The more I watch the movie “The Karate Kid,” the more I want to root for Johnny Lawrence and the rest of the Cobra Kai dojo. I mean, wouldn’t you be salty if some Jersey jagoff from “the other side of the tracks” started hitting on your hot ex (the ultra hot 1984 version of Elizabeth Shue), sprayed water on you in the bathroom at The Halloween Dance, and sought to wrestle “The All-Valley Title” away from you after falling ass-backwards into taking karate lessons from the wise Mr. Miyagi? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sit right with me.
Anyways, the more I look at the Steelers vs. Broncos matchup this weekend, the more I can make “Karate Kid” comparisons to the two teams. So if you’re interested in reading a comparative/allegorical article which melds professional football and 80’s pop-culture, you’ve come to the right place:
Allegorical Similarities Between the Teams and the Movie
On one hand, you have the Steelers (Cobra Kai): One of the N.F.L.’s premier franchises (dojos). Sure they’re led by a guy with questionable morals, but he is a champion through and through (Big Ben/Defense = Johnny Lawrence). The team is loaded with talent on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams (The Rest of Cobra Kai), and can do whatever it wants to against its weaker foes. They have a masterful Coaching Staff (Tomlin, LeBeau, Mitchell, Lake, etc.) that expects to win at any and all costs (Sensei John Kreese).
On the other side you have the Broncos and Tim Tebow. They are the gritty underdog that everybody an their Mother will be rooting for this weekend (Daniel LaRusso). At the beginning of the season, they were written off as the “new kids on the block” that had no chance to stand-up to the big boys (Daniel being bullied). However, when they found a New Coach in the form of John Fox (Mr. Miyagi) that believed in Tebow (Daniel) and started teaching him some unorthodox karate (Option Offense and Strong Defense) they began to succeed anywhere and everywhere.
What Must Not Happen
Near the end of the movie, Daniel (Broncos) competes in “The All-Valley Tournament” (N.F.L. Playoffs) to test his mettle against Cobrai Kai (Steelers) to prove a point that he is not afraid of them and earn their respect. The boys from Cobra Kai however come out flat and are beaten one by one in each of their fights versus Daniel (Steelers playing like garbage against Denver). In the Semi-Finals though it appears Daniel is broken when one of the Cobra Kai’s Bobby (who suffers a forefit for his actions) attacks and hurts Daniel intentionally and forces him out of the fight (Harrison likely drilling somebody too hard).
Daniel gets his second-wind however when Mr. Miyagi cures him and goes out to face Johnny (Steelers) in the final match for the title. Johnny however plays patty-cake for too long with Daniel and allows him to stay in the fight (LeBeau’s Prevent Defense) long enough to have a chance. One “Crane Kick” to the face later (Tebow Miracle Drive) and Johnny’s hopes of keeping his title are dashed in an instant by his inferior foe.
I despise the trite and sappy manner in which that specific movie ends. The more I watch it, the more my heart goes out to Mr. Lawrence for having to swallow his pride in the loss to Daniel. By the end of the movie, Johnny lost his title, his dojo, and his girl to his upstart nemesis. Now that’s a heart-breaking ending. But that’s the “Hollywood Ending” as well And the N.F.L. and the national media alike would love nothing more than to see a “Hollywood Ending” with the Broncos emerging victorious over the N.F.L.’s “Bad Boys” so they could fluff Tebow on a non-stop basis.
So what can the Steelers do to prevent the “Crane Kick” and keep their Playoff journey going? Well, they need look no further than what went down at “The All-Valley Tournament” and the Cobra Kai’s most costly mistakes to get their answers: