Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2007

The fly route

December 13, 2007

Few things are more fun than listening to a team's radio announcers melt down. When the guys paid to be the most one-sided, disgustingly optimistic fans for whichever team signs the checks start lashing the team for its poor performance, you know a disaster is truly in the making.

Fans who tuned in to hear the Nebraska football team get dismantled this season often heard then-lead play-by-play voice Jim Rose overheat. Late in one blowout midway through the season Rose offered his personal apology to all the fans out there listening in Husker land, proclaiming that they didn't deserve to be subjected to such an awful broadcast of an embarrassing game.

Fans who tuned into Sunday's Chiefs-Broncos game got a similar treatment from play-by-play guy Mitch Holthus, color man Len Dawson and sideline reporter Bob Gretz.

Speaking not just as a Bronco fan, but as a fan of train wrecks everywhere: It. Was. Awesome.

Gretz implored the Kansas City offensive coaching staff to give up trying to pass, not just because it was ineffective, but because it prolonged the catastrophic game and nearly served as a death warrant for quarterback Brodie Croyle.

That's awesome. He asked that the Chiefs stop trying to score so as to end the game quicker.

Offering advice in the same vein, perhaps Kansas City shouldn't even bother taking the field this week against the Tennessee Titans and stud defenders Albert Hayneswoth and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Either that or they should not even bother to field receivers, run every down and let the fastest player on the team run backwards each fourth down, avoiding a tackle as long as possible to burn the clock with machine-like efficiency.

Really, I'm having a hard time understanding what the outrage is though -- why Holthus, Dawson and Gretz were so surprised by the 41-7 loss to the Broncos and why fans across the area are disgusted.

Anyone paying any attention should have seen this coming, not just in the short term, but long term as well.

It's been pointed out with stunning regularity every year since 2003 that Kansas City's offense was aging and that eventually it'd fall of a cliff, a wave of important players getting injured or retiring at about the same time.

Fans could have been fooled -- last year's team was really the one that should have plunged into the canyon. But this year's squad returned with all the same weaknesses, a few more players lost to retirement and no significant upgrades.


It could all have been seen in the short term, too. Teams built around big running backs rarely rule in this era of the National Football League, especially when they have little else offensively. Holes dot the defense as well, rendering any momentum the Jared Allens and Derrick Johnsons can generate useless.

Anyway, isn't this what fans have been begging for? The ultimate best case for this team this season was 9-7 or 8-8. That is the season that would have been a disaster. The Chiefs would once again have been picking just late enough in the draft to get fail to get a player guaranteed to offer immediate help.

Drafting after No. 15 can still yield stars, but at that point you're usually either getting lucky or getting a role player.

The world won't end for the Chiefs, no matter how dismal the end of the season is. They should fork over big -- BIG -- to keep Allen in town, and do anything and everything to find one respectable offensive lineman and one stud lineman.

They should target a cornerback in the second or third round and look for another receiver that high as well.

The right choices could combine with what really isn't an embarrassing core to make a respectable team. Maybe it won't win in 2008, but in two or three years, it could be one of the better teams in the league.

Of course that's all assuming fans don't torch the stadium and string up all the players and coaches. Remember, angry fans -- spare Holthus, Dawson and Gretz. They're just as unreasonably shocked as you are.

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