The Atlanta Falcons today announced a restructuring of its player personnel department, which is effective today. The changes are designed to provide a more intense focus on pro and college scouting efforts, play on the strengths of individuals in the two departments, and ensure the highest standards of performance in other areas of football operations managed by Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.
As part of the realignment, Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli will take on pro and college scouting and NFL Draft responsibilities, reporting to Dimitroff. Dimitroff will also retain management responsibility for salary cap, player affairs, equipment, sports medicine and performance, and video activities.
"After reviewing all of our options – internally and externally – I have no reservations that this is the best approach to setting up our player personnel groups for future success," said Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank. "It maximizes the talents of Scott, allows for more time and focus on all areas of our football operations groups managed by Thomas, and is in line with other player personnel groups in the league.
"While this decision was not tied to the head coach search currently underway, we also believe that independent thinking and collaboration will contribute to taking us to the next level in our league. Therefore, our new head coach and Thomas will report separately to me."
The search for a new head coach for the Falcons is ongoing and is expected to be concluded in the coming weeks.
Pioli will be supported by Falcons Director of Player Personnel Lionel Vital, who will assume additional pro scouting responsibilities and play a role in college scouting, and Director of College Scouting Steve Sabo, along with their staffs.
"Scott is a trusted partner who has proven himself, time and again, during his 23-year NFL career," said Dimitroff. "His thumbprint can be found on a number of Pro Bowl players during his NFL career, and he was a key contributor to the remarkable Super Bowl success of the Patriots during his tenure there. We look forward, and I do personally, to the many contributions he will make to our pro, college scouting and NFL Draft efforts going forward."
Pioli joined the Falcons in February 2014 as assistant general manager. He served four seasons (2009-2012) as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, where he orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in Chiefs history as the club won the AFC West in 2010 with a 10-6 record and he was named NFL Executive of the Year. In his four seasons with the Chiefs, Pioli drafted Pro Bowl players including Eric Berry (3), Justin Houston (3), Dontari Poe (2), and Dexter McCluster.
Pioli joined the Chiefs after serving as the vice president of player personnel with the New England Patriots, where he spent six seasons working with Dimitroff (2002-07). During his nine-year tenure in New England (2000-08), the Patriots compiled an NFL-best 102-42 (.708) regular season record, won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX, claimed four AFC championships, and won six AFC East titles. In collaboration with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and Dimitroff, Pioli saw the Patriots compile 11 playoff wins between 2003 and 2007, the highest total by any team during a five-year span in NFL history.