For purposes of full disclosure, I’m not a Colts fan, but due to certain circumstances, I currently live in Indiana. To be honest, I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and I owe a small debt of gratitude to the Patriots for finally exposing as truth something I always knew; Donovan McNabb would never be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
But, Patriots fans, what you don’t know is Indianapolis Colts fans hate you. They talk all kinds of shit about you. Even though the Patriots beat the Colts by 20+ points the other night, Colts fans are still running their mouths about you and your team. First, I’ll tell you the usual stuff that comes form their collective crap-holes, then I’ll save you the time of getting your crayons sharpened to respond to it.
The most common theme is the Patriots fans are actually some of the shittiest fans in football. Just because the Patriots haven’t sucked for fifteen years now, the ranks of their fans have swelled to include the fairweather butt-loafs that populate not only Boston and the greater Northeast, but includes generally obnoxious front-runners from everywhere else. You know the guy I’m talking about; the guy who wears a Tom Brady jersey (which always seems to come off in sub-freezing temperatures) despite the fact he weighs as much as a small car and who thinks “FAAAAAAAAAAAAACKYOU! YOUSUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKK! is witty repartee, and who couldn’t tell you who Steve Grogan and John Hannah were.
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Honestly, this is just an update of some interesting numbers from a piece I wrote last year concerning Peyton Manning’s proclivity for gagging in big games.
- FACT: In three years at Tennessee, Peyton Manning never beat main rival Florida.
- FACT: Peyton Manning now owns a 11-12 playoff record as a starting quarterback.
- FACT: In 8 of Manning’s 13 career playoff appearances, his team has failed to win a single game.
- FACT: Peyton Manning is 0-4 in playoff games in temperatures below 40 degrees.
- FACT: Manning is now has the most playoff losses by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
With all the talk about Manning’s legacy, you simply cannot gloss over his post-season failures.
For all the media-generated bluster that has happened today over Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay’s comments about his former quarterback, one thing that has bee largely forgotten is that everything Irsay said is true. In case you missed it, here’s what he said in an interview with USA Today Sports. The context is Irsay is lamenting the fact the Colts had only one title to show for all their success with Peyton Manning.
“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [Super Bowl rings],” Irsay told USA Today. Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated. You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the ‘Star Wars’ numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this ring.”
So, what Irsay is saying is a) the NFL is all about winning Super Bowls, and b) Peyton Manning is a horse-shit “big-game” quarterback.
Don’t even try to tell me that the first one isn’t true. Winning a Super Bowl is like becoming a Yokozuna in Sumo Wrestling. Once you have the ring, you are always a grand champion and no matter what, they can never take it away from you. The fact that Tony Dungy has one is the only reason anybody bothers to listen to the crap spewing from that little bat-faced, moralizing asswipe. I’ll come back to him in a minute.
You can try to deny the second point is untrue; doing so is to ignore a few crushing facts.
- FACT: In three years at Tennessee, Peyton Manning never beat main rival Florida.
- FACT: Peyton Manning owns a 9-11 playoff record as a starting quarterback.
- FACT: In 8 of Manning’s 12 career playoff appearances, his team has failed to win a single game.
- FACT: Manning is tied with Brett Favre for the most playoff losses by a starting quarterback in NFL history
Yet another week has passed in the sportsgasm that is the NFL season, and that means it is time for us to tell you some things you need to know without the self-serving spin those assbags at ESPN will never give you. We know this because if you think you can get real football information from guys like Merrill Hoge and Trent Dilfer, you probably also think the earth is flat and that Kennedy was assassinated by Daffy Duck.
1) Either the Jets aren’t that bad, or the Patriots aren’t that good: Pick one.
Let’s just cut through the bullshit here; the Patriots aren’t that good. When you see Tom Brady mugging, screaming, and eye-rolling at his receivers, you know that Patriots offense is more out-of-sync than a 1985 Yugo with bad spark plugs. In contrast, when the Orlando Magic were in their heyday, Shaquille O’Neal once famously called coach Stan Van Gundy the “master of panic.” Bill Belichick couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to being so stoic people are worried pigeons might start shitting on him, but make no mistake. Brady’s antics show there is panic in Foxboro.
