Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thoughts on the Broncos Game

  • This was a strange game. The offensive lineup looked like something out of the preseason with Bryan Fletcher, Aaron Moorehead, and Kenton Keith playing big roles in the second half. I half expected Jim Sorgi or Josh Betts to get under Center.
  • Peyton Manning had one of his most impressive days as a professional. Missing Marvin Harrison is a scary thing. He's like a security blanket, but the offense showed no fear. Manning accounted for four scores and didn't settle for a field goal until the game was well in hand. Of course it doesn't hurt when your line is plowing gigantic holes.
  • Obviously the story line will be the injuries. Depressing injury to Rob Morris. It took an offensive explosion to lift the crowd's spirit. Morris looked really upset as they carted him off. That's a really bad sign. Hopefully the rest of the injuries will be inconsequential, especially given the bye coming up.
  • The run defense looked dazed and confused well before they lost Rob Morris and Bob Sanders. Some of this was great play-calling by Shanahan and execution by Travis Henry, but its hard to ignore that Henry was finding cut back lanes galore. Looked a lot like the problems that plagued them last year. Jay Cutler did his best Jake Plummer impression for awhile, but the Colts D adjusted to the Broncos constant bootlegging in the second half.
  • Joseph Addai very well could be the next emerging superstar in the NFL, but he'll have to wait his turn in line behind Tony Romo. Addai is starting to bust the long runs that the Colts haven't had since a man named Faulk roamed the Dome. He can run outside or downhill inside the tackles. His running in the redzone has been a revelation, although Peyton vultured a potential second touchdown. Addai looks like the best running back from the 2006 NFL draft.
  • Dallas Clark is an unholy monster. He's caught four of the last five touchdown receptions for the Colts. Anthony Gonzalez once again sees the field only in the two minute drill. On the bright side, he made a great snag and showed off his considerable wheels.
DZ comments: The good news is that on the post game show, the injuries didn't sound so bad. Addai was fine. Marvin said he could have gone back in as well. How sweet was it for him to come back on the field, catch his one ball to keep the streak alive before the leg tightened up, and then leave. Funny stuff.

John Clayton has a great breakdown on this game. It's awesome how deep into Shanahan's head Peyton has gotten. If you don't think Shanahan is a great coach, just check out the first 15 plays from this game. If a team could script 60 plays, the Broncos would rarely lose.

My favorite announcer moment of the day came at the end of the Ravens/Browns tilt. I think it was Kevin Harlen who said, "It's interesting to note that the Ravens have only forced 11 turnovers this year. Last year, they finished the year with 40." 11 turnovers in 4 games translates into 44 turnovers. Nice job, Kevin. I bet that IS what's wrong with the Ravens.


Colts 38 - Broncos 20

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Classic Colt

If you check out the main site, you know that we try to honor some of the great Colts that never quite got their due in our Classic Colts section. A few days ago we received a very worthy nomination from 18to88 reader, Sam. He suggested we add Jeff Herrod who was a fixture on the team for 10 seasons. We heartily agreed, and he has been added.

We try to only add retired players, with one exception. It was Rob Morris (btw: he should play tomorrow) resigning with the Colts this offseason that originally gave us the idea of a Classic Colt: the guy who isn't going into the ring of honor, but was a great contributor and key player for many years. As always if you have a nominee, you can write us at

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting what's coming to them

Apparently some Jets fans want blood. They are suing the Patriots organization for staging 8 fraudulent games between the Jets and Pats in New Jersey since Belichick became head coach. Evidently, the men behind the suit are serious lawyers and think they have a case. Good luck guys. . . you're gonna need it.

Demond and I were fighting about Bill Simmons tonight. He's sick of him. He's tired of the "greatest team ever" crap and the schlock about no other team having a chance. Me, I find it all way too amusing. Patriots fans are all in a lather because of three blowouts over bad teams? Weren't they the ones mocking us for the same crap just two and three years ago? When they get their heads handed to them this January, it'll be all the more hilarious because it's so utterly predictable. They won't be ready to play when the time comes. When a defense who actually hits plays them and Randy Moss starts limping around and Brady has to throw something beside a basic lob pass, and they get their asses drilled, we'll be laughing and saying, "I told you so." So no, Simmons doesn't bother me. Not even a little. I'm counting the days until he has to write the inevitable, "Why didn't I see it coming?" column.

And yes, we'll be sure to link it.

Important Announcement

Okay, I'm using the word "important" loosely, but I wanted to let everyone know that I will no longer be reading or commenting on Bill Simmon's weekly NFL Picks column.

I had softened on Simmons over the course of the last year. You see, all Colts fans were waiting for the day when Simmons would have to write his "I was wrong. I'm a huge loser and Peyton Manning CAN win the big game" column. Of course, he was forced to write the column in January and it was everything we dreamed it would be. Simmons and his fanaticism couldn't bother us anymore.

But I'm back to my original stance on Simmons: The guy's an idiot. Enjoy your weekend and remember that we're all blessed to be watching the "greatest team in 15 years," the New England Patriots.

I'm sorry if I'm turning this blog into another I Hate the New England Patriots, but let's face it you can't ever have too many of those.

A stunted trip around the web

My internet service has been in and out all day long, so I'll do my best to share the links I've got, but man, it's been hard to get them.

People are waking up to the fact that the Colts are indeed, not dead just because Tarik Glenn retired.

Don Banks says the AFC South is better than ever.

Damon Hack writes a nice piece on the Colts drive for a second title. This is a great piece that you'll be sure to enjoy.

MDS of the Footballoutsiders places Favre in the context of the game's all time greats. What is more interesting than the exercise is the standards by which he does it.

Here's a great video of Cutler and Shanahan talking about how great #18 is.

ESPN's Scouts Inc. breaks down the Colts and Broncos:

Here are some numbers for you -- 23, 449 and 6. Those represent the numbers Wayne has put up in terms of receptions, yards and touchdowns in the last three games these two teams met. It almost makes you feel like the Broncos went out and got Bly for the sole purpose of trying to slow Wayne down. WR Marvin Harrison will align on the right side over 90 percent of the time versus LCB Champ Bailey. That means it will be Bly versus Wayne on the other side and while Bailey has done his part, Denver has been at the mercy of Peyton Manning and Wayne.

23, 449, and 6? YIKES.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Eyes for you

I've been up since 5:30 this morning and spent most of that cooking meat Argentine style (don't ask). I'm tired. Because of that here's a few links and very little comment.

Eyes in the Backfield is up. This is our weekly pregame breakdown. If you aren't a regular Eyes reader, check it out and be astonished at our analytical prowess.

From Phil Wilson's blog, click here to vote for Dwight Freeney for the cover of a video game.

CHFF takes on the 'Big Four' of the NFL. If you can't guess who they are, I'll give you a hint. Two of them play in the Dome this weekend.

Whitlock thinks that three great games with good stats for Brady are more important than 10 years of great stats by Manning. Whatever. Once again, this will be settled on the field.

