No Sleep Till Football

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4 Downs – Leach, Peyton, Polian & The Colts

1st Down – Mike Leach suspended for Alamo Bowl

It’s getting really interesting with players coming out about being mistreated by their head coaches. The idea of “tough love” is an outdated concept without a doubt so it’s not surprising to see old school coaches like Mark Mangino, Jim Leavitt & Mike Leach take some heat for their supposed behavior towards players. Texas Tech HC Mike Leach will be suspended for the Alamo Bowl game in which his Texas Tech Red Raiders were to take on Michigan St. Apparently WR Adam James told his mommy & daddy that his mean old coach put him in a dark room and that wasn’t fair!

My first question, is that is this even a story if James’ father wasn’t Craig James, an ESPN college football analyst? My second question is that Craig James might be THE WORST COLLEGE FOOTBALL ANALYST OF ALL TIME and is it any surprise that a D-bag like Craig James would make this into a story?

None of this really makes sense to me. The James’ side of the story says that James came to practice one day with sunglasses on and Leach didn’t like it. James told Leach that he was supposed to wear sunglasses because of his concussion type syndromes and Leach then locked him up in a closet for 2-3 hours on 2 different days.

Leach’s attorney says that wasn’t the case and that James was put into dark cool rooms where he could not be exposed to the harsh glaring rays of the sun! On one day an exercise bike was provided.

My only question about all of this is James’ story. So he says that Leach put him in a dark closet? I mean, Adam James is listed at 6’3/220lbs and he’s saying that Leach had a trainer hold him in a closet? I don’t think anyone is telling James to do anything without his consent.

Why wouldn’t James just leave if he was being treated like that? Why wouldn’t James just transfer out? If he had that many beefs with Leach, then how can James stay at Texas Tech over this one episode?

The other question I’d have is that it sounds to me that James was showboating a bit. He shows up to practice wearing shades like some sort of spectacle on the sidelines. For a coach like Leach, you know it’s going to piss him off. If James was truly concerned about his health, why not just stay home and tell the coaching staff that his concussions syndrome is so bad that he’d rather simply not get out of bed?

Which begs the next question. James is the only football player on the Texas Tech squad who is suffering from concussion type symptoms? With the proliferation of stories about concussions and football, you can be sure that 10-12 guys on the Texas Tech roster are probably suffering from some type of concussion type problems.

James was the only one wearing sunglasses on the sideline like some type of clown.

I’m not arguing that James should have suited up and taken a couple of hits to the head, but the guy is a wideout. Why not tell the coaching staff that the doctor ordered you to wear sunglasses and not take any hits the head. In that regard, James should have told Leach something like this:

“Coach, the doc told me my head is all screwed up with concussion type syndromes. He said I can’t take shots to the head and I have to wear sunglasses. Can we get an equipment guy to put some shades in my helmet attached to my face mask? I at least want to put in a great workout by running routes, catching passes and being a part of the team. I want to be an example to my teammates that concussions are bad, but you can also work your ass off without putting yourself in more danger. I’ll catch balls all damn day if you want, but I’m not taking a day off.”

My guess is that James didn’t say that. My guess he was clowing on the sidelines like an ass. I’m all for believing that kids should take it easy with the shots to the noggin, but I’m very much inclined to side with Leach on this one.

2nd Down – Despite the Critics, Belichick Will Win #4

I hate to say it, but we are going to get Baltimore & New York in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens are going to play the Raiders which should be a win, while the Jets take on Cincinnati at home which should be another win. That puts the AFC like this:

1)Colts 2)Chargers 3)Patriots 4)Bengals 5)Jets 6)Ravens

The Ravens get a raw deal in that they have to go to New England where the Patriots will win that game. The Jets then travel to Cincinnati and I’m going to say the Jets win that game. If that happens then the divisional matchups will be Jets @ Colts & Patriots @ Chargers.

The Colts will not lose twice at home to the Jets. The Patriots will be San Diego because of Norv Turner. That sets up a Patriots @ Colts AFC Championship game. The Colts already beat New England at home this season, but it was a fairly lucky 35-34 win. It featured the infamous 4th & 2 call that Belichick went for and the Patriots failed. Unfortunately I thought the Patriots receiver got the 1st down so my thought process is that the Colts stole won.