If you are the Patriots, this is exactly the time to start panicking. In all fairness, the Patriots could easily be 0-2. There’s exactly four points separating them from being winless. They haven’t covered the spread yet. They were beat by Buffalo for 59 minutes, and they played down to the level of the sorry-ass Jets, so we can clearly understand why there’s a panic breaking out in New England. For all of us who have had to suffer through the pretentious attitude Patriot fans are known for, we love hearing the panic in your voices, because it’s better than your tacky Boston accent that sounds like somebody left an audio interview of Godsmack on in the background.
Without any further fanfare, let’s just get to the stuff week one of the NFL season showed us.
1) Peyton Manning’s performance hid the fact the Broncos’ defense sucks.
If Thursday night taught us anything, it’s that the Broncos are indeed going to struggle on the defensive side of the ball. By “struggle,” we’re talking something akin to a turtle on its back getting gang-raped by a group of Hell’s Angels all to an all Kenny G soundtrack. If you consider all of the mistakes that Baltimore made offensively, the fact that Denver gave up 27 points is pretty pathetic. Ray Rice is a pretty solid “yards after contact” guy, but against the Ponies defense, he got more second chances than Robert Downey Jr.
Not to mention, we aren’t even counting the mistake made on the interception return that by all that is right in the football universe should have resulted in yet another Broncos’ touchdown. This is where Danny Trevathan had a “Honey Badger meets DeSean Jackson” level brain-fart. After making the pick, and cruising to what should have been the “pick-six” part of this, he inexplicably released the ball before he crossed the goal line in a momentary lapse of judgment reminiscent of a young DeSean Jackson. As you would hope, Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio ripped Trevathan’s ass open like he was Edward Norton in the prison shower scene in American History X, because Denver can’t expect Grandpa Manning to chuck 7 touchdowns every week.
If the mere thought of the “Dubs-eteria” doesn’t inspire gastronomic terror, then the following menu items certainly should. The only defense we can offer is that these dishes still aren’t as lousy as anything you can get at Olive Garden.
The Baseball Writer’s Association of America “Poo-Poo” Platter
It doesn’t even come with a plate. You give us $29.95 and our head waiter will act like an self-righteous asshole “poo-pooing” deserving Hall of Famers while having security escort you to your car. Afterward, our head waiter will post an article on your Facebook page telling you how stupid you are for disagreeing with him.
Being that we are at the end of what has proven to be a tumultuous twelve months, why not take a look back at the biggest sports stories of such a year? After all, I’m pretty sure nobody else does these sort of retrospectives…
15) The Los Angeles Kings Win The Stanley Cup
For purposes of full disclosure, I have a bias on this one; I’ve been a Kings’ fan since I had to hold a puck with two hands. But there’s a couple of reasons why this win by the sole surviving original California hockey team (raise your hand if you remember the California Golden Seals) is a big story.
- The Kings are the first native Los Angeles team (not relocated from another city) to win a championship (Anaheim is NOT Los Angeles).
- The Kings became the first NHL team to enter the playoffs as the 8th seed and eliminate the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in their conference.
- The Kings became the first team to win the Stanley Cup entering the playoffs as a #8 seed.
- The Los Angeles Kings ended one of the longest championship droughts (45 years) when they hoisted the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
The moral of the story: Don’t look now, but the Golden State is slowly becoming hockey territory. In the last twenty years, California has won more Stanley Cups than Canada has.
14) Johnny Football Becomes Johnny Heisman
The rise of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had all the media hype of other stories you will see on this list, but it had one crucial difference. Johnny Football became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, thus breaking one of the last barriers in the history of the 50-pound trophy awarded by the Downtown Athletic Club. Manziel literally came from nowhere to the pinnacle of college football in a vote that was never really close.
The moral of the story: Until further notice, the Heisman is an award for quarterbacks and running backs only. If I had a vote, by sticking with the strict definition of the “best player in college football,” my ballot would have been as follows:
- Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
13) The Indianapolis Colts Cut Peyton Manning
The Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis came to a rather inglorious, if not completely anti-climactic end on March 7, when team owner Jim Irsay announced at a press conference that the team would release the man who had become the face of the Colts’ franchise. A 2-14 season during which Manning never saw the field due to a neck injury illustrated the need for a consideration for the future in Indianapolis. Couple that with the economic reality; cutting Manning meant the Colts would save a $28 million roster bonus due on March 8, plus be free-and-clear of the remainder of his contract. Add it all up, and it means this move surprised nobody, because it allowed the Colts to have money for the next franchise quarterback, #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck.
