Former GM Peterson hated to see team struggle
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson can't help but still care what happens to his former organization.
It pained him to see the Chiefs suffer through a 2-14 season, and it pained him to see the total disconnect unfold between the Chiefs and their fans.
"You don't spend 20 years working somewhere and just not care," Peterson told FOXSportsKansasCity.com by phone.
"I very much care. I still have a house here, spend time here. Obviously I don't want to see what Lamar Hunt and I built here for 20 years go downhill. I want to see this organization successful.
"I think the world of Chiefs fans. And I could tell how much they were suffering these last couple of years with all the banners flying over Arrowhead calling for people's jobs. There was a lot of fan anger there. Then you had the cheering when Matt Cassel went down. That's not the Chiefs fans we knew. But obviously they were frustrated and angry. It was sad to see."
Peterson, who took over as general manager in 1989 and immediately hired Marty Schottenehimer, resurrected a franchise in complete disarray at the time. Peterson and Schottenheimer worked hard at not only winning on the field, but also at winning back the fan base in the community.
That's why Peterson was so relieved that Chiefs owner Clark Hunt hired Andy Reid as the new coach - Peterson believes it's the first step to soothing wounds with the fans.
"Andy is what this organization needed to restore its credibility," Peterson said. "It's in some degrees similar to what I went through when I hired Marty. I think the organization was probably in worse shape back then.
"I remember when I first got here in 1989 and I met (broadcaster) Bill Grigsby, I asked him, 'Honestly, Bill, how bad is it here with the fans?' And Bill said, 'Well, let me tell you a story, Carl. Last year my wife and I were down on the Plaza and we went to have dinner. We left four club-level tickets on the windshield of my car, and put a little note with them that said we were giving these tickets away to anyone who wanted to go to Sunday's game. But when we got back from dinner, the tickets were still there, and there were actually two more tickets with them.'
"Now, I don't think the situation is that bad right now, but it has deteriorated. That's why it was so important to get Andy here."
Peterson said he was not asked by Clark Hunt to advise on Reid's hiring.
"But we have texted each other since the hiring," Peterson said. "I texted him that I thought it was a great hire."
Peterson also has talked to Reid by phone twice since Reid was hired.
"I've known Andy for a long time," Peterson said. "I told him (my wife) Lori and I would be willing to do anything to help him get acclimated to Kansas City. He's very excited about this team and this town.
"I first got to know him when he was coaching with Bob Stull at Missouri. Andy would come to Kansas City to recruit and we wound up hooking up. Then we stayed friends when he went to Green Bay under Mike Holmgren, who is a good friend of mine, and, of course, when Andy went to Philadelphia.
"Dick Vermeil lives in the Philly area, so the three of us kind of kept close tabs of each other."
Soon, Hunt and the Chiefs will make the hire to replace general manager Scott Pioli, who was let go last week.
Peterson, who resigned from the Chiefs in 2008, would not comment on Pioli's performance as GM, but he did give a thumbs up to reports that Green Bay's John Dorsey might be the next Chiefs general manager.
"He would be a good choice," Peterson said. "He's a smart guy.
"The most important thing is to have someone who can really work hand-in-hand with the coach. We had that with Marty and me, and then Gunther (Cunningham) and Dick (Vermeil) and Herm Edwards. You have to be close with your coach. You don't always have to see eye to eye, but you have to have mutual respect and a great working relationship.
"I know Andy has a history with John Dorsey and that would help."
Peterson, who now is the chairman of USA Football, the NFL's youth football partner, said he expects that Reid and whoever is the next general manager will turn the Chiefs around quickly.
"With Andy, I think Clark has gotten everyone's attention," Peterson said. "He's gotten the attention of the national media, the rest of the NFL, the fans, and most important, the players on this team."
"He's an excellent hire. He is very detail oriented and I think he will get the most out of his football team."