In a September 28 scouting report that preceded Sunday's Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs game, five Denver Post prognosticators, supplemented by Chiefs kicking legend Jan Stenerud, offered their predictions of the outcome. Predictably, only Stenerud foresaw a Chiefs victory. However, four of the five Posties (Jim Armstrong, Lindsay H. Jones, Mark Kiszla and Mike Klis) guessed that the final score would be closer than expected. Only Woody Paige figured a blowout was in the offing. He came up with just one word to explain what he figured to be a 45-0 Broncos triumph: "Ahem."
Well, ahem, Paige couldn't have been more wrong -- and the distance by which he was off the mark suggests that he's smoking something that's turned his brain into tapioca pudding. But this was hardly an isolated incident. Of late, Paige hasn't seemed to care about being right or wrong, or even about making sense. He appears to be more interested in riffing than he is in trying to be a decent, or even half-decent, sports columnist.
Anyone who's followed the Broncos as long as Paige has should know instinctively that the Chiefs almost always play the Broncos tough in K.C., even during years when the squad's not especially strong -- and this year, that's an understatement. Moreover, Sunday's matchup constituted a classic trap game for the Broncos, who were the luckiest 3-0 outfit in football coming into the contest. Any athlete would have been tempted to look past as woeful an opponent as the Chiefs -- especially the ones on the Broncos, whose history is pocked with instances when they've been handed their helmets by lesser crews. Hence, odds were good that the Broncos would either win narrowly or lose humiliatingly -- two options Woody didn't even consider.
So was Paige embarrassed by his moronic pick after the Broncos came up on the short end of a 33-19 tally? If so, his September 29 column shows no evidence of it. Instead of acknowledging his foolish prediction, he instead focuses on a prescient one by Kansas City running back Larry Johnson's sister, who thought her brother would have a great game against the Broncos.
Paige should have known that without any Johnson telling him about it. But no: Since his fulltime return to the Post over a year ago, the alleged dean of Denver sportswriters has become lazier and lazier as a thinker. His work reads as if he's phoning it in figuratively and literally -- and the results have been as dispiriting as the Broncos' most recent performance. -- Michael Roberts