Finally, Messi rules.

Demond Sanders: I'm glad Whitlock brought this up because I was thinking about this very debate in the shower this morning. First let me say Whitlock is wrong a lot. I like the guy. He's funny, but he has a tendency to throw things out there and see what sticks. That's his job as a columnist.

Look, at least two of Brady's scoring throws to Moss (against the Jets and Bills) have been the classic Randy Moss jump ball. Brady said himself after the win over Buffalo that he just throws it as high as he can to Moss. That doesn't take very much skill on Brady's part. You know how I know? Because media-scorned Daunte Culpepper did it successfully on a regular basis. People need to remember that Randy Moss helped Daunte Culpepper throw 39 touchdowns in a season in 2004. How much will it really prove if Brady puts up 40+ tds with the assistance of Moss?

I think Whitlock has a more valid argument about Moss's legacy than Brady's. However, I still don't think you can take three good games for Moss and vault him over Don Hutson and Marvin Harrison. That's a joke, but again it's Whitlock's job to make preposterous claims and hope one or two of them come true.

Patriots Underrated?

Jeffri "I spell my first name like a girl" Chadiha writes that the New England Patriots are underrated. Really? How is that even possible? All we've heard about this month is how the Pats are the best team in NFL history with no apparent flaws. The media started the undefeated talk in WEEK TWO for this Patriots team.

In fact Chadiha has four undefeated teams on the underrated list. I'll buy that the Packers and Steelers are underrated perhaps because they are coming off down years. He claims the Colts are underrated too. I guess you could make that argument, but only because people like Chadiha were crazy enough to think the Colts would fade into the pack this year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Giving the Zombie his due

For years now, I've been wearing the jersey of the Colts' QB. My dad gave me a Jimmy Harbaugh jersey for Christmas one year, and I've worn his or #18 nearly every game day since. But when it came time to order sweet full on replica Super Bowl jerseys direct from China, I ordered #21. His body might not hold up long enough for him to make the Hall of Fame, but no fan of the Colts will ever forget what he did over the course of those 4 games last winter.

I don't know how I missed this article, but thanks to Gordon 38 from for calling it to my attention. It's a four pager about Bob and his badass upbringing and the man who helped make the Zombie into the man he is today. It is an absolute must read.

Demond Sanders: It is ironic that Bob "The Zombie" Sanders didn't want to bend steel for a living because he impersonates Superman on a daily basis. Awesome article.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back tracking

The plethora of "Oh wow. These Colts are better than last year!" articles continue. Whereas local guys from the Star weren't really surprised, some of the national yahoos act shocked. Adam Schein of Foxsports isn't the sharpest tool in the shed (watch one of his video pieces sometime...ouch), but he has had the good sense to retract his earlier feeling that the Colts would regress due to (snicker, snicker) losses on the defensive side of the ball.

In examining power rankings around the web, two things jump out. 1. Everyone knows that this season is about the Colts and Pats. and 2. most sites have ALL FOUR AFC South teams in the top 10 or so. Yeowch. It really is good to get those two road wins under our belt early...

Demond Sanders: It's all happening just the way that Colts fans knew it would. It's a funny thing about NFL analysts. You would think that the quality of coverage would be at its all time high based on the sheer number of people dedicated to breaking down the league. But instead quite the opposite is occurring. Sure, there are a few standout NFL writers like there always has been, but for the most part the coverage seems dumbed down. Like all the fake experts just go from website to website reading and recycling what other fake experts are saying.

Missing Mike Doss? Please this is the defending Super Bowl Champions we are talking about. I can understand if the national writers swing and miss on a perennially irrelevant team like the Jaguars or Lions, but this Colts team has been relevant for ten years now. So do a little research.

18 Plays: "It doesn't suck"

It's Tuesday, and that can only mean 18 Plays is ready for download. Once again, Demond and I take on the key plays from Sunday. We don't just tackle the touchdowns, but incomplete passes, punts, and 3rd and 1 calls as well. You can find 18 Plays on Itunes, or download it from our Podcast archive page.

Last night a buddy of mine says, "Hey, my boss listens to your podcast!" I replied, "Awesome, what does he think?" He comes back with, "He says it doesn't suck. He figured it would, but says it doesn't." There you have it. A ringing endorsement by the boss of a friend of mine.

We are pleased with the podcast to this point. Like many of you, I think that if we had the time and money to incorporate Bob Lamey's audio calls, it would be incredible and elevate the program to a new level. Unfortunately, we are relegated to relying on our own wit and insight.

All Belichick's Men

Gregg Easterbrook of TMQ is raising hell over the Pats scandal. In one of the most fascinating and well argued pieces of the year, Easterbrook continues to claim that all is not right with the Pats cheating scandal despite league claims that the issue is closed.

Among his claims:

*The NFL refuses to specifically deny that the Patriots cheated in their Super Bowl wins
*The NFL refuses to explain why all the evidence was destroyed when it posed no risk to keep it
*The Patriots delayed at least 5 days in turning over evidence to the league.

Also, check out Ask Vic today. Mark from Little Rock asks:

Do you get a sense the wheels are already in motion to work out a deal that gets Matt Jones out of Jacksonville via a trade?

Vic: No, I don’t think he’ll be traded.

Yeah, Mark! There's a huge market out there for useless huge guys who can't catch. Vic's answer was his way of saying, NO MORON! He's getting cut. Jags fans are stuuuuupid.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Captain Crunched

Is anyone else a little disturbed by the fact that Vince Young was voted in as the Titans' offensive captain? Seriously? Sure they didn't have many options, but they certainly could have gone with a solid veteran, like Center Kevin Mawae. Last week Young cost his team with his immature taunting penalty.

This week against the Saints he left the field with a minute to play in the first half. The Titans had the ball with a chance to tack on a field goal. Where's Vince? Oh, his wrist hurts. Oh, he's getting an IV. Give me a break. If Vince Young is the bold field general pundits say he is then he should be on the field in that situation. Instead he's in the locker room getting pampered by the trainers.

This just in: Jags fans can take a deep sigh of relief tonight as Drew Brees and company fall to 0-3. Ladies and gentlemen, your Los Angeles Saints.

Artwork and notes from around the web

18to88 reader Ian, doodled this up for us. Here's bigger version. Thanks man; sweet picture.

Sort of a boring morning of postgame commentary. There was a nice line in the Audibles at the Line column about the Jhole game:

Meanwhile, at the end of the half, with 11 seconds to go, Denver is called offside on a second-down pass that got the Jags to the Denver one. Jacksonville declined the penalty (which would have given them second-and-5), but then Garrard spiked the ball on third down, even though they had a timeout, and they kicked a field goal. If an intramural flag football team got to pick in the NFL draft each year, I think its games would look like this.

Ladies and Gentlemen...Jack Del Rio, flag football god!

Kravitz was ok today too.

