By now, everyone who follows the Chiefs and the Broncos have heard about "the knee," the incident with a minute left to go in the Broncos first loss of the year.
In case you haven't, let me catch you up. Basically, Von Miller was caught on a Vine (since nuked) pressing his knee into the throat of a Colts player as he rose to his feet following a play. People said things, mostly mean things about each other, in response to the incident.
(Before we REALLY get into this, let me make a disclaimer here. If you're a Broncos fan, this is not personal. You are not Von Miller. You do not play for Von Miller's team. You are not his coach, or his friend. I'm not taking a shot at you. I am talking about Von Miller being a cheap player based on his repeated behavior. That is not an insult toward you, nor is it excusing any time a Chiefs player has ever taken a cheap shot. Please remember that when you insult me in the comments; this isn't personal. Except toward Von Miller, who is personally taking cheap shots)
Basically, here's the moment everyone was talking about.
This was clearly intentional. He was being held, but c'mon now, don't tell me that's not intentional. pic.twitter.com/T7mp4NkQcT— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) November 10, 2015
Look, let's be real here. Miller obviously meant to put his knee on the guy's neck. He made sure to shift his weight off the other leg so it pushed down on the guy.
Was he being held? Yeah, looks like it (though that's not how this all started. We'll get back to how it started in a second). But what kind of asinine second grader argument is that? "He started it!" is something even my four-year-old doesn't say anymore. Putting all your body weight (via your knee) on a guy's throat is not a rational way to handle being held when a play is over. It's just not.
But hey, let's say you think that GIF is somewhat ... murky. Well, let's talk about what preceded "the knee" (crap I hope we don't call it that). I mean, that Colts player probably did something really mean and bad to deserve nice ol' Von choking him with his knee, right? I mean, look at him holding Miller's leg! That's totally uncalled for! Miller did nothing to deserve that and...
People are talking about the Von Miller knee, but what about the 2 attempted head butts that preceded it? pic.twitter.com/LxQkQ3l67v— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) November 10, 2015
Yeah, I'm gonna give you a minute to watch that a few more times, Von Miller fans. Please, do. Slow that sucker down if you can. Try and find a way to say that's OK. I'll wait.
(wanders into the kitchen to check on the kids)
(realizes it's 12:58 in the morning and it would be disturbing if the kids were still up)
(makes a sandwich, because, you know, kitchen)
All right, I'm back. You done? Great.
There's nothing else a rational person can call that play but an unprovoked attempted head-butt, and 99 percent of sane people on the planet will call it two. The play is clearly over, the blocker is on his back, and Miller LUNGES at him like some kind of oddly-shaped mountain goat (well, Broncos fans have been telling me he's the GOAT. Thanks, I'll see myself out).
Miller doesn't make much of an impact because, you know, helmets. So then he tries again. But unfortunately for him, his momentum has taken him too far forward and it just looks like he's attempting some form of the Stinger Splash (which, to be fair, I totally respect).
This is nothing new for Von Miller. Pro Football Reference allows us to track how many penalties a player has been called for over the course of their career. It's a marvelous toy. Let's take a look at some pass rushers and see how many Unnecessary Roughness and Roughing the Passer penalties they've racked up since 2011 (Von's rookie year), shall we? I used a bunch of edge rushers (you know, same position-ish) and Ndamukong Suh (because he's widely regarded as the cheapest player in the league).
How does Von stack up?
Well that's ... unsurprising, if you're a Chiefs fan and have been watching Miller the last few years. (H/T 11Woody for the stat)
First, it's pretty wild that Justin Houston has managed to avoid ANY penalties of that nature in the last four years, but that's besides the point. The point is that Von Miller has DOUBLE the roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties of any of these other players.
Numbers lie, you say? Cool.
Whistle for false start goes off before Von goes past Charles. It's why Charles doesn't block him. Blatant. pic.twitter.com/Xd6ni07fIJ— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) November 9, 2015
That's at the 11:11 mark in the second quarter of Week 2 this season, if you're interested in re-watching the whole play. As the tweet says, the whistle goes off before Miller has even encountered Charles (you know, when he's like, five yards away from the quarterback). JC doesn't block because the play is over. Smith doesn't really brace himself because the play is over. The other Bronco defender pulls up because (at the risk of repeating myself) the play is over.
The only player who doesn't stop? Von Miller.
Playing intense is one thing. Few players are more intense than Justin Houston or Eric Berry (or even, if you want to take an example from the Broncos, Chris Harris Jr.). Playing physical is one thing. Directly disregarding a whistle in order to lay another player out is trying to hurt someone. It's ridiculous. And the fact that all Miller got from it was a 15-yard penalty is stupid.
Especially when this isn't his first time doing it.
Let's walk back to Week 12 in 2014, 12:06 left in the fourth quarter.
Week 13, 2014, 12:06 in the 4th. Von Miller is a cheap shot artist. It's just a fact. pic.twitter.com/uZwQkU2C8N— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) November 10, 2015
Basically a variant of the same crap we've seen over and over with Von. He's got eyes on Smith and sees him throw the football. He then launches his body into Smith's spine (leading partly with his helmet) and takes him off the ground.
Again, this isn't just "playing physical" or "giving it your all" or whatever. This is trying to hurt someone.
I'm going to say this as bluntly as possible; Von Miller is a cheap shot artist and a guy who intentionally tries to injure players on the field. He's been penalized a ton but has yet to receive any real national recognition for his antics because he isn't costing his team games (a la Aqib Talib's eye poke).
Alex Smith needs to keep his head on a swivel all game Sunday, and not just during play either. Miller has shown the whistle doesn't mean much to him.