This is part one of two in what I hope will become a regular 18to88.com feature. Nick Pease argues one course of action for the Colts. I respond with a different course.
Another day passes and we move further away from the 2010 football season and one day closer to NFL uncertainty. Sure, with each day that comes and goes we inch closer and closer to the start of baseball, closer to March Madness, and for those of us in Indiana, we inch closer and closer to spring weather. (Which can not come soon enough!)
But in terms of the National Football League, and our beloved Indianapolis Colts, uncertainty looms. Will the two sides reach an agreement? Will we have football in 2011? Is there really a chance I will go next winter without a major spike in my blood pressure due to another 4th quarter defensive meltdown? These are questions all of us Colts fans are asking ourselves. Well maybe the first two at least.
With all of these unanswered questions hanging in the balance and threatening the livelihood of NFL fans everywhere, one thing is certain: This is the Indianapolis Colts all in moment.
For those of you who have ever played a serious round of poker, you know exactly what I mean. Like many other folks my age, I fell pretty big into the Texas Hold Em craze. Many nights ended in nearly identical fashion. I sat at a table for hours on end and when it was all over I had lost a lot more money than I had won. Along the way however, I did pick up a few things. And one thing was for sure. If you were lucky enough to be around after a couple hours, you knew that moment was coming. The moment where you knew you had to stand up and push all your chips into the middle of the table and declare, “I'm all in.”
There is no more math trying to determine where that last seven is, there is no more strategy trying to outwit the old man with the furious cough sitting across the table from you. There is no more waiting for the guy with the short stack of chips to go down next. This is your moment. Maybe you don't have the perfect hand. It doesn't matter. You know you have a solid hand. You hesitate, because maybe someone has you beat. But again, it doesn't matter, it's no longer about the people with you, it's no longer about waiting until the next hand. It is about now. It is about this moment. You stand up and you push over the chips. This is you're “all in” moment.
For the Indianapolis Colts that moment is now.
There is no more time waiting for players to develop. There is no more time for drafting projects or only rebuilding through the draft. There is no more time to IR players year after year without looking for serious replacements. There is no more time to watch free agent after free agent sign with other teams.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me be clear. It is time for the Indianapolis Colts to stand up, push every single chip into the middle of the table and greatly announce, “We're all in!”
The rationale behind this logic is not difficult to understand. The window is closing on perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play this game. Is there still fuel in the tank? Absolutely, but it's a lot less than five or six years ago. We have a pro bowl wide receiver and center, two pro bowl defensive ends, and former pro bowlers at tight end and safety. But we need more.
It's time to surround the existing talent with even more talent. It's time to find durable players who can play the game and stay on the field. It's time to use every available resource to field the absolute best team possible. It's time to evaluate every position on the field and determine what this team needs. Do we need another running back? Do we need another receiver? Or do we need to find a way to field a defense that won't allow a disastrous time killing drive in the second half of a home playoff game?
I believe that Mr. Irsay and Mr. Polian get it. With discussions surrounding contract talks, it appears they are interested in signing free agents. I believe they understand the situation we are in. It's no longer time to draft projects or let free agents sign with opposing squads. It's time to stack the deck on both sides of the field. It's time to recognize that “all in” moment.
And for Indianapolis that moment is now.