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Front Office mastermind - Patriots' Scott Pioli

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nytimes.com

If you happen to see Scott Pioli, treat him like a rock star. Shake his hand and buy him a coffee or something.  Sure, it's easy to heap tons of praise on guys like Belichick, Brady and Moss; we see them on the field every game and obsessively follow their moves when not on the field. But, who's this Scott Pioli guy?  Carrying the dubious title of VP of Player Personnel, he's Belichick's HR department.  Think of him as the head of staffing.  Here's how it probably played out before this year's draft:

 

BB: Hey Scott, it's Bill.
SP: Hi Bill.  What's up?
BB: We got this draft thing coming up and I had a few thoughts.
SP: No problem, let's hear it.
BB: Well, can you get me some young, fast, talented players on defense?  While you're at it, sprinkle in some vets to help mentor the young guys.  Sound good?  Thanks.

Scott's job, simply put, is to build a team.  And he's really good at it.  He is recipient of The Sporting News' George Young NFL Executive of the Year award (voted on by NFL executives) following the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He is one of just three NFL executives, along with Bill Polian and Bobby Beathard, to win the award in consecutive years. Pioli is the youngest executive to win the award.  Not bad company, I'd say.

Juggling salary caps, injuries, and Belichick's needs, Pioli puts together a package that, simply put, is one of the winningiest in football.  But, why am I writing about Pioli.  Scrolling through Marima's latest Shots Heard 'Round the Web, it was interesting to hear Jimmy Johnson's comments regarding the Detroit Lions' firing of Matt Millen.  In a nutshell, hire the New England Patriots' Scott Pioli and give him as much money as he wants.  He'll make up the difference with fewer draft busts.  Out of all the guys in the league working the front offices, he picks Pioli.  Not that I'm being a homer or anything, but Johnson is a genius on this issue.  He's 100% right.  Hear that Kraft?  When his contract is up, write him a bigger check than everyone else.

Scott, how do you like your coffee?  A grande half decaf mocha latte with organic skim milk taken from cows not fed feed laced with growth hormones and madagascar cinnamon to top it off?  That's for pussies?  Ok, black it is.