Friend of 18to88.com and author of the brilliant Walkthrough column on footballoutsiders.com, Mike Tanier has published an interview with yours truly as part of his piece this week. Fans of 18to88 and fans of Tanier will be sure to enjoy it.
The book is very sympathetic toward Robert Irsay, who moved the Colts out of Baltimore in 1984.
One man's villain is another man's hero. I tried not to sugar coat the reality of Bob Irsay. No one thinks he was a saint. However, it's also too convenient to make him the sole scapegoat for the team leaving town. The Maryland Legislature tried to take the man's team. They left him no choice but to leave. Bob made a lot of mistakes, but he did prepare his son well to become one of the finest owners in sports. The bottom line is that Bob Irsay brought the NFL to Indianapolis, ultimately expanding the influence of the league in the Midwest. That is a significant accomplishment and deserves recognition. St. Louis and Nashville both have teams now, and I wonder if they would had the Colts not come to Indianapolis.
Tanier also cites me in his argument with Doug Faraar about Tony Dungy's Hall of Fame credentials.
Mike: When reading Nate Dunlevy’s book Blue Blood, I was reminded of how Dungy’s low-key approach was considered something revolutionary when he took over the Bucs, and then the Colts. We all expected brimstone guys, and a lot of people, from fans to reporters to execs, assumed that a low-key, procedure-oriented guy couldn’t motivate a team. Dungy showed that it was not only possible, but really preferable in an age when millionaire athletes are going to roll their eyes at a tough-guy sermon coming from somebody who isn’t Bill Parcells or Mike Singletary. I think Dungy’s demeanor counts as an “innovation” that has shaped the game in recent years.
Check out both pieces. You can find out about Blue Blood here.