Thursday, December 4, 2008

In the Thick of Things Tradition: (most of) This Decade

(Editor's Note: Still no luck with part one as of yet. If I lose that subject matter, someone will be murdered, and there will be no "His name is Robert Paulson" to be heard for said deceased.)

(Update: Finally.)

The Tradition Week train makes like Greg Robinson and just keeps chugging along. We must remember along the way that though some of these times we mention have been hard, many of them have been good, and certainly all of them have been character-building. Let's keep that last part between us, though. First rule about character-building is that no one talks about character building.

Nonetheless, in the year 2000...

Sorry. Couldn't be helped. But if you didn't click the little play symbol and invest four minutes of your life, you really should. Funny stuff.

But we were talking Chiefs/Broncos football when last we met, and it is there that we shall pick back the year two thou-SAAAAAAAANNNNNNNDDDD!

Yes, indeed. The second year of Coach Cunningham at the helm, and as we mentioned, that meant good, good times for the "ch" side of Chonco, the "iefs" in Briefs. Kansas City came to Denver in late September, and though Mike Anderson and Rod Smith put together respectable afternoon, it was the visiting Chiefs that left Mile High with a 23-22 win. Come December, all the Gus Frerottes and Rod Smiths on the planets won't get Denver many victories at Arrowhead. At least not in the year 2000. Home team 20, visitors seven. As for the playoffs (!?), KC would be stuck at home with a 7-9 regular-season tally, while Denver would get embarrased by Trent Dilfer and the Baltimore Ravens, 21-3. I'm pretty sure Shannon Sharpe was at that game, too.

Arthur C. Clarke once put together a little science-fiction novel by the name of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That story doesn't have much to do with the Kansas City Chiefs or the Denver Broncos, but the NFL season of the same digits does. Enter Dick Vermeil (Note: Old No. 7 has, from time to time, coined many a nickname for Vermeil, among which are "Coach Kleenex" and "Coach Oprah." Yeah. He's like Coors Heavy -- that original, and enter the Tradition. I'll spare you the boring details of us being hooligans in the stands, stadiums, then stands again, and who knows where else afterwards. Right now we're interested in the games. October. Denver. Chiefs lose big, 6-20. Mike Anderson and Tony Gonzalez have great days, but Deltha O'Neil and Trent Green were a match made in heaven that non-fine afternoon. Green threw for some yards, but he also launched four picks to the guy that now collects a paycheck from...I dunno, the Bengals?

The KC game happened on my birthday that year, and it was flippin' epic. Big-time performances from the stars of both clubs, and the Chiefs get a photo-finish victory, 26-23. That game could've gone either ways a number of times with less than three minutes left, and that was probably the loudest I've heard that stadium this decade. Seven and I got down close at the end, and he left Arrowhead pretty stoked about a great first game in KC. The Chiefs, by the way, went 6-10 that year. Denver was two games better at 8-8.

One of several (Note: Redacted) palindrome years in this time span has been universally acknowledged as much-less awesome. Denver came to KC first that year, and 98 percent of that game is awesome 100 percent of the times I re-visit it in my head. It was another shootout, a 37-34 Denver victory that, I'm pretty certain took overtime to achieve. Shannon Sharpe was definitely at that game, to the tune of 214 yards and a pair of scores. The Chiefs lost late in the season at Denver by a mark of 24-31, a late-game touchdown attempt from Trent Green to Tony Gonzalez preventing OT for both games. This time it was the Chiefs' turn to go 8-8; Denver was again a step ahead at 9-7.

We can seldom discuss 2003 without reference to the Dante Hall touchdown return that apparently had 47 clips and 24 blocks in the back. I think Broncos fans were watching a StubTubes highlight upload on the iPods or something, because I was at that game and that special-teams plays was cleaner than my Tide-scented laundry. The contest, as it were, ended 24-23 Chiefs, separating the previously unbeatens and sending the Chiefs down still another 13-3/bye/home-field/one-done post-season path. In a high-octane offensive outing for both clubs in December, Denver beat the Chiefs 45-27, courtesy of a fat Mrs. Portis and whatever other loved ones of cheaters were in the InVesCo bleachers that day. Denver posted a 10-6 season, second to the division-winning Chiefs, yet they both had similar post-seasons. In the wildcard contest, Denver travelled to Indy and got smoked 41-10, which is honestly a shame, only because those Colts came to Arrowhead and left with a win, 38-31, a game in which neither team punted. I say it's a shame because "epic proportions" is an insulting sort of phrase that doesn't even do a shred of justice to the party we, here in these House of Georges, would've thrown had those Broncos come to town.

