Monday, January 9, 2012

Queue the "Dukes of Hazzard" Theme Song

Alright. Got a day off, and I've got plenty to say about my re-entrance into the realm of industry hospitality, and I'm certain that will entertain a grand total of nobody. In the interim, however, I've got to sort out a few things about the good ol' Kansas City Chiefs, the good ol' Denver Broncos, and the good-ol'-boy-network known as the National Football League.

If you're unfamiliar with my ramblings on this blog, it may be news to you that I am not a fan of Colorado's professional football club. I'm not going to bash them today, though. They stunned everyone -- most notably Mike Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers -- yesterday by advancing to the divisional round of the NFL's post-season. Yes, the Steelers were badly hobbled, and no, nobody thought Tim Tebow and company would orchestrate a 300-yard-passing afternoon. Here's the long and short of the contest, though: You're the number-one passing defense in the league. You lose the coin toss to start overtime, and you therefore, are perhaps thinking of coming up with some huge defensive schemes and plays in order to gain possession of the football.

Yes, that was the debut of new post-season overtime rules, so yes -- you might want to come out prepared for the first play from scrimmage. And, by "prepared," I mean send someone into pass coverage. Someone. Anyone. I mean, you don't wanna get torched on an 80-yard touchdown pass and get sent packing before the first overtime commercial break, do you?

Nevertheless, a Denver win. Congratulations to John Fox and his squad.

That brings me to today, though, and if you are familiar with my tiresome drawl on this site, you know that I think the incestuous nature of this league is filthy and disgusting. Every regular season concludes with some head-coaching vacancies, and inevitably, the same old retreads get drug out from behind the last wood shed to which they were cast, and we see the same has-beens give it a go in a new city.

It's annoying, yes, but for the most part, tolerable.

There appears, though, to be some sort of leap-year cycle in football, wherein the whole concept of good ol' boys giving their good, old pals new jobs in different regimes, finds new ceilings, and right now we're in the midst of one of those unprecedented -- at least in my football-viewing liftime -- heights.

I'm not documenting all of this to educate anyone. Rather, it's an exercise for myself, one in which I can attempt to make some sense of it all.

Several seasons ago, Mike Shanahan was fired by Pat Bowlen, and shortly thereafter, Clark Hunt and newly appointed Scott Pioli opted to not retain the services of Herman Edwards. As you may know, Pioli -- then dubbed the top G.M. candidate in football -- is betrothed to a young woman whose father goes by the name of Bill Parcells.

Now, us fans (and lowly bloggers) never know what really goes on inside the NFL's inner circles, so we're left to speculate, and this is what I'm doing here, so keep that in mind.

Pioli gets the job in Kansas City, and it was reported that he wanted to -- shocker -- go to the New England Patriots staff and pick his coach from that crew of knuckleheads, his choice being none other than then-Patriots-offensive-coordinator Josh McDaniels. Denver Bronco G.M. Brian Xander, however, beat him to the punch and hired McDaniels first. This left Pioli to go all Galactic and call up his father-in-law for some advice.

Parcells, having worked with Todd Haley in both New York and Dallas, recommended the then-Arizona-Cardinals offensive coordinator, who happened to have just been one Santonio Holmes touchdown catch away from winning a Super Bowl, so it made sense.

Next, Pioli needed a quarterback for his Chiefs, so he -- shocker -- went to the New England well again, and pulled a trade to get the then-franchise-tagged Matt Cassel, which was who McDaniels also wanted to get to call signals for his Broncos. Somehow, word of this Denver-based desire leaked out, and pissed off then-incumbent-starter Jay Cutler, who threw a tantrum and demanded a trade, which he got.

The swap of Cutler for Kyle Orton, if I remember correctly, netted the Broncos a nice bundle of draft picks, which McDaniels then, quite literally, blew the following season, so he could obtain the services of Tebow. Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Pioli went -- yes, a third shocker -- back to his Foxboro roots once more and obtained the services of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to coordinate both sides of the non-special-teams football.

