It's a great discussion. It's good to see a fan base trying to honestly assess the situation.
I wondered what circumstances would conspire to allow Peyton Manning to get his fifth MVP award. After all, voters are tired of him.
Well, if he puts this team in the playoffs (and yes, he will), then they should just name the award after him.
From now on, I'm just going to do that. It's the Peyton Manning Most Valuable Player Award. It's like the Cy Young. It's the Manning.
I've spent all day running numbers for an article for Cold Hard Football Facts on the records of quarterbacks in close games. Basically, close games are a crap shoot. Lots of Pro Bowl QBs have .500 records in close games. If you have a Hall of Famer like Favre or Warner, you are still looking at .500. Tom Brady has been special, 20-11 in games decided by 8 points or less since 2005. No one else is even close to that good.
Oh, except one guy. He's not close to that good either.
He's way better.
I'll let you guess what his name is.
Peyton will save us all.
Dallas Clark is out, potentially for a long time.
No problem. The Colts have four wideouts. They can spread the other team team out.
Only now, Will Carroll is reporting that Collie is hurt as well with a significant hamstring.
Ok, no problem. We'll assume Gonzo's back (yikes). We'll put in Eldrige and just run the ball.
Oh yeah. Joe Addai is seriously banged up.
Well, we can always punt!
The thing that I love most about soccer is that you can play it anywhere so long as you have a ball. You don't need a bat or a racket to hit it with. You don't need a hoop to shoot it through. Anything can stand in for a goal; a couple rocks, a backpack and a jacket, even the shoes that you just had on. Goals themselves aren't even necessary. Just like with football or baseball its a pleasure to pass the ball with a friend. You don't need a person to pass to. Just learning to juggle the ball with your feet is a challenge and is rewarding as hell when finally get the knack.
Countless people around the world play pickup soccer everyday in pretty much every country in the world. Several years ago, a pair of stand out college soccer players not good enough to go pro and a budding filmmaker set out to document how the game is played on streets, back alleys, parking lots, and unmanicured fields by people who simply love the game. Their movie is called Pelada. Its taken from the Brazilian slang for pick-up soccer, which translated literally means 'naked'.
Over the course of their journey, Gwendolyn Oxenham (Duke) and Luke Boughen (Notre Dame), play on the streets of Brazil, on sidewalks in China, in slums in Africa, on a rooftop field in downtown Tokyo, and on rented fields in Iran. At one point, the players bribe their way into the notorious San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia for what they hear are some of the best pick-up games in the country. They even play pick-up in a barrio in Buenos Aires, not too far from where Nate and his teammates play pick-up in La Plata. Watching a sports movie hasn't made me this happy since watching Rudy get his first playing time or Ollie sinking his free throws to win the state championship.
The emotional heart of the movie is hearing the stories of the players that they meet and why they play the game. Some play to escape the stress of poverty. Others play to escape the stress of a sixty-hour work week. A group of women in Iran play with their heads covered in long sleeves and pants in violation of a government prohibition. Senior citizens in Brazil play to stay young. Through out it all, Gwen and Luke wrestle with the reality of having to find something to do with their lives aside from playing the game that they love once the filming stops.
If you live in the Indianapolis area you've got a chance to watch Pelada this weekend. It was selected by the Heartland Film Festival and the final screening is this Saturday at 3:30 PM at the AMC Showplace 17 on South Meridian Street.
I know, I know, the real football season is in full swing. You've got plenty to watch already and the Horse cannot be denied. But this is the bye week after all, so if you've got two hours on Saturda and want to experience the joy of the other type of football, I promise you won't be disappointed. You'll also be supporting Heartland, one of the coolest things going on in Indianapolis. You just might find the joy of the game that I love. If you do and want to experience it first hand, come find me. Most Sunday mornings I play pickup with a motley crew in Ellenberger Park, near Irvington.
Soccer blogs have been writing about this film for quite a while. There's a great piece on the making of the movie at TIAS and Grant Wahl has a good write up here. Make sure to check out the TIAS piece. Its got a video of soccer commentator Ray Hudson reacting to the movie that's phenomenal.
It's a little longer than normal this week, but there was a lot to talk about this week during 18 Plays. As always, you can download 18 Plays directly, subscribe using ITunes, or use the embedded player on the lower right hand side.
The physical manifestation of Treestruff.com is Metro Arborist Supplies at 7055 Coffman Road. It's one of the many places around town that you can purchase Blue Blood. Stop by and Luke will sell you a chain saw and sign a copy of the book which he didn't write but jealously wishes he did.
Dallas Clark fell awkwardly on his wrist on the next to last drive on Sunday night, and is out 'indefinitely' with a sprained wrist. It's being reported that he's seeking opinions about surgical options.
As of now, he is not "out for the season", though he could still be.
