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Colts Win Three Straight … Pushing Toward Playoffs?

November 5, 2012 1 comment

Colts QB Andrew Luck breaks rookie NFL record for passing yards with 433 Sunday against the Dolphins. Colts play Jacksonville Thursday.

A field goal under six minutes remaining in Sunday’s game was enough for the Indianapolis Colts to reach a 5-3 record and a provisional wild card spot in the AFC.

Their No. 1 draft pick in Andrew Luck is having a season to boast about after breaking a rookie NFL record with 433 passing yards against the Dolphins Sunday. Adding to his already impressive performances this year and ability to dig this team into comeback victories in three of their five wins.

A motivated organization going through a change, some not expected, in nearly every position imaginable this season, the Colts are winning football games by minimum margins.

Wins are wins, though.

And more are to come. Realistically, this team is capable of winning four of their final eight games and making a serious threat for the playoffs. And, yes, I did say playoffs.

A favorable schedule lies ahead for the Colts as they play the Jaguars, Bills, Titans and Chiefs before the end of the year. Tough matchups conclude the season against the Patriots, Lions and two games against the Texans will decide the fate of the season.

This team is playing many steps ahead of the critics who placed them 32nd in the power rankings at the beginning of the season. Yet, the Colts are ranked 9th in the NFL. Coming off their bye week, they have won three straight as they move on to Jacksonville this Thursday.

With a weak offensive line, Luck was sacked only once Sunday, and proves how athletic and remarkable this kid is away from his arm. His accuracy and arm strength is something that cannot even be debated, as the same for his athleticism. This kid extends plays with his feet by moving two-to-three feet left or right and gets a throw to an open receiver.

Extending plays and extending the season could be in the future for this inspired, motivated organization. With Chuck Pagano in the hearts of this team and many across the league, this Colts squad has the potential to take an unworn road when nearly everyone counted them out.

Being Chuckstrong and in such a weak division in the AFC South, the Colts may be looking toward a run for the playoffs.

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It’s Time: Bring Real Referees Back

September 25, 2012 2 comments

One referee motioning for touchdown, the other a touchback, who’s right? Credit: ESPN

After Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks the replacement referees must go.

In one of the biggest disgraces the NFL has ever witnessed, the Seahawks defeated the Packers 14-12 on a hail marry pass from Russel Wilson to Golden Tate.

This is where the controversy begins.

First off, the referees missed a blatant pass interference on Tate. Secondly, Melvin Delanie “M.D” Jennings intercepted the pass.

In what is bound to be one of the most replayed football plays of the next 10 years, the replacement referees referred to simultaneous position for the call on the field. The problem: it wasn’t simultaneous position. Jennings controlled the ball as he hit the ground, then Tate wrestled the ball away. According to Rule 8 – Article 3 – Item 5 in the NFL rule book, this is the definition of an interception.

The referees missed the call.

Plain. And. Simple.

It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. The referees have been missing calls in every single game so far this season. We saw blown calls in the opening game of the season; we saw them in the last week’s games; heck we saw them in last night’s game.

None have gone this far.

The referees decided this game. A blown call decided a football game. It’s not every day you can say that.

The Packers lost a football game that they earned. A game they deserved to win.

If this isn’t enough to bring the real referees back then I don’t know what is. It’s not even about the blown calls or the long game times. It’s about the integrity of the NFL.

The replacement referees are the laughing stock of America right now. They are making a mockery out of the sport we love.

I’m looking at you Roger Goodell. America is looking at you.

Pay the referees.

Take responsibility for your actions and fix the problem.

Colts Say Farewell to Indy’s Most Prominent Athlete

March 7, 2012 Comments off

In 1998 the Indianapolis Colts never dreamt of the day they would say goodbye to the man they drafted first overall who would in turn would evolve the city and state of Indiana to prominence.

Peyton Manning will no longer wear a Colt’s jersey come 2012 after a press conference held by the Colts and owner Jim Irsay noon on Wednesday. Coming to the stage side-by-side, each provided their statements.

Peyton Manning played 14 seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and won one championship.