Everyone else was pretty boring, although Prisco pimped us pretty hard (is that a good thing?). Most people are ignoring the Colts because they've been winning boring. That's fine by us. Meanwhile, everyone will continue all hot and bothered by the Pats whipping Cincy next week (will they score in triple digits? Quite possibly!)

Mostly, I'm just tired of editing video. I got home after two weeks on the road, so I have a backlog of three games to edit (plus the Star Wars Family Guy show). Meanwhile, I just wonder whether the AFC South will ever lose a non-division game. I guess we'll find out tonight. . .

Demond Sanders: Great drawing. Ask Vic referred to the Jags' win over Denver as Del Rio's "Signature Win." How sad is that? Surely the Titans will lose tonight. Or not. Also I fully expect the experts to pick the Pats to win by 50 next week, given the Cincy defense. But I smell a close game. It is a primetime matchup featuring a Bengals team at home. They absolutely must win to save their season. If they fall to 1-3 then it's curtains (especially in that division). That's the game of the week for me.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Trading Places

The weirdest subplot of this NFL season has to be the complete inversion of personality by the Pats and Colts. The Patriots, long known to play ball control and win tough road games over good teams have decided to air it out and blow out bad teams. The Colts, meanwhile, are grinding it out and doing just enough to win while showing flashes that they can still blow teams out. In the end, they take the W and march along. I half expect Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage to show up at the Dome in November. I've never seen two teams totally interchange identities like this while both maintain dominance in the win loss column. This is shaping up to be a really fun season.

Demond Sanders: It's like everything has gone Vice-Versa. New England has really played Big this season. You might say that they've taken a cue from the Colts, you know Like Father, Like Son. Okay I took it too far. Sorry. But you make a great point. This is exactly why Colts fans should look out east and shrug.


Colts 30 - Texans 24

Running Thoughts from the Texans Game

1. I'm coming in late after missing the first quarter because I was at the Indianapolis Zoo - don't ask.
2. Colts trail 10-7. Houston ran the opening kick back for a touchdown. The Colts answered right back with an 8 minute drive. Peyton was 6 for 7 with a score to Dallas Clark.
3. Colts come right back with a brilliant drive. Good run/pass mix. Big catches by Marvin and Gonzalez. The Colts finish with three runs inside the ten. Joseph Addai leaps impossibly high over the defender, is hit in mid-air, and lands in the end zone for a score. Brilliant effort.
4. Third downs are killing the Colts defense. Just can't get them off the field. This is going to be a close, close game. Need a turnover badly or the Colts may not see the ball before the half. Schaub is as advertised, but I like their playing calling even better. They are unpredictable.
5. Big stop for the Blue. The Texans will punt, unlike last time. The D is everywhere, but Houston is up for the challenge. This is a fascinating matchup to watch thus far.
6. Gonzalez drops a costly one on third down under two minutes. He tried to catch it and make his cut at the same time. It was going to be close, but if he gets it clean he leans for the marker. Killer.
7. The Texans ease down the field in no hurry to give the ball back to Manning and company. TV shows a concerned Anthony Gonzalez on the sidelines. He's had a rough start to his career, but it will get better. The Texans inexplicably throw on third down, stopping the clock. Even so there isn't enough time to make hay. The Colts wisely run out the clock via Addai. Colts lead 14-10 at the half.
8. I think you have to like the way the Colts are playing overall, kickoff return aside. The O is outscoring Houston's O 14-3, which is the natural order of things. The D has come to play as well. Still, it is a tight game that Peyton will try to break open in the third quarter.
9. Stupid prediction: This game will be decided by who turns the ball over in the second half.
10. Houston has not allowed much in the running game. Addai is stuffed on first down, followed by a strike to Ben Utecht for 20 yards, and another big gainer to Dallas Clark.
11. Former Colt, Von Hutchins breaks up a pass to Marvin in the end zone. Lucky break for the Colts as it may have been picked otherwise. Offensive holding call on second down stalls the drive. Field goal after two nice gainers. Penalties have given the Texans 10 points and now they cost the Colts a chance to break the game open. Good drive though and the Colts lead 17-10.
12. Rock Boiman picks off a tipped pass from Schaub. Under review ala Anthony Gonzalez's catch last week. UPHELD. BIG BIG PLAY.
13. TOUCHDOWN JOSEPH ADDAI. GREAT RUN, GREAT BLOCKING. Colts lead 24-10 on the strength of the the Boiman pick.
14. The teams trade three and outs as the Texans get pressure on Manning. Hunter Smith outkicks his coverage by 20 yards, allowing a huge return by the speedy Jones. Smith narrowly saves the score. Special teams are killing this team right now.
15. Interception Gary Brackett. He saves a touchdown by snagging the ball at the goalline. He returns it to the 29. On first down Manning finds Wayne for a gain of 64. Reggie is hauled down at the seven yard line. Manning is sacked on third down and the Blue settle for 3. Colts take a 27-10 lead.
16. Texans are in business, but Schaub is getting pressure from the D-Line on almost every pass. They have apparently abandoned the running game because of injuries to Dayne and Green. They and undermanned and we're certain to hear about it after the game. A 41 yard pass to Andre Davis takes the Texans down to the 1 yard. Hayden had excellent coverage, but Davis pushed off and up to snag the ball. That will never, ever be called. Touchdown Texans on a short run by Gado. Colts hold a 27-17 lead.
17. The Colts had to settle for field goals twice in the third quarter. Rushing has very nice kickoff return to midfield. A score of any kind would help but Manning needs 7 to quiet the crowd and stop the Texans' momentum. Reggie Wayne falls on a fumble. The Texans have been popping people all day and they finally got one to come lose. Big break goes the way of the Colts. A huge third down stop. The Colts needed 2 yards and they tried to throw into the end zone. Run the ball people! DZ mentions that the line was stacked, correctly. The real problem is that Peyton keeps getting pressured from the right side, possibly Diem. A field goal sends the Colts to a 30-17 lead.
18. Time for the D to seal it. The Texans are using a boatload of clock and they need two touchdowns to win. The D-Line is getting pressure on every drop back. Schaub is a heady player and gets it off quickly. Amazing. They are all over him. He fumbles twice, but the Texans recover both. Dumb luck finally favors the horn-ed ones. Huge fourth down conversion. This is a very long drive that won't leave much time on the clock. Schaub is in the zone. He has them down to the two yard line. I'd feel worse about this drive, but the Colts have done their job and not given up a big play. They forced two fumbles and stopped them on three downs before the conversion. Touchdown, the Colts hold on to a 30-24 lead and need a score of any kind to seal it.
19. It's Manning time. Houston has two timeouts. False Start. Penalties have burned the Colts today. Five yards for Addai and Houston uses their second timeout, one remaining. Peyton rolls out and hits Marvin for an easy first down. Houston has used its final timeout. A two yard gain for Addai takes it to the Two-Minute Warning.
20. This is eerily similar to last week. The Colts have their destiny in their own hands. They need just one first down. I say run twice and punt. Use the clock and force Schaub to pull off a miracle for Houston. Is this wussy? Yes. Is it smart? Yes.
21. Hand off to Addai. 3rd and 6. Need a first down to end the game. Addai is just short of the marker bringing up a fourth and one. They will punt after running the clock down to one second and calling time. Great punt - touchback. Houston will get the ball at their 20 yard line and 19 seconds to play. They finally sack Schaub. NICE TRY HOUSTON, but YOU LOSE.

