The Daily Lard 5-20-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla thinks Rod Smith falls a bit short of HOF worthiness (agreed), but he also believes the Broncos should retire his #80.

Yet, with offseason rosters expanded to 90 players these days, retiring numbers gets to be a matter of (im)practicality. Eventually, you start running out of numbers to use, even though you can always unretire a number whenever you bring in a GOAT like PMFM.

Were Smith's number to be retired, what about that of Shannon Sharpe? Smith's practice squad teammate Tom Nalen? They both meant as much to Denver's successes, and as seventh-round picks, the unlikelihood of their personal achievements is almost as impressive as what Smith overcame. And had Mike Shanahan kept his own hubris in check and not allowed Shannon to walk in 2000, all three would be exclusively Denver Broncos.

Denver's Ring of Fame is an exclusive enough club, with Smith set to become the team's 23rd inductee. Let's worry about honoring every deserving Bronco before we consider elevating them to John Elway's level.

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Put Simon Fletcher in the Ring of Fame before Broncos fans puke

The Broncos added one of the all-time greats to their Ring of Fame earlier in the week in the form of wide receiver (and Eddie Kennison's tormentor) Rod Smith.

I should have enjoyed the announcement more than I did: Smith is my personal all-time favorite Denver Bronco. Unfortunately, all the announcement did was remind me that Simon Fletcher, the Broncos' all-time sack leader, is not in Mr. Smith's company; further, it makes me wonder if the Broncos' organization thinks we're all that stupid.

It makes me want to puke--even more than Jim Saccomano's twitter feed.

Can you think of one good reason Fletcher should be excluded from the Ring of Fame?  I can't, and it appears as if John Elway can't either.  As Mike Klis wrote last month, there was a press conference in which the current Broncos exec, and former teammate of Fletcher, actually believed for a few minutes that Fletcher had been elected.  Elway said at the time:

“Perfect. He’s a guy that was a great player and a guy I really enjoyed having as a teammate. He was a great football, a guy with a great sense of humor and a great teammate but a good man, too. I’m thrilled for Simon, it’s a well-deserved honor because he did have so many great years for the Broncos back in the late 80s early 90s. He was a guy, second round draft pick? Really did a great job. I’m really happy for Simon. An honor well deserved.”

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The Daily Lard 5-19-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Former CU Buffs and Patriots LB Ted Johnson, who retired in 2005 due to the after effects of the head injuries he suffered in his 10 years in the league, spoke at a conference on pediatric concussions at Boston Children's Hospital yesterday.

During his 30-minute speech, Johnson said he suffered 100-150 concussions during his career, and he told the conference he's certain that head injuries played a role in the suicide of Junior Seau:

It's corrode or explode. And it all exploded by killing (himself). You can't tell me the head trauma he had over his career didn't affect him. That was the tip of the tipping point for me. ... It makes you take inventory on your own mortality. If that can happen to him, I've got to be more diligent in how I live my life. 'Cause it's a road I don't want to go down.

The ex-LB hopes players will be more forthcoming about their own head injuries, admitting that he "felt compelled to play against doctors' orders" by coach Bill Belichick in 2002.

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Broncos sign 5th rounder Malik Jackson

Per the official Twitter page of the Denver Broncos:

The Broncos have signed DE Malik Jackson, the second 2012 draft pick to sign with the team.

So that's two down and five to go. A day before, the Broncos took care of Omar Bolden--not in a Sopranos way, mind you, but in a hey, rookie, you can carry these sweaty jockstraps to the laundry room now way.

Stop your sucker bitching

This article is not going to be about football, so if you’re the type of ninny who thinks you should try to keep us in a “football only” box, you can drop off the call right now.  This is an article about IAOFM, and you, and the world we share.  Broncos fans who meet three criteria tend to read this website, over all the others that are available:

  1. They have at least half a brain, and would like to think about non-obvious football topics
  2. They have a sense of humor (mostly)
  3. They’ve heard of us

Whether you realize it or not, this website intentionally occupies the educated/intelligent fan space in Broncos Country.  That was a marketing decision made way back when, and it’s the reason you don’t see us adding writers to the staff.  The same parts that get put into a Chevy Cobalt don’t get used in a Mercedes S Class.

We don’t write for dumb people, because we figure they have plenty of other choices out there where the writing is congruous with their reading levels.  IAOFM will never dumb anything down, you can be assured of that.  I know that a lot of our long-time readers are happy about that, and don’t want that to change, and personally, those are the people I write for.

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The Daily Lard 5-18-12

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Perhaps Matt Prater hasn't signed his franchise tag because he's been waiting for someone else to set the market.

Well, consider it set.

