It was Mile High Stadium. Then it was Invesco Field at Mile High. Now it’s the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Such is life in the NFL these days when it comes to the revenue that can be generated by slapping a corporate name on somewhere. Earlier this year, Denver fans got upset when Sports Authority signed on just before the start of the pre-season schedule and the team and stadium put up temporary banners in red and white announcing it as Sports Authority Field. The choice of colors lasted just two days as Broncos fans complained that it had the look of Chiefs colors.
The team and Sports Authority quickly scrambled to get a replacement banner up at the stadium and a full-blown crisis was averted.
But then I’m not sure what the home team has to worry about β since they left Mile High Stadium and moved into the new building, they are 9-1 against the Chiefs, losing only in 2009 in the last game of the year when Todd Haley’s team wrapped up the season with a 44-24 victory.
The Broncos have so much on the line in this game against the Chiefs. They also have a roster that is predominately made up of youngsters. The last time Denver made the playoffs was after the 2005 season and there are only two players left that were on that team β CB Champ Bailey and LB D.J. Williams.
Bailey has been spending a lot of time making sure the youngsters around him understand what is at stake.
“All week I’ve been telling guys, ‘When you’re young, you think you’re always going to have a chance to go to the playoffs, always have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. But when you’re older, you learn. You let things pass you by, they don’t always come back’,” Bailey told the Denver media this week.
“I still think about (2005). We had a chance to go to the Super Bowl and we didn’t show up (against Pittsburgh in the AFC title game). I’ve been in this league 13 years, and I’m still trying to get to the Super Bowl. That’s the message. ‘Don’t wait’.”
It’s one record that Marty Schottenheimer will be happy to lose when the time comes on Sunday.
In 1998, his last season as head coach at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs were penalized a league record 158 times for a league record 1,304 yards.
But Marty’s favorite foil is about to overtake those numbers β the Oakland Raiders.
After their ugly 15 penalties for 92 yards last Sunday against the Chiefs, the Raiders season totals are now 155 penalties for 1,294 yards.
They are four flags and 11 yards away from holding both records.
“I don’t have the answer, obviously,” Raiders head coach Hue Jackson said this week. “I talk to the team about it all the time. I yell. I scream. I threaten. I’ve done everything. I get a bunch of letters from people telling me other things I should try. And please don’t send me any new ones, because those things don’t work.”
CB Stanford Routt has been hit with eight penalties (for defensive holding and pass interference) over the last two weeks and is the NFL’s most penalized player with 16. That’s one more than the entire Green Bay Packers defense.
“I don’t even worry about it,” Routt said, explaining why there might be a problem. “Penalties are going to come. Sometimes they’re not going to come. I just keep playing. You can’t worry about what the refs think or what they do because you have no control over that.”
There have been other things floating around Kyle Orton’s world the last few weeks.
Orton and 20 other NFL players are suing a Chicago law firm for more than $10 million. The players claim they received bad financial advice on investments involving energy concerns and taxation.
The lawsuit claims negligence on the part of Chuhak & Tecson that cost Orton and the other players millions of dollars in energy investments. In 2005, the law firm encouraged Orton and others to set up partnerships that would invest in producers and sellers of gas generated at landfills. The plaintiffs didn’t find out until 2010 that they didn’t qualify for tax breaks that the law firm allegedly assured them they would benefit from.
The case was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. The lawsuit lists two plaintiffs by name β Orton and Atlanta lawyer Edward Rappaport.
“I think this says a lot about the vulnerabilities of NFL players β that they rely on the expertise of others,” said attorney Daniel Konicek, who represents the plaintiffs. “They relied on people who were supposed to have their best interests in mind.”