Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tradition Twednesday: Kicked In The Crotch

So much for that temporary upswing. After a pair of brutal losses, the two teams that make up The Tradition are back in the shitter. Sure, either could mathematically make the playoffs, and the Broncos actually stand a decent chance of winning the division should they sweep their remaining AFC West games. But come on. These are bad times.

It took me a couple days to really get over the loss in Chicago. To completely dominate that game, to have Jay Cutler once again play reasonably well (except on third down), and to hold a 14-point lead with five minutes to go—man, that’s a shitty way to lose.

I’ve had the haters throw the same two-word invective at me all week: “Devin Hester!” Keep it coming, dicks. Devin Hester did not cost the Broncos that game. If you’re stabbed, do you blame the knife or the man wielding it? It was the arrogance and stupidity of the Denver coaching staff that allowed the Bears to stay in the game with the Hester returns.

Let’s examine the decision we had: Kick it to Hester, who will score touchdowns if he gets the ball often enough—Champ Kind tells us that it’s a scientific fact. Or give the ball to Sexy Rexy in decent field position after booting the ball out of bounds. Hester or Rex? Rex or Hester? THIS DECISION IS SO FUCKING EASY IT MUST BE A TRICK—kick it to Hester.

But even with those two returns, the Broncos still had that two-touchdown lead late in the fourth and managed to blow it. Had Sauerbrun simply eaten the ball when it was inevitable that punt would be blocked, or had Cutler converted more than one third down the entire blessed game, Jesus. Let’s move on to happier subjects, shall we?

Like the other end of The Tradition’s I-70 corridor, Arrowhead Stadium. Where the Kansas City Chiefs surrendered the Raiders’ first division win in three years. Bankmeister has been promising a rant about Coach Herman, and I have no doubt he’ll deliver the whoopin’ that Herman deserves. I’ll just say this to the Coach: What took you so long, buddy?

This was the game that NFL fans have been waiting for since Herman skipped out on his Jets contract and took his vaudeville act to Kansas City. In New York he was famous (or infamous, if you talk to fans of the J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!) for two things: hilarious press conferences and hideous clock management. Check and check. Late in the game, down three, Herman took a timeout to brood over a replay decision. Then he burned another timeout on the failed challenge. Then he passed up a potential tying field goal and went for it on fourth and one. The run up the middle was stuffed, the Raiders took possession and ground out the clock. Wow.

The blame for the whole affair has been conveniently shifted from Herman to poor kicker Dave Rayner. The Chiefs cut Rayner yesterday and signed the ancient foot of Chili John Carney. They could have, as I’ve detailed many, many times, drafted excellent college kicker Mason Crosby in April (or simply held on to solid Lawrence Tynes). KC instead passed on Crosby (who’s having a great year in Green Bay and on my fantasy team) and picked UCLA’s Justin Medlock. Medlock was awful, yet Herman stuck with him until he couldn’t stick with him no more. At which point he nabbed Rayner, who’d been displaced by Crosby in Green Bay.

It’s this shameful mishandling of the kicking game that cost both Denver and KC games last Sunday. That and dumb coaching decisions. It’s probably a little late to fix either issue in ’07, so stock that liquor cabinet up for the stretch run, kids. This one could get ugly.

On a side note, the Chiefs’ new kicker has provided the missing link for our December 9 tailgate menu. We’ll start off with grilled bacon breakfast burritos—the breakfast of champions mid-first round draft choices. And we’ll serve my award-winning ribs and homemade dippin’ sauce, of course. But in honor of the newest Chef, Cecil’s wife will whip up a batch of Chili John Carney, and I’ll throw some Carney Asada (that’s Spanish for Wide Right, gringo) on the grill for some appetizer tacos. Whoo diggity, I’m pretty sure that’s enough meat Carney.

So feel free to matriculate on over to the House of Georges Tradition Tailgate Bonanza, site to be announced (probably Lot “N”) in advance of the Broncos-Chiefs game at Invesco. Because meeting people over the Internet is not creepy at all, nope. Just bring hot chicks or beer, and be ready to get your ass kicked in a game of cornhole. Or have Cecil yell at you. Or both!