Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big win

The Pacers pulled one out tonight in OT, and I think they really needed this game. To put up over 100 points (in regulation!) and win the home opener without J.O. (and no, I don't blame the last three years on him. I think he's a warrior) is a good step forward. This season will come down to Tinsley's ability to make defenses pay with jump shots (ugh, I feel sick already). And how on earth does he almost wind up with more rebounds than anyone else on that team tonight? Dunleavy (be a man and lose that useless 'a'!) putting up 25 points was a nice surprise as well. I don't blame Bird for the Dunleavy/Murphy deal because the fans can't whine about thugs and then cry when they are dealt for 50 cents on the dollar. You also have to love the work Danny Granger has done on his jumpers. His threes are exactly what this team needs.

I don't know that the Wizards are that good a club, but they have Arenas (for now anyway) and are the type of team the Pacers have to beat if they hope to make the playoffs.

It hurts that I care so very, very little about a team that was such a huge part of my life for so long. . . I want to care. They just make it so hard.

Demond Sanders: A post about the Pacers? Seriously? Quit scaring away the readers!

The hype builds

  • Jeff Chadia places this rivalry in the top five all time.
  • John D sends us a great link to an article about clashes of the all time great QBs. The best QB matchup that I remember from my youth was the Elway/Montana Monday Night Classic. It was easily one of the top 5 games I've ever seen. It was so thrilling to watch those two heavy weights (and #s 1 and 2 on my personal all time QB list which reads: Elway, Montana, Unitas, Manning, Marino).
  • Mike Tanier of FO likes the Pats, but cautions that this game doesn't really matter that much.
  • Clark Judge says the game means more to the Colts than the Pats. I whole heartedly disagree. New England will have trouble in the wind, cold and snow. They have built a passing offense that won't work nearly as well in windy Foxborough as it did in Sunny Miami. I don't think they'll be able to run the ball effectively in a game in which they can't pass because of the elements. I'm not scared at all of playing in New England in January. The Colts have already won their last two up there as well.
  • Jeremy Green thinks we need to rename this blog. We love Reggie Wayne, man, but we will never forget all the great years by 88.

It was fun and a little eye opening to go back over that 2004 season. Manning is way better than anyone realizes. That team really wasn't that good. They won a lot of games, but Manning had to completely carry them. We tend to only remember the Houston-Chicago-Detroit-Tennessee run, and forget what a rough go the early part of the year was.

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to be excited and not nervous for this game. I think that as long as the game is close and competitive, it won't mean a whole lot to either team in the end. That doesn't mean it won't be fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

History lesson

I've been going back over the 2004 play by play to see if Manning was guilty of throwing garbage time TDs to pad his stats as the Pats are being accused of doing. What I found was interesting. The 2004 Colts had a terrible defense and more often than not they were trailing or in close games. The first real blowout of the season was Texas at Indy in mid November. The Colts had a huge lead but Manning stayed in the game and was throwing, but did not throw for a score.

As I remember, there was no shortage of criticism for that, but it was only the first time that season that the situation had arisen. That was the start of the run of insane blowouts that the Colts had. Manning would subsequently not play at all in the fourth quarter of the next two games (even sitting out part of the 3rd quarter against Detroit). Against Tennessee, the Colts had a 17 point lead early in the fourth when Manning threw a TD pass. He then sat out the rest of the fourth quarter. Later in the year, up 20-3 against Baltimore with little time remaining, Manning took a knee despite being in prime scoring position with a chance to tie Marino's record. He later sat out the Denver game (excepting a quick 3 and out to start the game). In all, Manning missed 6 and a half quarters of game time during his record season.

It seems that the throwing late against Houston was a function of not having been in the position to blow out a team often that season. It did occur, however, but seems to have been immediately corrected.

Perhaps we should give the benefit of the doubt to the Patriots. Perhaps they simply were unused to blowing out teams, and throwing wildly around the field was a function of that. Should they return to a more appropriate style of football, all should be forgiven. What is strange is the impassioned defense of this insane practice by the Pats fans. It really doesn't make any sense. Dungy was killed by the local media and Colts fans for letting Manning play while sporting a huge lead, even though no points were scored. The practice immediately ceased. Why do Pats fans insist on defending this nonsense?

Evolving links

Today's list of links will morph as they day goes along, but I thought I'd start with Kravitz's piece in the Star today. If he keeps making me laugh out loud, I'll have to take him off our list of people we don't like. I think he and Prisco have swapped places. Seriously, it was a good and funny effort by him today. I'll add to this post as stuff comes along today.

  • TMQ deals heavily with the Sunday Ticket issue, but also deals with the Colts/Pats game some as well.
  • Prisco moves the Colts back ahead of the Pats. . . Petey I take it all back!
  • Pat Kirwan says we are looking at mirror images.
  • CHFF says it's a Colts/Pats world and the rest of us are just living in it.
  • Michael Silver isn't sold on Randy Moss the person. Seriously, how does this season do anything but show what a gutless loser this guy is? I think his amazing numbers should exclude him from the Hall of Fame because it means he quit on his previous teams. Don't give that bull about, "Well now he is in a winning environment with competent people! It's ok that he was a lazy quitter; his team stank!" If he was a competent winner, he would have pushed the Raiders to be better. He has no pride and no self respect. He's a quitter who gave up on his previous team. I give him no credit for playing well. If he wants respect, he should apologize fully to the Raiders for giving up on his teammates the past two seasons. Last year's team had a great D, they might have been able to challenge for some more wins if he had given a crap. He sold out his coach, his teammates and his fans.

  • The computers can't agree. AccuScore loves the Pats 31-27. likes the Colts 30-27. I think the idea's gonna be a great game.
  • The DVOA rankings are up. Basically, the Colts and Pats have the best teams in recorded history (which only goes back to 1996). It's not just a clash of the titans, it's a clash of the holy-frick-these-teams-are-impossibly-good titans.

18 Plays Returns

After a two week Florida induced layoff, 18 Plays is back to cover the Panthers game. You can download it from our site, or subscribe to it in Itunes.

Not heeding good advice

One should never answer a fool according to his folly, but I'll give it a try anyway. Some moron named Rich tried to argue that the Colts did what the Pats did. Here are his comments:

Demond - you may want to prescribe a bit of valium for your buddy Paul. Up the dose come 7:00pm ET this Sunday.Couple of questions for you lunatic, raving hypocrites:- following Peyton's 6th TD to "finally" put the game out of reach against the Saints in 2003, 48-13, sounds like you and Paul advocate that Dwight Freeney should've ran the other way after recovering an Aaron Brooks fumble and rambled for 19 yards to "lock it up", 55-13.

Am I correct?- later that year, in the WC, the Colts finally won a playoff game beating the Broncos 41-10. You may recall, but probably not, #18 trying to pass to #88 for a TD on the Broncos 9 yard line when they were up slightly 38-3. But b/c it was incomplete and the Colts settled for 3 that's not running it up is it?-

or maybe earlier this year, Peyton airing it out for 45 yards to go up 24 points on a hapless Saints team. No big deal right, but Matt Giordano running back an INT 80 yards to cap a 41-10 squeaker. Now that's just plain mean and piling it on by Ron Meeks calling that play - under your definition - you'll have to agree that's running it up I suppose?No one like a hypocrite gentlemen. No one likes a hypocrite.

