Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tradition Tuesday: Making Sausage Out Of Lemonade, Or Something

Back when the U.S. economy was somewhat solvent, a few brave but dumb men started The Tradition. We various Broncos and Chiefs fans made the fateful decision to accompany our teams as they meander throughout this twice-annual rivalry. Coloradoans were introduced to tender barbecue and the anarchy of unregulated liquor sales. Missouri, um, people got to see women, women with all their teeth no less. And early on we nearly always watched the home team lose.

Last year, for only the second time in the history of The Tradition, the home gladiators did not defend their coliseum. The Denver Broncos strolled into Arrowhead in Week 10 and assembled a 27-11 victory. They'll try and make it two straight at the Truman Sports Complex on Sunday, with the staff of the House of Georges in attendance. This is Tradition Tuesday, your weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

I don't exactly remember what I was going to write about--I've been thrown off my game by the mounting national scandal that is RefGate II. O noes! The poor, poor Saints were screwed by evil officials hellbent on securing unearned victories for the league darling Broncos!

I've gone on the record as saying I'm glad Ed Hochuli botched last week's game. Not because it handed my team a win, but because the San Diego Chargers are a big fat sack of crybaby punks. Look at those clowns. Their fans barely sold out their stadium last night--do real NFL teams have close calls with local blackouts?

As for the alleged injustice done to the Saints, I'm no fan of that. New Orleans is already America's punching bag. They've lived through hurricanes, floods, FEMA incompetence, government graft, Paul Prudhomme and the Manning family. They don't deserve any more heartache.

I have full confidence that Matt Drudge is currently on his way to Oakland, hoping to find evidence of some chicanery from the Broncos' season-opening win against the Raiders. It's only fitting that every win this season come with an asterisk in the minds of hopeless losers objective football experts. Assuming that the conspiracy theorists find the incriminating Zapruder Film from September 8, these Broncos and their zebra partners in crime will have to get awfully creative to find a new way to steal a win in KC. My suggestion is the old broken replay equipment trick. We already did that? Then I guess it's back to the drawing board.

I suppose the Broncos could try to simply win the game straight up. Nixon, after all, was going to win anyway in 1972. The Watergate break-in was totally unnecessary, and yet the paranoid president left nothing to chance. Surely the Mastermind and his own personal G. Gordon Liddy (NFL Supervisor of Officials Mike Pereira) will deliver the goods.

As for actual football analysis, this game does scare me quite a bit. The Broncos have succeeded this season for two big reasons: Jay Cutler and good old-fashioned spunk. There is some serious enthusiasm on this club. Gone are the sour old veterans and coming out flat. These kids shoot off the ball and play with fire.

Will that same energy be present in the former house of horrors known as Arrowhead? Will the double-digit point spread and seeming gulf in talent between the two clubs create a sense of complacency that acts as an equalizer? These Broncos still seem prone to mistakes--red zone turnovers have nearly doomed the last two games and I'm still scared to death of the kicking game. A million things could go wrong, and Denver is a long, long way from being a dominant team that can overcome a bunch of mistakes and win. Even against the Chiefs.

That being said, this game will be decided by the men taking snaps from center. I saw absolutely nothing from Tyler Thigpen that would lead me to believe he can win on this or any other Sunday. His footwork and decision-making are worse than awful. I find it hard to believe that any name free agent QB could do worse, whether that fellow (Chris Simms? Tim Rattay? Vinny?) knew Herm's "playbook" or not.

And as far as Jay Cutler has come, he's still prone to fits of poor play. For much of the Saints game he was inaccurate and unpolished, and it was only when a few second-half adjustments put him in the old Jake Plummer throw-on-the-move mode that he straightened out. If the O-line can keep Cutler upright and on balance, he should be able to put enough points on the board to take a W back to Denver.

That doesn't mean I'll be confident Sunday. I'll enter Arrowhead like I always do--wary, suspect, and with my head on a swivel. At least I know we'll have the refs on our side.


bankmeister said...

For better or for worse -- and my vote is for better, whatever that's worth -- Damon Huard has gotten the starting nod for Sunday's match against the ref-tickled Broncos.

Hopeless Loser Number One

Cecil said...

It's your best--some, like me, would say only--chance to win.

Huard can still play a little. A very little. But he's an improvement over Thigpen, and probably Croyle too.

The fact that he hasn't been is just another indictment of Edwards, as if you needed one. It's like he's trying to lose, kinda...does he want Rey Maualuga that bad?