The moral of the story: Even 4-time MVPs are no longer immune to the economic realities of sports.
12) Augusta National Adds Its First Female Members
To be honest, I’m an old-school guy who believes that private clubs should be able to pick and choose who they want as members. That’s why when I first found out that Augusta had caved to a bunch of ball-busting feminists with chin-whiskers and married to sociology professors, my neanderthal heart sank a bit. But when I found out that the women Augusta picked would completely piss-off the “drives a Subaru with a rainbow bumper sticker” crowd, I had renewed faith in all that is right. Who better to do that that the hated George Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, a woman who had the audacity to make a bazillion dollars in the world of corporate finance?
The moral of the story: Social activists, you too need to be careful of what you wish for.
11) The Resurgence of Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame last saw the top of the college football mountain in 1988. In the quarter-century since, the Irish have remained a media darling while simultaneously spending more time as a doormat than a contender. Since that last title, Notre Dame has appeared in exactly five BCS bowls, and has lost every single one of them by at least 14 points. They are 6-11 in bowl games overall in that time. There was a fifteen-year span between 1993 and 2008 where the Irish lacked a single post-season win.
But now they’ve managed to finish the regular season undefeated and ranked number #1, thanks largely to a key goal-line stand in overtime against Stanford, Pittsburgh’s inability to make a clutch kick, and a complete meltdown by Oklahoma. After all that, the Irish are set to face defending BCS champ Alabama for the title.
The moral of the story: Despite all the media attention the Irish are gathering, you would be hard-pressed to hear Notre Dame is a ten-point underdog.
10) The Beginning of the End of the National Hockey League
If you needed a perfect model for how not to run a professional sports league, you need look no further than the NHL. The latest example of their stupidity came with the latest failure to come to a collective bargaining agreement after two months of talks between team owners and the NHL Player’s Association broke down and the league entered its fourth work stoppage since 1992. I’ve never been the commissioner of anything bigger than a fantasy sports league, but even I know that in order to keep people interested in your sport, you need actually to play some games. As of now, that hasn’t happened, and with every passing day, it looks more likely that hockey fans will be deprived of an entire season for the third time since 1994.
It’s time to understand that even die-hard hockey fans like myself are ready to wash their hands of this shit. Idiotus Supremus Gary Bettman and the owners don’t get that they are killing a league over their insistence in making the players’ union pay for their complete lack of business sense. Fellow Sports Blog Movement member Ryan Meehan and I hit on this a while ago, but the keys remain in place. The owners locked the doors because the players wouldn’t accept a new collective bargaining agreement that requires players to accept salary cuts and limits on free agency, despite the fact the owners were more than happy to give those provisions without any threat. The union wants a better revenue sharing plan that help the league’s struggling franchises. Face it, the NHL needs to survive in the Winnipegs and the Buffalos of the world, because in North America, hockey is a regional sport with a limited appeal outside of that region.
The moral of the story: If Meehan, the players, and I can figure that out, what does it say for the future of this league that the owners can’t?
For 25 days last winter, an Asian Harvard graduate was the biggest story in all of sports. Think about that for a minute…Jeremy Lin had been sleeping on his brother’s couch, had been cut by two NBA teams, and was put into a game on February 4th by Mike D’Antoni, whose New York Knicks were so injury-depleted Lin was the only alternative left on the bench besides the towel guy. Lin went on to score 25 points and seven assists leading a comeback over the then-New Jersey Nets. Lin then lead the Knicks to seven straight wins, including one in which he hung 38 on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. What began with a bang (perhaps literally, judging by the photo above) ended with a knee-injury and a quiet relocation to the Houston Rockets.
The moral of the story: All glory is fleeting.
8 ) Michael Phelps Becomes History’s Most Decorated Olympian
As far as I’m concerned, any guy who won 19 gold medals can do all the bong hits he wants. While most stoners can’t get past micro-waving a burrito and watching Scooby-Doo at the same time, this guy joined a frightfully short list of elite athletes while giggling stupidly at his own own reflection in a sheet of aluminum foil.
