This is one of the rare times I link to a Cold Hard Football Facts article. I find many of their writers there pen pieces that read more like a third grader's show-and-tell essay rather than informed sports media. One of their particular points of annoyingly ignorant emphasis is to state that the play of Peyton Manning in the playoffs has been consistently sub-par throughout his career. Despite a myriad of statistical evidence that simply does not back up their claim, some of them still hold onto the dated notion that Manning "folds" in crunch time. And I'm sure that some of those people are likely dismissing Manning's fourth quarter brilliance against the Patriots Sunday as just another Manning moment in the regular season.
They're just haters, and they don't like being wrong. Sad, if you think about it.
However, CHFF did make a great observation after the Patriots v. Colts Sunday night thriller, and it is something we here have noticed: The established media is clearly annoyed the Colts won the game.
Contrary to popular belief, corporate media houses like ESPN come into games with a set story, or narrative, that they plug from beginning to middle to end. They hit this narrative time, and time, and time again, and if the game shows even the slightest inkling of their narrative's "truth," they hit it even harder after the game.
For example, lots of people said the Patriots would attack the Colts injured secondary, which they did. By quarter three, the narrative was in place. The Patriots had attacked Indy's secondary, scored a bunch of points, and thus a "W" for New England was guaranteed.
Then, the fourth quarter happened, forcing all these lazy media jackals to change their pre-written stories, sit through a late night of football, and watch the Colts beat the Patriots despite the fact that New Engalnd did exactly what they wanted to do... and yet still lost.
When the game doesn't go as the established planned it to go, when their "analysis" is shown up for the massive, stinking pile of manure it usually is, that tends to kind of annoy the big media powers. This is why you are seeing so many columnists and media personalities essentially dismiss the Colts beating the Patriots (again), and blaming the Pats loss not on the team folding in the 4th quarter (which they did) but on Bill Belichick's terrible coaching decision on 4th and 2.
I mean, the loss cannot possibly be explained as the Colts simply being better than the Patriots. I mean, HA! That thought is ludicrous! I mean, forget that Indy has now only beaten New England five of the last six meeting, with three of those meetings being 4th quarter comeback wins. Peyton Manning and the Colts offense have absolutely torched the Patriots defense in literally every game since 2005. Defensive end Robert Mathis has given Tom Brady fits. And even without Brady Bane Bob Sanders playing, his replacement (Melvin Bullitt) played an outstanding game, especially on the now infamous 4th and 2 play.
Here's the truth about this game, whether big media or Patriots apologists want to admit it or not:
- The Colts, right now, are better than the Patriots. No debate. No question. Indy outscored them 21-10 in the fourth quarter and smothered their offense for much of the second half.
- Randy Moss disappeared in the 4th quarter while Reggie Wayne made big catch after big catch. If you are going to tell me Moss is better than Wayne, I will have no choice but to laugh in your face and insult your mother. Great players show up in the 4th quarter. Moss had one catch for 8 yards in quarter four following his very early 5 yard TD grab at the 14:18 mark.
- The Patriots are flat out scared of Peyton Manning. The only thing that motivates the 4th and 2 call is not "guts" or "stones" or "unconventional coaching." It's fear. Belichick had no faith in his defense late in the game, and why should he. Brandon Meriweather had only one tackle for the whole game and Jerod Mayo's name was never called in the 4th. Manning had worked two TD drives, each taking roughly 2 minutes and going the length of the field. Whether giving Manning a 28 yard field or a 65 yard field, Belichick felt he would score a TD on his defense. Thus, 4th and 2. If you try to sell me or anyone else with at least two marbles in their head, you are barking up the wrong tree. If you didn't see that call as anything other than fear, you're blind.
The last point there is likely why so many schmucks are having trouble understanding this game. The narrative out there is that Belichick fears no one. He's a "genius" after all. For years, he "owned" Peyton Manning. He could just whip up any defense and it would be enough to stop the supposedly "great" QB.
Again, I don't think people who really think this nonsense have been paying attention.
Peyton Manning has dominated the Patriots and their defense for the better part of four years. Whether it is coming back to win in the 4th quarter, or dropping
41 40 points on them in their house, they simply have not found a way to stop him. Hell, they can't even slow him down!
So, please excuse me when I say that those who think Belichick isn't afraid of Manning need to STFU already! The guy is terrified of Manning! And he damn well should be. And despite the fact that the Colts are 9-0 and have beaten better quality opponents than the Saints (who nearly friggin lost to the Rams this weekend), we still have some idiots, like Yahoo's Charles Robinson, who do not consider the Colts the best team in football right now. Hell, Robinson thinks the Bengals are better!
When it is all said and done, power rankings and media opinions mean nothing. At least one of the teams playing in the Super Bowl will likely be a club people will go "Huh?" about. What frustrates me is that after winning in impressive fashion, beating a tough opponent at their own game, and standing (currently) at 9-0, no one is talking about the Colts as an dominant football team. They just won their 18th straight regular season game, which broke a record set by (guess who!) the New England Patriots. Yet, no one is talking about the Colts? AGAIN! Hell, in Vic Carucci's little mind, the 9-0 Colts are not good, just lucky (Tip to thebossuzzi I mean, WHAT! 18 straight wins via blind, stinking luck?
It's sad. It's head scratching. It's typical big media hate for the Colts.
If our team were the Cowboys, Ravens, or (hell!) even the Raiders right now sitting in the same position, you'd see a lot more coverage. The sad reality is that no one gives a turd about a great team from Indianapolis. Even with the best football player on the planet playing on our team, no one in big media gets excited about Indy.
And because of this bias, thus we have blogs like this one and sites like CHFF.