This game was far closer than it should have been, but penalties and special teams gaffes have been a hallmark early this season for Indy. Pundits will point to these last two games as proof that the AFC South has tightened up, and to an extent they are right. But the truth is the Colts beat two division rivals on the road. That's not supposed to be an easy thing, but they nearly ran away with both games. I'm very pleased with the effort on offense and defense.

Deshawn Zombie comments: Schaub was impressive today, making a variety of tough throws to well covered receivers. The defense played well, forcing several fumbles that Houston got lucky to fall on. Those could have changed the game significantly. For those who are all high on NE hype, bear in mind that the three teams they beat are 2-7 (2-4 in games not involving NE). Blowing out bad teams is a sign of a great team, but so is winning tough road games against good teams. The 3 Colts wins are over teams that are a combined 4-5 (4-2 in games not involving the Colts) after this week (unless Tenn and NO tie). It'll be interesting to see the Pats play a good team (and no, the Chargers don't count anymore. Norv Turner has KILLED that team).

Also, my favorite stat of the game was list of teams who have never played in the Super Bowl. You have such also-rans as Cleveland, Arizona, Detroit, New Orleans, Houston (expansion team), and. . . Jacksonville. It made me smile. Stupid Jaguars.

They're all big games

The AFC is shaping up nicely early for the Colts to possibly earn a bye. Playoff byes, as we all know, are the name of the game. Obviously they are no guarantee for success (as the Colts have found out in '99 and '05) but a bye puts you one game closer to a Repeat. San Diego is a key team in the AFC. If they can get another loss today against the Pack that would put some serious space between them and the contenders.

So that leaves Pittsburgh as the most serious threat for a bye. Sure there are other teams, but most of them have a major flaw. Pittsburgh, New England, and Indy have the offense and defense to make a push. We thought San Diego did, but their offense has sputtered early against tough opponents. I think it is going to take 13 wins to get a bye in the AFC. The Colts should win their home games (10-0 last season at home), but today's game is one of their five toughest road games.

Like most games, it should come down to turnovers against Houston. Dominic Rhodes's early fumble last year was the difference in the game. The Colts were quickly in a big hole. Manning should once again have his way with the Houston secondary. I'm not sure anyone knows what to expect from Houston without Andre Johnson. The D should have enough to contain the leftovers, forcing the Texans to put together long drives. Here's betting the Indy D forces a pair of turnovers along the way. Colts 31 - Texans 23.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Latest Patriots Scandal

The commish viewed the tapes sent in by the Patriots and not everything was in order. No word is out as whether there will be any penalty for the violations. Needless to say many around the league are disgusted, including 18to88. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

In other news, there are new allegations against Mike Vick as well. They are certainly heinous. We haven't heard if more charges will be levied.

Lest we cast stones, our hero, #18 has been implicated in untoward activity as well. This is a dark day for Colts fans. Perhaps only peeling an Onion could bring me as many tears as this sad news.

Why did we let Harper Walk?

Maybe Marvin juking him had something to do with it! Thanks to 18to88 reader Ian for his kind words and the links. He also sent us this one. I never get tired of watching it. 88 is a freak of nature.

Great stuff from the Star

I've stopped linking so much stuff from the IndyStar, not because it isn't good, but just because I figure you all read it already. There were a couple of nice bits and pieces this today though:

In an article about speed, it was eventually conceded that #88 is probably still the fastest Colt:

"Marvin," Jackson said. "He's probably the fastest guy on the team. Still. Thirty-five years old and he's still the fastest guy on the team."
No one has caught wide receiver Marvin Harrison 123 times. That's how many touchdowns he has scored, a total that's eighth on the NFL's career list. He is not one to waste words. When the subject of 40 times came up a couple of years ago, he waved it aside.
"Speed," Harrison said, "has never been my problem."
As proud as Rushing is of his 4.25s, he knows the 40 is of no consequence to Harrison.
"As far as Peyton throws it," Rushing said, "that's how fast he is."

Michael Boulware of the Texans said about this Sunday's game: "Right now, (Sunday) is our Super Bowl. It's a huge game for this organization."

We called that one.

In the interest of fairness, here's a couple of good articles from some of our normal whipping boys:

Kravitz' column on Ed Johnson is very much worth reading.

Cold Hard Football Facts says that parity is dead. They are both right and wrong. They are right because contrary to popular belief the dynasty is alive. They are right that the same big four have run the league for 10 years now: The Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Broncos. They are shorting parity a tad, however. While teams can't come from no where to win it all, they can go from bad to good very quickly. Teams that win 4 or 5 games one year can make the playoffs the next. This kind of parity is important. Fans need to know that with some good decisions, their team might be in the hunt quickly (even if the Big Four will crush them come playoff time). All in all though, their assertion is correct. The Dynasty still lives. We've already had one this decade, and a couple of more titles for the Colts over the next 5 years would set up a second.

New Eyes in the Backfield...

Once again this week, we tell you what to watch for on Sunday. Eyes in the Backfield: Week 3 is up and running. Click, read, and be amazed at our insight into the strategies and players that will define Sunday's classic AFC South tilt.

Ok, it's official. Try as I might, I just can't make the Texans game seem like a big deal. I have my limits.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Parcells is an idiot

In a weird article about Mangini breaking the coaches code of silence by turning in Belichick, Peter King notes that Mangini signed a player that the Pats wanted to keep and writes:

By contrast, here's what then Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who needed a kicker, did that same off-season. Though the Pats' Adam Vinatieri, one of the best of all time, was a free agent, Parcells let it be known that he wouldn't touch the kicker. Why? Vinatieri was Belichick's player, and Belichick had been a defensive assistant and coordinator under Parcells.

Oh, nice one Bill. That sounds like collusion to me. I can't possibly understand what would possess him to not sign a player that the Pats were screwing. He wound up with Vandy (who he subsequently cut), and the Pats worst rival wound up with AV and a ring. Smoooooooth job, Billy. If the Pats had been willing to pay Vinatieri, he wouldn't' have left. Instead, Parcells essentially agreed not to compete for him. That's illegal, Bill. He was fixing the market in favor of another team. Glad it worked out so well for him.

Also, Whitlock has some interesting things to say this week. His point on Vince Young costing the Titans that game with his penalty was right on. He also had great points on the Chiefs GM and on Norv Turner.