My response:

Rich, NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT DEFENSIVE SCORES. I, nor anyone I've ever heard of, begrudges defenders running scores back. Nobody cares that the Pats ran the fumble back for a score, that has nothing at all to do with the discussion. Can you not even follow what people are talking about? Geeze, compare apples to apples, smart guy. I'm not sure I have a big problem with Cassel throwing either. He needs game work just in case.

You bring up three games. . .

1. Colts/Saints in '03. Manning didn't play the 4th quarter.


3. The Saints game this year. The score, was 27-10 with more than 10 minutes to play. 17 points and 10 minutes is not the same as 38. How is that remotely similar? 17 points against a good offensive team isn't that much, but then again we actually have a qb who's won games with touchdown drives, so we know that. (did ya' know Brady's never done that?).

Brady should not have thrown a pass in the fourth quarter of that game. That's been the standard for years. For three quarters, anything is fair game. The fourth quarter is different. The funny thing is, it's not just bad sportsmanship, IT'S FREAKING STUPID. One of these days, Brady's going to get popped for doing that, and you'll all be crying that your coach is a psycho. So next time you call some one a hypocrite, get the facts right or at least understand the points of the discussion.

Demond Sanders: I just wrote a nearly identical response in the comments section. Pretty weak effort by Rich, but thanks for reading.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My buddy's angry rant

My good friend Paul steps in with today's insane Patriots rant of the day. Honestly, his furor is so intense right now, that I'm just going to print what he says unedited.

The sleeveless-one actually had to fight from showing his shock and dismay that the league was really going to enforce this rule, however weakly. He never apologized, not to anyone. It is standard practice now for anyone in sports to throw out a mea culpa even if they were just pulled over for speeding on the way to the stadium.

He probably admitted that he sent someone up there to film and gave a smug "So what?". All of this after the commish sent a memo clarifying and highlighting the rule just weeks earlier (which was most likely a preemptive wrist slap directed at their franchise exclusively). There are written rules in sports and their are unwritten rules in sports. Anyone who has played sports knows that. He was pinned for breaking a written one and now he seems bent to break all the unwritten ones as his tantrum, because he knows that there is nothing anyone can do about it. In an attempt to run as far and as fast as possible from the allegations of being a illegitimate dynasty, they have become the biggest jerks of the NFL. Can anyone say Barry Bonds?

Hating this team is now so easy, not because of the cheating allegations, but because they are intentionally breaking all of the unwritten rules of the game. They have become so unsportsmanlike in a misguided effort to save face, that even their fan base has to question their mindset. If you are up by 17+, your offense has to switch to clock management, by 25+, you pull your starters and for goodness sakes on 4th and 3 in the red zone, kick a field goal! How does Bellicheck answer his remaining fans if Tom gets injured in the 4th quarter? Tom wanted to stay in because he was going for a personal record? Brady can have all the records that Bill is willing to let him get, but if they don't win the SuperBowl after this drunken rampage of a season, it will be very difficult for reputations to recover.

The NFL is a team sport, so the only bragging rights are championship rings. New England now permanently has a cloud of doubt hanging over their wins and they are pissed, but they should be pissed at their coach, not the rest of the league. Just like a good cult follower, it is always the guy from the ATF's fault that I am wearing a grenade belt and a gas mask.

The Colts are going to have an easy time finding their motivation to play hard and well. They are the underdogs despite what the stats and recent history would teach, but in all honesty, we should be thankful. I lay awake at night dreaming of the Pat's going for it on 4th and 3 in the redzone with Brady still in the game late with a lead, and on the snap the Zombie finds a seam and makes Brady pay helmet to helmet! Damn the league fines! Sometimes you have to smack a drunk to wake him up enough so he can drive himself home.

This is not a showdown between two teams. It is a showdown between two philosophies of sports and what is really sad is that the Pats team can't see that they are just Bill's pawns in a sick tyrade. Win or lose, when you know that you can still beat teams and be respected in the league, why would you choose the other route? If you tarnish the game in the process of winning, that is what everyone will be talking about long after the season is over, even if you win the big one.

Yikes. Paul is mad. And so we all are. There is only one right way for this season to end, and the first step to getting there comes on Sunday afternoon. This is a two game season. Let's win the first one now.

Demond Sanders: Note to self - Never cross Paul.

I hate the Patriots

Seriously. I hate them. This latest run of the Patriots where they just want to screw every team, coach and player in the league has made them the ugliest and most despicable team I can ever remember. Seriously, it's like Belichick said, "Hey I was a huge A-hole and cheated! I embarrassed a former protegee so badly that he turned me in to the league for it! People questioned my integrity when all I did was lie! SCREW EVERYONE!". What kind of sick freak does that? This man is so warped, I seriously would believe he was capable of anything at this point. It's going to end badly for him. If 10 years from now, he isn't trolling down I-90 in a Silver Bronco with Brady next to him, screaming into his IPhone that the cops should stay back, I'll shocked.

I've hated teams before. I've never hated one like this. Friday, we'll release 88 Reasons why we hate the Patriots. If you want to submit one, email it (DON'T PUT IT IN THE COMMENTS) to us at

Here's the first run of links today:
  • Peter King is smoking a ton of crack. Among other things, he thinks the Colts couldn't possibly win in Foxborough in January. Actually, I think they have a better chance winning a game against this NE team in bad weather than NE does playing well. I also fail to see why routinely running up the score on teams makes you 'invincible'. I don't know what will happen this week, but as long as the game is close, I don't think it settles anything.
  • John Clayton says the Skins had more communication problems. Seriously, when is this going to explode in the league office?
  • CHFF had the line of the day: Then there was Tampa Bay, which had scored one for the NFC by beating Tennessee a couple weeks ago, but lost at home yesterday to a Jacksonville team led by Quinn Gray, Medicine Woman.

Ultimate Showdown

Of Ultimate Destiny

Worst Series Ever

This debacle they call the Fall Classic reminded me of the 1990 series with the Reds and As. Blowout, close game, blowout, close game. Unfortunately, that series had an awesome upset as the red hot underdog destroyed the favorite who had swept too early and was off for a week. This year, the underdog sat down a week and it showed. Blech.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Shocker: The Pats have no class

Leading 38-0 with nine minutes to play Tom Brady is still in the football game. He's going deep and winging the ball all over the field. It's fourth and 1 from the five yard line and Brady is motioning that they should go for it. Really? Because you do know that you're up 38 points. . . Across the field Joe Gibbs wears an astonished look on his face. A hilarious mixture of fury and wonder.

Brady QB sneaks for the first down. He then throws a touchdown to Wes Welker to take a 45 point lead. The Patriots finally pull the offensive starters, but they continue to the throw the ball with backup QB Matt Cassel.

I am stunned at what I just saw. Did I imagine this?

UPDATED: Mike Freeman of weighs in on this issue. Interesting stuff. I love how the Pats act so confused about what the proper conduct is in this situation:

When asked about the two fourth-down plays specifically, Belichick said: "What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?"

Well, yeah. When did that become a crime against humanity?

"It's 38-0," he added. "It's fourth down. (We're) just out there playing. (We're) just out there playing."


Colts 31 - Panthers 7

Panthers Game Thoughts

1.) Dominating start by the Panthers. The rest factor is showing up early. The Panthers stick to runs and short passes. Carolina takes an amazing 11 minutes and 18 plays to finally score the touchdown.

