Pioli, who gained prominence helping Bill Belichick build a dynasty in New England in the early 2000s, was fired by the Chiefs in 2012 after four seasons as GM. One of the hottest GM candidates in the league at the time of his hiring in 2009, Pioli failed to transfer his success with the Patriots to Kansas City, which had just one winning season under him. The failures of his coaching hires (Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel) and franchise quarterback (Matt Cassel) ultimately proved to be his demise.
Pioli will work under Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who was an assistant with the Patriots while Pioli was the team's Vice President of Player Personnel. Pioli followed Belichick over from Cleveland and served as his right-hand man for eight seasons before leaving for Kansas City. He and Belichick built three Super Bowl-winning teams between 2001 and 2004. Pioli played a major role in the selection of Tom Brady with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
In Atlanta, Pioli will be responsible for helping rebuild a team that plummeted to a 4-12 finish after beginning the season with Super Bowl aspirations. He inherits a talented offense anchored by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and will have the No. 6 pick in the upcoming draft.
His first priority will be rebuilding a defense that ranked 27th in the league in 2013, and Falcons' blog The Falcoholic thinks he's up to the challenge.
Pioli's addition to the front office tells you that the Falcons recognize they did a poor job of evaluating the readiness and talent level of the defense, in particular, and that they want to take concrete steps to remedy it. Pioli has been involved in quality defensive drafts at every stop of his career...
The killer Chiefs defense you see today was at least partially built by Pioli's front office, with Justin Houston, Tyson Jackson, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers and Dontari Poe and other useful pieces added during his tenure. He struggled to find offensive talent at the skill positions, however, and that can be used to build a case against him. The Falcons, of course, have less of a problem finding skill position talent than elsewhere.