Price of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Cuban on Saturday said, "Hopefully my kids and their kids (will own the team). I always said unless something about the game drove me nuts, or the league, I would stick it out." Cuban during the ‘06 NBA Finals “was ready to turn in his NBA ownership.” He said of that time, "We put out feelers. I was really questioning the integrity of the game. After 2006, I was probably ready to sell. But I took some time off." Friday marked the “13th anniversary since Cuban reached an agreement to purchase the Mavs from Ross Perot Jr. on Jan., 4, 2000, for a whopping $285 million” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/6). Cuban said of ’06, "The league was completely different back then. There were so many teams that did things the way they always have done things. They were so old school, and the way I did things was so different that I felt like I had an advantage. Now the rules are different and teams across the board are smarter. So it's much more difficult to have an edge.” He added, "Today the draft is far more important than it has ever been, as is being smart about how you spend money. It used to be I could spend as much as I could and there were no consequences. Those days are gone. Now being over the (luxury) tax impacts your ability to improve your team” (ESPN.com, 1/4).
After an evaluation of ticket prices by the Chargers, "change is coming," according to Michael Gehlken of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Chargers Senior Dir of Ticket Sales & Service Todd Poulsen in an e-mail to season-ticket holders said that the team has "lowered the price of some general tickets and raised those of others, a redistribution designed to minimize blackouts while helping it 'remain a viable and competitive team.'" The range in season-ticket price "changed from between $480 and $900 in 2012 to between $390 and $1,100 in 2013." One-third of the stadium's general seats "went up in price, the first increase to Chargers tickets since 2008," while two-thirds of the seats, or about 45,000, "either decreased in cost or stayed the same." Chargers PR Dir Bill Johnston said, "We’re trying to rescale the building, so we can make seats that haven’t sold as quick more attractive." He added that the one-third of stadium seats were "priced higher to better align with the average cost at NFL games." Savings for single-game ticket buyers "are minimal." The price of the stadium's least expensive single-game ticket "decreased from $54 to $52." All field-level seats will "cost between $1,000 and $1,100 for season tickets," and the same price range "applies to the areas of the Plaza section located along the length of the field" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/5).
Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy “told fans in a first-ever phone chat Friday that there will be another stock sale, but not for 10 to 15 years,” according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Murphy, speaking during a chat arranged by franchise-owned fan website PackersEverywhere.com, said that the Packers “will announce a plan soon to renovate the Lambeau Field Atrium.” The Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District “has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday to hear from Packers officials about atrium renovations.” Murphy said that the renovations would include giving the Packers HOF, now located in the basement of the stadium, a “higher profile, expanding the Pro Shop and providing different restaurant options.” The renovations are “expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars.” It is “not known how the project would be financed” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/5).
In Illinois, Barry Rozner wrote Bears Chair George McCaskey has "brought honor back to the family name by making difficult decisions, and charging those he has hired with the power to do the same." Make "no mistake about what has occurred in the last year, and understand those changes would not have occurred without this McCaskey stepping into the void." Over the last three decades, it has been "very easy to criticize the McCaskey family for disastrous decisions on, off and anywhere near a football field." But credit "where it is due, George McCaskey is different" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/6).
CRUNCH TIME: In Tampa, Tom Jones noted Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik took over in January '09, and the Bucs "haven't made the playoffs in his four seasons." Granted, he took over a team "that was in rough shape." Dominik also "hasn't always been given enough money" by team owner the Glazer family to "stock his roster with talent." But the Bucs are 24-40 since Dominik has been GM. Scott Pioli "was fired by Kansas City on Friday after the Chiefs went 23-41 during his tenure as GM." Jones: "You get the feeling that next season is more crucial for Dominik than anyone else" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/6).
GIVING IT ANOTHER GO: In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted Panthers coach Ron Rivera "has been retained following a long-anticipated meeting with Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson on Saturday." Rivera has "two years remaining on the four-year, $11.2 million contract he signed in January 2011." The Panthers "next turn their attention to finding" a GM. They will interview "five to six candidates beginning Monday" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/6). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote although the decision to retain Rivera "was sound, the wrong man made it." The most "successful owners hire football people and gracefully slide out of the way" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/6).
WHO'S NEXT: In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot cites a source as saying that the Browns "walked away from Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Sunday afternoon because they weren't certain his heart was 100 percent into leaving the Ducks." Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner "removed themselves from the running and flew home from Arizona -- where they had been camped out since Tuesday -- to restart their coaching search with his name scratched off the list" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/7).