“In my heart and the fans’, it’s unparallel for the Colts,” Irsay said. “It’s a difficult day of sheer pain that the No. 18 jersey will not be worn again by a Colt on the field.”

Holding back tears throughout their statements it was obvious both were making the best out of the unavoidable circumstances. With salary cap issues and other issues within the Colts’ organization, Irsay says it did not come down to money.

“There has been a handful of hall-of-fame players who have done things like this for franchises,” Irsay said. “It has never been about money, never those types of things.

“Circumstances dictated to us were unavoidable. As we are going forward, rebuilding with salary cap problem and Peyton on the mend, we wanted to be together.”

With the No. 1 overall pick in the hands of the Colts, circumstances that didn’t matter such as money may be hard to believe aren’t true, but after two Super Bowl appearances with one championship, it was the right to move on.

Now with multiple franchises looking to obtain Manning, the decision to move on will continue to be difficult for him and fans.

Jim Irsay said during his statement, "Peyton has been completely unselfish, to see where the organization is at. It’s never been about money, never those types of things."

“I loved playing for the Colts for 14 years,” Manning said. “I’ve only known Colts football, and in life and sports, we know things don’t last forever.”

Mentioned in the press conference was the progress Manning is receiving from his rehab and throwing. Throwing with old teammates such as Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, he will soon be throwing to new names and faces.

Progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement before the start of the season.

“It kind of feels back at home to be out there throwing,” Manning said. “Still have a lot of work to do, but I am ready for the work.”

Manning finished his statement with a message to the fans.

“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.”

After 14 years of growing with the city of Indianapolis, both Manning and the city will move on knowing arguably the best quarterback to play the game of football will be a just a citizen of the community.
In the life of the NFL changes will happen and unfortunate circumstances will arise, but Manning will leave on a positive note for all parties involved.

“I will leave the Colts with nothing but gratitude,” Manning said. “I’ll always be a Colt.”

Funniest three Super Bowl commercials

February 8, 2012 2 comments

Good thing the game lived up to all the hype because the commercials certainly did not. As a staff, we could only find a few commercials that make us laugh past the first viewing.

3. Doritos sling baby

Even when the commercials as a whole didn’t meet the hype, Doritos did once again. I mean, this grandma is slinging a baby, what is not to love?

2. E-Trade

Another baby commercial, but come on, watching this baby talk every time an E-trade commercial brightens your day.

1. M&Ms

Any time there is the LMFAO song, “Sexy and I Know It” and candy involved you know it has to be good. Enjoy.

Have any suggestions about our picks? Let us know which ones were your favorites.

SOUP’S ON: Super Bowl XLVI Prediction

February 5, 2012 Comments off

This year, we as sports fans get to see a rematch of one of the greatest games in Super Bowl history. As I look at these teams, the Giants and the Patriots, I can only think “Where the hell did these guys come from?”

I mean honestly, if you were to tell me in Week 9 when these two played each other that this would be a prequel to the Super Bowl; I would have laughed in your face. But here we are, watching the countless hours of pregame shows and listening to the Nostradamus’ that are Chris Berman, Terry Bradshaw and, the always intelligent, Michael Irvin predict who will win this Sunday. For me, it all comes down to this:

The New York Giants thrive under pressure, especially on the road. Eli Manning made a name for himself during their 2007 run by winning on the road. This team is built around being the underdogs.

Although I think that Vegas was very generous in favoring New England by three and a half, the Giants should be considered the underdog in Super Bowl trophies only. The Giants defense, led by the most prolific front four I have ever seen, will give Tom Brady fits all evening long. Brady doesn’t like to be hit, and I see the Giants doing nothing but hitting the man with the best looking wife in football.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense suddenly has more weapons than North Korea.

Victor Cruz has come seemingly out of nowhere this season and has cha-cha’d his way into becoming one of the elite receivers in the NFL. On the opposite side of the huddle, Hakeem Nicks has had a very solid season, catching 76 balls for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. Throw in Mario Manningham with 39 catches for 532 yards and four touchdowns, and the Giants have a lethal triple threat at wide receiver. Although this trio isn’t as explosive as the Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston trio in Arizona during their Super Bowl run, these Giants receivers have come into their own in the Big Apple. Compile that with the MVP-like performance this season by Eli Manning, who has now placed himself among the elite quarterbacks of the NFL, the Giants are the ones to watch out for come Sunday.

