Once again, I have to beg everyone to check out the footballoutsiders.com. They posted an article on one of the worst teams of all time-the 1981 Baltimore Colts. Wow. What a total train wreck. If you want to know the ins and outs of why the Colts went to Indy and why people go and piss on the grave of Bob Irsay, you must read this article. If you ever wondered exactly why John Elway refused to sign with the Horse, you must read this article. If you love drunken buffoonery as much as we do, you must read this article. From drunken exploits, insane management, bad players, and a gutless coach, the '81 Colts had it all.
My favorite passage reads:
Naturally, the Colts won the one game they probably should have lost, a sloppy 23-21 affair marked by numerous penalties and turnovers. The Colts offensive line played well, Dickey and McMillian had great games, and Glasgow recorded a drive-killing interception that appears to be the team’s only clutch defensive play of the season. But the few fans who saw the game — “Office Christmas parties would draw more people,” Ken Denlinger quipped in the Washington Post about a crowd estimated in the 18,000 range — probably weren’t dazzled by heroics. Instead, they were amazed at a 46-yard Colts field goal attempt into a stiff wind; the ball barely reached the end zone. They were bewildered by a Jones third-down scramble that ended when the quarterback went into his slide just after the down marker … the wrong down marker, because Jones was still eight yards shy of a first down.
You can't make stuff like that up.
Listen, I've said it before, but if you want the same old blather you can check out SI or ESPN.com. Both have some decent analysts and others (Michael Silver) who have no clue what's going on. But if you really love football and want to know more about it, you have to make a habit of reading the footballoutsiders. They are consistently great. The only problem is that (unlike me) they are smart enough not to post constantly in the summer because let's face, there isn't really that much to say.
One of the hidden stories of the Colts is the maturation of Jim Irsay. Many people forget his disastrous tenure as GM of the Colts in the late '80s. As GM, Jimmy Irsay LOVED to trade draft picks for players (ie Fredd Young for 2 first round picks); this strategy almost always fails. One of the few good things Bob Irsay did was make his son learn all aspects of the game. Jim is a smart enough man to realize that he was a terrible GM, so as his father's health worsened, Jim was smart enough to back the hiring of real, solid football men (perhaps some of the same men who had abused him so royally when he was a GM-remember the third team involved in the Dickerson trade? That's right, the Bill Polian led Buffalo Bills) to run the club. Jim knew what he did well and what he didn't. His father was never bright enough to realize that. This article provides much context for the last 30 years of franchise history. It hits the nail on the head; when the old man got sick, the team started to win. That's a sad but true fact. Bob Irsay was not a good man and was a terrible owner. I don't know if Jim is as good a man as they say, but he certainly is a first class owner. We are lucky to have him.