Phelps made the cover a Wheaties box in 2008 after he won eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing. but then came history’s most publicized bong toke. Phelps received a three-month suspension from USA Swimming and Kellogg’s said they would not renew their endorsement of the Olympian. which goes to show what dumb-asses they both are. USA Swimming finally re-instated Phelps and he went on to win nine more medals in London this past summer, his 19 medals surpassing the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.
The moral of the story: Somebody ought to start a cereal called Weed-ies.
7) The NFL’s Replacement Referee Debacle
We all know what a debacle the NFL’s use of replacement referees was. The biggest indicator of what dipshits sports commissioners in this country are is that they make me sympathetic to scumbag unions.
The moral of the story: This is just one reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.
6) Lance Armstrong Stripped of Cycling Titles
While it isn’t an excuse, there is a shitload of truth in that quote in the above graphic. There’s a huge double-standard about cheating in this country; it is OK when your guy does it. And nobody was more of “America’s Guy” then Lance Armstrong was when was routinely humiliating the French in the Tour de France. That’s really the only reason anybody in America gave a damn about cycling; it was an exercise in hating the perfectly hateable French.
Back in August, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that it was stripping Lance Armstrong of his record-seven Tour de France titles and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he used banned substances. On October 22, the International Cycling Union (UCI), cycling’s governing body, said that it had officially stripped Armstrong of his seven titles and banned him from cycling for life.
But then comes the part where the hypocrisy comes in again.
“He deserves to be forgotten,” UCI President Pat McQuaid said of Armstrong.
Give me a fucking break. Cycling is the dirtiest of the “dirty” sports when it comes to performance enhancing drugs; what’s going on in baseball might as well be the drug problem in pee-wee T-ball compared to cycling. All the UCI and USADA did was to catch the best cheater in sport filled with cheaters whose lifeblood literally is cheating.
The moral of the story: There’s nothing wrong with anything that sticks it to the French.
5) Speaking of Hypocrisy, Let’s Talk About The NCAA
Question: Do you know what the Jerry Sandusky and Sandy Hook Elementary School situations have in common, besides the fact they both involve monsters whose own self-absorbed impulses were brought to bear on many innocent people? They are both examples of how we in America love to pontificate about horrible things, yet do nothing about them.
In the wake of both of these terrible stories, you didn’t hear one credible person come out and say stupid shit like “I’m glad this happened. We need more events like this to learn our lessons.” Anybody who would have said anything like this would have been stamped USDA Prime Whacko and their words would have been filed in the appropriate plastic-bag lined receptacle. But no matter how many times you let a train run over a coin, it still has two sides, and there were far too many people ready to get on the other side of the bombastic coin from the stamped Whackos.
These were the people who took such a brave stand by table-pounding the obvious “we need to protect our children” reaction. There are lessons to be learned, and there are things as a society we need to do; the trouble is that we as society have completely missed the point.
The NCAA serves as the perfect microcosm of American society, and the ridiculous, pointless, and self-serving crap the NCAA does is a perfect reflection of the society in which it exists. It’s numb-handed response to the Sandusky scandal at Penn State proves that.
After former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his report , the NCAA got into the fashionable “shitting on Penn State” and did it in a completely meaningless way. While Penn State may have received some of the harshest penalties in NCAA history, they were ultimately without real teeth. If you doubt that, let’s break them down:
- A 4-year bowl ban: Normally that would hurt, but at the end of the 2011 season, this team could only qualify for a low-rent bowl where they got smoked by a Houston team whose coach was on his way to making Texas A&M the Belle of the SEC Newbies ball. Nobody saw the miracle incoming head coach Bill O’Brien pulled off; he literally made a team intended to be kicked off the B1G island and made it the second-best team in the conference.
- Loss of 20 scholarships: This does kill bench depth, but lets be honest…you can still win with only three punters on the depth chart. 65 scholarships is still plenty to field a winning team; NFL teams only have 53 roster spots. The only part that could sting is that Penn State can only sign 15 recruits per year rather than the usual 25.