For New England meanwhile, the key to beating New York is to shutdown their pass rush and continue to utilize their two unbeatable tight-ends. Both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have had career years, combining for 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns which are 43 percent of Tom Brady’s total passing yards for the season and 62 percent of his total touchdowns. Meaning that both Gronkowski and Hernandez are in for big days Sunday given Gronkowski ankle is OK and that they can break through to New York’s secondary.

However, their defense must continue to show up like it has throughout this postseason. If the defense of the regular season shows up, I see the score quickly getting out of hand and this Super Bowl becoming more lopsided than Super Bowl XL. But, let’s be serious here, the Patriots have Tom Brady. As long as he is on the field, the Patriots have a chance to win and if Chad Ochocinco makes his presence known, we may have the first person with a last name of nothing but the Spanish words for “eight” and “five” score touchdown in a Super Bowl.

In the end, The Giants defensive line will be too much for Tom “you can’t touch him because there will be a flag” Brady to handle and New York will take Super Bowl XLVI 35-30. Making Eli the better Manning and allowing Peyton to once again overshadow Eli by not knowing where he will play football next year.

BAJA Sports: Super Bowl XLVI Predictions

February 2, 2012 1 comment

The New England Patriots and New York Giants will meet in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI. Here are the predictions from BAJA Sports bloggers:

Brian Weiss: If this game is anything like Super Bowl XLII, then the fans are in for a great show. David Tyree’s “supernatural” catch led the Giants to an upset victory of the previously undefeated Patriots. It has been four years since that game, and current Patriot players, that were victims of “The Catch,” say that revenge isn’t on their mind. I find that hard to believe since it ruined arguably the best season of all time.

Given that, the teams that will take the field in Indianapolis have almost been completely remodeled, except for the quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Eli Manning once again look to lead their respected teams back to glory.

The quarterbacks will play a big role in this game but there is another key to success for each team.

For the Patriots it’s the health of Tight End Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski has been nursing a high ankle sprain and hasn’t practiced since the win over Baltimore. I fully expect to see Gronkowski on the field come game-day but he definitely won’t be 100 percent. The Patriots offense doesn’t revolve around Gronkowski, but without him they are a much easier team to defend.

The Giants key will be their front four. Getting pressure on Brady will be a must if the Giants expect to come out victorious. They can’t let a future hall-of-fame quarterback sit back in the pocket and pick apart their defense, because he will do just that if given time. Even if they aren’t recording sacks, the front four need to make Brady think the pocket is collapsing, thus forcing him to rush throws.

This game won’t be decided until the final two minutes so get ready to start pulling your hair out. These two teams are evenly matched and I just don’t see either team pulling away.

Despite my severe lack of love for the Patriots, I find it hard to believe that Tom Brady is going to let anyone get the best of him twice. Patriots win in the house that Manning built, making it even that much sweeter for them.

Patriots 28 Giants 24

Zach Hughes: Super Bowl 46 is not a rematch of Super Bowl 42. These are two completely different teams. In fact, the only two major similarities are the coaches and the quarterbacks.

Differences to note:
1.      The Patriots defense is worse than they were in 2007.
2.      The Giants running attack is worse. If you recall in my last article, Ahmad Bradshaw’s “fumble” should have lost the game for the Giants against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship.
3.      The Giants pass rush is very good. Especially in passing situations, they like to put in their NASCAR package, which is essentially four defensive ends. They are very good at getting to the quarterback with four, allowing seven to be in coverage.
4.      I’m not completely sold on the fact that some people are calling the Giants offense explosive. I see the Patriots taking Hakeem Nicks out of the game and making Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham make plays. I don’t think they are going to be able to make those plays on the big stage. Watch for at least two crucial drops from Cruz.