In the midst of McDaniels' and Haley's second seasons in charge of their respective clubs, the former's squad crushed the latter's and an infamous post-game display of unaffection ensued:

Later in the campaign, Haley's Chiefs (barely) defeated McDaniels' Broncos and the latter was relieved of his duties, courtesy of both a late-season collapse and some hidden-camera shenanigans that McDaniels likely -- shocker number four -- learned from watching his boss Bill Belichick in New England.

That brings us to this year, which featured McDaniels leading an inept St. Louis Rams offense to a two-win effort, and Haley getting fired with three games to go in the regular season. Mind you, the future of the Denver franchise that McDaniels rolled the dice on (read: #15) took over the starting job for Orton, and the former Bear was cut. Kansas City, being without the services of Matt Cassel, claimed Orton off of the waiver wire, and promptly defeated the lossless, defending-Super Bowl-champion Green Bay Packers.

The Chiefs then lose an overtime contest to the Oakland Raiders, courtesy of not one, but two, field-goal attempts blocked by former Patriot Richard Seymour. Kansas City then travelled to Denver, and won a snooze fest over the Broncos, 7-3. It should be noted that said snooze fest featured Orton returning to Denver to defeat his former backup. Tebow and crew, however, eked into the playoffs thanks to a San Diego Chargers victory over the Raiders.

As the buzz of the regular season was still fizzling, New England sent the NFL TPS reports to obtain the services of the now-fired-from-St. Louis McDaniels, who, rumor had it, Pioli had been eyeballing for some position or other in Kansas City.

Following the conclusion of yesterday's wildcard weekend, McDaniels is now on the Patriot staff as an offensive assistant, and will be the club's coordinator next season, meaning that his first assignment is to help guide New England to victory over the franchise that fired him, a franchise led by the quarterback for whom he mortgaged the club's draft picks obtained in the Cutler-Orton trade.

And, back in the midwest, the Chiefs have named Crennel the new head coach, while the Rams appear ready to ink a deal with Jeff Fisher. Reports from Twitter over the weekend indicated that the recently fired Haley and Tony Sparano will be involved in hedging the new offensive plan for St. Louis. Sparano is coming off a once-impressive, mostly disappointing tenure as main man in Miami, and was put there by Parcells. Parcells, no longer employed by the Dolphins, is suspected to be replaced by Carl Peterson, who Scott Pioli replaced in Kansas City.

Basically, the only fresh face in the mix is John Fox in Denver. He has McDaniels' old job and McDaniels' old quarterback. Kansas City has Denver's old quarterback, New England's old quarterback (both of whom are also McDaniels' old quarterbacks), New England's old defensive coordinator, and if you want to add another layer to the mix: the third quarterback on the Chiefs roster is a kid out of Iowa, one of Pioli's favorite places to draft since he's chums with coach Kirk Ferentz.

Haley's in line to take (some form of) McDaniels' old job, along with Sparano, who came from Parcells, who will likely be replaced by Peterson. And McDaniels, in case you didn't catch it, is charged with attempting to defeat the signal caller he so coveted two drafts ago.

In other NFL playoff news, the Saints -- semi-loaded with former Chargers A.J. Smith decided not to keep -- will attempt to knock off Jim Harbaugh (former Bear QB) and the San Francisco 49ers, while the Packers will take on Eli Manning -- who refused to play for the team (San Diego) that drafted him and the New York Giants. Tom Coughlin's Giants made a mockery of the Thomas Dimitroff (another branch of the Pioli tree)'s Atlanta Falcons yesterday, leaving Tony Gonzalez -- who didn't want to stick around for yet another Kansas City rebuild -- with one less playoff win than Tim Tebow (Editor's Note: I'm still kicking myself for not tweeting that first yesterday.).

The other AFC matchup will feature Harbaugh's brother John and the Baltimore Ravens versus the Houston Texans, led by former Shanahan assistant Gary Kubiak.

So, there. None of that's news, really. I just had to suss it out for myself, and decide, after doing so, if I really felt as coated in six layers of Arkansas-truck-bed sibling lust as I thought I did.

Verdict: I do.


Go Broncos! (Note: No, not really.)


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