More importantly though is the brashness of Jim Caldwell & Bill Polian in giving the game away to the New York Jets. The bottom line in all of this is that you have Bill Belichick or Jim Caldwell to choose from in this AFC Championship game. It’s not really that much of a choice.

3rd Down: Bill Polian = Giant Ass

Two great posts about Colts Team President Bill Polian from Pro Football Talk & Stampede Blue. Stampede Blue makes some crazy good points:

To start, Bill Polian’s relationship with fans is now severely damaged. It might not even be salvageable. Hoosiers do not take kindly to people belittling their opinions, which is what Polian has done these last 24 hours to Colts fans. I also do not think he or the other powers-that-be in the Colts organization really knew just how much fan backlash there would be against this decision. They seem to be genuinely dumbstruck that people would be this pissed because the Colts pissed away a game.

Stampede Blue is right. How does the Colts as an organization repair the damage done to them in this manner? The thing that really bothered me about all of this is that the Colts as an organization didn’t care at all about the paying customer. The Indianapolis fans showed up and sold out Lucas Oil only to get a half of football with guys like Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, & Reggie Wayne. Heck, Joseph Addai barely ran the ball. Dwight Freeney didn’t play that much.

Should Colts fans be outraged about this? I think so. Professional sports is populated with people who have to have gigantic egos because they simply think the masses will come to games no matter how bad the product or how much they piss on the heads of the fans. I really can’t get over it really. We should just say thank you and keep making their pockets fatter?

It’s crazy. I’ve thought really hard about going to a Colts game recently, but I’ve decided that the only Colts games I would go to is if Indianapolis plays the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots. The Cowboys because they are my favorite team. The Patriots because you know Belichick & Brady will do everything they can to embarass the Colts. Stampede Blue continues:

Polian then countered, with his voice much more animated, by asking the caller what would do if he ran the Indianapolis Colts with the upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills. Would he force injured players to play in a meaningless game? The caller countered that such a request or situation was not what he and other fans were questioning. The caller then seemed to make the point that Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, and Reggie Wayne were all pulled from the football game yesterday at a critical time, and the benchings were not injury-related. The issue wasn’t playing injured players. The issue was benching healthy ones when the game was still winnable.

My one big problem with this is why wasn’t Jeff Saturday pulled? If we are “resting” our starters, then why wouldn’t Saturday be rested too? I’d think it would be a pretty significant ordeal for Saturday (Manning’s center forever) to go down with a torn ACL or broken leg on a play Curtis Painter fouled up when we are 2 weeks away from the playoffs. Yet Saturday was out there snapping the ball to the horrid excuse for a QB named Curtis Painter. Why was Austin Collie still out there? Collie has turned into an incredible 3rd option for Manning behind Wayne & Clark, but he was still out there. With Garcon injured, shouldn’t we care about our WR depth? The Blue continues:

Dear Jim Irsay, lock this guy up somewhere and cool him off. That, or give him a rattle and a diaper. Either way, keep him away from hard-working, loyal Colts fans, because he clearly doesn’t like it when they hold him to adult-like standards of accountability and respect.

People are trying to give Caldwell a pass because he was just following the directives of Polian, but the guy writing the checks is Jim Irsay.

But this is where the football “fan” doesn’t get it. Jim Irsay doesn’t care about football. If they did the Irsays probably don’t leave Baltimore. They are in it for the money! Does Irsay make more money if the Colts win the Super Bowl? Probably, but how much money do you think Irsay rakes in right now with the Colts being one of the top-5 franchises in the NFL? It’s more money than we’ll ever see so there is essentially no incentive for him to chase history or win another Super Bowl. He’s got one.

Which of course leads to this qusetion. If Jerry Jones owend the Colts or Robert Kraft owned the Colts, do you think those starters would have been benched in the 2nd half of the Colts game?

NO WAY!

And this is where Colts fans get screwed.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk had this to say:

Plenty of league insiders will respond to this news by concluding that Polian’s temper has finally caught up with him — and by taking a certain amount of pleasure in seeing him get what plenty of league insiders believe he deserves for years of subjecting folks in the business to the same attitude he demonstrated on Monday night when criticized for blowing a chance at perfection.