I also hate myself for forgetting to post this yesterday. Not only is it a great little story and well written, but it totally shows the value of Phil B. Wilson's excellent blog. Scroll to the entry called, "Shut your Yapper". My favorite quote is by Zombie Bob:

As if defenders don't have enough reason to take his head off already, Young provides trash-talking ammunition. Hell, he throws grenades at his tormentors. He did that on Sunday against the Colts. I knew the second-year pro had some growing up to do, but here's a bit of advice from someone I wouldn't want to trash talk. "That's how people get hurt," said Colts safety Bob Sanders. "We're after you. You know what I'm saying? I told him, 'If I was you, I'd be quiet.'

He then added...Mmmmm, brains. Delicious brains!

Sexy Texans

This has been a light blogging week for several reasons. DZ has been all over the country doing whatever it is he does. I've had a terrible week at work. But the biggest reason is that it is really hard to get geared up for a Houston Texans game. I'm sorry, but it just is. No one in the NFL dislikes, hates, or even respects this team. They generate no emotions of any kind. Unless you consider "They're near Dallas and I hate Dallas" a valid emotion. Nothing against the Texans, it is just who they are right now.

To prove my point go to the Texans official website and click around for a minute. They have lots of important Texans trivia like "Did you know Houston is 4-1 all-time when the temperature dips below 50 degrees?" Well geez, too bad YOU PLAY IN HOUSTON.

They also have a timeline feature on their site: This date in Texans history. The one for yesterday was something like "On September 19th, 2005 the Texans fired their Offensive Coordinator and replaced him with their Quarterbacks Coach." Houston Texans: Catch the fever!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This won't help you

If Bob Sanders wants to eat your brain, Bob Sanders will eat your brain. Unless you are Jack Del Rio, in which case the meal is so small that it's not worth his time to bother. Apparently the NFL agrees with us, because Bob has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his relentless attack on Vince Young (sacking him twice in the final 2 minutes). Good on you, Zombie.

Texans Johnson won't play

Andre Johnson, easily the most talented player on the Texans roster, won't be playing on Sunday. So hey, that's good news for us, right?

Demond Sanders: That's huge. I had to bench Johnson on my fantasy squad this week anyway since he's playing the Colts. Good timing for an injury. Well for me anyway, terrible timing for him. The AFC South Revenge Tour rolls on.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TMQ says Run 3 Times

As Deshawn Zombie predicted in our latest podcast, Page 2's Greg Easterbrook took the Colts' fourth quarter play-calling to task, referencing his theory that sometimes all a team needs to do is run the ball into the line three times and everything will be okay:

Sweet 'N' Sour Sequence: Leading 22-20, the defending champion Colts reached first-and-10 on the Tennessee 31 at the two-minute warning, with the Flaming Thumbtacks down to two timeouts. TMQ's Law of the Obvious holds: Sometimes all a team needs to do is run up the middle for no gain, and things will be fine. Had Indianapolis run up the middle for no gain three straight times, then attempted a field goal, things likely would have been fine. Instead, Peyton Manning threw incomplete, stopping the clock; then threw incomplete, stopping the clock; then was sacked. After a shanked punt, Tennessee took over on its 20 with 1:37 remaining, needing a field goal to win. That was sweet for Tennessee. Then the Titans failed to heed football wisdom: When it's late, and everyone is watching the sidelines, throw down the middle. All Tennessee passes on the Titans' final drive went toward the sideline, although Indianapolis was blitzing safeties and the middle of the field was open. That was sour.

Deshawn Zombie Comments: One of my favorite nuggets this week came from Bill Polian's comments on the Bill Polian Show. Last week, we commented that Foxsports Czar was a bit off when he suggested that allowing defensive players to wear audio receivers would cut down on cheating. Polian echoed these comments. He said that originally, he voted in favor of letting one defender wear a receiver. Now, he said that because of the options for MORE cheating, he will not vote in favor this year. This directly refutes both of the Czar's assertions (1. the resolution will be approved this year and 2. it would cut down on cheating).

Monday, September 17, 2007

18 Plays is up

Just in case you don't subscribe on Itunes, you can download this weeks 18 Plays here. We got it done a tad early this week because I'm on the road right now.

This week's win didn't inspire a lot of great press, but you should try and endure Bill Simmon's bizarre rant about how great the Pats are just for the last two paragraphs. In them, he admits that picking the Colts simply because Dungy is a better person and Belichick is legitimate. I suppose that's some kind of admission. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if the Chargers really are that good. Norv Turner has that team looking terrible through two weeks. I think the Pats will be severely tested before its over. It often takes the league a couple of weeks to catch up to something new. There is little debate that the two best teams in the league are the Colts and Pats. Fortunately, they will square off on the field, probably twice.

Demond Sanders: Definitely a bizarre rant. His point is that we take sports way too seriously sometimes, and he's absolutely right. Unfortunately, he works against his own point by getting so worked up about it. Bothering to name-check the war abroad and "the waste of a generation in Iraq" seems out of place and misguided.

He is right about one thing: the Colts vs. Patriots game on November 4th, 2007 may become the focal point of the entire NFL season. Game of the century type stuff. Unfortunately, the Colts have at least three big games to play on the way. The Patriots? Let's just say when you play in the horrendous AFC East everything is a little easier.

Barry Bonds: You Decide

Fashion designer Marc Ecko has purchased Barry Bonds record breaking 756th Home Run ball for roughly $750,000. Yawn, right? Maybe, but the twist is he's leaving the ball's fate up to the general public. Go to his site to place your vote. It's easy, kinda fun, and it may actually make you feel better about all the gross injustices that have spread over the sporting landscape. He'll announce the results of the vote in one week.

Week 2 Notes: Patriots to receive Super Bowl Bye

In an historic and unprecedented move, the NFL has awarded the New England Patriots a bye to directly represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLII. Commissioner Goodell is still deciding whether the AFC playoffs will be cancelled altogether or played as exhibition games. More on this as it develops.

In a related story the San Diego Chargers GM AJ Smith is considering whether or not to scrap the current makeup of the team and rebuild. "We have a .500 record, at some point you have to face facts," said Smith.


Check out this awesome email and inexplicable photo from 18to88 reader Matt:

just caught up on your blog. want to reiterate how much I appreciate your site. let me break it down to you like this: we don't have cable, but we do have three kids. basically no time to keep up unless the colts get the local cbs slot/sun night game. we had the bengals/browns rodeo I had the gamecast running on the laptop trying to keep up. your running thoughts filled in a lot of holes for me. in return, I'd like to share w/you a screenshot I took of the game cast window.the zombie sacked VY early in the 4th Q, but I probably wouldn't have noticed had it not been for the headshot that I noticed from across the room. take a look, then ask yourself (like I asked myself) -- whaaaaaaaat? keep up the good work looking fwd to the podcast

Ok, so here's the screen shot. I can't even describe my shock to see that face next to immortal name of Bob Sanders. If you can't tell, they have the face of a 40 year old white dude with a hair helmet and glasses. ooooooh, Bob is going to be piiiiiissed!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brought to you by the letter W

Colts 22 - Titans 20

A lot went right for the Colts in Nashville today. Bob Sanders had 2.5 sacks. After the game, Vince Young had to check and make sure all his vital organs were still intact. A whole lot of things went haywire too. Dallas Clark dropped 3 balls. Adam Vinatieri and the kick unit made things uncomfortable.

