Typically, you can't write an article like this.
NFL teams do so many different things in an offseason that trying to find similarities between them is like comparing an iPhone to cave paintings.
Not so in this case.
Kansas City and Denver, though unique in their personnel and approaches to this offseason, have presented striking similarities which should not go unnoticed, and are worth a little investigation.
Scott Pioli needs very little introduction, no matter which NFL team you are a fan of, you have heard of this guy. He helped construct the pieces that became the Patriots' dynasty.
Now in Kansas City, he brings the "Patriot Way" as he calls the shots to rebuild a struggling franchise.
He hasn't wasted any time making the tough decisions and reshaping the Chiefs franchise. One thing is very clear, Pioli is the man in charge in Kansas City.
McDaniels came to Denver after cutting his teeth under Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
Serving in several different capacities, on the offensive and defensive sides, McDaniels is most famous for coordinating the offense that set several NFL records for yards and touchdowns in the 2007 regular season and brought the Pats to the brink of a perfect season (yet just short of a Super Bowl victory).
McDaniels lives and breathes the "Patriot Way" and with the success it has had over the past few years, can you really blame him?
Some have already dubbed the Broncos, the "Patriots West."
As soon as free agency opened up back at the end of February, the first thing GM Pioli did was go get his quarterback of the future, Matt Cassel.
Matt Cassel made a name for himself after filling in spectacularly for the injured Tom Brady after not starting a down of football since High School. He lead the Pats to an 11-5 record showing that he has what it takes to be an NFL quarterback.
Still many have their doubts about him calling him a "one year wonder" and speculating that his success was tied to the system he played in.
Cassel does need to lay the doubts that some have about his abilities to rest by playing well this year. This may be a bit of a challenge with an inconsistent O-line, and fewer skilled players around him than he had in New England and a new scheme.
He has certainly shown he is capable and is definitely putting in the work, but the judging eyes of the world will be watching.
One thing is for sure though, he is a stark upgrade over the three or four quarterbacks Kansas City had started over the past few seasons.
Denver also acquired a new starting quarterback.
Orton came to Denver in the most controversial offseason trade that the NFL has seen in a long time (maybe ever).
Orton is coming off a decent season that started so strong that many NFL pundits were mentioning his name among MVP candidates before he injured his ankle.
Orton still put together a strong performance considering the weapons he had around him and the offense he was running. He was asked to be a game-managing quarterback and handed off more times than not.
Orton had limited targets to throw to when asked to move the ball down the field with his arm.
His No. 1 receiver was a converted cornerback/return man, which led to his running back leading the team in catches.
Orton has kind of flown under the radar in his NFL career until now. He has yet to really show all he is capable of doing, which has many doubting that he has the ability to be a legit quarterback in the NFL.
This year we will find out, though. Orton is now in a great position to succeed. Unlike Chicago, Denver has a great O-line to give him plenty of protection, and several extremely talented receivers who know how to get open, make the catch, and run after the catch, too.
Orton is in the driver's seat; now he must take advantage of his change of scenery and establish himself as a standout NFL quarterback.
This move was a very hard pill for many Chiefs fans to swallow.
Tony Gonzalez was a Kansas City Chief for the past 13 years, he never played for any other team, and was the face of the franchise. Other players came and went but Tony was the one constant, up until the point that he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a second round pick in the 2010 draft.
Gonzo is a 10 time pro-bowler who leads the NFL in every statistical category for a tight-end and is still able to play at the most elite level.
Pioli made this trade in order to acquire more draft picks that he can use to bolster a team that has many holes that need filling, but in doing so he let Kansas City's best player go.
No story has been more talked about in the offseason than this one, so I'll try to keep in concise.
Cutler was unhappy and on edge after the Broncos fired longtime head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.
Cutler then went off the edge when he heard news that his name came up in a possible trade.
Cutler demanded a trade and did a disappearing act. The Broncos made several attempts to reach him using various means of communicative technology over a long period of time. They wanted to talk things out, as adults do, and come to a meeting of the minds.
But when Cutler could not be reached after the the owner himself reached out to him, Bowlen decided that if this is the way Cutler conducts himself, than he is not the guy they wanted leading their team anymore.
So Denver decided to trade its best player, too.
Cutler was traded to Chicago for two first-round picks ('09, '10) , a third-round pick ('09), and Kyle Orton.
Both Denver and Kansas City have decided, in a very "Patriot" kind of way to switch their defensive schemes from the standard 4-3 they had previously employed, to the increasingly popular 3-4 defense.
Denver brought in former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan to oversee its conversion to this new scheme, and Kansas City brought in former Cardinals D-coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
Both teams have stated that they will use a hybrid version of the 3-4 that will allow their defense to adapt to the opposing teams offensive's game plan.
Both teams also have many holes to fill on their respective defenses to make the 3-4 work for their team.
K.C. needs to find some pass-rushing Linebackers, while Denver needs to find some stout defensive linemen.
GM Scott Pioli's first big decision upon taking the reins in Kansas City was to determine whether or not to keep head coach Herm Edwards.
In the end, Pioli decided to hand Herm his walking papers, but took his time naming a replacement.
After a Cinderella postseason in which the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals reached the Super Bowl, Cards offensive coordinator Todd Haley caught Pioli's eye.
