April 23, 2014

America’s Sweetheart? Everyone Knows It’s Indy

logoby Dan Snapp
[email protected]

Move over, Charlie Brown. America’s got a new lovable loser: Your Indianapolis Colts.

Has there ever been a team so feted after two straight losses? Has ever a team been so unabashedly built up as the one you simply HAVE to root for?

The Colts broke down late against the dastardly Patriots a week ago, but chin up, America! There’s good news yet, because the Colts, while losing, “provided the blueprint” for how to win against the Pats. Imagine that.

Indy lost this Sunday as well, to the “energetic” San Diego Chargers (while providing yet another blueprint, hooray!). Don’t lose faith, though. See, they only lost because they were missing Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark (how come the networks never mentioned that?).

And there was, like, weather (FOOTBALL was MEANT to be played INDOORS!!).

And the refs had it in for them (apparently no appreciation for Ben Utecht’s one-man homage to the ’75 Cowboys offensive line shift).

So OK, their kicker missed two field goals. And well, yeah, I guess you could probably also mention the six interceptions the franchise quarterback threw.

But still, they’re a team you can be proud of. Heck, Mark Schlereth told us Tony Dungy’s admittance of a tactical error cemented his position as one of the league’s elite, the tactical error itself only slightly diminishing the distinction.

Mark made another huge point about the special teams being so tired and all. I think that was especially apparent on Darren Sproles’ touchdown on the game’s opening kickoff. Hey, when they come out of the tunnel for pre-game, they sprint, dammit!

And just wait ’til you catch Dr. Z’s story on Manning:

“And even with strange numbers on the uniforms of Manning’s receivers, the Colts drove when they had to, scored, put points on the board, brought it back to 23-21 and took it down to the shadow of the Chargers’ goal, where a missed 29-yard field goal did them in. It was an amazing example of battlefield command, of somehow mustering a shattered army. But that’s what Peyton is so good at, fighting the odds.”

Forget the Colts’ D, the recovered fumble in the end zone, or the two picks and two fumbles by Philip Rivers. And certainly forget that last second pick when Peyton was trying to make something happen; in my book, he had a mere five interceptions. No, Z’s right: Manning’s the man alright.

Seriously, though, exactly how bad a game must Peyton Manning have before we’re permitted to call it as such?

The media’s gone off its rocker for this team. There’s always been the Manning love, and the kissing up to “one of the league’s good guys”, Dungy, but it’s been ratcheted way up this season.

The “Good vs. Evil” stories prior to the Pats game, the Silver Lining stories after the loss, and now the continual excuse-making – it all points to one thing: The media chose their champion in advance, and they’re sticking to their story. Although if the Colts screw up another one, the Steelers are waiting in the wings as the new People’s Champion.

There’s merit to the injury excuse, but whose fault is that? Football’s a game of attrition, where you have to prepare for losing starters to injury (like, say, the ’03 Pats did).

The Colts throw Craphonso against the wall to see what sticks, and we should feel sympathy? They made their choice long ago when they decided to pay for two No. 1 receivers. This one’s on Bill Polian.

America’s Darlings will likely pull out of their tailspin this weekend against the Chiefs, and get healthier for the stretch run (hopefully, Dwight Freeney’s injury is minor). Good vs. Evil II is likely still good to go.

Hope they’ve got their excuses ready.

Comments

  1. Excellent column. I thought that I was the only one noticing the spin-doctoring that everyone in the TV media was performing on Mr. Happy Feet and Indy in general. They are just waiting for New England to lose a game before knocking them down to #3 in the NFL. Has there ever been a team as reviled as New England in all of sports? I can’t imagine it.

  2. Good Column, and I don’t understand how they catch no flack for carrying five WR on their entire roster. Most teams carry that many (Pats/Skins to name two) and are insulated from one injury crippling their passing game.

  3. “Throwing Craphonso against the wall” may be the best line in the history of the internet.

  4. Get used to it, kids. They’ve got their Good vs Evil storyline for the season, and they’re going to ride that pony til it drops. Or until their pursuit of it blows up in their silly faces, like with Collinsworth claiming the Pats will be watering down Gillette when the Colts come calling in January. I know I don’t have to spell out the multiple levels of stupidity of that one here.

  5. Dan, they are better for facing that adversity.

    They are losing with class and dignity. Proving that it’s better to be a good loser than a bad winner.

    If they make it to the AFC Championship game, we’ll get to see a wonderful video where bad things happened, players being helped off the field with a grimace of pain on their face. Tony Dungy looking at the clock with a look of unworried peaceful worry. Peyton driving down the field only to have the kicker miss the field goal. Maybe even some neat footage of old man Manning getting knocked around with class and dignity for the Saints with an air of ‘is this what Peyton now has in store?’. And then the music will swell from downbeat to uplifting showing the Colts overcoming adversity beating the Chiefs and the Texans. Roaring back to the top, having faced their biggest challenges and come out ever so stronger for doing so!

