There’s a lot of talk this week among the media horde about the rekindling of the Chiefs-Broncos rivalry, thanks in part to the no shake-finger wag between Todd Haley and Josh McDaniels three weeks ago in Denver.
It’s going to take a lot more than that 10-second tantrum to fire up any type of real ill-will between these original American Football League cousins.
There are three reasons that athletic teams become rivals β geography, frequency of competition and championships. The first is not really a factor; although they are neighbors in a sense, there’s no natural physical tie between a team that plays east of the Kansas River and south of the Missouri River with one that lives in the foothills of the Rockies.
Playing each other twice a year, almost every year for 50 years creates memorable moments. But the Chiefs dominated the first 12 or 13 years of competition, followed by a 16 to 17-year window where the Broncos were dominate. Over the better part of the last 20 years these teams have gone back and forth., but neither team controlled the series.
And there have been infrequent moments when anything like post-season victory was on the line between these teams. Just once have they met in the playoffs β 1997, when the Broncos came to Arrowhead and left with a 14-10 victory on their way to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
Right now, the Chiefs hold a 54-47 edge in the series. Those 54 victories matches the Chiefs winning efforts against Oakland, the two teams they’ve beaten the most over the years.
It’s going to take both of these teams having a successful conclusion to their current rebuilding projects for any rivalry to come to life between the Broncos and Chiefs.
Of course, a good finger wag always helps.
SOME PARTICULARS ON JAMAAL CHARLES SEASON TO DATE
What’s amazing in the performance of Jamaal Charles this year is the production he gets out of a limited number of touches.
Charles starts the NFL weekend second in the league in rushing at 1,021 yards. He trails Arian Foster of the Houston Texans by 126 yards. Charles also has 63 fewer carries than Foster.
The fewest number of carries to lead the league and rush for 1,000 yards or more goes back to the earliest days of the NFL. In 1934, Chicago Bears RB Beattie Feathers carried it 119 times for 1,004 yards. That was an 8.4-yard per carry average. In the 1954 season, San Francisco RB Joe Perry ran 173 times for 1,049 yards. In the last 50 years, the fewest carries that produced a league leading rushing total over 1,000 yards was Jim Brown in 1960 that ran 215 times for 1,207 yards for Cleveland.
Here are a few other tidbits about his rushing total of 1,021 yards: 51 percent of his yards have come at home, 75 percent on grass, 65 percent against AFC teams, 57 percent on 1st down, 30 percent on 2nd down, 13 percent on 3rd down. He’s gained 37 percent of his yards between the 40s and he’s put up eight percent of his total in the scoring zone. His yardage is split almost evenly between the first and second half. In the first quarter, he’s picked up 27 percent of his yards. Running outside to his left has produced 34 percent of his total, more than any other running lane on the field.
THOSE TACKLING KICKERS
During the opening part of Wednesday practice each week, the Chiefs always break up into position groups and work on fundamental drills. During this 15-minute period, the special teams guys β kicker, punter and long snapper β generally hang around the middle of the field, shooting the breeze or batting footballs back and forth with their feet.
This week, K Ryan Succop had a few more things to work on. He was over in the corner of the practice field where the defensive linemen were working. Under the watchful eye of special teams coach Steve Hoffman, Succop was practicing his tackling. He would run up to one of the man-sized padded dummies that usually the pass rushers are batting about and slam a tackle.
File this one under the category of Haley and his coaching staff leaving no stone unturned.
“We have a big strong kicker and I don’t know that he has ever been taught to tackle so we have to make sure that we are on that because he is one of the 11 out there when we kick the ball,” Haley said. “He has to be able to tackle because he is the last line of defense sometimes.”
For his part Succop enjoyed the drill.
“I’d rather be out there with some idea of what I’m doing,” said Succop. “It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does and I’m standing between the guy with the ball and the end zone, I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can.”
CHAMP LOOKING TOWARD REMATCH
The last time these teams played, WR Dwayne Bowe caught 13 passes. Over half of those catches came against CB Champ Bailey, considered one of the league’s best cover corners.
Bailey gets his chance for redemption on Sunday, but whether he’ll see Bowe all afternoon isn’t something the Broncos were willing to share
“Put your best guys on their best guys a lot of times and you go,” McDaniels said. “(But) you can’t do that the whole game, though. If you do that the whole game, and tell them what you’re doing all the time β I know the coordinator is too good and the scheme is too good β they’ll find a way to hurt you.”
Bailey says the growing confidence of Bowe is very apparent.
“He seems like he believes what he’s doing now,” Bailey said. “He’s gonna get the ball and if I’m on him or not, I know I’m going to get a lot of balls.”