- $60 Million Fine: Penn State has an endowment of nearly $2 billion and has an athletic department that generates cash in gorgon-like quantities. $60 million to them is the change you keep in your car’s cup holder for toll booths.
- Loss of shared conference bowl revenue for four years: This is estimated to be around $13 million per year. See above.
- Five years probation: That might as well be Dean Wormer’s “double secret probation” from “Animal House” since the NCAA really has no interest in handing out real punishments.
- Players were allowed to transfer without penalty: The team still won eight games.
- Vacating of all wins from 1998-2011: Record book hocus-pocus. This was only done to screw Joe Paterno, who was already dead by the time this move was made. Utterly pointless.
In other words, the NCAA didn’t do anything substantive after the Sandusky situation just like we won’t solve the problem after Sandy Hook.
The moral of the story: I can’t wait for NCAA President Mark Emmert to weigh in on gun control.
4) The Ongoing Tim Tebow Saga
Where do I start start with this? Here’s a guy who sold more jerseys than anybody before he even took a single NFL snap. Here’s a guy who stays in the headlines despite the fact he’s only taken 50 snaps this season as a New York Jet. Here’s a guy who everybody keeps saying isn’t an NFL quarterback, and yet right now we are talking about where is the next place he “isn’t” going to be an NFL quarterback.
The moral of the story: I’ll buy lunch for the first person who can explain Tebow-mania to me in 50 words or less.
3) The “Bounty-Gate” Debacle
Too bad NFL Commissioner Kommissar Goodell doesn’t have a paper towel good enough to clean up the mess he made.
Think about it for a moment. How many times have you seen a guy over-estimate his power, do something completely stupid because of that over-estimation, then need somebody to come in and clean up the mess. I guess former commissioner Paul Tagliabue is the one who had the big roll of paper towels.
To make a long story short, “Bountygate” blew up in Goodell’s face when he mistakenly assumed the players he suspended would simply roll over and take his brand of “justice.” But when Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were reinstated by a three-members appeals panel. which included former NFL head Paul Tagliabue. The panel overturned a ruling that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend the players for their alleged roles in a pay-to-injure agreement.
What it all boils down to is that in the end, Goodell managed to emasculate himself, and required Tagliabue to get him out of the mess he made for himself. In other words, the commissioner did not have the final say; the former commissioner did. I don’t know of too many executive-level managers who stay employed after they need to be bailed out, especially when Tagliabue was only intended to review Goodell’s decision to impose suspensions on four New Orleans Saints players and instead found the action so flawed he had to vacate those suspensions.
The moral of the story: This is another reason people will look back at 2012 as the beginning of the downfall of the Kommissar Goodell regime.
2) Miguel Cabrera Becomes Baseball’s First Triple Crown Winner in 45 Years
Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win baseball’s Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, and just the 15th player ever. This puts Cabrera on a list with baseball royalty which includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. Cabrera led the American League with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.
The moral of the story: Dude can hit.
1) The Los Angeles Dodgers Are The First Sports Franchise to Sell For $2 Billion
The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a group that includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson for a final sale price of just over $2 billion. That represents the highest price any sports team has ever sold for — by a wide margin.
Television money for live sports is skyrocketing, and it’s driving up the values of sports teams not just in the United States, but around the world as well. People keep trying to tell me baseball is dead, and a baseball team just sold for a staggering amount of money. If one were to pay that $2 billion in cash, you would need sixteen standard shipping pallets stacked four feet square with $100 dollar bills. And the prices are only going up.
Want to buy a European soccer team? Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, so you’d better bring your wallet. Manchester United was the first team to break the the billion-dollar barrier, and that was a decade ago. Now, buying a top team in the English Premier League will easily cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion. If you still want a big-time European soccer club, but want to save your pennies, you might be able to get Real Madrid for just under $2 billion. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars, arguably the least-valuable franchise in the NFL, just sold recently for $770 million.
The moral of the story: Television money is exploding sports as we know it.
Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism’s own J-Dub and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.
The United States of America offers to the rest of the world a classic example of what happens when a nation abandons the principles for which it stands. At the beginning of the 20th Century, America was a country on the verge of becoming a world power; a power built on the freedom and prosperity a constitutional republic allows. It was the same 20th Century that saw the rise of America into the most dominant socio-economic and military force the world had ever seen.