2.) Nice return by Rushing. The Colts need to get something on this drive. Clark drops a makeable catch. Huge third down. Another incomplete to Clark.

3.) HUGE TURNOVER. Carolina unwisely fields a bouncing punt. The returner never has it and he is hit by about four Colts players. Colts recover at the Panthers' 20 yard line.

4.) The Colts get it down to the two yard line and can't punch it in. I hate the play call to throw from the two yard line. Reggie Wayne is double covered and runs out of room in the back of the end zone. I would have like to seen them run it two more times (including fourth down). Huge stop for the Panthers.

5.) Third and 12 for the Panthers, after two nice run stuffs. The Colts don't fall for the screen play at all. BIG TIME STOP.

6.) Three and out for the Colts. They look horrible on offense, thus far. Harrison's absence is noticeable. Dallas Clark has seen double coverage, and Peyton may not be comfortable throwing to Gonzalez.

7.) The Panthers offense stalls out after two incompletions from Testaverde. Bethea had a chance to pick both throws. Nice plays. CB Tim Jennings has not played well.

8.) Random, back-breaking fumble by Utecht.

9.) HUGE INTERCEPTION BY BETHEA. It was 3rd and 4 from the 10 and Testaverde made a horrible decision.

10.) Three and out for the Colts, backed up inside their own five. Peyton Manning is having one of his worst days in recent memory. He hasn't had time to throw thanks to the struggles of Charlie Johnson at Left Tackle.

11.) Colts get the ball back. The ensuing drive sees the Colts get some semblance of a rhythm going on offense, despite crucial drops by both Keith and Addai. Reggie Wayne catches a ball tipped up in the air, intended for Aaron Moorehead. A play later, a 32 yard pass to Wayne sets up first and goal. TOUCHDOWN JOSEPH ADDAI.

12.) Amazingly, the Colts are leading at the half. Hats off to the defense. They don't always start hot, but they have an uncanny knack of getting better as the game goes on. Manning is a very shaky 5 for 14 for 88 yards. It looks like he is playing in Foxboro in January. He has no time to throw. Everyone is dropping passes, not to mention the random fumbles. Colts lead 10 - 7.

13.) Opening kickoff of the half is out of bounds. Colts start at the 40 yard line. First play a 28 yard catch by Wayne. Big thid down. Manning catches Carolina with 12 men on the field. Doesn't matter as he hits Clark for the completion. First and Goal. A neatly designed dump off to Addai gives the Blue a 10 point lead.

14.) David Carr enters the game for Carolina. Remember all the halftime adjustments? Throw them out the window. BIG HIT BY MARLIN JACKSON. A catch and a fumble by the TE King, but a whistle stops the play. Dungy is livid. They won't let him challenge the call on the field. Carolina Punts after a three and out.

15.) Random, back-breaking fumble by Kenton Keith. Colts challenge that he never had possession. Call is reversed, setting up a 3rd and 8. Tipped away from Wayne by LB Jon Beason. That's the third great pass breakup by Carolina. Also, the Colts receivers have many drops.

16.) AWESOME. All the negativity of the day washes away in a single flick of Manning's wrist. Reggie Wayne catches a 59 yard bullet from Manning to put the Colt up 24-7. Great footwork from Peyton in the pocket.

17.) Manning gets thrown ruthlessly to the ground by Jenkins. Roughing the passer. Peyton takes a timeout and gets smelling salts on the sideline. Scary moment.

18.) This will forever known as "that one drive when Peyton had a concussion." Joseph Addai scampers into the end zone from 12 yards out on 3rd down. Colts take an insurmountable 31 - 7 lead.

Carolina Pregame

Huge game today against the 4-2 Carolina Panthers of the NFC South. The Colts have an oppurtunity to start the season 7-0. How about this: All but one of their opponents (Jacksonville) has been in first place on the day they played the Colts. With games against New England and San Diego coming up it looks like that unfortunate theme will continue.

Injuries of note: Starters Marvin Harrison and Freddy Keiaho are out today. The Panthers are down a couple LBs including Pro Bowler Dan Morgan and they have lost QB Jake Delhomme for the season.

Stat of the day: Vinny Testaverde is playing in his 21st NFL Season. He has thrown 271 TDs and 261 interceptions. Peyton Manning is playing in his 10th NFL season. He has thrown 286 TDs and 142 interceptions.

Prediction: I know very little about the Panthers off the top of my head. Does anyone for that matter? That's the only thing that concerns me about this game. When you take a deeper look at their team you realize that they are the same team they have always been under John Fox. They run the ball frequently and effectively. This sets up to be a repeat of the Jacksonville game. Unlike Jack Del Rio's questionable strategy, I expect Fox to stick with the run. As far as we know, it is still the best way to slow down the Colts. Steve Smith will be good for a score, but it will be the Colts rushing attack that decides the game. Colts 27 - Panthers 19.

Just hand them the ESPY now

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Better late than never...

Eyes in the Backfield is up. There were some links here and there today, but nothing I really feel jazzed about passing on. The there was a nice summary of some national opinions in the today. My quote of the day comes from a meeting with a radio exec doing a focus group. I'm not making this up:

If you want to bleed listeners, put on a Fever game. We could go around and hit people in the head repeatedly until they changed the channel from our station, or we could just put on a Fever game. It's a lot faster.

WNBA action. . . it's faaaaaaaantastic!

Also, I want to take a break from my normal fare and recommend the Darjeeling Limited. If you like Wes Anderson, you won't be disappointed. If you don't, then I doubt this will turn your crank. I love Anderson movies, and put this at #2 behind Tenenbaums. That's no criticism. I went to see it with my friend Tim and it was amusing to see the whole theater was basically 25-30 year old guys seeing a movie with their buddy. There were like 2 women in the theater. We fit the target demographic pretty much to a T.

Wow, with this level of personal detail, it's practically a chick blog now. Sorry about that. Just read Eyes in the Backfield. That's all I really wanted to say.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just can't get it done

I finally made it back to Indy today, only to find that leaving my dad in charge of Tivoing the game Monday was fruitless. Anyway, there won't be a podcast this week, it's just too late in the week, and we don't even have a tape of the game. We'll come back this Tuesday with the Panthers game.

As a consolation, here are some more links:
Whitlock is still begging for Jeff George, and more interestingly, insinuates that the ex-QBs are getting sick of the ESPN hype. I've noticed this as well.

John Clayton talks traps.

John D comes through again with a couple of nice reads:
QB skill? Nah, pick 'em on face value.

Not everybody thinks that QBs are the end all and be all.

I also went and posted the Trip to the Hole article on a Jags message board. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's a TRAP!

Listen to Admiral Ackbar. He knows just what the Colts are up against. The biggest trap ever. Observe:

A) They play a team in Carolina which faces one of the worst quarterback controversies ever. . . Do they choose the old crappy guy who is color blind or the young crappy guy who wears creepy white gloves?

B) The Colts play AFC favorites New England and San Diego in back to back games, following their blowout win over Carolina.

C) See? I already chalked up the win.

Breaking news

ESPN just relayed that Corey Simon is announcing his retirement. Oh well, at least the Colts will still have him on the books next year!


There's been a lot of great stuff out there in the comments section this week, and I wanted to bring some of it to the front page. . .