  6. David Clemeno says:

    How much of all this is just the desire to see someone else be successful versus hatred of Belichick? I remember all the old dynasty teams; yup, people wanted to see someone else win.

    With the Pats though, it seems to go way beyond that. Maybe it’s the times we live in now: way more sports — ahem — “reporting” than ever before (internet, cable, 24hour sports radio); everyone has got to say SOMETHING. But Krist, to hear tell you would think the Pats are channeling Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde.

    I truly believe most of this comes from a distaste for BB. It’s open season on him and MSM will use ANYTHING, real or exagerated to lampoon him. I’ve come to relish it now actually. I say bring on the hate. I want the hate; it warms me on a cold day.

  7. “But Krist, to hear tell you would think the Pats are channeling Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde.”

    Oh, you haven’t heard about the Patriots’ new helmets?

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showpost.php?p=611994&postcount=38

    Seriously, to hear the media tell it, the Pats might as well change their intro music from Crazy Train to the Imperial March from Star Wars.

  8. Great column

    Nail on the head, as usual. Here’s an added caveat.

    The media is not the only ones loving their hatred of the Pats. It’s gotten to the point where everyone is now vilifying OTHER New England Teams, such as the 07 WS champs, and the currently undefeated Celts (I even read scathing commentary about the NE Revolution!!) in order to justify their assertions of just how evil the patriots are.

    It’s not anger toward a football team anymore, from the blogosphere to the upper echelons of sports media elite, all of us here in the northeast corner of the USA are evil evil evil.

    In this week’s blogs, I’ve heard New Englanders referred to as “elitists”, “snobs”, “cheater-lovers” (my favorite, by the way), “massholes” (’cause “maineholes” and “rhodeHoles” are just plain stupid-sounding I guess)

    My point is, have others noticed that the haters are no longer satisfied with hating on our beloved Pats, they gotta be ugly about EVERYTHING new england?

    So many prominent people haven’t been this pissed off with New England since King G and the Redcoats got wicked mad about that tea party thing.

    I mean, it really IS the world versus us

    I’m waiting for Fox news to do a fair and balanced segment on just how unpatriotic we new englanders are for rooting for the patriots. They’ll be a graphic of a burning flag transposed behind a map of New England, with Sean Hannity’s smug face looking at his viewers and saying “Does New England pose a treat to our national security? We’ll report, you’ll decide.”

  9. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    A little history lesson:
    To Turn68 — while it’s not quite Fox News, you may recall that after the Pats’ first Bowl, the brilliant philosopher Rush Limbaugh essentially called the Patriots communists for running out on the field as a team, rather than basking in individual player introductions, as was the custom. A show of team solidarity was interpreted as “disrespect of the individual.” Way to go, Rushie. Have a OxyContin, vike or, if you can find one, a wonderful 714 on me.

    To Dan: I’m surprised by your last line. Surely by now you must KNOW the Colts have their excuses ready. Has history taught you nothing.

    And, since you raised the specter of Sparky Schultz, on a non-football-related note (unless you count Charlie Brown’s frequent ill-fated placekick attempts — even Romo would be a better holder than Lucy van Pelt), if anyone finds themselves in Santa Rosa, Calif., the Charles Schultz museum is a nifty take.

  10. It’s not all anti-Pattriots in the media.

    This morning’s sports page headline here in Dallas:

    “Perfectly Placed: Greatest-ever tag might fit if the Patriots run the table.”
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/football/nfl/stories/111407dnspogosselin.36a21c9.html

    Considering this is the epicenter of Cowboy country, a nod to the Pats is noteworthy.

  11. Oh god, I fear the point it’ll reach when anti new englandness in the media makes them laugh at the idea of Uconn doing well…
    wait…
    Actually we’ll know they really hate boston area sports when they start talking UP my huskies as the better team just to piss of the 3 or 4 devote BC fans.
    I love the fans saying we’re all homers, isn’t that kinda the point of being a fan? loving your team regardless and always thinking they can win?
    or we’re evil for bragging our team is good. Lord knows steelers fans were quietly content in 05.
    I tell people I like the patriots because since I already vote republican I figured I’d go for total evil.

  12. What a great post! I almost feel like I should give up on my blog because I couldn’t have said it any better.

    For what it’s worth, there are indeed Canadian Pats fans. I’m trying to get them all together in an online community and I’ll be interested to see what kind of backlash there’ll be up here. I’m sure it won’t be a whole lot different, even though there’s no general allegiance to any NFL team in Canada. No matter where you are, people love to hate the guy at the top.

    Cheers,

    Mike.

    Feel free to check out my blog (still new)…it’s open to anyone, not just Canadians. And in case you’re wondering, “True Patriot Love” is a line in the Canadian national anthem…seemed like a good name for the site.

    http://www.truepatriotslove.com

  13. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    Mike,
    In the spirit of Pats-loving solidarity: We stand on guard for thee!

    I’ll check your blog out and, frankly, I’m looking for good CFL info, as well. Any advice?

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