We’ve totally fucked it up since then, and not just “kinda fucked it up.” We’ve fucked it up on a “Ron Jeremy on a Thermos full of Viagra in a Thai flesh pit” scale. Let’s be honest, anytime you’re reading “Thai flesh pit,” that usually means that there is something seriously wrong.
If you don’t believe that, look around. We’ve got a nation full of dumbasses who think the government exists solely for their benefit, and don’t realize that at some point somebody has to provide all the shit the government gives away. To make a long story short, the freedom provided by that constitutional republic has also allowed America to grow within its own ranks a group of people who believe that very same freedom is pernicious to a modern, progressive society.
This is now why the only difference between a “conservative” and a “liberal” is which set of self-serving interests they are out to protect; neither of then give a shit about you or the future of the country, but they both are running campaigns designed to get you to believe they do. The filthy-ass “Occupy Something Except A Job” scumbag who wants to wallet-rape anybody who make five bucks a year more than he does so we can expand social “get money for nothing” programs and your sweet, cookie making grandmother who still votes for Ronald Reagan and who will stab you in the face with a knitting needle if you even mention touching her Social Security check…they are both cut from the same cloth…and it’s diaper cloth covered in that nuclear-waste green baby shit.
This is why constitutional republics like America get the kind of government they deserve. Hence, it’s no surprise we have a Congress that was empowered by an electorate that chugged a bottle of NyQuil about 40 years ago and has been drooling on it’s pillow ever since.
The Democrats pretend they care about the little guy, and yet every solution to a problem they’ve devised involves getting into the middle class pocket somehow. The party has been hi-jacked by the new American left, which is largely why the Democrats haven’t had an original idea in 40 years, and they haven’t had a good idea in 60.
So, fuck them.
Meanwhile, while the Republicans have a better grasp on foreign policy and the economy, for some reason they love to act just like Democrats, and until recently, they’ve caved anytime they’ve taken the slightest criticism.
So, fuck them too.
Having said all that, here’s our rundown on all that you need to know on all these political blow-job hacks and the media that covers them.
Guest Column: Joe McGrath On Why the “Peyton Sweepstakes” Could Be “Catch-22″ or “Let’s Make A Deal”
Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League. Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that Mr. McGrath’s views are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of Dubsism, our staff, or anybody else whose house you might want to burn to the ground.
So, as I’m having coffee this morning, I’m watching this fiasco going on around Peyton Manning. The last time I wrote about this, I got into an argument over whether the Manning era should be over in Indianapolis. Well, I was right, Manning has moved on, and now it is time to watch this situation get really ridiculous.
All of a sudden, everybody thinks that the simple addition of a 36-year old quarterback who has had four neck surgeries can by his very presence turn a mediocre team into a Super Bowl winner. I’m here to tell you that is a great way to buy a “pig in a poke. “
I understand the excitement in fans who believe this stuff; this guy will put butts in the seats wherever he goes. But when you are in the general manager’s seat, you get a whole different view of this issue. Let me show you what I mean – there’s a whole lot of stuff you’ve got to think about if you want to buy a Manning Lottery ticket.
Right up front, he’s old. Discounting every other circumstance, he’s over what I call the “magic number.” Go look at the career statistics of any professional athlete and tell me how many of them didn’t decline after the age of 35. If you look at Manning’s career season-by-season, age 35 is going to be a clear “line in the sand” as to his performance, because no matter what, that’s the season he never even saw the field. Sure, he had a big year in 2010 statistically speaking, but even that wasn’t enough to hide the fact the Colts were not a complete team. I’ll come back to that point in a minute.
For right now, let’s look at the numbers he put up in 2010. Don’t forget, this happened in an offense that had been tailor-made for him, gave him coordinator-level control over the offense, and had been that way through an entire decade and two head coaches. No matter where he goes, that isn’t going to happen again. The best you can hope for is a reasonable facsimile built around different coaches (with different personalities), different players with different abilities, all around a quarterback who will undoubtedly be a different player physically. I’m just a kid who grew up playing hockey on a frozen pond in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. I wasn’t good at math, but even I know that’s too many variables to expect a constant result.