Some interesting decisions on offense in the final quarter. The Colts were not as committed to the run as you might like. Manning was on target so can't really blame him, but you have to be able to run the ball in the fourth quarter to win in the NFL. On the other hand, a lot of this was dictated by how the Titans were defending the Colts. Manning appeared to check out of runs more than once.

This game was very similar to the Super Bowl win. Missed extra point. Missed field goal. Finding ways to win when you should have had a much larger lead. They'll take it. W's are the name of the game.

Deshawn Zombie adds: Check out John Clayton's article on this game. It's solid, but he mentioned the Manning pick several times without noting the missed illegal contact penalty that made it happen. There is also an outstanding article on!) in which Tony Dungy explains the thought process behind the three passes under two minutes.

Running Thoughts on the Titans Game

1.) Big 3rd down conversion on the first series for VY. This could get bad. Really, really bad. The backup LBs are terrible. Luckily, Bob Sanders is making every tackle. It's kind of awesome to watch.
2.) Easy like Sunday morning. Great drive. Peyton and Marvin makes them pay for going for it. You can’t miss extra points in the NFL. Special teams look awful thus far.
3.) Big first down from Utecht. Great to see him make an impact.
4.) Dallas Clark has two drops and a fumble recovery so far. Fisher challenges Anthony Gonzalez’s first career catch. TERRIBLE CALL. No way that should have been overturned, but at least it wasn’t picked off. The referees don't seem to understand the system and fail to implement it with any consistency.
5.) That was a huge swing as the Titans hit the long ball after Vince Young gets ALL DAY to throw. Colts force a field goal. Big stop.
6.) Woaa TOUCHDOWN DALLAS CLARK!! Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this. . . and totally redeem yourself!
7.) A great start for the Colts, but remember they were up 14-0 in last year's game.
8.) Bob Sanders whiffs on VY as the QB takes it for a huge conversion. Sanders blows up the next play to make up for it.
9.) Titans are driving. VY is a tough SOB to play against. Someone needs to make a play and make this game a whole lot easier. Young drives them to the 20 and misses a WIDE OPEN receiver that would have been a big gain. Third Down: Vince Young throws to no one. Titans wanted a flag, but they already got their huge break of the half. There's a limit on those things, you know. FG.
10.) Three and Out. Colts stop VY thanks to a MORONIC taunting penalty on said quarterback. Colts start at the fifteen yard line and the next 8 plays are pure Manning magic. Seriously, WHAT PLANET IS HE FROM? 16-6 at the half.
11.) Nice drive to start the half. Field Goal. Titans get the clutch sack on Manning. Their D is aggressive and they know how to create pressure. 19-6, Colts.
12.) Titans are forced to punt after an excellent defensive stand at the Colts 40 yard line. Downed at the 1. The game could swing either way as a result of this Colts drive. Even one first down would be a victory.
13.) I'm all too prophetic as Dallas Clark short arms a big gain, and Manning is intercepted on the ensuing play. Reggie Wayne was knocked off his route. BIG, BIG SWING.
14.) And now that extra point looms large. It's a dog fight from here out.
15.) Can the Colts run the ball down by the goal? Please. Man up and RUN IT. FG attempt gets tipped and Vinatieri wishes it through. 22-13 Colts.
16.) Unreal. The Colts get the big turnover and Vinatieri shanks a HUGE field goal. .
17.) Two minute warning. The Colts hold on to a 2 point lead at the Titans 30. Incompletion to Marvin on first down. RUN THE BALL. OOOH. Peyton underthrows a sure score to Marvin. Nick Harper has been triple lucky this afternoon. Manning gets sacked. Titans will get the ball at the 20 with 1 timeout.
18.) Colts WIN. WOW. Check your pulse.

Deshawn Zombie's Comments: I suppose I should be happy about this game for the following reasons:
  • We won a key 'swing' game that we lost last year.
  • It was on the road against a run heavy team.
  • The Colts played without 2 starting LBs.

But I'm not happy. That game should have been a blowout. We'll break it all down on 18 Plays, but here are my thoughts so far about the day in general:

1. Bob Sanders is a zombie. A flesh eating zombie.
2. The Colts dared Young to throw, and he did well. I'm shocked. But notice that they lost. He played like dog crap last week, and they won. QB isn't everything.
3. Tim Jennings is a horrible CB and can't figure out where the goal line is on punts.
4. The Bengals have the worst defense. EVER.
5. The Jags are horrible. 23 points in 2 games after cutting the QB? Fire Mad Jack.
6. Denver has won 2 games by the closest imaginable margins.
7. The AFC South is 6-2. Ouch. Today's win was a big one.

No Gimme

Just think: if the Colts played the teams on this year's September schedule two years ago it would have been an easy time. New Orleans, Tennessee, and Houston back to back to back. Chalk it up. We would have called it the Bye Month. They've had a few of those in the past years.

Opening with easy teams has helped the team get into a groove and is a big part of why they started so hot the last two years. Not so this year. This year each of those teams rank as legitimate tests for the Blue. None more so than today's game at Tennessee.

It's always dangerous to look ahead, but victories in these next two games has the possibility of giving the Colts as large as a two game lead over each team in the AFC South. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But check the schedule: Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee each have a tough road game in the next two weeks (@Carolina, @Denver, and @New Orleans respectively). With the Jags already down one in the loss column, taking care of business against the Titans and Texans could be huge. These are games the Colts lost last season.

They'll get it done today in tough fashion: Colts 27, Titans 23

Update: DZ just called and with some certainty informed me that Rob Morris won't play in addition to Keiaho's absence. I'm not going to change my prediction except to say this: Expect touchdowns.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Notes to Kevin Everett

If you want to send a note to Kevin Everett of the Bills, you can do so at this address. The link didn't work right in my IE, but when I tried in firefox, it worked fine. This young man has shown amazing improvement this week, but I'm sure he could use your prayers.

A couple more from Ryan Parker...

He may be a Bengals fan, but the genius who brought you Shady Brady and Belicheat is also a huge Reds fan (as we at are). I'm going to link you to a couple of great Reds oriented songs. The first is the ballad of Jr. Griffey and the second is a tribute to the Reds in general. He also brilliantly described the failings of the 2006-7 Reds in the savage My Bullpen. If you like baseball at all, and definitely if you are a Reds fan, check out his home page.

Greatest. Song. EVER.

Thanks to Matt Mosley and his Hashmarks blog for bringing this to my attention. Wow. I can't stop watching.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Longest of Long Shots

The capable Len Pasquarelli penned a nice story about undrafted Penn State Defensive Tackle, Ed Johnson. Character issues killed his draftability, but Johnson has persevered and is starting for the defending world champs. Maybe this says more about the Colts depth, but it is still pretty cool how it has worked out.