John (who is a link sending beast) says the rumor is Dom is about to get cut from the Raiders. I feel bad for him. I'm glad he got a decent signing bonus, and I really hope he can get his life put back together. He also commented about whether people debated about Marino/Elway/Montana back in the day:

Where would we have held such arguments? Without the pervasive, interactive technology underpinning today's World Wide Web, there was no way to effectively hold a national argument except through media intermediaries or the ballot box. Now that everyone has their own personal soapbox to stand on and be heard globally, we need more and easier topics to argue about. I can't make an informed judgment on global warming, but I can root for Peyton.

Good points man! He also sends this link about Manning, Brady and Favre beating 31 teams if they all win this weekend.

That led to a great anonymous comment from a reader who says:

No QB has ever beaten one team, much less 31. Football is the ultimate team game. The more the media morons focus on QBs and spread the myth that they win or lose games, the more they diminish the game and reduce it to a cartoon.

I totally agree man, but this is the world we live in. Other than maybe Red Grange back in the day, I'm not sure that anyone can really win a football game by himself.

Funtimes gave us this great article from Yahoo sports of all places.

Zac says: Just don't disparage the Pats by accusing them of cheating again. If they get any more worked up they may end up killing players from opposing teams.

That made me laugh man.

An anonymous reader sent us this link to the foul mouthed Jets blog "Kissing Suzie Kolber." I'm reposting it due to it's Sun Tzu value.

CB says: Be glad you saw the game in person, and didn't have to put up with the ESPN crew. Kornhole kept having to interrupt his adulation of the Pats and Brady with an occasional nod to the actual game being played.As for the week-seven crowning of the Cheatriots, I thought I'd take a shot at setting the record straight.(It's a take on your CHFF margin-difference post a while back, only more in-depth.)

Thanks man, nice work. I'm glad we don't have to rely on this kind of analysis for much longer, though. It'll be settled on the field.

Finally, thanks to the guys from college who found us by accident. It was great hearing from you, and I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

Oh, and here's some more links. . .

Freeney was AFC defensive player of the week this week. Shove it, Jeremy Green.
Vic has lost his mind, saying that the Patriots are running up the score just like the '04 Colts. Um, Vic, Manning was benched in the 4th quarter of all those games. The Pats are playing Brady until the end and throwing the ball all over the field. He's a lazy fool.

Road trip

It's up. Demond and I have put together a little recap of our day in Jacksonville on Monday. Special thanks to our brother-in-law Darnell for the pictures and video. I hope you all enjoy reading this retrospective more than we enjoyed the 'Hole. Bear in mind, everything in this document is true. I swear I didn't make any of it up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

That maniacal laughter...

is coming from Dwight Freeney. David Carr is his favorite target.

Hey, guess what? The Colts have a great D. They are #1 in the NFL in passing and #3 overall. The most impressive thing to me was the savagery they unleashed on the Jags WRs. They punished them for every catch.

The Czar wants to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I hate all the "shake everything up! No more conferences or leagues or divisions!" This talk occurs in every sport. Who cares? Why does it matter if the Colts beat the Pats in the Super Bowl or the AFC Championship game? I'm glad for the conferences. It gives some teams hope, and forces others to play white knuckle football all year. Let's say the Colts and Pats were in opposite conferences, or there weren't conferences at all. The Nov 4 game would be essentially meaningless, and both teams might hold back, not wanted to show anything to the other, knowing that even with a loss, they'd still get a bye and homefield all the way to Arizona. Now, they have to play two high stakes games for homefield advantage and the right to go to the Super Bowl. That rules.

Finally, more rumblings about cheating from the Pats. Seriously, I wonder if we haven't just seen the tip of the iceberg.

My old man rant of the day

When did I turn 60? The world is moving too freaking fast for me. By nature, I abhor hype. I realize that this works against my role as a blogger, in which I'm supposed to yell and bluster and rant and get all worked up over whatever. But by my nature, I get worn out when people start to get shrill. So now, I'm trying to write up my Jacksonville experience, still have to get 18 Plays out for this week, and come up with Eyes in the backfield for Friday, but the joke is...



Good Lord, people, can't we even just take care of the immediate crisis of playing a 4-2 team on the road 6 days after a physical game against Jacksonville? I swear my eye is twitching from the media coverage of Nov 4. Honestly, I've stopped even caring about who's better between Manning and Brady. Some of you older readers can help me out, but I don't remember these kinds of debates during the 80s and 90s when there was Montana, Elway, and Marino, and later Favre, Aikman and Young. Geeze, now those are great arguments, and maybe that's why they didn't happen with the same intensity, there were too many candidates. Or had we all just decided it was Joe Montana? Today, we have two real QBs and two real teams. With McNabb and Palmer struggling, there is no one even close to the Brady/Manning stratosphere.

All the hype might just kill me.

I'll have our recap of the weekend posted on 18t088 later today. 18 Plays will occur when Demond and I have time (maybe tomorrow night??). I'm really enjoying the emails and comments on the blog. They keep us working hard and having fun. Thanks.

Demond Sanders: By my count this is the seventh monster game between these teams (depending on if you count the regular season game of 2003 which took place before the teams were rivals). You know it is bad when even the fans of the teams involved are bored by the amount of coverage. The media should do us a favor and restrict it to the week leading up to the game. They won't, of course.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Things I saw and heard today (and some links)...

My essay on our time in the 'hole will be coming in a couple of days, but for now, here's a random list of stuff I saw on my trip through North Florida and Georgia today...

1. A van with a hand-written, cardboard sign in the window that said, "When a Clinton opens their mouth, crap comes out". Aside from the obvious grammatical questions, the weirdness of having the passion to go to the trouble of writing that out and displaying it in a van, is offset by the fact that the writer used magic marker and a piece of corrugated cardboard to do it.

2. A billboard that read: "Sausage! Just like Granddad used to make!".

3. An ESPN cross promotion between the World Series and Taco Bell. Huh? Nothing says baseball like Taco Bell! I'm not sure exactly who was promoting who. Or why.

4. An Atlanta sports talk show devoting hours to the Colts Patriots. The game is 10 days away and local shows from markets that have nothing to do with either team are dedicating hours to it. Um, anyone notice the Panthers and 'Skins? Oh wait, they are NFC teams...

5. A lot of random links for the day:
PK talks Colts Pats and now thinks Brady is better.
FO says the Colts and Pats are closer than people might think, and are basically separated by the Colts crappy kick coverage.
Foxsports keeps ranking the the Colts number 1.
Chadia disagrees with his colleagues rankings.
Len P loves the physicality of the D.
CHFF praising Peyton? Has the world gone mad???
Babies are getting into the Manning/Brady debate (Thanks John).
Hashmarks has lots of Colts/Jags stuff. Keep advancing pages as you read.
The Charlotte Observer has a great piece on Peyton. I've never heard of that Panthers offer for the 1998 #1 pick.

And finally, TMQ paints the Colts Pats in cosmic colors.

Steve Carell > Jack Del Rio

What 'Pay Back' is

Colts 29 - Jaguars 7

We came, we saw...

And it was every bit as bad as it looked. We obviously have loads to say about this game, but it's 2:20 AM, and I have to drive 9 hours to Chattanooga tomorrow, so it'll wait...the full report to come, and it will be worth the wait...

In the mean time, if you want some fun, head to Read Vic's postgame article. Siiigh, it makes me happy inside

Monday, October 22, 2007

What time is it?

