Are the Kansas City Chiefs a dirty, reckless football team that’s taking a page out of the vintage Oakland Raiders playbook?
That was the claim from Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward after the Chiefs dominated them in a 29-13 win. He accused their offensive linemen, tight ends and wide receivers of taking cheap shots at Broncos defensive players all game long. Ward had enough and instigated a fight with Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin, which resulted with him being thrown out of the contest.
There’s a fine line between playing physical and playing dirty with the intent to injure an opponent. The difference is physical players want to impose their swagger or toughness onto an opponent each week. Ideally, they want to get inside an opposing player’s mindset and have their head moving on swivel trying to locate them on the field before a big hit is administered upon them. Hopefully, this approach will help to have them miss an assignment or fumble the ball away on a key drive. These actions might not fall under the jurisdiction of dirty play, but it’s definitely outside the general rules of football.
The Chiefs are a hard-nose, tough football team that initiate and maintain contact until the whistle is blown. Head coach Andy Reid expects his players to be physical, but never disrespect the sport with questionable, dirty play. Not once has one of his players ever been accused of hitting below the knees or fined for initiating helmet-to-helmet contact.
The San Diego Chargers will have to play smart and keep their emotions intact or the referees will flag them for ticky-tack penalties. They must show some fight and emotion by gaining control of the line of scrimmage, but at the same time make sure their actions never escalate.
The Chargers have nothing to lose and everything to gain by defeating the Chiefs this weekend. First, a win would severely hamper their chances of winning the AFC West divisional crown and possibly any wildcard aspirations as well. This is an excellent opportunity to play smart against a resurging Chiefs team that has played well of late and provide some satisfaction to the Chargers faithful in an otherwise dreadful season.
Teams play with a quiet confidence in divisional matchups, as you can expect the players to chirp at one another all throughout the contest. The fans want the rulebook to be thrown out, as tensions are guaranteed to boil over between bitter rivals. No remorse for what will take place, as there are no victims on a football field.
However, there is no excuse for playing out of control and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. The Chargers must take the high road even if the Chiefs are engaging in pushing and shoving after the play has been whistled because taking your game to that level is never a winning proposition.