Tampa Bay inked their kicker Connor Barth to a four-year deal worth a total of $13.2M, including $4M in guarantees, which is a modest increase over the $2.6M franchise tag tendered to Barth (same amount as Prater).

Of the five kickers to be tagged this offseason, Barth is the only one with a long-term deal; Cincy's Mike Nugent and Cleveland's Phil Dawson ($3.81M) signed their one-year tenders, while Prater and Jacksonville's Josh Scobee have not. As for unrestricted free agent kickers, none of them got a whole lot of cash this offseason; John Kasay got an undisclosed one-year deal in New Orleans, Arizona gave Jay Feely $2.5M over two seasons, Washington signed Neil Rackers for $990K, and the Jets gave Nick Folk and Josh Brown one-year deals worth $765K and $855K, respectively.

Kicking statistics corrected 11am ET July 3, 2012

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Rod Smith to join Broncos Ring of Fame

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has announced that legendary WR Rod Smith will become the next member of the team's Ring of Fame. Said Mr. B in a statement:

Players like Rod don’t come through your door very often, but he came through ours every day with a purpose and hunger to be great. Rod’s production and numbers -- as outstanding as they were -- paled in comparison to his commitment to winning and the respect he commanded from each and every one of his teammates throughout his career. Emerging from an undrafted player to one of the best to ever play his position, Rod has truly earned his place among the greatest Broncos of all time.

I am thankful for everything Rod contributed to this franchise during his time with the Broncos, and I congratulate him on his well-deserved election to the Ring of Fame.

Smith, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Southern State in 1994, was a Bronco for 12 seasons, setting regular and postseason franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and TD catches. His numbers also rank as the best in league history for an undrafted receiver.

Updated 7:49 pm ET

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The Daily Lard 5-17-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Let's all wish a Happy Birthday to HOFer Ace Parker, who turns 100 today and is the oldest living ex-NFL player; Andy Barall shares his story.

Mike Klis says the Broncos are working towards signing all of their draft picks, and are close to deals with top choices Derek Wolfe and Brock Osweiler. Of course, thanks to the rookie pay system as structured by the new CBA, this is all a formality.

Incredibly, there's talk the Ravens and Eagles could try to dock the pay of Terrell Suggs and Jason Peters for their recent injuries, on the grounds that they were suffered away from team facilities. Apparently, the CBA stipulates that injuries suffered during off-site training sessions are considered non-football injuries.

So between drafted rookies possessing zero negotiating power as to their salary or team, players potentially getting docked for injuries while working out, and restricted free agency resulting in zero offer sheets this year, what did the players really gain in the latest CBA? Lighter practices and earlier free agency? That's it? And to think, so many fans took ownership's side and decried the supposed greed and selfishness of the players after ownership locked them out...

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Vince Lombardi, Zane Beadles, and building a football team through the power of love

I love the history of football. In its beginnings a brutal sport nearly banned at many colleges, it took over 30 years to reach a level of maturity and acceptance by the American public in the 1950s and 1960s. The growth in the sport since then has in many ways reflected the positives in the evolution of American culture.

Football has increasingly outgrown its often brutal and unquestionably racist roots, beginning with the entry of players of color in the 1940s. It has seen the iron fist of Vince Lombardi, demanding in Green Bay that he not have a single member of his teams that bore racist, cultural or religious prejudice. Lombardi was an icon in many ways that most casual fans of the sport will never hear or read of.

Bill Walsh once had a player’s locker packed in the box delivered to his front door for simply implying that the details of his contract were based in racial discrimination by Walsh. Walsh was right - the player was playing a race card that in this case did not exist.

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The Daily Lard 5-16-12

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Peyton Manning has his first bit of AFC West bulletin board material thanks to Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers, who says:

We’ve got the mindset we’re going to win the AFC West. Peyton Manning, he’s a quarterback that everyone wants to have. He’s not going to turn the ball over, he’s not going to make critical mistakes.

But I’m going out there saying if my man can’t get open, he won’t have no one to throw the ball to. So as long as I do my part, we’re not too worried about Peyton Manning.

Okay, so it's the mildest of trash talk, but it's May. And, it's really more likely directed at Demaryius Thomas than at PMFM, who is 5-1 in his career against the Chiefs (albeit with a sub-Manning QB rating of 88.1). Thomas, meanwhile, has only six catches (three in 2010, three in 2011) in three career games against KC, for just 85 yards and zero touchdowns.

Then again, Denver's 2011 quarterback managed just eight completions in 30 attempts last year against the Chiefs, so it's easy to understand why Flowers is so confident. Won't be so easy in 2012, though, Brandon.

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