IT'S GAME TIME! Yeah, we are getting excited down here in the Sunshine State. We'll be headed up to Jholeville this afternoon to annoy the locals. In the meantime, we'll content ourselves with links we stole off of some nice guys open wifi connection. If I knew where he was, I'd pay him because he's made my week a lot easier.

FO looks at two second year running backs. Question: why haven't the Patriots gotten KILLED for whiffing on Addai and Jones-Drew? They drafted an inferior injury prone RB, and no one says, geeze guys, bad pick? Because the pundits LOVED the move at the time (Simmons practically hyper-ventilated to say the Colts choked by not moving up in the draft to take him).

Kravitz was funny today. I think one of the weird developments in broadcasting has been the moronization of Tony Kornheiser. He is a smart, funny guy. His radio show was brilliant (ESPN radio has not recovered from losing it). I even like PTI, but Tony is really bad on MNF. It's all shtick. I never feel like he believes what he's saying. I think it must be the production or something, but he is not working.

Vic thinks this game IS the future of the franchise. Ayyy, what a dark future...

A couple of thoughts on the weekend: For crap's sake Cleveland, why don't you just put a bow on that game and give it away. And for everyone who killed Lou for yanking Zambrano, meet Eric Wedge and Jake Westbrook. THE BIGGEST MISTAKE MANAGERS MAKE IS LEAVING STARTERS IN TOO LONG. Happens all the time. What part of Westbrook's last start made Wedge think he was good for seven innings?

The Dolphins are ungodly bad. They had Moss double covered, and would just trip over themselves in the endzone. I watched that game thinking, geeze, this team is horrible a lot more than I thought about NE being good.

Watching the end of the Titans/Texans as told to me by the guys in the CBS studio was bizarre. By league rule, they couldn't show more than 4:15 of the game. That clock ran out with almost 2 minutes left. I spent the rest of the game watching them tell me what was happening, then showing replays. It was a great game, but a bizarre way to watch it. If any can find tape or a clip of this, let me know. It has to be seen to be believed.

Finally, a win tonight not only puts us basically 3 up on the division but 2 up on every team not named New England in the AFC. ARRRGH! We have to win this game!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

More links

Here's another Manning-Unitas piece (Sheesh, John! You are pulling them in from freaking Canada? Nice work).

If you are interested to hear what Tony says about Whitlock, check out our boy Phil B. It seems Big Sexy got his numbers wrong... GASP!

We topped 20,000 hits on our counter since February. Thanks for reading. We can tell everyone is getting anxious for Nov 4, because there have been a ton of comments and emails this week. The storm is gathering, and all the animals of forest are a twitter. Or something like that. I honestly can't imagine a more cataclysmic event than the two Colts Pats games this year. In honor of that, we will be publishing 88 reasons we hate the Patriots. If you care to contribute, email (don't post them in the comments) reasons you hate the Patriots to If they are funny enough or smart enough, but mostly original enough, they'll make the list. Pictures are a plus. I have a feeling we might have enough for two lists, one now, one in January.

We are juiced because the Hoosiers are ESPN! Sorry Comcast, not sure that'll be enough to save you in the long run...

Friday, October 19, 2007

From the mailbag...

There is a real badge of honor to being young enough to be a 1st generation Colts fan in Indianapolis. To be part of the select group, you have to basically be born between 1978-1982. Any younger, and there are folks who have been Colts fans longer. Any older, and you probably had a team before the Colts came to town (I had a Bears jacket when I was 5). We got this picture from stalwart fan Andrew, who wanted to show just how long he's been a Colts fan. His dad worked at Anderson in 1984 when the Colts did training camp, and at 2 years old, he was there every day. Kudos to you, Andrew. . . a real fan.

I want to throw a couple of links on too. Stan sent me couple of links to 'Brady is the greatest ever articles. I'll only inflict one upon the rest of you. Let's all be realistic folks, this debate is about to be over. I'll forever believe that Manning is the greatest ever, but if Brady goes to four rings, Manning will have to win three for most people to find in his favor. If however, the Colts go on to win this year, there can be no more debate. If Brady can't win with Randy Moss, he'll never win another one. There is more to say on this debate, but frankly I'm sick of it, and we'll have the answer soon enough.

He also thought John Clayton's First and 10 was good this week. I saw it earlier, but was too busy enjoying Florida to post it, but since he mentioned it too, I'll link it. The per drive numbers for Peyton are sick.

John D passed along this gem about Nos. 18 and 19. Apparently ex-Colts who played with Johnny Football wonder if Olivia Manning was stepping out.

Also, check out Len Pasquarelli's tip sheet this week. Lots of Colts/Jags stuff including a beat down of the Jags for being so whiny all the time.

Give credit where credit is due

LZ Granderson of Page 2 has a nice, short editorial comment today. I couldn't agree with him more. He summarizes the point we've been hammering for the past month:

I hear a low, steady cry in the distance. One that will undoubtedly pick up steam as the Sundays go by and the New England Patriots continue their march toward the Super Bowl.

"Tom Brady is MVP," is what it says. Well, I would like to introduce another cry to the chorus. "No he is not -- it's Randy Moss."

Brady has thrown an NFL-best 21 touchdown passes this season and leads the league in QB rating (128.9). Prior to this season -- his first with Moss -- Brady's career high in those categories was 28 and 92.6. Not to diminish what Brady has done, but this ain't nothing new.

In 1997, Marshall's Chad Pennington set an NCAA record for TD passes by a sophomore with 39 -- 24 caught by Moss. Those 24 TDs also set an NCAA record for most QB-to-WR combo scores in a season. In '98, Randall Cunningham had the finest season of his 16-year career, thanks in large part to Moss, who caught 17 of Cunningham's 34 TD passes. The Vikings went 15-1 with an NFL-record 556 points. Daunte Culpepper threw 64 TD passes in his two best seasons ('03 and '04), and Moss caught 30 of them.

I'm not saying Brady isn't an excellent quarterback, and I'm not saying he isn't worthy of praise for the Pats' incredible start. But put your man crush aside for a moment and think about this: while Brady may be the best quarterback Moss has ever played with -- this, according to Moss himself -- Brady might be playing with the best receiver anyone's ever played with.

Like HGH, Moss can take a very good player and make him an all-time great. And if you didn't reward Culpepper and Cunningham for their Moss-enhanced seasons, you certainly can't turn a blind eye to what No. 81 has done for Brady. But what you can do is give the skinny kid from West Virginia his long overdue credit and name him MVP.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quick links

Whitlock has left the building. I have no idea what to say about this article. Apparently, the Colts are successful because they are the whitest team in the NFL. They have the whitest fan base in the NFL maybe, but beyond that I can't really comment.

The Czar has seen the light. The Colts are legit and he knows it.

I can't make this stuff up

The Jags franchise is freaking hilarious. They can't even color coordinate correctly. Their home page is totally comical.

