When a rancher states that “one of you is headed to the chopping block”, all of the livestock aside from the horses and mules are off and running. When the equines that graze on Invesco Field at Mile High throw a chop block, they are off and running — the Kansas City Chiefs are very aware of this.
A chop block is a kick-back block on a defensive lineman which opens a running lane for a ball carrier in the opposite direction of the herd. Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis and Quentin Griffin are probably still running wild somewhere after being let out of the chute by an illegal chop block.
You can call it a cut block (which is legal) all you want Broncos fans, but what your offensive line did back in their rushing hay days was more than illegal.
Between 2001 and 2004, five defensive lineman came up severely lame while playing against Denver. People finally took notice when it happened on Monday Night Football in ’04. Though the Broncos were defeated handily 23-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals, DT Tony Williams was lost for the season with a dislocated and broken left ankle.
It wasn’t the first time it had happened that season alone. Jacksonville Jaguars DE Paul Spicer had suffered a broken leg earlier in the year on a chop block delivered by Broncos LT Matt Lepsis. Only seven weeks into the season, everyone except the Denver faithful had had enough. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher implored the Broncos to do unto others as you want them to do unto you. In those four seasons, those five runners combined for a total of 6,152 yards. That’s an average of over 1,500 per year. The Broncos went 37-27 and made it to the money round of the NFL rodeo twice.
With Peyton Manning in the saddle, the Broncos prefer lassoing their opponents, not stampeding over them. Should they have some extra lead rope late on Sunday Night Football against the Chiefs, however, Kansas City’s defensive line better be good shepherds.
Take one eye off the flock, and they could be walking with a staff.