You’re out there, AFC West fans. We see you. We hear you, too – boastfully waxing about how your team plays in the toughest division football doesn’t go unnoticed. Lucky for us there’s one man who knows how you ALL feel simultaneously, because he’s a bigger fan than you. And he wants to take us on a trip through the AFC West, handing out report cards along the way.

Chiefs: A

You’re lost at sea. The GPS on your iPhone says mainland is a few miles back yonder, but you know that hasn’t been true since floating past an “International Waters” buoy several days prior. The air is rife with desolation, and another sunset – beautiful as they may be in the middle of nowhere – offers no more sustenance than the bottle of half empty daiquiri mix rattling around the stern. Should you funnell it? You should funnell it.

But what’s that up ahead? Another boat? Ahoy, it’s another boat! Did they see you fire off that flare last night? Probably not, since in your rum-and-starvation induced haze you only managed to hit a pelican perched on the mast, the poor bastard now relegated to spending his eternal days in Davy Jones’ Locker. No, nobody saw that. You hope.

Maybe they heard the Jimmy Buffet blaring from below deck? Eh, doubtful. Several thousand dollars worth of stereo equipment only functions when the generator you use to power it isn’t now property of a gang of pretty feisty Somalis. No, couldn’t have been that either. But here they come anyway, a beacon of light in the darkness, angels sent from high to save your lost and wary soul. To nurse you back to health. To show you how to live again.

You hop on board. The captain is a jolly fella, someone you maybe recognize from a previous life, and his first-mate is navigating the vessel with pinpoint accuracy. You believe again. Hope starts to fill the void mother ocean created. Tonight, when the sun goes down, you’ll be back on top.

 

Because you’re the world’s biggest Chiefs fan, dammit. That’s the good stuff.

Broncos: A-

Selling out. That’s your move, sure, and you’ve been chided for it in the past, but those decries have become louder and more volatile as of late. So what? Who are they to tell you how to run your show? You’re also selling out stadiums across the country, backed by up-and-coming talent, flanked by an endless supply of the Rocky Mountain’s finest, and hell yeah there’s a keg of it in the closet. You demanded it in the rider. Not your first rodeo.

It’s good to be you. Remember when management wanted you to go gospel, so you fired the whole damn lot of ‘em? You signed on with the legend. You’re not looking back. Was it the right move? Time will tell, but early numbers are promising. Is there an upstart young buck threatening your dominance? Yeah, but things change in this industry. You know better than anyone that success can be fleeting, but you also know full well that when you finally meet face-to-face, the talent will rise the top.

 

Because you’re the world’s biggest Broncos fan, dammit. If you mess with one man, you got us all. We’re the boys of fall.

Raiders: C-

Where are we? What the hell is this place? Is this where they tested the A-Bomb? A burnt down prison? The set of Escape from New York? Can’t be Oakland, right? RIGHT!?!?

[Realize you’re talking to a snake eating chicken wire]

The pilgrimage wasn’t what you’d expected. Always did look a little off-kilter on TV, but you’ve watched a thousand games and never pictured it quite like this. Empty. Destitute. Carcinogenic. But here you are, an hour from kickoff, malt liquor in hand, face painted black, pirate flag waiving high atop the million dollar coach you’re suddenly regretting bringing, ready to attend your first Raiders game.

Suddenly, in the distance, you see them. Thousands of them. Flocking to the O.co, on their motorcycles and in buses, ready for war. All of them your brethren, by choice or by gang affiliation, united by a common bond of being members of the Nation. This was what you came for. To fight and hope a football game breaks out. You strap on your helmet, ready for battle.

Because you’re the world’s biggest Raiders fan, dammit. No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

San Diego: D

Now this. THIS is what you call a city. Bountiful beaches, perfect weather, guitars, tiki bars, and hell, you’re just a stone’s throw from having a beer in Mexico. (It’s TJ, sure, but sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind, you know?)

We’ve got a football team here, too. But you won’t watch. Can’t. Not when it hurts this much. They’ve fooled you once, and that was all their fault. The second time? Well, maybe you’re to blame. There won’t be a third time, you swear…but, OK, they’re 4-3, and maybe this is finally the year that good ol’ boy from nurthern’ Alabama will lead us to the promised land? Has to be, right?

Wrong.

 

But you believe anyway.

Because you’re the world’s biggest Chargers fan, dammit. Marmalard and tequila makes you crazy.