Wisdom never takes a holiday

Even on vacation, 18to88 is working hard for you. Eyes in the Backfield is up for this Monday's game. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The voice of a Vince Young fan

I've been having an interesting interchange with a Houston reporter named Chance who wanted to express why he's a fan of VY. We are usually amenable to allowing divergent viewpoints air time, and as we all always say, 'we don't hate Vince Young.' So without further ado, his comments:

Vince turns journalists into fans. I grew up loving the Longhorns, cheering for them, blah blah. Since Vince left it is like a veil was lifted and I could see UT the way the rest of the world saw it. Smarmy, rich jerk-offs with a dhady football program. I still root for them but not like I did by any stretch. Then the whole Texans/David Carr/Mario Williams FlusterCuck happens and I find myself drifting my allegiance to a team that I hate. S***...I have a CD out with a song called "I Hate The Titans" on it. I worked for The Texans last year. I know the players. I know the coaches. I know the brass. I love them all...they are real cool people. But when VY scored in overtime last year and jumped into the waiting arms of Texans fans in the stands I was happy. And I will be happy when The Titans beat the Texans this weekend. And if Vince is traded to the Raiders I will cheer for them probably although that would be a challenge. I have never been an individual over team guy but after I saw The Texans choke last years ace pick I realized that I would have more enjoyment rooting for an individual than a jacked up team.Phew. All in one breath.

That's cool man. And frankly sort of hilarious. As we said before, the Mario Williams pick was a Peyton Manning induced draft choice. Yet one more way Manning dominates like no other player in the game. Including Vince Young. Thanks for sharing.

In search of Jags fans...

As we noted, our posts will be few this week as we are living it up in Florida. Thanks for the great comments and stats posted by ya'all (hey, when in Rome...). Reader John wants you all to check out Michael Silver this week for more Brady/Manning blather.

Yesterday, we are eating dinner just out side of the 'hole (re: Jacksonville), when a lady approaches me. "You aren't a Colts fan are you?" What's your first clue, ma'am, the hat or the Harrison shirt I'm wearing? Finally, my first showdown with a Jags fan, what fun will ensue?! Why yes, yes I am a Colts fan. "Boo!" She says, "I'm a Patriots fan!"

Siiiiigh, I'm looking for some hi-larious Jhole fandom, and I'll I can find is more of the same Patriots crap. Oh well, welcome to Florida.

By the way, Phil B.'s blog yesterday about Manning dying is sort of hilarious. In the last week, I've seen stories on blogs about Marvin's knee being blown out and Peyton being dead. Crap like that makes me ashamed to be a blogger (well, that and the sheer geekdom of it-says the man wearing a "Vader was Framed" shirt this morning). Seriously, people, I know it was a bye week, but let's try to keep the insanity in check for a few days anyway. They'll be playing again soon enough, I promise.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Comcast has to say

Demond took it upon himself to contact Comcast and find out just what is going on with the Big 10 network fight. He received one thoughtful email, and then we replied with some counterpoints. We have yet to hear back on our objections. If you are interested in the conversation, you can find it here. As always we welcome your points of view and opinions.

The best it has ever been played?

Bill Simmons thinks the Patriots are in another stratosphere because they are blowing out team after team. "You haven't seen football played this well in a long time," he claims. He goes on to say, "As you might have heard by now, the Patriots are 6-0, they've outscored opponents by a 230-92 margin." Tom Brady threw 22 touchdowns during that span.

Wow Bill, that's unbelievable!

Unless you are a Colts fan, in which case such a run of excellence is a recent memory. Over six games in 2004 the Colts outscored their opponents by a devastating margin of 225-77. Peyton Manning threw 21 touchdowns in that stretch. The Colts were in the middle of an eight game winning streak. Indianapolis scored forty point or more in four consecutive games. Manning's play made it easy to forget about the defending champions who were in the middle of their own winning streak.

See what I'm getting at?

Monday morning - worse than usual

Avoid all forms of media today folks. It will only make you sick to your stomach.

Don Banks is hilarious today. "He'd never admit it in a thousand NFL Sundays, but for more than a few years now Tom Brady has chafed at the only slight he feels he's endured throughout his illustrious eight-year career." Brady hasn't had the numbers to make the Pro Bowl let alone have an MVP, until now. Now we have to start lying about how good Brady was in the past?

More crap on ESPN radio. Ron Jaworski was on there praising the Patriots. Fine. They deserve it. But the first thing out of his mouth is about their run game. He loves how they are so balanced and can run between the tackles. What? They averaged less than 3 yards per carry, and until garbage time it was much worse than that.

To make matters worse (or better depending on who you are) the Hoosiers are under fire again. Kravitz is calling for Sampson's head. I have a hard time getting too worked up about recruiting violations involving a dozen phone calls. I'm sorry, I just do. Also, I feel like the Knight-lovers just look for opportunities to whine "Knight was many things, but never a cheater!" Besides, IU did the right thing. They came down hard on Sampson. He said he would make compliance his first priority. He didn't, and now he looks like a liar. That's punishment enough. He is now one slip up away from the unemployment line.

Deshawn Zombie comments: Here's one to really piss you off. The editor of has basically said it's foolish to think the Colts can beat the Pats. Yikes.

Also, the Jags have already been thinking about this week's game.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A quick comment on Dusty...

I wanted to weigh in the Reds hiring Dusty. Other than Homer Bailey realizing that his career will be over in another two seasons (see Prior, Mark and Wood, Kerry), this is probably the right hire. I said before the hiring another JV manager just because the team responded to a guy getting fired was the wrong course. Dusty took the Giants to the series (a rare feat indeed), and if it wasn't for Cubs fans not understanding the rules of baseball, he would have had the Cubs there too. He is also a three time Manager of the Year. That's pretty amazing. Yeah, his team melted down at the end of the season a few years back, but then again, it is the Cubs, so everyone was sort of expecting it. I'm not thrilled like I would be if they had waited out the Yankees and offered the job to Joe Torre or Joe Girardi, but this is a whole lot better than the last THREE managers have been. Remember, this is a team that has employed both Bob Boone and Ray Knight as managers in the last 15 years.

Dusty ain't that bad at all.

I'm out of it for a little while...

anyone care to finish one of my favorite quotes? Anyway, this is a quick to post to say that as we travel down to Florida, and subsequently enjoy some family time before the showdown in J-holeville, I won't be posting much (maybe just ONCE a day!). Anyway, I'll leave you with this semi-bizarre article that 18to88 reader John came up with. It's from the Boston Globe, so remember that as you puke your way through the Brady passages. This is an example of why everyone hates the Patriots. New Englanders can make a compliment sound like a slap in the face.

By the way, the rest of that quote refers to the NE Pats who sealed the deal as the 2004 Colts with their shootout at Dallas today. It's hilarious how a team with no run game and no ability to stop the run is supposed to win in January in the cold. Geeze, maybe they should lose on Nov 4 on purpose. They don't have a cold weather team, and it'll be hi-freaking-larious when it comes crashing down. I can't wait.

Phil B. also has a great quote from Dungy on his blog about the timeout before a FG thing. Very good reasoning, Tony. I really wish that Bill Cowher had tried this tactic against Vandy. siiiiiigh

Cruelest month AKA Hell Tour 2007

The Colts were in great shape heading into the bye. However, after being forced to watch blow-outs by New England and Jacksonville it is easy to get the feeling that the AFC elite has gained ground on the Colts in a matter of hours.

We'll soon know where Indy stands in the conference. The next four weeks will help decide the Colts' playoff seeding.

@ Jacksonville (4-1)
@ Carolina (4-2)
New England (6-0)
@ San Diego (3-3)

That's correct. The Colts play three out of four on the road against teams who combine for a 17-6 record. The weak link, San Diego, is suddenly a team on a mission, led by the league's MVP. 5-0 could quickly turn into 6-3 if the Colts don't bring it next week in Jacksonville.