What the Colts will do in the meantime remains to be seen. One option is to use Eldrige and Tamme. Personally, I'd like to see four wides with Gonzo when he comes back. The end result could be a fascinating wrinkle that could keep defenses in the nickle and dime a lot more often. Then it would be up to the five guys up front to block well for the run game, and as I'll illustrate in a coming post, they are run blocking very well right now.
Dallas Clark is an important player, obviously. If he's hurt, it will be a blow, but not one the team can't overcome.
The Colts 'boring' offense might just get a make over and could become a lot more interesting.
Ok, so it's not so funny now, is it?
The Colts have issued a statement suspending Pat McAfee for next Monday night's game with Houston. Polian said in the statement:
“After verifying the relevant facts, we today have suspended Pat McAfee for one game for conduct detrimental to the club. The suspension will take effect on Monday, October 25 and will run through the Houston game on Monday, November 1. We will have no further comment at this time.
Wow, so that's a hard line by the team. Personally, I don't see how this is worse than the Moala DUI earlier this season, but often teams will take into account a pattern of behavior and other factors. You never know what other factors play into it.
The team on the field will be hurt by McAfee's absence. His ability on kickoffs alone has made him valuable. If the Colts lose this game because of a big return or a mistake in the punting game, I will hold one person responsible: McAfee himself.
The Colts don't have to make this move, and it could be argued that it is inconsistent or overkill. Personally, I don't judge them for wanting to send a bold message on a bye week. Players are scattering out to points unknown this weekend, and this will hopefully serve to curtail other, more serious incidents.
McAfee, oddly enough, is a high profile Colt and a fan favorite. Many of us, including myself, found his actions comical. The team feels differently. This time it's a punter in the canal, but the next time it could be a linebacker in a car crash.
It's probably best to get everyone's attention now before it's too late.
This is Kasey Klipsch's weekly column
To start the 3rd quarter the Redskins had taken advantage of an uncharacteristic Manning fumble to trim the score to 17-14 Colts. The drive after this Joe Addai had the best run of his career and topped the drive off with a 13 yard TD run. The ‘Skins got the ball on their own 14. With the score 24-14 Colts it was time for the defense to take control of this game and turn it into a blowout. Five plays later the Colts D had done their job and it was time to punt. Unfortunately, the punt was muffed and counted as a positive 30 yard gain. To me, this drive was a microcosm for the entire game. The Colts schematically were near perfect and they dominated the LOS. Their tackling was horrendous and an untimely turnover made the whole performance moot.
Our own Joe Baker posts on The League blog on the Washington Post. He talks about the rash of head injuries in the NFL.
The NFL can't continue to talk about valuing player safety, especially in regards to concussions, while not taking the actions they already have available to enforce player safety. Suspensions and ejections are perfectly within the league and their refs' power, but their hesitancy to take these measures has made them empty threats.
Most years, the bye week sucks. This year, I think we all just let out a big sigh of relief, glad the team made it to 4-2, and can refocus and get healed up.
For me, it gives me a chance to unpile some of the odds and ends that have been building up for a few weeks.
Let's start with the news that Lucas Oil Stadium has been named the best stadium in America. The site Stadiumjourney.com gave the Luke the highest ranking it has ever given. The whole review is an absolute must read, but this part might have been my favorite:
As I wrote about in Blue Blood, the Colts were part of an overall strategy for economic development in Indianapolis. When I read outsiders praise the city as a destination spot for sports tourism, it does my heart good. The Colts are a critical component to the civic identity of Indianapolis. Juxtapose that with the way the Jags fans reacted almost with loathing of their team last night. It's amazing how far we've come.
Almost to illustrate that point, Colts fans were also ranked as the second best fans in the NFL last week. Considering that our next game will be a Monday night clash with the Texans, it's important for Colts fans to show up in mass and put the city in a good light. By the way, if you are looking for tickets to the game, be sure to search using the TiqIQ page on our banner. You'll get the best deal and help support the site. They've added new features (e-ticket only filters, and an 'all in price' feature which lets you 'hover' over the seat to see the total price you'd pay).
Finally, I want to share with you all an amazing tool sent to me by one of our readers, Johnathan B. You may have noticed from my tweets, that I compulsively calculate passer ratings. Well, Johnathan has worked up a spreadsheet that will auto calc the game, yearly, and career stats for several quarterbacks, starting with Peyton Manning. It also has Favre, Brees, Rivers, Rodgers, Brady, Romo, and Orton built in. You can keep track of every pass and see how it affects both the game, season, and career rankings of the quarterbacks.
Most of the rest of this week will be normal here at 18to88. We'll have Charting a Drive and 18 Plays ready for you. On Friday, there won't be any Eyes in the Backfield, but I do have an awesome interview with Nathan Whitaker, co-author of Tony Dungy's three books. He's had a fascinating life, and shares interesting thoughts on whether he can see Tony coaching again.