It’s no secret that the more you read about the NFL and the more inside stuff you get, the more you come to the conclusion that Polian is a gigantic egomaniacal ass. And let’s not forget that Polian was an abject failure in Buffalo. Sure he got to 4 Super Bowls, but he laid an egg everytime the Bills got there. Twice my Cowboys put an ever loving BEAT DOWN on them.

The comments on Pro Football Talk are priceless because they really give you an indication of what the country looks to at large. The bootlickers at Stampede Blue will always RAH RAH the Colts which is sickening, but some of the comments at Pro Football Talk are amazing. Here is a sampling:

Chris Walker says:
December 28, 2009 9:06 PM
Totally agree Chapnasty2. Every year the Colts start out 8-0 and every year they fizzle in the playoffs. They still haven’t learned from their own mistakes. The year they won the Super Bowl they were the wild card and couldn’t rest Manning.

Iron Wolf says:
December 28, 2009 9:09 PM
The football gods have been so kind to this team this year, and for them to have the arrogance to spit in their faces, you just KNOW they will choke again this year and cement their status as the Atlanta Braves of the NFL.

Deb says:
December 28, 2009 10:00 PM
What a coward Polian was to quit his show rather than taking his lumps. Sounds like he found the perfect complement in Caldwell. I’d be surprised if quitting on the Jets game was a strategy Manning endorsed, and I respect his discipline in standing behind his coach’s decision. But respect for Manning aside, I hope this team winds up losing in the first round. Polian and Caldwell don’t deserve anything else–and neither does any team that plays to lose regardless of the motivation.

But the best one of all……..

Facts Domino says:
December 28, 2009 9:22 PM
Rich Kotite could coach the Colts to 14 wins.
A.J. Smith could choose between Manning and Leaf.

WOW! I’m a big believer in learning from mistakes, but obviously the Colts aren’t. Everytime they rest the starters, they get jacked in the playoffs. The one year they had to play every game was the one year they win the Super Bowl.

4th Down – The Biggest Victim is Peyton Manning

Manning really gets hurt here. Manning is the consumate historian of the NFL and I think he’s not only fighting against NFL history here, but also his own ownership group & coaching staff. One thing I hated about Belichick in 2007 was allowing Brady to keep throwing those little 2 & 3 yard TD passes because it really felt like he and Belichick were gunning for the TD record that Manning set a couple years earlier in 2004. When you compare the two seasons you have:

Brady 07: 68.9%, 4,806 passing yards, 50TD, 8INT, Rating of 117.2, 300.4 yards per game
Manning 04: 67.6%, 4,557 passing yards, 49TD, 10INT, Rating of 121.1, 284.8 yards per game

Manning had a better QB rating so I think his 04 was better than Brady’s 07, but Brady also went 18-0 that season before losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl. I think Manning very much wants to go down as the greatest QB of all time, but with NFL analysis comes the crazy idea that everyone is measured by Super Bowl wins, which is why people always put Brady & Manning in the same category. If Brady had only 1 Super Bowl ring, then I think everyone would say Brady is an excellent QB, but that Manning is by far and away the greatest QB living today and probably the greatest of all time.

Peyton knows this. In some ways, if the Colts would have went 19-0, it would have not only allowed Peyton to say he could finish what Brady couldn’t, but it would also put Manning in position to say he won more than 1 Super Bowl. Right now guys like Trent Dilfer & Doug Williams can say they’ve won one. Manning wants to be in the atmosphere that separates him from everyone else. Statistically he’s already done this.

Manning will own every record known to man that a QB can get, but the one thing Manning needs is more Super Bowl victories. Unfortunately for Peyton, he doesn’t have an ownership group who wants to win as badly as he does. He doesn’t have a team president who wants to win as badly as he does. He certainly has not had the coaching staff to get him to where he needs to do. As great a guy as Dungy is, he was considered a coach who couldn’t win anything whether it be in Tampa Bay or Indianapolis. Yes the Colts won 2006, but Barry Switzer won in 1995! Is he some kind of genius coach? Now Manning has to suffer through the Jim Caldwell era? Again, it makes me wonder what Peyton would have been if he had has his HC a guy like Bill Belichick, Jeff Fisher, Andy Reid or a Mike Holmgren.

The Colts are a 3-4 win team without Manning. They are a 14-15 win team with him. In all of this, Peyton is makig a run to be the greatest QB to have ever played without question, but he doesn’t have the people within his organization to help him get there.

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December 29, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Downs

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