Finally, does anyone think it is a little strange that the Colts follow up a Monday night road game with ANOTHER road game against a team who is coming off a bye week? INSANE. I'm usually not a "They're out to get us" guy, but I'm with Bill Polian on this one. The Schedule Makers are nuts.

Deshawn Zombie Comments: The Colts have exactly ONE team left on their schedule with a losing record. Welcome to the N F freakin L. Every week is tough. Come January, this team will be well tested and ready to play. It's all going to be ok. . .

Bye Week Observations

  • Houston vs. Jacksonville is playing out as expected. The difference in the game is a surprisingly gutsy move by Del Rio. After the Jags take a narrow 7-6 lead late in the first half, they try a successful on sides kick. A field goal results.

  • Vince Young has a fumble and a pick, but Dan Dierdorf is still raving about his play. Luckily for Jeff Fisher the Bucs have had no success against the vastly underrated Titans Defense.

  • Jacksonville and Tennessee are making a strong push for both wild card spots in the AFC. As I type this Vince Young pulls a hammy while running out of bounds. Kerry Collins comes in the game. Garcia puts Tampa up 7 points with a 70 yard score to Galloway.

  • This would be a costly loss for Houston. They would fall to 3-3 in a tough division. They have struggled since losing Andre Johnson in Week 2.

  • Let the hype begin. 4-1 Jacksonville hosts the 5-0 Colts in a battle for first place. David Gerrard is having an effective, but unspectacular year under center. That's all the Jags need out of him. The Jaguars are back to running the ball and defending the run. Boring.

  • Kerry Collins enters for Tennessee. He is winging the ball all over the field. Maybe the Titan receivers don't suck after all. He is playing better than Jeff Fisher could have hoped for. He throws for 100+ yards and gives the Titans a chance to tie the game with 2 minutes to play. Ronde Barber has an interception overturned by replay for the second time in the half. Lendale White's touchdown run caps a 13 play drive to tie the game at 10 with one minute to play.

  • The Jags love throw to their backs. On back to back plays Maurice Jones Drew and Greg Jones make grabs for a combined 52 yards. This really ends any chance Houston had of mounting a comeback. The Jags pour it on for a blow out win.

  • Jeff Garcia leads an impressive field goal drive to win the game, 13-10. The Colts will play next Monday night for a two game lead over the entire division.

  • The bad news: Jacksonville is in a groove. Get ready for the "375 yards rushing" crap from the media. This is a more important game than the New England battle next month. This is a potential watershed moment in the AFC South. Lose and Colts are no longer the undisputed kings of the South. They need a win to restore the natural order of things.

  • The good news: if the Colts can pull out a win they send the Jags off on a three game road trip.

  • I propose a new statistical category. A "suck" is when you have a pick or fumble run back for a score. Tom Brady has tallied one suck this game. Philip Rivers just had one too. Dallas is very much in the game despite SEVEN first half penalties.

  • Dallas has imploded with four more costly penalties in the third quarter. A pass interference gives the Pats first and goal. An offensive holding penalty destroys the following drive for Dallas. A roughing the passer penalty sets up a Patriots field goal. On the next drive an illegal shift kills a big gain to Owens. Later, on the first play of the fourth quarter a holding penalty kills a huge fourth down conversion. I've never seen anything like it.
  • Incomplete pass to Moss in the end zone. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms should be censured as a result their poor work in this game. They have no idea what they are looking at on their replay screen.

  • New England comes away with the victory, but there are some chinks in their armor. Their D gave up a generous 7 yards per rush. On offense they averaged only 2.5 yards per carry. Not a good formula come playoff time. Dallas played well on offense, but 12 penalties for 98 yards was too much to overcome.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

950 86ed?

1.) WIBC announced early this week that it would switch its current content (news & talk) over to 93.1 FM (currently the horrible RadioNow). It will at least temporarily be known as WIBC FM.

2.) 1070 AM will now become a sports talk station with ESPN's content as its anchor programming.

3.) I was listening to JMV on 1260 WNDE on Friday and he discussed 1070's big shake up. He said he is surprised that ESPN is pulling the rug out from under Greg Rakestraw and the boys at 950. He was complementary of his chief competitor, but said he has no idea what this means for the future.

4.) As far as I can tell, ESPN 950 has yet to change its name or its programming. So that leaves us with some big question marks.

950 does a solid job. It has a far weaker radio signal than 1260, but it makes up for it with original programming and a focus on high school and college sports in Central Indiana. I'm not the biggest fan of ESPN's national weekday content. Mike and Mike are annoying. Cowherd basically admits he doesn't know that much about the NFL. Mike Tirico is classy, but boring. That said, I still listen every day when I'm driving around at work. It would be difficult to create ad revenue without these shows. That leaves me with doubts about the future of the station.

If anyone can shed any light about this situation hit us up at I'm interested in finding out what the heck is going on.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kind of like Sophie's Choice

Did I say I wouldn't write about Bill Simmons for the rest of the year? Sorry. But I have to bring up his latest bird cage lining effort. Read it and say it with me: No one gives a crap about Boston sports. The Celtics made a desparate PR move. The Pats are about to go 3 years in a row without a title, lamely forcing the media to say "they've won 3 out of the last 7 titles." The Red Sox, on the other hand, should win it all this year.

Thus, BS's column forces even proud Cleveland-haters like us to rethink everything we took for granted. We could never under any circumstances root for the Indians, right? Well, DZ will probably still root for the Red Sox in the ALCS. He really hates Cleveland. I do too, but buy me a LBJ jersey and direct me to the dawg pound because I'm rooting for the Tribe this week. It was a tough decision, but Bill Simmons made it a lot easier. Besides, we all know C-town will blow it in the Fall Classic.

Vince Young Files Vol 3

I think we were all a little amused at VY just winning this past Sunday. His team managed to survive his horrible 3 pick performance, and moved to 3-1. Check out the newest installment of our ever popular (at least with us) Vince Young files to find out whether or not he actually helps the Titans win. Hint: He doesn't.

Roughin the Passer.

A real horse collar tackle here. 15 yards and an automatic...oh wait, wrong sport.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sick of the Comcast ads

I gotta tell you, I don't really care who wins the pissing match between the Big 10 network and Comcast, but Comcast's latest commercials are driving me nuts. Stop telling me how many games you are showing 'for free'. First off, they aren't free if I pay for cable. Secondly, it's demeaning to say, "you don't really need those IU games, because we are playing all the NFL Playoffs!". I'm not saying that they should cave to the Big 10, I'm just saying they shouldn't treat us like idiots. They accuse the Big 10 Network of being misleading, but so are they. Those commercials make it sound like they are doing us a favor by playing so many games, and how dare anyone not be grateful to them for serving us so faithfully. Plus, the voice of the guy doing the commercials is condescending. I hate being talked down to, and really hope Comcast takes it in the shorts with people switching to DirectTV, for no other reason than they are annoying.

Demond Sanders: This has been bothering me for months. Of course, they are pulling this stunt right in the middle of the only Hoosier football season worth watching in 20 years. They have until the start of the basketball season to get it settled or I'm switching to DirectTV. I already have one good reason to switch: NFL Sunday Ticket. If they give me two good reasons it's over.

I hate Comcast's moronic commercials, too. Listen to how they word it, "We already show the best of these games." They are referring to the best of college football in general, but in context they make it sound like the B10 Network is re-airing games Comcast already shows. Jerks.

When is a vacation not a vacation?