Speaking of defensive depth (or lack thereof), the Colts are considering holding Freddy Keiaho out of Sunday's Titanic matchup. Tyjuan Hagler, come on down. Degenerate gamblers everywhere just made a call and took the 7 points. Seriously though, don't be afraid. I have an unnatural and completely baseless confidence in Hagler, rooted solely in his fumble recovery in the Super Bowl. Even more unnerving is the reported rib injury to Rob "they named a college after me" Morris. Rocky Boiman, come on down. Okay, now you have permission to be afraid.

Deshawn Zombie's Comments: It's dawning on me what a huge test this Sunday is. With the Jags hilariously imploding, the Titans loom as the second best team in the South. I know that none of us really take them seriously, and I realize that last years loss to them was one of the flukiest games ever (60 yard FG? Stokely dropping a key first down?), but a win this Sunday on the road against a team philosophically designed to beat you with the run while two of your three LBs are hurting would go a long way to establishing this team as virtually unbeatable by the rank and file of the NFL. Ed Johnson (as we noted in Eyes in the Backfield) has a chance to be real difference maker this week.

My prediction? Colts 27 Titans 10.

Bill Simmons: Belichick Apologist (part II)

Q: I bet Belichick is the type of guy who peeks at your controller as you're selecting a play in Madden.-- Mike T., Fairport N.Y.

SG: How dare you! Now that's just uncalled for! By the way, Belichick doesn't play video games -- it's too difficult to hold the controller while he's wearing his five Super Bowl rings.

DZ alerted me to the hilarity of Bill Simmons' NFL picks for the week. Many of you bloodthirsty pirates will be angered by his column to the point of warming up your car and unlocking the hidden door to your secret underground armory. But if there are any Hoosier fans out there remember that you once defended Bob Knight's antics in much the same way (and I was right there with you), at least until he started losing opening round tournament games on a regular basis. Be sure to check out Bill's wife's weekly rant at the bottom. She is uncharacteristically hilarious this week.

This is the part where I get ten comments about how Bobby Knight was many things, but never a cheater. This is true, but he was as crazy as a caged mongoose. All I'm really trying to say is that as someone who has spent large chunks of time rooting for the likes of Knight, Pete Rose, Lou Pinella, and Ron Artest I'm going to give Simmons a pass for being such an idiot on this subject.

Gary Brackett on the road to being a Classic Colt

Most Colt fans are aware of Gary Brackett's amazing and painful NFL journey. They know about his tough personal losses en route to a Probowl in 2005 and a ring in 2006. He's been the Colts defensive captain for the last couple of years, and wears the patch with pride. He's also a great quote:

Gary Brackett, the Colts middle linebacker and signal caller, laughed at the idea of somebody stealing his team's defensive signals. "We do so little on defense, everybody knows what we're doing anyway,'' he said, referring to the vanilla nature of the cover-2. "It's one thing to know what we're doing; it's another thing to stop it.''

Brackett paused. "(Current Saint and former Colt) Jason David knew some of the things we did on offense, and he practiced against Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne),'' he said. "Now ask Jason how that worked out for him.''

That's some funny stuff from Bob Kravitz today.

One more thought on the recent scandal: I'm glad they didn't make Belichick a martyr. By firmly punishing him, but not killing him, pubic opinion will stay firmly against the Pats. Honestly, I'm not worried about them. This franchise has jumped the shark in a big way. Signing big F/A, trading for Moss, cutting almost their whole draft, a cheating scandal? This team is slipping, and they know it. 5 years from now they'll see this as the last hurrah for the Pats and every NE fan will know that the dynasty really died in Marlin Jackson's arms last January.

Introducing: Eye in the Backfield tells you what happened in the 18 Plays Podcast. We tell you what we think about stuff every freaking day here on the blog. We've made bold predictions again and again. But now, we've added a new feature. Every Friday, we'll put our Eyes in the Backfield and select 18 thing to watch for on Sunday. It goes without saying that no other list of pregame info will have 18 items in it. Oh sure, some reporters will give you 5 or 10 and the guys in the booth have two or three "Keys to the Game brought to you by Kia", but we bust our butts to give you 18! I heard that one site offered 17 key points, but we have 18. Why is 18 better than 17? It's one louder!
This will be a regular feature throughout the season and the playoffs. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Long arm of the Law

It's done. Goodell has spoken and justice is sweet. Belichick is out 500K, the Pats out 250K. The team also has to give up a first round pick if they make the playoffs and a 2nd and a 3rd if they don't. I would like to have seen a suspension, but I think this is a fair punishment. Bear in mind that Marshall Faulk was traded for a second round pick. I think this sounds pretty just and coupled with the scorn of a country, should serve its purpose. I think he'll have a much harder time getting into the Hall of Fame now. And that is a real penalty.

Not everyone agrees. Chris Mortensen said that reaction throughout the league is mixed and many wanted stronger punishments. Mort also said that the commish still has his eye on the Pats for other offenses that merit serious investigation. This may just be the tip of the iceberg. John Clayton and Don Banks think that the punishment was too light. So do Prisco and Freeman. Peter King thought so too.

Meanwhile, Bill "Frank Palpatine" Belichick offered a ridiculous apology. Apparently he thought that since he wasn't using the video footage the same day, it was ok. Apparently he doesn't speak English. What part of no videotaping didn't he understand? Claiming it was a misinterpretation of the rules was both classless and insulting. But honestly, I didn't expect anything more.

Demond Sanders' Comments: The problem I think most people will have with this is that monetary fines mean nothing to these guys. What is $250,000 to Robert Kraft? Belichick is loving this: He'll pay $500,000 in a heartbeat versus being forced to miss a game or three. My guess is the coach weaseled his way out of a suspension by pouring on the charm with the commish. Wait. . . I forgot who we were talking about for a minute.

Exclusive footage of Goodell and Belichik!

SI has announced a possible punishment. Looks like a suspension and first day draft picks. I think that's pretty harsh. Check it out. I'd still rather see some kind of flogging or stocks involved but then again, is this the Spanish Inquisition? Apparently, there is concern on the league's part to make sure both the franchise and the coach pay some penalty.

A forfeit has been ruled out. That's really probably right, because honestly, the Pats won that game fair and square. They didn't make Mangini punt on 4th and 1 twice or play man coverage on Moss. The Jets deserved to lose for being stupid. It certainly would have been a deterrent though...

Everybody's not doing it...

I've seen a lot of Pats fans on message boards claiming that everyone is video taping, and the Pats were just unlucky enough to get caught. Apparently, they are full of it. ESPN'S Jeff Chadidha reports that such illegal activity is NOT widespread at all.

"There isn't a team in the league that doesn't try to steal signals [but] I haven't heard about teams recording footage like the Patriots were," said one longtime NFL assistant coach. "But you can bet everybody is trying to steal in some way. In fact, you can go to any NFL game and you'll find some coach whose sole job is to look for defensive signals."
Added one NFC personnel director: "What the Patriots did is extremely rare because it's against the rules. It's one of those things that if it's not Bill Belichick involved, you wonder if the coach survives something like that. What is more normal is something like a guy sitting in a press box trying to steal signs by looking at the coaches. That's why the home team usually has its back to the press box when they're in their own stadium."

