Outside Denver, AFCW is Nepotism Central Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Many Broncos fans are disappointed that Chargers owner Dean Spanos has reportedly decided to can A.J. Smith and Norv Turner once this season's done with.

This is an understandable sentiment, what with the team's recent descent to and below mediocrity, and Smith's construction of one of the worst offensive lines you'll see.

Who wouldn't want Smith and his legendary hubris to continue running things? The presence in the division of Peyton Manning, whose family Smith openly despises (also understandably, what with Archie and Eli's Elway-like power move of 2004), only figured to cloud A.J.'s judgment even more.

But here's the thing - do you know who Spanos has been grooming to run his team's football operations for several years?

His son.

This is all kinds of awesome, Broncos fans.

Apparently Dean's kid, John, has been working in scouting for San Diego since 2003 (and in some capacity since 1995), and according to the team site, he's already been coordinating their scouting preparation for the draft. It's unclear how long he's been in charge of that latter task, but let's just say the Chargers haven't exactly been doing a very good job of drafting players in recent years.

It's commendable that the younger Spanos has apparently put a great deal of time toward his goal of taking over daddy's business, but that doesn't in any way suggest that he's going to be any good at it.

This is a trend in the AFCW, of inept sons taking over for their more successful fathers:

The first big move of Clark Hunt's tenure in Kansas City was to fire Carl Peterson, under whom the franchise had just six losing seasons in twenty years. In the four years since, they've already had three sub.500 teams, and are currently the worst team in the NFL.

Mark Davis took over for his departed father in Oakland, and although he appeared to get off to a good start by hiring Reggie McKenzie to run the team, rumors recently surfaced about a possible return of Jon Gruden. McKenzie has been on the job for all of eleven months now, so this is a fine window into how much patience the younger Davis has. He may even have less than his dad did.

Meanwhile, Pat Bowlen has turned his team over to John Elway, who seems to be doing a pretty good job of running the Broncos. It's often been rumored that Elway would eventually take over ownership of the team, and all reports have suggested that Mr. B's family has no intent to keep the team for the longer term.

There appears no danger in Denver of a Hunt/Davis/Spanos-like handing down of the football reins.

To which we respond: Thank You, Pat Bowlen, for not keeping it in the family.

Broncos

An MRI on the injured shoulder of Demaryius Thomas thankfully showed no serious damage; Von Miller was fined $25K for his low hit on Bucs QB Josh Freeman last Sunday.

Jeff Legwold says the Broncos need to better protect Manning, but we'll chalk that up to Manny Ramirez subbing for Chris Kuper, who should be back next week. Plus, Legwold checks on the progress of Denver's rookies.

Even if the score was perhaps closer than some may have expected, credit is indeed due the Broncos for winning on the road, in an extremely short week, and without a pair of important starters.

Mike Klis finds little to gripe about in Denver's win streak, and we'll certainly agree with that.

Christmas Ape recaps the game in GIFtastic fashion.

Did Peyton audible to a jailbreak screen by yelling, "Prison! Prison!"? Perhaps, but we think it was just an opponent-specific audible, being that it was Oakland, and all.

Police say the man who appeared to have fallen from the upper deck at the Coliseum on Thursday actually jumped.

News

Spanos's franchise may end up in some trouble for its use of underpaid high school kids to staff Qualcomm during games.

The Giants don't necessarily believe that Sean Payton and the Saints are obeying the league's order not to communicate with each other, and why would they?

Arizona fined DE Darnell Dockett $200K for conduct detrimental to the team; it had been reported that Dockett had spat in the face of teammate Kerry Rhodes during last week's loss to the Jets.

Former WR David Boston was sentenced to six months in jail for punching a woman; the FBI raided some houses owned by former Jets lineman Jason Fabini.

Analysis

Brian Burke doesn't necessarily buy that the Roger Goodell/Greg Schiano idea for eliminating kickoffs will make football any safer, but he's pretty certain it would increase scoring and make games more exciting.

Of course, the Broncos (PMFM) have taken the fewest coverage sacks of any team so far this season, and at the lowest rate. Plus, J.J. Cooper blames San Diego's horrid offensive line for Philip Rivers's craptastic play. Mike Lombardi agrees, and he thinks the Chargers are heading into a rebuilding phase.

Chase Stuart examines the role each decision-maker has had in creating the LOLJets' laughfest of a passing attack.

Doug Farrar/Greg Cosell (podcast), Clark Judge, and Peter King preview the week's matchups.

Miscellany

Not sure what's so terrifying about Ray Lewis's new facemask; it looks more like a menorah than anything. Mazel Tov, Ray!

Bucky Brooks thinks A&M's Johnny Manziel is most deserving of the Heisman, which will be awarded tonight.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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