Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tradition Tuesday: (not so) Stand-up Guys on the End

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 Chef-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 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.

It's no secret that, around the National Football League these days, commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to import a global model of appropriate behavior to which the players in his league must adhere. Given these athletes' track record over the last 20 years (a span in which media coverage has exposed their behaviors to the public 1000 times more than any previous era), it comes as no surprise to the House of Georges that both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos will each open the 2007-08 campaign shy a defense end. Good times.

And by good times I mean that pisses me the eff off.

Most teams are going to put forth some effort to field a decent offense, right? As crappy as the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions have been over the years, they've at least sort of tried to put a decent quarterback, a solid running back and some dudes that can catch the ball out on the field. Naturally, teams want to have a fierce offensive line and a defense without any holes in it, but those two animals are a bit trickier in that they involve a unit/squad mentality and arguably more in-depth scouting.

Let's say a team assembles an O-line, and the defense is a work in progress, much like the Ds of the two coveted HoG clubs. Settle down, Bronco Nation. I'm not comparing the Chiefs defense of 2000-2004 to anything orange and blue. I only posit that our Ds have been less than desirable in the big picture.

Now, the Broncos, under the astute leadership of that cheese-loving tanning booth champion, have made more admirable, more consistently intelligent strides in compiling a championship defensive squadron. They've brought in relatively quality lineman and linebackers, and when those guys haven't panned out, they've replaced them with other quality players. Denver has only needed to do patchwork in their secondary since the Champ Bailey trade, and, without seeming crass, one could argue that the loss of the late Darrent Williams was a blessing in disguise; the Broncos were able to replace a semi-quality player with another of higher caliber and larger overall talent.

The Chiefs' story is a bit different. They've had three coaching changes since Shanahananigans took over in Denver, and coach three is only now entering his second season. One might say he inherited one of the league's all-time worst defenses. They were on the mend, granted, but still extremely not good. A flustrated Herm Edwards (Editor's Note: He never watches football games or gives away pages to his playbook to lifelong "buddies" on gameday eve) immediately added age beef to the cornerback end of things, while youthening up the safeties and exchanging mediocre defensive linemen with other mediocre defensive linemen.His efforts to improve the linebacker scenario have had flashes of intelligence, but they're still a work in progress. The one bright star of his debut as head honcho was his first draft, in which the Chiefs selected a nice defensive end with their first overall pick, a selection made to establish the proverbial book ends on the D-line.

That's all fine and well, unless the already-existing end of books likes to consume adult beverages and not use some of his excess American dollars by calling a cab/having an entourage member drive him around. Sounds like the behaviors of a Nebraska "talent" who once wore #44 for the Chiefs. On the other side of Kanorado, you have a free-agent defensive-end acquistion who hasn't discovered the proper methods of covering up juicing. Soundslike this group of athletes. It remains true, though, that even with predecessors, models for how not to do things, in place, learning the lesson can indeed be hard.

We (and when I say "we," I don't mean to include Old No. 7 and/or Cecil) here at the HoG believe that the AFC West title is up for grabs between the Broncos and the Chiefs. Sure. Throw the Chargers in the mix, but Norv Turner is like,
from Cleveland or something. Bad times. And the Raiders are, well, the Raiders. My question is this: If the road to the playoffs (playoffs?) only goes through the division title holder, how can you let yourself get suspended for a fucking quarter of the season?

Answer: You can't.

Thus, I have the solution for these two non-fine examples of appropriate off-field behavior.
Jared Allen -- two DUIs. For real, dude? Two? Even I am not dumb enough to drive around drunk in your crime-free-let's-look-for-drunk-drivers-and-drunk-drivers-only neighborhood, and I drive drunk all the time. Difference is, if I get busted, I have to answer to my wife, which is only slightly worse than having to answer to Carl Peterson, Herm Edwards and a rabid, high-expectation-having fan base. Come on, Idaho State. Pay someone to drive for you.

Kenny Peterson -- anabolic steroids and related substances? I'm not sure which offense is worse. Didn't you have enough bad examples rollin' around with you at Ohio State? Barry Bonds just called and said, "Knock that shit off, kid." All the performance-enhancing-substance experts claim that the maskers are always one step ahead of the testers. Get with the program.

Time's a-wastin', fellas. I suggest you tear out of the tunnel in week five and really impress your teammates, fans and coaches. Lucky for the both of yas, the HoG staff will be ready to pelt you with empty Pabst cans and slightly used syringes. Jackasses.