As midseason passes, the AFC West debate of who's superior and who's inferior is picking up steam.
Kansas City Chiefs fans argue that the Oakland Raiders have no credibility, that the Denver Broncos are in disarray and that the San Diego Chargers will be a contender but won't challenge them enough to take the division.
Raiders fans argue that Kansas City hasn't proven anything by winning against sub-.500 teams, the exception being the 4-4 Jacksonville Jaguars. They think San Diego will lose the rest of their games this year after breaking the consecutive win streak and that Denver is the worst team in history after allowing 59 points at home.
Broncos fans argue that Raiders fans are thugs and point to off-field issues such as JaMarcus Russell's unheralded failure. They consider the Chiefs "that one team with Dante Hall" and relate with the Chargers because, after all, San Diego is a pretty nice place.
AFC West Arguments
Let's start with this: The majority of bad arguments are made by Raiders fans. This doesn't have anything to do with passion, dedication or bleeding silver and black. In fact, because of their sheer passion, comments are rattled off with little fact-backing. I'm not passing judgment; I'm a Raiders fan, and my intent is to simply share what I've seen as of late on this epic debate.
There are several ways to attack a debate, and Oakland prefers what I'll call "team down-sizing." Raiders fans are quick to call Denver "the Donkos;" KC a word that starts with "qw" and rhymes with chiefs; and the Chargers' faithful are simply known as "fair weather fans."
Oakland fans tend to argue without much rhyme or reason because of their strong belief in commitment. However, it's duly noted that somewhere along the line, the term commitment got defined differently, like in a game of telephone among third-graders.
Commitment to excellence has been a buzzword for the franchise and has become a cliche. While Oakland is one of the more storied franchises, there is no excellence in being the only team with no general manager.
One thing that is always evident from Raiders fans: frustration. Sometimes we will call for coaches' jobs, quarterback changes and Al Davis being ousted.
Oakland fans are out in force, especially with the team 4-4 for the first time in what seems like a lifetime.
For Chiefs fans, Oakland is just a dangerous, scary place. They are convinced that there is a one felony minimum required for joining Raider Nation.
Some popular themes thrown at Raiders fans: the lack of fan support, a losing streak to San Diego, the fact that KC has won so-and-so games in a row in Oakland, that the Chiefs are statistically better in every category (even when they're last in the NFL) and the "you've done nothing to earn respect" argument.
Targeting Denver, KC likes to use the Raiders as an example. Nothing makes a Chiefs fan happier then talking smack to a Denver fan by using Oakland, a team they both agree should be banished from the league, as a pawn piece. When that doesn't work, they might go to the "well, your players play dirty" argument.
From what I've seen, KC fans bring facts to the table. This makes for sound arguments, but overconfident comments and predictions. Since the Chiefs are 5-2, KC fans are speaking with confidence unheard of in years, yet they call Oakland fans out for being "delusional."
KC likes to bring up the fact that they held Peyton Manning to his worst game all season and had to face a Houston Texans team at full strength. They also make their opinions heard that Oakland has no chance against Indianapolis, but concede that "yes, the Chiefs can definitely compete."
When it comes to San Diego, they like to keep it simple, saying, "Yeah, San Diego is our only competition, but they are done this year."
Due to an unforeseen turn this season, I haven't even seen Denver fans commenting on any articles or websites. They are muddling around, commenting on how stupid that penalty was in London that erased a tying touchdown, and how Tim Tebow is the face of their franchise.
When asked how they are doing this year, their brain produces images of Terrell Davis and John Elway as they smile and nod incoherently.
Here's a fact: Most Denver fans are squinting through binoculars, seeing if they can spot former Denver stars Rod Smith and Bill Romanowski. "They still play, right?"
After losing to Oakland they gave up on the year, with the logic that "if Oakland beat us, then I guess we will hope for Andrew Luck in the draft."
This is similar to the San Francisco 49ers' original thought process. Two weeks ago it was, "let's pack it in and get Locker or Luck in the draft." Now it's "Troy Smith! Wow, we can take the division!" For the record, I thought the 49ers had the division locked up in July. Little did I know the 'Frisco faithful would be chanting "We want Carr." Smart move, San Fran, stick to your baseball.
Let me start with this: at a local pub to watch the game last Sunday, even bar owners were unaware the San Diego game was blacked out until 1:04 PM. Chargers fans moaned and groaned, but then soon realized that they don't actually care about watching the game. It’s more waiting for them to win so they can sport that never-worn, Antonio Gates jersey they picked up last week.
Chargers fans have been inundated with Norcal-ers coming down for the wide array of colleges that San Diego offers. They call it the "invasion."
Chargers fans love to call northern California "Nocal," popularized by Jim Rome.
Their most common comment to a Raider fan: "Wait, when's the last time you made the playoffs? How'd that go again?"
Responding to that comment with "you've never won the Super Bowl" usually evokes head scratching and a furious Google search to see if the team actually did win one. "But, didn't Dan Fouts...” No, the Chargers won an AFL title game in 1963. That's it.
As the season continues, so do the endless debates of "my team is better then yours." Given the fact that none of these people are a factor in the actual games being played, (except for ex-Raider Jarrod Cooper, whom I've seen posting articles—he possibly could run on the field from the stands and be a game-changer) the title "erroneous" best describes any conclusions made.
This is why the AFC West is the best division to make your point heard. There are no cheap shots, but one thing is for certain: This debate will be here for years to come. No one will concede.