Two thousand four? Shoot. I barely remember. I unsuccessfully blocked out that Sunday-night season opener from memory, the one in which the Broncos beat the Chiefs 34-24. The KC game, I'm certain, is the coldest social function I've ever attended. Good thing I was insanely hungover and couldn't sell any of my 46 extra tickets to the 45-17 massacre the Chiefs handed the Broncos. Beyond the regular season, well, 7-9 wasn't getting Kansas City too far, and unfortunately for Denver, they had to travel to Indy again. And get their faces kicked in again, this time by a 49-24 mark.

The years have just kept rollin' past, and in 2005, what a hoot of a way to kick things off. It's Monday night in Denver. All three legs of the Iron Triangle are in attendance. Chiefs really don't show up for more than six minutes and change of the contest. Lots of hype. The potential for a great season's on the line. Chiefs shit the bed, and drop one that a handful of Americans might've viewed on television, 10-30. KC hasn't been invited back to Monday night since. They did, however, manage to beat the Broncos 31-27 in December at Arrowhead, which left them at 10-6, but one game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was officially the end of the Vermeil era, but we all cheered up real quick, 'cause them Steelers...they went to a little ditty called the AFC Championship game. Their opponent? The Denver Broncos.

That year was the Broncos' turn to go 13-3, only they, having won the division, earned a bye, plus home-field advantage, actually won a game. A game against the defending champions by the way. But then the Steelers came to town and hung 34 points to Denver's 17. Buh-bye.

Enter the Herman Edwards dome. Seventy-eight thousand fans enter. Seventy-five thousand fans leave. Yep, 2006. The Chiefs go to Denver with Damon Huard as quarterback, and are up 6-0 at the half. Six-nothing! Well, Denver tied it, won the OT toss, and quickly the game with an Elam field goal, but for two quarters of football and then some, I was confident we might win there. And on Thanksgiving, Denver came to KC, and lost 10-19. Both clubs won nine games that year, but in the weirdest tie-break scenario of all time, Kansas City squeaked in and got lit up by none other than the stupid-ass Colts. Again. Twenty-three to eight. It easily could've been Denver losing to the Colts again, but some bizarre OT play-calling led to a San Francisco game-winning field goal.

Finally, thanks to no one in particular, we're at last year, which was strike-shortened and neither of the teams got to play each other even once. Pity. Either that or Denver kicked KC's ass in KC, 27-11, and KC got strung on the mantle like Christmas lights in Denver, 7-41. I can't remember which, but I'm leaning toward the strike side of things.

So. For the years 2000! Denver has the edge in contest, 10-8, and has three sweeps to KC's one. In total, from the Blackledge/Elway draft to the end of last year, Denver has the edge, 30-22, in what I call, The Thick of Things Tradition.


old no. 7 said...

Just a great, great series, and I am blown away at how much I learned from it.

I learned that Joe Montana was drafted in 1983, after he'd been in the league for four years, attended a Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl MVP. It's pretty amazing that the 49ers were able to reacquire such an accomplished QB.

I also learned that both John Elway and Todd Blackledge were drafted in the seventh round that year. I somehow remembered them going higher, but then again, with guys like Montana in the draft I'm sure demand for a couple of college kids was severely suppressed.

Finally, I learned that 2002 was the only palindrome year we've experienced, which would mean that those of us alive in 1991 aren't really a part of the royal "we" around here, and Old Man Cobb (who vividly remembers the 1881 season) is doubly excluded. Which is probably a good thing.

Also, it's very possible that the combination of medical science and clean livin' that I subscribe to will leave me healthy and happy in 2112, at which time I hope to be invited back into the fold at the HoG.

bankmeister said...

All apologies, Admiral Error-Free. Obviously, I meant to say seventh pick, Dan Marino, and, well, my brain was fried for the palindrome one. As were my eyes. Your proofreading skills are appreciated; my two typos and one miscalucation corrected.