On Tuesday I'm taking my first week off work since March 2004. For the record, that's an astonishing 1,290 straight days without a vacation. So where do I choose to go when I want a week of peace and quiet? Jacksonville, of course. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with these fine citizens:

Nice call, Deshawn Zombie.

Bye Week Blahs

It's Thursday, and instead of trying to keep my eyes in the backfield, I relegated to pounding out another edition of the Vince Young Files. Siiiiigh. Here's stuff I'm finding around the web today...

Mike Sando throws out a couple of lists about who are the toughest players to game plan around. Dwight Freeney, Harrison and Wayne show up on the list, but the unquestioned #1 is #18. I agree with one footballoutsider reader who thinks that Manning and Brady shouldn't be on this list. You can't keep the ball out of their hands. If you force the Colts to run, have you really controlled Manning? I think that Randy Moss is the toughest guy to game plan against, because of the whole freakish height thing. I don't think you can really do anything about a QB, unless you station a linebacker between him and the center. Although that would conceivably lead to a lot of offside calls.

There's a nice article in the Dallas Morning News about spiraling QB ratings. It also has some cool Colts related stuff in it, along with kind words for AG.

CHFF says the Colts are the number one offense because of a janky point differential system. Didn't FO just say this two days ago using complex stats that analyze every play? Oh well, it's good to be first, I guess.

I wondered if this might not happen: Whitlock is banging the drum for local legend Jeff George. I go back and forth on Whitlock, but his undying devotion to his boy Jeff George is endearing to me.

Clark Judge loves Dallas Clark. Geeze who doesn't? The man is a beast.

ESPN 950s Greg Rakestraw was on Jeremy Green's podcast today. Greg is good. JG is not. Ever.

Reader Stan also threw us this terrific interview of Tony Dungy in the Minnesota paper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Go Play

18 Plays is up for this week. As always, you can download it here. Or go to ITunes to subscribe. We won't be doing a podcast next week simply because there won't be a game and we'll be on the road to Florida, so stock up 18to88 while you can.

More good stuff from readers

Alert 18to88 reader Stan writes:

don't know if you saw this last month.

"If Leinart slips, he'll have running back Edgerrin James in at least one ofhis ears.James played seven years in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning, who is maniacal in his preparation, and James isn't shy about sharing stories of Manning's work ethic with Leinart."I want to ride all the way to the top with him," James said. "I won't let him breathe or give him a chance to slack off. I'll be in his ear constantly, regardless of how he takes it. I really don't care how somebody takes something."This is what we got to have. I've been around the best quarterback in the game, and if you want to be the best you have to do what the best do. And there's only one person on this team who knows what the best quarterback has been doing. I was there for seven years and I know everything, and Matt's going to know everything."

Stan was also responsible for the Minnesota article and these great quotes from the Bucs about #18. Thanks man. Very nice work.
Wow, that's awesome. Just one more reason everyone around Indy will always love and feel good about the Edge. I really appreciate all you sending in cool articles from around the country. Keep it up! We've gotten some good stuff from everywhere this week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guess who has the best offense in football?

Yeah, you got it. The Horse rolls on in this week's DVOA ratings. The Colts sit at #2 over all, and #1 in offense (10 on D). Again, it's amazing to me that there even exists a Manning/Brady debate. Brady has had unquestionably the five greatest games of his career right? He has been on fire for five weeks. And guess what? He still can't pass Manning in DPAR and Manning is still running a more efficient offense. And this is a normal season for #18. One guy's absolutely insane, Randy Moss induced best is not as good as another guy's typical season. Hmmmm.

Also there is a nice photo of Dungy/Manning after the Tampa Miracle on SI. Tony's got this look on his face like, "Are you kidding me? This guy is amazing."

Demond Sanders: Don't forget that Manning has now played 6 quarters of football (30% of the current season) without his #1 receiver.

For those that care...

here is a fascinating article about the US Women's Soccer team and the controversy surrounding their ignominious exit from the World Cup. I know what you're thinking: "Seriously, women's soccer? If I read this article, a giant can of beer might fall on my head". That is undeniably true, but here's some reasons that you should read it anyway:

1. It involves a chick with the coolest name ever. Hope Solo? Are you kidding me? She might be the daughter of Han and Leia. That's pretty freaking sweet. If women's soccer had more players named Solo, Skywalker, Organa, or Palpatine I might give a rip about it.

2. It involves the humiliation of a team that was sort of over hyped by the media (I'm looking at you ESPN).

3. It shows some of the problems with thinking that women's soccer will ever be a serious sport in this country.

4. The actually controversy was pretty cool. A player openly mocking her coach for one of the worst decisions in the history of sports is compelling. Then, they had the temerity to suspend her for the final game. ARE YOU SERIOUS? She was just saying what everyone else was thinking. Seriously, if anyone actually cared about women's soccer, this decision has to be up there with Grady Little not yanking Pedro or Travis Best deciding he was going to take the last shot against the Lakers in game 4 of the 2000 finals.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Run 3 Times!

You heard it here first: I reversed field and began rooting for the Dallas Cowboys tonight late in the fourth quarter. That doesn't happen often. Usually I know who I'm rooting for and why, but the Buffalo Bills deserved to lose tonight. That was terrible clock management. With 6:21 to play the Bills had a 3rd and 8 down in the red zone. Instead of running the ball, using clock, and kicking a field goal Buffalo decides young Trent Edwards should drop back and try to make a play. Instead of an eleven point lead it's an interception. Amazingly Dallas bails them out with a fifth Romo pick.

With 3:50 seconds left in the game the Bills are up 8 points with the football. Its third and long and they have the opportunity to run 40-odds seconds off the clock by running Marshawn Lynch up the middle for no gain. Instead they pass. Incomplete. Clock stops. Dallas is left with an eternity and they use every second of it, scoring twice to win the game.

Coach Dungy says most NFL games are lost and not won. The Bills proved this tonight. NFL coaches are extremely busy, but they would do themselves a favor by reading Greg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback once in a while. Sometimes all you need to do is run the ball three times into the line and everything will be okay.

Unfortunately this leaves Dallas in a bad spot. They are coming off an emotional win on a short week of rest. Their reward? The New England Patriots. Sounds like trouble to me. Then again the Pats are a part of the AFC East. Which is just. . . wow. . . horrible.

Stay classy, Mike Vrabel

The Cleveland Browns O-line is mad at Mike Vrabel of the Patriots for diving at Joe Thomas' knees in the waning seconds of the contest. I could not find a video of the alleged cheap shot on YouTube, so here's a random clip of Tom Brady embarrassing himself at camp. Enjoy.

Limbaugh at it again

Every one's favorite "Round Mound of Sound", Rush Limbaugh, is flapping his lip again. Check out his latest incendiary comments:

Upon naming Tom Brady one of the most overrated players in the NFL, Limbaugh elaborated:
"I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a gay quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in Brady and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Rush! How dare you! Tom Brady is a fine quarterback and probably not that gay at all. Even if he is a tad alternative in his lifestyle, that's his choice, and 18to88 supports Tom Brady's right to be as gay as he wants to be. It's no hair off our chest, though possibly some off his, since we hear he waxes.

Demond Sanders: Yet again Limbaugh has it all wrong. Tom Brady is straight. Chris Collinsworth on the other hand might not be. Any one catch his detailed praise of Brady's sex appeal on Football Night in America last night?