Now that the Atlanta Falcons have hired Scott Pioli as assistant general manager, it’s only natural to wonder if there will be any sort of power struggle in the front office between Pioli and his close friend, general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Besides, Dimitroff once worked under Pioli in New England when Pioli was the vice president of player personnel and Dimitroff was the director of college scouting. Plus Pioli developed a reputation for being controlling in his role as the Kansas City Chiefs general manager from 2009-12, although Pioli vowed to be more open-minded now.
Dimitroff quickly dismissed any notion of any sort of butting of heads.
"There’s no issue at all,’’ Dimitroff told ESPN.com. "Scott and I have an incredible working relationship. We always have. We he was in charge in New England, we were very mindful of each other's roles and we could still close the door and have some very candid conversations. Rarely did it get heated.
"We were passionate about what we talked about. That will not change with the role reversal. I’m incredibly confident with our maturity in this business. I’m even that much more confident with our ability to have very insightful, interactive, and collaborative conversations. … I’m not at all concerned about any of the insinuation that there might be a struggle with personalities.’’
Pioli said his role in terms of input will evolve over time, but he is sure to have strong opinions. The Falcons obviously want him to have a hand in dissecting offensive and defensive linemen, which is considered one of his strengths.
"When you play a position, which I was a defensive lineman in college, and I coached offensive line for four years before I got into personnel … I have a little different perspective on things,’’ Pioli said. "So hopefully, I can add value.’’
Dimitroff views the whole management structure with himself, Pioli, and director of player personnel Lionel Vital as a positive step for the organization moving forward. Vital also worked under Pioli in New England.
"I believe truly that there’s probably one place that Scott would consider an assistant general manager role, and the reason I think he considered it here is because he wanted to work with me and the staff that we have in place,’’ Dimitroff said.
"Lionel Vital is a top-notch personnel man. They have a great working relationship. Lionel is the director of player personnel. His role is not changing at all. And Scott’s been very outspoken about, once again, coming into an organization where he feels like he’s working with a top-notch owner (Arthur Blank) with a lot of great things to offer us and provide us. I know that’s one of the things that put the Falcons over the top.’’
Pioli, currently an analyst for NBC Sports Network and SiriusXM Radio, officially starts his new role on Feb. 3. We’ll see if he’s able to help the Falcons get back to the top.