In the aftermath of a hard-fought game that the Cardinals narrowly lost, Pioli named Haley the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Haley's offensive knowledge opens up many opportunities for Kansas City, as he was able to design plays that got Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin open and in the end zone often last year.
Hopefully, he can do the same for Dwayne Bowe this year.
Known for his intensity, Haley brings a completely different coaching style and approach to the game than Edwards did. And the culture shock that he brings with him is just the beginning as the Chiefs start to change their approach in an effort to turn things around in K.C.
Owner Pat Bowlen made a tough and controversial decision earlier this year that set the Broncos on a whirlwind offseason when he decided to fire longtime head coach Mike Shanahan.
This meant that Denver would also be getting a new head coach this offseason.
Many Denver fans expected Shanahan to be replaced with a defensive-minded head coach and were quite taken aback to learn that Bowlen decided to hire former Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.
McDaniels came into Denver and shook everything up. He made it clear that he was going to do things his way. In doing so, he completely revamped the coaching staff, cut many existing players, and alienated one in particular.
Acclaimed as a "wonder boy" or "boy genius" for his work as offensive coordinator in New England, many Denver fans are split on what to think about the tumultuous offseason that has transpired since McDaniels took over.
Between losing Cutler and an unconventional drafting style, many pundits have their doubts about Denver's recent moves, too.
But McDaniels has a plan and he's implementing it. He is changing the way the Broncos do business and filling the team with high-character, versatile players.
The trick is going to be winning games. If they can do that, then McDaniels will silence his critics.
Kansas City has not been doing well the past few years, and in an effort to change things for the better in the more immediate sense, GM Scott Pioli has added some key veterans to help improve the squad.
These veteran players have been brought in to help change the culture in K.C., teach the younger players how to handle themselves, and win some more games in the short term.
Some of these key additions are:
(Name, Pos., Age)
Monty Beisel, LB, 29
Mike Brown, S, 29
Bobby Engram, WR, 36
Mike Goff, G, 33
Zach Thomas, LB, 36
Mike Vrable , LB, 34
Kansas City is a young team, but these aging talents will bring wisdom into the locker room and help mold the younger players into true NFL football players by learning from their example.
Denver also brought in some veteran players who still have some miles left on their tires in order to upgrade the defense in the short term and teach the younger players for the longer term.
Some of these key additions are:
(Name, Pos., Age)
Correll Buckhalter, RB, 30
Andra Davis, ILB, 30
Brian Dawkins, S, 35
Jabar Gaffney, WR, 28
Andre Goodman, CB, 30
Renaldo Hill, S, 30
LaMont Jordan, RB 30
Denver has instantly upgraded some positions of great need with these players and has set the table for the future with this veteran leadership to guide the young players coming in behind them.
Even with all these similarities there are still some significant differences that distinguish these two franchises and helped shape their respective offseasons.
The first of which is their recent records.
The past three years the Chiefs have finished the season with the following records: 9-7, 4-12, 2-14.
This recent lack of success has put Kansas City in position to re-imagine and rebuild their football team with sweeping changes.
Scott Pioli is doing just that and setting the team on the road to once again being a force in this league.
On the other hand, the Denver Broncos finished the last three seasons with records of 9-7, 7-9, 8-8. Stuck in the middle of the road with mediocre success the past few years, Denver seemed to be growing stagnant.
Bowlen saw the need for a change to move forward, and was unwilling to settle for .500 seasons year in and year out. So he made a preemptive change in order to breath new life into a team that needed more than what they had on hand.
The other major difference this offseason comes from the focus on the defensive line.
Scott Pioli made sure that in switching to the 3-4 defense, that Kansas City would be strong up front on defense.
They drafted Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee, two great 3-4 defensive end prospects, to be sure the Chiefs could hold the line of scrimmage and stop the run in a division where they will face L.T., D.Sproles, D.McFadden, M.Bush, J.Fargas, and K. Moreno twice a year.
Add to this the veteran linebackers that they picked up in free agency and the young defensive backs who now have a bit more experience under their belts, and K.C.'s defense doesn't look to bad.
Denver on the other hand did not pick up a starting-caliber D-lineman. Nor did they find a player in the draft to fill this void (as everyone assumed they would).
Instead, Denver is hoping that one of the many young players that they already had or picked up after the draft in free agency will step up and be able to fill these roles.
This is quite a gamble, given the running backs in AFC West that Denver faces twice a year (add to that list L.J. and subtract Moreno).
Denver instead focused its efforts on improving the secondary with veterans first and then drafted young players to fall in behind them and learn from their experience.
So just to sum everything up here. Both Denver and Kansas City:
1) Added key front office people with ties to the New England Patriots (bringing with them the "Patriot Way") (GM Pioli-Head Coach McDaniels)
2) Have new quarterbacks with something to prove this year(Cassel-Orton)
3) Traded away their Best player (Gonzo-Culter)
4) Are switching to a (hybrid) 3-4 Defense
5) Have new former offensive coordinator head coaches (Haley-McDaniels)
6) Brought in veteran players to fill needs and help shape their future teams
Though some of the names and situations are quite different, Kansas City and Denver have had very similar offseasons as they realigned their respective franchises for future success.
This offseason both teams have improved overall and though it may not be instantaneous, both the Broncos and the Chiefs can look forward to once again being contenders in this league.