Think about it. Wherever Manning goes, either everybody has to buy in to doing things his way, which still introduces all the variables I just mentioned – or – Manning has to play the role of a 36-year old quarterback with a neck held together with duct tape and happy thoughts who gets to learn a new system, a system which will undoubtedly have different blocking schemes, which may mean he’s going to get pressure from spots he’s not used to.
Now, let’s come back to that “complete team” thing I mentioned. Manning by himself does not bring that a team. Teams that are complete now don’t need him, and the teams that want him won’t be complete even with him. It’s a football “Catch-22″ and some team is going to mortgage its future getting sucked into this. You would think people would have learned from the Brett Favre/Minnesota Vikings fiasco, but that clearly isn’t the case.
Don’t even try to tell me that wasn’t a complete failure. Sure, the first year they almost went to the Super Bowl and Favre had a great season, but it all fell apart after that, and that decision to bring in Favre doomed that franchise to at least five years of being terrible. Besides, the goal in Minnesota was “Super Bowl or Bust.” And they hit “bust.”
If you are the general manager in Kansas City, Denver, or Arizona, you are an 8-8/7-9 sort of team who can’t even begin to call themselves “complete” enough to say the simple addition of Manning means they are “Super Bowl” ready. Denver made the playoffs out of lousy division, had their miracle against the Steelers, then took their expected blowout loss to the conference champion Patriots. Manning by himself doesn’t close the gap between the Broncos and the Patriots. Arizona got left in the dust early on in the season, but there are so many people who got sucked in by their 5-1 finish and think that Manning makes them an instant playoff contender. Not even close. The only offensive weapon the Cardinals have that isn’t over-the-hill (Todd Heap) or constantly hurt (Beanie Wells) is Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals are the Los Angeles Clippers of the NFL; sure they might have an interesting young star now, but they are still owned by an idiot and that’s why they are a third-rate organization. Kansas City offers a whole other set of problems. Offensively, they are either over-the-hill (Thomas Jones and half the offensive line), over-rated (Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin), never-will-be (Dexter McCluster and Steve Breaston) or going to spend the rest of their careers in between injuries (Jamaal Charles).
The point is that if you are the general manager of either of those three teams, Manning represents poison for you. To get him, you are going to expend resources you could use to solve other problems, and you are doing so for a big gamble. This is because there are only five possible outcomes, and four of them are potentially bad.
- You sign Manning, and he isn’t healthy – Team goes 4-12, you’ve tanked the future so the team sucks for five years and you get fired.
- You sign Manning, and he sucks – Team goes 4-12, you’ve tanked the future so the team sucks for five years and you get fired.
- You sign Manning, and he is effective – You may still get fired because like what happened in Minnesota, anything short of a Super Bowl win may still be considered a failure
- You don’t sign Manning, and he is effective elsewhere – You better hope you team doesn’t suck at the same time that happens, or not only do you get fired, you likely never get another job
- You don’t sign Manning, and he is ineffective elsewhere – Best case scenario, this is the only one that has no potential for you getting fired.
Then, there’s that whole issue of his health everybody is blowing right past. This is where you get the Monty Hall “Let’s Make A Deal Problem.” This is the one where you have $25 million dollars and the future of your quarterbacking situation in your hand, and Monty offers you the trade – the money and the future for a choice of what’s behind one of three doors.
- Door #1 – A healthy Manning who can still play
- Door #2 – A healthy Manning who can’t play anymore (don’t forget, he’s old)
- Door #3 – An unhealthy Manning who can’t play, but still cost you the money and the future
Frankly, I think its a bad bet. The best case is I get an aging Hall-of-Famer, and it costs me the ability to build for the future. The worst case, I get a multi-million dollar talking paper-weight. I’ve never liked desperation bets, and this surely smacks of one.
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A Sports Blog Movement Exclusive: The Ex-Kicker’s Round Table on the NFL Draft – The “Manning” Effect
There have been some major changes to the NFL Draft/Free Agency world since the last time your favorite group of Ex-Kickers discussed these matters. The comments are flying over potential NFL trades and of course the free agency of Peyton Manning, but you have to get the full story at Sports Blog Movement. Check it out today!