With all of that being said, I think this game comes down to match-ups. If you look back to the Patriots’ wins against the Broncos and Ravens, they exploited the match-ups they wanted to. I think Trent Dilfer proved this after the AFC championship game. He showed in a highlight (no longer available on ESPNs website) the Patriots are the best at exploiting favorable matchups. I think the fact that these teams played earlier this season favors Bill Belichick and he will make the appropriate changes. The Patriots win this one in Indianapolis. Sorry Colts fans.

Patriots 28 Giants 17

Thomas Hitch:This Super Bowl will come down to whose defense will step up and make the play at the end of the game. Will the New York Giants allow Tom Brady to walk all over them, or will they have two interceptions like they did in Week 9?

The first week of November’s matchup between these two teams was close, and the Giants were running on an easy schedule prior to playing the Patriots. They headed into the heart of their schedule after defeating the Patriots, where they would lose four straight games to San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Green Bay.

Since then, the Giants have been the hottest team in the NFL. Riding their way from the Wild Card game against Atlanta to the Super Bowl where they will rematch from Super Bowl XLII.

Tom Brady doesn’t need any more fuel to the fire as he does after losing in 2007, but it won’t make much of a difference in the end. The Giants have proved why organizations should not bench players, and how important momentum is leading into the playoffs.

The Super Bowl in Indianapolis is already being marked as one to remember and it is only Wednesday. Giants will win in the end.

Patriots 24 Giants 28

But the bigger question is: Will Peyton Manning stay in Indianapolis?

Sean Eberly:  You can make a valid argument neither of the teams should even be there (*cough* *cough* Billy Cundiff & Kyle Williams). But for the teams that luckily survived, here’s my take…

The deciding factors lie in the hands of the Patriots secondary and the Giants D-line. There were moments in the AFC Championship game where Joe Flacco carved up the Pats secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey, only to be saved by Vince Wilfork’s big hole-clogging heroics. Any big contributions from them would be a bonus against red-hot Eli.

The other key component deciding the outcome will come with the Giants D-line, which traditionally can change a game. Statistics show that if you can hit Brady, you can win the game, which the Giants have been doing this entire playoff quest. I believe the New York Giants will be your Super Bowl XLVI Champions, in the epic Super Bowl XLII rematch. The Giants defense holds Tom Brady and gives Eli enough chances to comfortably score at least 20 points.

Patriots 24 Giants 27


The ins and outs of the Manning situation

January 30, 2012 Comments off

If Colts fans were told a year ago there’d be a good chance the Colts would trade/release Peyton Manning, the man who literally put the Colts on the map for 13 years, most fans would laugh or call it an absurd proposal. A year later and what a situation the Colts stare at. Those times when Irsay was thinking ‘what would we ever do without Peyton?’ are the present.

What Jim Irsay is facing is likely one of the most difficult and chain-reacting decisions for not only the Colts and NFL, but for American sports in its entirety. Do you cut your Hall of Fame quarterback because of three malign neck injuries? Or opt to keep Peyton – foreseeing a few high-level quarterbacking years from the man who took “ailing franchise” to “Super Bowl contender” in a short time?

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with owner Jim Irsay before their game in November. (Sam Riche/MCT)

Positives of Keeping Manning:
A healthy Peyton Manning is a security blanket for any NFL team. Manning is one of the most consistent quarterbacks the league has ever seen. The last time the Colts didn’t have a double-digit winning season or make the playoffs with Manning at the helm was 2001—both NFL records.

It’s respectable to keep a healthy Peyton Manning because he is a proven commodity, but only for a few seasons (I’ll give him three seasons at the most if he stays).

If the Colts keep Manning, it’s also likely that they’ll pick Andrew Luck with the first pick of the NFL Draft. The optimistic outcome of the master-apprentice combo the Colts could sport is the Montana-Young and Favre-Rodgers instances, where the proven Hall of Fame quarterback mentors the upcoming talent. It would be a stretch to see Manning and Luck coexist on the same team, but it’s doable.

