KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Consider for a moment the overall strength of the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos (11-3) and Chiefs (11-3) have clinched a playoff berth and are tied for the best records in the AFC. The San Diego Chargers (7-7) are still alive in the playoff chase with two games remaining in the regular season.
Now toss aside the records and contemplate how many annual postseason honors – as awarded by The Associated Press, Pro Football Writers of America, among others – could come from the division, namely the MVP, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The MVP race likely boils down to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
Manning is widely regarded as the favorite, but Charles has been coming on.
“It’s possible we get the Offensive Player of the Year depending how it works out between Jamaal and Peyton Manning,” Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwarz said. “It’s been a good amount of talent in this division and it kind of raises our level of competition.”
Schwartz brings up a good point with the Offensive Player of the Year, awarded by the AP, because that potentially adds another postseason award to division.
Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a top contender, if arguably the clear choice, for Coach of the Year.
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey will receive strong consideration for Executive of the Year when taking into account the job he’s done adding talent to a team that went 2-14 in 2012.
In San Diego, wide receiver Keenan Allen rightfully deserves a hard look for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Allen currently has 931 yards receiving and needs 69 yards to join Joey Galloway (1995), Terry Glenn (1996), Randy Moss (1998), Anquan Boldin (2003), Michael Clayton (2004), Marques Colston (2006) and A.J. Green (2011) as the only rookie wide receivers since 1995 to hit 1,000 yards receiving.
The amount of postseason honors potentially heading to the division astounded Chiefs left guard Jeff Allen.
“It’s hard to think back to that many possible awards came out of one division,” Allen said. “If that were to happen, it would be something amazing. That’s pretty remarkable if it does happen.”
There is recent precedent for some postseason awards staying within a division, in this case the same team.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took home the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards in 2010 and 2007, while coach Bill Belichick was recognized as the Coach of the Year in those same years.
But what could occur this year in AFC West will be unique.
“Probably top to bottom, I haven’t seen where you have all those accolades coming from one spot,” said Chiefs defensive lineman Mike DeVito, a seven-year pro. “I can’t remember a division being that good.”
And the postseason awards for the AFC West should add another candidate if Chiefs safety Quintin Demps has a say.
“There should be Defensive Player of the Year with (safety Eric) Berry,” Demps said. “Berry should be in the race for that.”
Sunday’s opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, went from a 2-14 record in 2011 to making the playoffs in the 2012.
If that scenario sounds familiar, it should since it’s happening to the Chiefs this season.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck admits he hasn’t monitored all the similarities between his team last year and the Chiefs this year. But he told reporters during Wednesday’s media conference that it starts with leadership.
“I do know it’s been a great turnaround and they’re obviously having a very successful season,” Luck said of the Chiefs. “I think coach (Chuck) Pagano is a great coach and for everything I understand about coach (Andy) Reid, he’s a great coach and I know it starts at the top.”
When asked what kind of environment Pagano has created in Indianapolis, Luck’s response may also sound familiar when considering the Chiefs locker room these days under Reid.
“A fun working environment,” Luck said of the atmosphere with Pagano. “An environment where you’re accountable to everybody in the building where no one is worried about someone stabbing you in the back or doing something to undermine you. It’s fun to work. I know that may be a little elementary, but it’s true.”
Notes: Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe’s court date, originally scheduled for Dec. 18, has been moved to Jan. 22, 2014 the Kansas City Star reports … Bowe is accused of speeding and possessing marijuana, all of which stem from a Nov. 10 arrest in Riverside, Mo. … Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week following his five-touchdown performance in Week 15.