Ouch. So there goes that theory. I'm trying not to get too excited that the commish might annihilate this team with some kind of super sanction, but I do get more hopeful by the minute. It seems that this whole thing was just the tip of the iceberg. I'm almost as giddy as Bill Simmons was on Monday.

I also wanted to pass along this comment by Westside Rob...
Not to belabor the point on the Cheatriots, but did you see this: "McLaren stripped of points, fined $100M in F1 spy case " Sep. 13, 2007 wire reports PARIS -- The McLaren team was fined $100 million and stripped of its points in the constructors' standings Thursday in the spying scandal that has rocked the sport A.) It seems spying isn't limited to the NFL...B.) Now there is a punishment that Goodell should look at when making his decision re: Bellicheat

That's not a bad idea, Rob. Honestly, I'm trying to reign in my bloodlust. I'm sure to be disappointed by whatever happens, and I'm starting to feel like I'm a half step away from advocating a public hanging of the Patriots staff in the town square. Since I'm not really interested in becoming part of a lynch mob right now, I'm just going to calm down and wait for the announcement tomorrow.

Demond Sanders' Comments: I'm all in favor of pantsing the offending coach in front of the entire sportsworld (and frankly anything else they want to do to him), but I don't really want to see the team itself harmed (a forfeit). It would kind of ruin it if this scandal ended up affecting the Patriots' season. Nothing should rob the Colts of their natural right to face and destroy the Pats in mortal combat come January. It's kind of like in action movies when the good guy says, "Don't touch him. . . he's mine."

Dr. Z lets it rip

Holy crap, if you want to read someone lay the hammer down on the Pats, (and honestly, don't we all really want that deep down inside?). Check out this piece by SI's Paul Zimmerman, Dr. Z, who makes the Pats look positively Nixonian. Yikes.

Also, thanks to reader Nicholas, who despite being certifiably insane (his email subject was 49ers>Colts), did offer us up this nice addition to the Star Wars predictions. Thanks man. That's a keeper. He does look undeniably awesome. Too bad he'll wind up one armed, electrocuted, and laying at the bottom of a city street. But hey, that's par for the course for most Philly residents right? Thank God #88 got out!


In the country's most popular sport, sellouts are routine for most franchises. One team has a home game with another team located just hours away and can't manage to sell out. That team? The Jhole Jaguars. Really, there is no excuse for this in today's NFL. Even 10 years ago, things were different and sellouts were slightly harder to come by. Today? No excuse. Gear up Los Angeles. Jags fever is coming!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Roger Goodell to ban Patriots from NFL

Based upon the reaction from NFL fans as well as the national media you might expect to see the above headline in tomorrow's newspaper. Personally I'm not happy about the allegations, and I don't condone cheating. Am I surprised about it? No, because I've heard the rumors about this type of surveillance before. Do I think the Pats should lose a second round draft pick in 2008? Yeah, probably. Go ahead and suspend the coach for a week while you're at it.

Still, I think everyone is way overreacting. In a disturbing turn of events, I found myself agreeing with Patriot-Superfans Bill Simmons and Aaron Schatz in their recent discussion of the scandal. In the end, unless more evidence is turns up I think I'll file this under the "Of course they cheated, they are evil people, but oh well, we've beaten them three straight times so I guess the videotape doesn't help that much" file.

And just to clarify, no, I don't agree with Simmons about the Pats going 16-0. After all they still have to play at the dome where the thunderous din is created by speakers and not the 55,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs.

Crap that happens when it's not Sunday

I'm driving home from work and I hear this clown-reporter from The Tennessean talking on ESPN 950 about how the Titans are much better on defense this year and blah blah blah Nick Harper is a more saavy defender than Pacman Jones blah blah blah. Then I get home and the bleeping Patriots are on the cover of SI. I only subscribe to this so-so magazine because the Colts won the Super Bowl and I wanted all the back issues from the playoff run.

Anyway so Randy Moss is on the cover and Rick Reilly's column in the back is all about Tom Brady and how perfect he is. It is full of dating advice and other barf inducing information about Brady. About his new baby Tommy tells us, "I kind of cuddled him like a football." Okay, I think you get the point. There was only one thing to do with this foul rag: feed it to baby Clark.

"I hate you" means never having to say you're sorry

When is an apology not an apology? When it comes from Bill Belichick. We think this man is a great coach. We have to think that since we don't really think Tom Brady is that awesome and someone has to take the credit for the Pats titles. So, we give it to him. That being said, he should have just kept his mouth shut.

If you are going to apologize, APOLOGIZE. Take full blame, admit you were wrong, and accept whatever punishment is meted out. Don't stand up and vaguely allude to 'interpretations of the rules' and offer apologies without specifying the crimes. It appears the hooded one was aware of and responsible for the cheating that his club engaged in, and he should therefore be suspended for multiple weeks, and the club should be relieved of a first round pick. They cheated in a way that directly affects game outcomes. They have been suspected before. They, along with the whole league, were warned by the comish very recently. The axe should fall. Perhaps the best penalty of all would be to force them to forfeit the game.

I also have to say that I totally don't understand the logic behind John Czarnicki's suggestion that the competition committee refusing to let defensive players have their helmets wired is leading to this cheating. He thinks this might get changed next year. Personally, I would think that allowing coaches to talk to defensive players on the field would lead to more cheating. If a team cheated and picked up the offense's signals using nefarious means, then they could relay the play to the defense in real time. This would worry me. Stealing signals naturally, that is without using electronic surveillance to do so, is both legal and acceptable. That's just part of being smarter than the other guy. But since the league specifically outlawed artificial means, it's cheating to do so. I think the Czar has this one wrong, and I'd be surprised to see this rule change this year.

I go, Ugoh

Make sure to check out the excellent article in the FO's Every Play Counts series breaking down every block that Tony Ugoh made last week. Ugoh is a glass half full/half empty kind of player. He has played extremely well for a rookie, but he isn't Tarik Glenn. This piece does a nice job pointing out his strengths (run blocking) and his weaknesses (the bull rush). I have a feeling that nothing was said here that Howard Mudd hasn't already seen and is addressing.

And not to disagree with MDS, but I also was at the game and then broke down the tape. While I did see the Colts line up help to Ugoh's side on several plays, the TE often went out into the pattern. There were a couple of plays when the Colts had Wayne, Harrison, Gonzalez, Clark AND Addai running routes. It seemed to me on those plays (I'm thinking specifically of the overthrow to Gonzalez which was Tony's worst play) that Addai was running a short screen route over Ugoh just in case that Manning needed to check down quickly in the even that Ugoh got beat. I think that Ugoh played well, not perfect, but very well for a rookie, and given Howard Mudd's track record, the Colts will be fine. Sorry, wishful thinkers.