Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tradition Tuesday: Twos and Ohs and Other Numbers and Letters

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's a grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

Two weeks into the season, things look...interesting, to say the least, for our House of Georges squads known as the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. I choose that adjective over arresting, engaging or unusual because of its omnipotence. A pre-season analysis of Denver at Buffalo and Oakland at Denver could be summed with the sentence "The Broncos may struggle in one, or both, of those games, yet they're both winnable; Denver should look to host Jacksonville in week three as an undefeated football club. The Chiefs, on the other hand, may have been analyzed as a 1-1 club heading into week three, a week-one victory over Houston and a loss on the road to the Bears. The Broncos, proud and alone atop the AFC West, did what was expected. The Chiefs, however, did not; they claw for breathing room in the basement with the also 0-2 Raiders.

The finishes to both Denver games were in fact arresting: an as-time-expired game-winning field goal in gusty Buffalo, booted by the ageless Elam; and an overtime victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, aided of course by the crafty scheming of Head Coach Mike Shanahan. (Editor's Note: See other opinions on said schemes here.) Their leader, sophomore QB Jay Cutler has completed 46 passes on 72 attempts for 573 yards, two touchdowns and three picks, all of which net him a rating of 80.4. Those are pretty darn good numbers, all things considered. Travis Henry, their featured back has netted 54 touches (49 rushes and five receptions) for a total of 319 yards from scrimmage. Even better. Javon Walker, Denver's go-to wide out has 17 grabs for 220 yards, which, if I may, is also respectable. On the other side of the pigskin, the Bronco defense has four picks, six sacks, two forced fumbles and has kept their two opponents under a total of 35 points. In sum, production/output one might expect from a thus-far undefeated football team.

A look at the red-and-gold side of the division is a bit different. Damon Huard, their journeyman QB, has completed 41 of 61 attempts for 343 yards, one touchdown and three picks for a 66.5. His attempts/completion numbers are similar to Cutler's, yet he trails by a baffling 200 yards through the air. Larry Johnson, Kansas City's $45 million running back, has been given the ball 36 times, which falls 13 shy of Henry's rushing attempts, and almost 20 in total touches. Johnson has amassed 174 total yards, close to half of his Denver counterpart. Finally, the Chiefs' top three pass catchers in Samie Parker, Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez, have yielded 21 receptions for 203 yards, which is four more catches and 17 yards less than Walker by himself. The defense, barely a step behind, may be the only bright side; they have three picks, five sacks, two forced fumbles and have kept their opponents to an even 40.

I've struggled with algebra and geometry all my life. Those subjects were so frustrating that I didn't even dare delve into trigonometry and calculus; I would've been laughed out of the room, which in hindsight, would've allowed me to eat more drugs and fornicate during business hours. But oh well. I haven't, per se, struggled with the easier forms of mathematics, though. The additions and times tables quizzes were always returned to desk Bankmeister with gold stars and smiley faces. Point being, we don't need no math wizard to figure out why one of these teams is 2-0 and the other is 0-2. The argument could be poised that the team in the attic has faced easier opponents while the basement boys have seen steeper challenges. Truth be told, all 212 guys on these four (Buf., Oak., Hou., and Chi.) rosters are professional football players,and they're all in this thing to compete.

If two weeks isn't enough time for these two teams to get it in gear -- Denver should be squashing lesser opponents, especially with production numbers like those, and the Chiefs need to come to life all together. This Sunday, Denver faces a .500 football team, as does Kansas City. Both teams should notch Ws in that Jacksonville is struggling, and Kansas City finally gets a home game (Minnesota). Week four could be a different story, however, as the Broncos travel to the hated RCA Dome and the Chiefs hope to escape from Qualcomm Stadium unscathed.

Until then, we'll call Denver's early season grade a B-; never should either of their matchups been such nail biters. Kansas City hangs an ugly D- on their progress report; all systems aren't go, but they're not a complete failure either. Not yet anyway.