It may be out of the question, but imagine seeing Manning play one more sensational year with the Colts winning the Super Bowl, handing the keys to Luck and watch him win a Super Bowl in the next three years. “Luck” would have to be on the Colts’ side, obviously, but that’s the big picture.

Keeping Manning would also be great for the fan base. Paying respect to Manning would seem natural and compassionate for any player who has given so much to a franchise. A disgruntled and unhappy franchise would pressure an organization to make unreliable moves.

Take the Denver Broncos, for instance. When their fans were begging for Tebow to go in to start for Kyle Orton, the staff and organization were surprised. Weeks later, the organization gave in to the fan base’s desire and started Tebow and released Kyle Orton.

For starters, Tebow is inconsistent with his passing and suspect at times with his decision-making. It’d be hard to fully convince anyone that Tebow is the man of the future in Denver. Seeing Tebow start the next season 2-7 isn’t out of the question, either. The possible root of this happening is the unsatisfied fan base.

Keeping a healthy Manning would ensure a couple more good seasons with the franchise and could possibly guide Andrew Luck in a similar direction.

Jim Irsay and Ryan Grigson have one of the NFL's best franchises future in their hands on the decision of Peyton Manning. (IndyStar)

Positives of Releasing/Trading Manning:
It hurts to say this, but this is probably what the Colts should do and what they are telling us they are going to do — oust Manning. They’ve cleaned the organization out and have brought in new pieces and looks like they are starting to rebuild.

Cutting Manning by his bonus pay date would save the Colts $28 million. The new defensive-minded head coach, Chuck Pagano, could use that money to help an ailing defense that gave up 62 points at New Orleans. A franchise can do many things with that kind of money, but the slacking defense is what probably the money will used mostly for (and an offensive line).

Cutting Manning would help determine what’s better for the franchise much sooner.

Last year, the absence of Manning was 80 percent of the reason the Colts couldn’t post at least 10 wins. Holes were exposed: the offensive line, the defense and its horrendous secondary. Patching up those holes and optimistically starting Luck for years to come is the option the Colts are most likely eyeing. We all saw what kind of caliber of a team the Colts are with and without Peyton. Cutting him now may not be the solution in the short-term, but will benefit the franchise in the long run.

The Colts would also get the media off their backs as well. Hopefully this isn’t going to end in a dramatic Favre-Packers breakup. Everyone cringed when ESPN brought up a Favre story, in fact, they are still doing it today.

Saying goodbye to Manning would possibly ensure positive outcomes for the future of the Colts, given, that Andrew Luck is proven to be the next Elway or anywhere close to that talent.

Peyton Manning may be on his way out - right decision by Jim Irsay? (IndyStar)

Negative outcomes:
On either side of the keep/release coin are possible negatives that could haunt the Colts franchise for years to come. Tweet-happy Jim Irsay probably wouldn’t be too fond of reading his feed if the wrong move is made.

Let’s say the Colts release Manning and give Luck the call to be the No. 1 draft pick making him the starting quarterback. Boy does he have some shoes to fill. If Andrew Luck turns out to be a Matt Leinart or an injury prone Carson Palmer, the Colts will receive a lot of flack from the fan base.

A bad situation would be for first three seasons the Colts have Luck they go: 5-11, 7-9, and 6-10, not making the playoffs any of those years. While the Colts struggle with that, a jubilant Manning is slinging it to God-knows-who and wins a Super Bowl in that span. How idiotic would the Colts look?

On the other hand, let’s say the Colts keep Manning and proves that he is past his prime and plays for the Colts for two seasons, doesn’t attain 10 wins in either year and doesn’t record a playoff win. In a likely situation, the Colts would release him after those seasons and hand over the keys to Luck, who does a decent job but lacks the offensive line, defense and overall team support necessary to be a top AFC team because of the $28 million Manning was given. In some contract situations, the Colts would be in a hole trying to find pieces to patch up the holes respectively that could take years to build up.

Conclusion:
Try and find a person that could give any solid, convincing advice to Jim Irsay on the Manning situation. Never in the history of sports has one player meant so much to a franchise. A mistake made by Irsay could lead to years of reform by the Colts franchise. Just don’t do anything stupid, Jim.

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