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Latest News from Around Madison County
- Category: Sports
- Published on Thursday, 08 March 2012 04:36
March 7th 2012, a day Indianapolis Colts fans and football fans in general will not soon forget. In a day where sports fanatics are known for taking things way too far way too often, I imagine Jim Irsay has even received a death threat or two if not hundreds by now; even after the scripted press conference where Mr. Irsay and Peyton Manning made every effort to make both sides look as classy as possible with their farewells. But if we really look at the situation I don't think we should be so upset. Sure we can and should be sad to see one of the best football players to ever play (regular season anyway) march out of town, but if healthy do we want to see Peyton struggle through his last few years surrounded by a rebuilding project? Do we want Mr. Irsay to have his staff postpone rebuilding a year or two waiting to see if Peyton can or cannot play again having to keep other veterans around Peyton to try to compete with? Or does it actually make sense to make another go of it with Andrew Luck or RGIII? How many times do we see franchises go on a roll flirting with dynasty status only to hold on to older stars too long out of loyalty and end up flirting with mediocrity just as long if not longer in the aftermath of it all?
What if Mr. Irsay actually has Peyton's best interest at heart, as well as Colts fans everywhere? I am a diehard Colts fan and that will not change, but I have to admit I would much rather watch Peyton choose a team with a great running game as well as a defense that will get him on the field more instead of comfortably on the sidelines watching teams run it down the Colts throats like we have had to endure the last several years. Don't get me wrong, I love the Colts and I have loved being able to cheer for #18, but as I have written before, I believe the Colts have done him a huge injustice by relying on him to be the band-aid for all their problems because he was good enough to. And since we have run out of time to be able to provide him with the kind of weapons that would make him an even more dangerous signal caller, I would love to see him finish his career with them even if it means wearing a different helmet. I'll still be rooting for my Colts, but I will be watching #18 every week too & wishing him the best while we "rebuild" here. Because as long as we aren't contending, the only other person I would want to see holding up a Super Bowl Trophy is Peyton.
That being said, where does that leave us with the gentlemen in the Horseshoe helmets this fall? A new GM, a new Head Coach, new coordinators, new quarterback and most certainly a curious wonderment atmosphere that has been absent around these parts for so long that it will very much feel new again. Do we turn on our boys in blue? Do we throw in the towel before they even get started? Do we go ahead and follow Peyton with our loyalty?
I think we as fans have an opportunity to take what we've witnessed these last 14 years and turn it around and show the new look Colts that we too can persevere all situations and stand up for them. Sound too corny? Here me out. Dating back to Tony Dungy's implemented cool, calm & collected demeanor that quickly became contagious, we have watched our Colts excel through circumstances that a lot of teams would have caved in. Now I am not stupid, I know 99% of that attitude being effective was because of the abilities of #18 to put his teammates in positions to succeed, even in times with practice squad receivers & linemen lined up out there with him. We've seen a fight that we grew accustomed to expecting in games up until last year & if the roster is gutted come next fall it may be up to the fans to keep that attitude and atmosphere pumping full force around Lucas Oil Stadium because there won't be much of that left in the locker room. Do we have it in us? Can we take Andrew Luck or RGIII and teach them that is how we roll in Colts Country? Can we stand by a rookie quarterback and keep their head up with our class & support through their growing pains?
Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne may both be gone as well leaving our new face of the franchise with a less than intimidating receiving group unless the draft or free agency brings in new faces for him. Hopefully an offensive line is priority number one so that our pick isn't another guy who gets sacked 80 times a year and never gets the chance to blossom because he's always on his back. That happens a lot in the NFL and is probably more responsible for so many of the "flop" label that top quarterbacks get so often when they don't turn into the superstars they were drafted to be. We want to see our new quarterback succeed, but we cannot expect him to be another Peyton. But as I have said many times, if we give Andrew or Robert the protection needed, a running game & a defense they don't have to be another Peyton. Heck Peyton is arguably the best regular season quarterback ever and only has one Super Bowl ring to show for it. And that ring was won in a playoff run that our defense woke up and won the first two rounds for us as Peyton played less than stellar against the Chiefs and Ravens as well as the first half of the AFC Championship game before Peyton remembered he was Peyton and brought us back and took us to our only Championship during an era that should have brought home at least 3 or 4. We'll settle for 3 if we assume that 2 of our best teams ran into "Spy Gate" era Patriots teams that stopped us in our tracks. I don't care if you are tired of hearing about that, it is true and Bill Bellicheat should be on the old strip in Vegas right now with Pete Rose arguing about what isn't fair about their banishments. There are a lot of QB's that aren't as good as Peyton that wear more rings than he does because they get a support system that doesn't require them to be so close to perfect to be able to win.
So right now from the very beginning of our new direction we take Peyton's shoes off the table. Whoever our new guys is and most assume it will be Andrew Luck; his job is not to come in and replace Peyton. Peyton is gone and there will never be another. In fact his name and number should already be up in the ring of honor in the stadium that wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for him. Luck or RGIII's job will be to become the best that "they" can become and help their team win football games, as many as they possibly can. Our jobs are to make sure they know we are behind them; and from the very beginning.
As for Mr. Irsay I truly believe he is doing what he has to do to try to keep us from becoming the post Marino Dolphins, the post Aikman Cowboys, the football version of the post Jordan Bulls, the post Bird Celtics, the post Magic Lakers, etc. The truth is, the House that Peyton Built can still have the magic that made is so hard for teams to come in and win in both at Lucas Oil or the old RCA Dome; the question is do we have it in us? Heck our division is not that good. The Texans are over rated with Mario Williams and they are most likely going to lose him. The Titans are rebuilding and the Jags have been struggling too. It is possible that our rebuilding won't take as long as expected to be able to compete for the AFC South.
I am actually excited about the new direction and just as excited to see how Peyton finishes up his career. I have a few teams I hope he doesn't join and a couple I think would be good fits. I can't see him joining Eli in New York and I don't see him going into the NFC. It wasn't that long ago that Archie Manning was very instrumental in making sure that Eli ended up in the NFC instead of Peyton's AFC. I imagine an Eli vs. Peyton Super Bowl will still be a possibility. I am okay with Reggie Wayne getting his wish and having Peyton take him with him to the Dolphins, in fact I kind of hope that is where he goes. And I could live with him going to the Broncos to help groom Tebow, and Peyton may be the only player that could silence Tebow mania for a couple years and it not be a bad thing. So those are the destinations I am pulling for. It sounds like Peyton is already being courted like a Calipari recruit, except this time the money is legal...lol...sorry had to get in at least one.
As a very blessed fan base to have been able to have number 18 be "our quarterback" for so long and turn a basketball crazy fan base into an equally if not more football fanatic one, I say we sit back enjoy "HIS" opportunity, wish him the best and even cheer him on from a distance as we stay true to the classy symbol the Horseshoe has become; much in part to him and get ready to bleed blue again this fall.
And with the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft the Indianapolis Colts select.............