Westside Rob checks in with a brief morning report:
A few months ago, I wrote a reasonably controversial piece about the role of Peyton Manning's contract negotiations in the overall scheme of the NFL labor situation. I argued that there is no way for Manning to take a "hometown discount" and still be a good teammate and labor man.
Let me just say: I was right.
Yesterday, Manning had some quotes out about his relationship with the players union. Readers of 18to88.com will find them quite familiar.
While players do have some leeway to make negotiations smooth and not contentious, the truth is that while it would help the team for Manning to take less money, it might not help his teammates. The truth is that the players union watches the contracts of the biggest stars closely. There is a lot of pressure on key players to score as big a contract as possible. It's not just hubris for the player; it's for the good of all the players. The reason the players union opposes things like a hard cap for rookie salaries is the same reason I have no doubt that Jeff Saturday (the Colts union rep) will remind Peyton that he has an obligation to his brethren to get every dime he can: big contracts raise the tide for all players.
Yesterday, Peyton said:
Attaboy 18. That's how you lead a team.
I review things from time to time. Don't ask. Just go with it.
I'll have you know, I'm no hipster. I'm an utter poser.
At least I admit that I know it.
I first saw the trailers for the movie Scott Pilgrim versus the World about six months ago. Being devoted to Arrested Development, I feel oddly compelled to pay attention to every subsequent Michael Cera project. The movie looked spectacular and weird. I had no idea what Scott Pilgrim was all about, and I had no clue that it was based on a series of comic books that has been around since 2004.
A number of you are now disgusted with me and have stopped paying attention. Pardon my ignorance. Let's not pick on the middled aged square guy.
While I'm obviously too old to be reading comic books, I'm also too immature not to. I went down to pick up the first of the six volume set: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life.
After reading volume 1, I immediately bought the final five editions. Quite simply, Scott Pilgrim is spectacular.
The set follows the life of 23 year old Toronto slacker and bassist Scott Pilgrim as he struggles to get past his past and grow the hell up already. The books follow Scott and his dysfunctional urban family for about 18 simultaneously life changing and mind numbingly boring months. They center on Scott's relationship with a mysterious and mystical 'ninja' delivery girl named Ramona Flowers.
Though on the surface the books are a realistic tale of quarter life crisis, they soon evolve into a surreal collage of music and video game fighting, as Scott and Ramona try and deal with their pasts as embodied by epic super powered fights between Pilgrim and Ramona's 7 evil exs. Pilgrim gets knocked around pretty severely by an assortment of vegan psychics, douchey hipsters, and non-white/non-jocks in an effort to officially win the right to live happily ever after with Ramona.
I realize that there is no sane way to explain the events of Scott Pilgrim to a rational personal. Instead of focusing on the insanity of the books, just remember this:
- Scott Pilgrim books are painfully hilarious. I mean, my wife and I have been laughing out loud for days reading them.
- They are unflaggingly original and unlike anything you've read before.
- The perfectly capture the pathos of today's delayed adolescent culture in a uniquely authentic way.
- They are simultaneously beautifully drawn and silly.
I have no idea if the movie is going to be good. I hope and pray it will be. Everything in the trailers has been meticulously lifted directly from the pages of the books. All I know is that good or bad, in 40 years when people want to know what it felt like to be 23 years old at the turn of this century, Scott Pilgrim will be best way to explain it from the inside.
If you've never read one, go out and buy volume 1. The books can be had for $7 and change on Amazon, and they are worth every penny.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to being a grown up.
Thanks to my buddy Nate for taking the pictures.
Next time, pick up that yard, Ok?
Um, Curtis...you have chick hair.
Bring kids. They'll have fun.
Hello, Mike Lombardi? I'm FINE, fool. Oh, by the way, I know where you live.
I say, stretch your quad, and you'd better not audible out this time!
I made my first foray to Colts' camp on Wednesday night, and despite the rain, a good time was had by all.
For those who haven't been, it's extremely family friendly. In total, my wife my friends and I had four children from ages 6 to 3 plus a baby in tow, but the event still managed to be stress free. The kids' favorite part was watching the myriad of players present fielding punts in warmups. If you are even thinking about heading up to Anderson for a session, do it. It was a wonderful, though brief experience. I'll post pictures in the morning.
Here's what little I noted before the rain cut us off:
- Ray Fisher was not in pads. Dawson and Baldwin were also both not in pads and looked to not be participating.
- Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney were ready to practice.
- Many players were fielding kicks before practice, including the likes of Gijon Robinson. I wouldn't read too much into it. I saw Garcon out early taking kicks as well.
- Right before the rain hit, the team was running field goal drills. Vinatieri looked sharp easily drilling the longer kicks with plenty of leg to spare.
It's a shame the storm came and washed out the rest of the night. The stands were packed with people, though I imagine even more stayed away because of the weather.
If you have little kids, don't waste an expensive game ticket on them. Pay $10 for parking, plus some gas and head up to Anderson for camp. They'll have a blast, and you'll get to see the players up close. It's a win/win for everyone.
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.
I've had a great time here in the States, but now there's a week left before I head back to the 'Tina. I'm not doing any more public book signings, but I will be out in public a couple more times.
First, I'm going to training camp tonight with my family (write up and photos will be up tonight). If you want to come over and say hi, I'd love it. I will have a couple of books with me if you are interested in one. I'll be wearing a blue polo and will have my kids with me. Good luck picking me out, but if you do, come on over.
Second, I'll be heading out to Tony Dungy's book signing on Saturday morning at Barns and Noble in Carmel. Same deal. I always have books in the car, so if you want to get ahold of one, you can.
18to88 reader Merr checks in with a camp report:
- Sets of drills were right in front of me - like 60 feet.
- Hard to make definitive statements but Hughes was easily getting the corner on CJ and really jumped out at me.
- Had Foster at the other DE because Mathis and Freeney were in shorts. Foster beat Diem big time on one play and had to throttle it down near #18.
- Chick didn't do much when I watched him.
- Gonzo looked good and quick.
- They rotated the #1's in the receiving corps and exclusively used Reggie, Gonzo, Garcon and Collie. My opinion is that they're planning on wearing teams down by rotating in fresh receivers.
- Juice didn't impress me - tight hips.
- Giguere's physique is impressive, easily the strongest best built receiver - reminds me of Clark minus 4 inches, not sure about his skill level.
- Tight ends look good too. We could be really deep in the skilled position category assuming good health.
- Peyton, of course, looked great.
- Addai and Sanders were in shorts.
- Adam Terry was too - looked to be limping to me and given his history I'd say he's a real long shot.
- I thought Townsend actually looked pretty good to me and might be a decent stop-gap at corner.
So once again, the Brett Favre watch is back on. Though I certainly don't take his latest threats of retirement serious, it does bring up an interesting conflict for Colts fans.
On one hand, we all want Peyton to hold all the meaningful passing records. The longer Favre plays, the tougher it will be on 18 to catch him. However, if Peyton gets it in his head to beat Favre's marks, then the longer Favre plays, the longer Peyton plays.
So, IF Favre really is done we can calculate how long it will take Peyton to pass his records. In my mind the biggest records are:
- Touchdown Passes (3rd all time...2014, 5 seasons, 39 years old)
- Yards (4th all time...2014, 5 seasons, 39 years old)
- Wins (4th all time...2014, 5 seasons 39 years old)
- Consecutive Starts as a Quarterback (2nd all time...2015, 6 seasons, 40 years old)
- Completions (3rd all time...2015, 6 seasons, 40 years old)
So, IF Favre is really done, what could keep Manning from hitting those marks?
- An injury-Obviously, football is a brutal game. On any play, a block can be missed, a knee can be blown, ect. This goes without saying. Any major injury would obviously break the consecutive starts streak.
- A strike-As of right now, this is a long shot. A lockout is far more likely. The nice thing about a lockout is that the owners don't bring in replacement players. However, if the union decided to hold a preemptive strike (over collusion for example), Manning's consecutive game streak could end if a replacement QB piloted the Colts.
- Exhaustion-Manning puts a lot into his preparation and training. It doesn't seem likely to me, but you never know when a guy decides he's done 'enough' and decides to move on to another career, start a family, ect. If Peyton wants the records, he'll get them. The question is whether or not he's willing to pay the physical and mental price to get them.
It's important to note that if Favre changes his mind in mid-season and comes back, all the records keep extending EXCEPT the consecutive starts streak.
Personally, I'll believe that Favre is done when I see it.
I just wanted to pass along to everyone that I'm trying to make an effort to be more active on Twitter. Up until now, I've mostly used Twitter to post when stories appeared. I'm going to start actually following people and will try to tweet with some regularity.
If you know of good people to follow, let me know.