That's not to say the Chiefs are close to competing for a Super Bowl – far from it. But you'd have to be blind not to recognize the traits shared by the NFL franchises in New York and Kansas City.
Edwards has spent the last few weeks preaching the mantra of "toughness." He wants his football team to resemble Chuck Norris, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis all wrapped into one.
The Giants? They define toughness.
Start with head coach Tom Coughlin. He's so tough, if a player shows up three minutes early to a meeting in New York, that player is considered late. He's so tough, for hours he scowled into subzero temperatures in Green Bay during the NFC Championship game until many TV viewers feared his exposed cheeks might freeze right off. Coughlin strikes genuine fear into his players.
Then there's Brandon Jacobs. He's a big (6-foot-4, 260 pounds), tough running back who bowls defensive backs over when he carries the ball. He's New York's version of Larry Johnson, training in the offseason with powerlifter Joe Carini and wearing #27.
Eli Manning? He won't run anyone over, but recently everyone has been raving about his mental toughness and the seemingly impenetrable barrier to criticism he's erected this season. Eli shook off a shaky regular season (27 turnovers), didn't turn the ball over once in three playoff games and silenced his New York-area detractors. Manning is the anti-Grbac, and has now earned the right to lick Oreos alongside his older brother.
You can see why Edwards would like his future Chiefs to become the Giants of the present. And why not? Some of the pieces are already in place.
New York plays in Arizona tomorrow largely because of their dynamic pass rush and stifling defense – Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck combined for 32 sacks in the regular season while Coughlin's defense shut down Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay in the playoffs. The Chiefs are on the verge of fielding those elements.
The Giants have a developing kid quarterback in Manning, the Chiefs hope they have one in Brodie Croyle. The Giants have an older, experienced offensive coordinator in Kevin Gilbride. The Chiefs just hired one in Chan Gailey.
Big receivers? The Chiefs have Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. New York has Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey (injured most of the regular season).
Heck, the Giants even have a castoff Chiefs kicker (Lawrence Tynes, who is so tough he once broke a bouncer's nose), a castoff Chiefs linebacker (Kawika Mitchell, who is also tough, according to Gunther Cunningham) and a couple of aging cornerbacks. Give the 2007 Chiefs the offensive line fielded by the 2007 Giants, and who knows what would have happened.
The point is the Giants got to the Super Bowl following a blueprint Herm Edwards and the Carl Peterson-era Chiefs have always loved. New York ranked seventh on defense, 16th on offense. They finished fourth in rushing offense, 21st in passing offense. Along the way they frustrated a lot of long-suffering fans at times. Sound familiar?
If the Giants can qualify for the Super Bowl this way, so can the Chiefs. But can the Giants hoist the Lombardi trophy doing it Herm's way?
Can the tough team (New York) beat the explosive team (New England)?
In many ways, the Patriots and Giants are complete opposites. Coughlin is tough and emotional. Bill Belichick is stone-faced, carries the "mastermind" label and probably yells more at his own daughter than any of his players.
New England has the flashy star quarterback who dates supermodels and the young, up-and-coming offensive coordinator. Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels are almost polar opposites of Manning and Gilbride.
It's not hard to figure out what will happen tomorrow. Brady will try to hook up with Randy Moss for a few long touchdowns and figures to have a decent shot at the MVP trophy. Meanwhile, the Giants will attempt to establish Jacobs on the ground, limit Eli's mistakes and unleash their defense on New England's offense.
The only question is which team Herm Edwards will try to emulate over the next few seasons.
If New York wins tomorrow, hey, maybe the Chiefs can eventually do the same, following the mantra of toughness. That would be terrific. But if not, can Kansas City ever explode like New England?
The Chiefs want to be (champions) like the Patriots, but They Might Be Giants (who, by the way, have never had a #1 single).
Which model will Chiefs follow?
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