BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 11: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts sits on the bench during the second of the Colts game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
I'd like it known, for the record, that I take no joy in writing article after article after article about how my favorite team stinks, how the front office is run by monkeys, how the owner looks like an impotent decision-maker, and how my favorite player in the whole world (Peyton Manning) might be done for his career.
No pleasure. No fun. No joy of any kind.
Some have asked, 'Well, then why write about that stuff if it isn't fun?' The answer is THE story behind the Colts is just how dysfunctional they are. The facade of competence was propped up by Manning and, earlier, by Tony Dungy. With both of them gone in 2011, we now realize just how awful things are behind the scenes. If we ignore that, pretend it isn't there, just because it isn't 'fun' or 'convenient' for the little world we fans have propped up around these people, then that is no different than the blind, mindless ramblings we hear every Monday night from Bill Polian when he tells us Jerry Hughes is still a good draft pick, and that Jim Caldwell is an outstanding coach.
Our goal here is to write about what we, as fan editors, thinks matters the most. We fans are the paying customers. We're THE REASON this game gets played in a stadium we paid for, and continue to pay for. Thus, the important stories, the ones that truly matter, are the ones we focus on. This year, most of those stories have been overwhelmingly negative in substance and tone.
Admittedly, 2011 has taken a lot of the 'fun' out of writing about this franchise. Really, for me the 'fun' started melting away after Week Sixteen in 2009. Imagine how it will feel when the Colts go 0-16 the same year the Packers go 16-0 (and possibly 19-0). In December 2009, and later in 2010, I was basically told by the powers in charge at West 56th Street that my opinion didn't matter. That I wasn't a 'real fan' for expressing that opinion.
That's when I started to question why?
Why keep this up? Why keep covering a team and franchise that so obviously hates fans who have critical minds and (GASP!) expect accountability when things screw up?
The answer is because regardless of what Bill Polian and his idiot sons think or say, fans have power and have every right to express and use it.
This blog is an example of that power. Prior to us kicking up a storm and making a big fuss about how awful this team has drafted in recent years, or how terribly the club treats people, NO ONE else was writing comparable material.
Now, with Phil Wilson tearing it up on his blog, and even Bob Kravitz coming out and saying that Polians should be fired, we actually have HELPED our local press to grow a spine and write real stories.
Again, we aren't THE reason, but we have helped.
So, if you want to really know why we continue, it's because, on some level, we make a difference. We help push the media narrative. We bring stories that normally get ignored pushed to a national audience. This pisses Bill Polian off like no tomorrow, which is why those of you non-Indianapolis residents can't listen to his Monday radio show. But, just like the petty dictators in Africa and Arabia, Bill Polian doesn't understand they he alone does not control the opinions of people.
I genuinely feel and hope change will happen at the end of this season. True change. We fans need and deserve a clean slate. If it happens, then we were part of the reason why. I realize not everyone here is as adamant about the level of change we editors are advocating. But, I think everyone who closely follows this team agrees something must happen, and it must be more than just firing the head coach. The head coach in Indy is nothing more than a puppet of the Polians. Replacing him with another puppet changes little. The change must come at the top, and it must come from Irsay himself.
Since we know Irsay reads this site, we continuously pressure him to make the right decision (a.k.a., fire the Polians). We realize this decision would be difficult personally for Irsay, but the axe must fall on those in charge. If it doesn't, Irsay will come off as an inept, indecisive owner who is not truly in charge of his franchise.
All that said, until this change happens, the losing this season is killing me. I've never seen the Colts this bad, and I've watched a 1-15 season and three 3-13 seasons. This is the worst team ever fielded in Indianapolis, and it might be one of the worst in NFL history. I've been embarrassed to show my Colts pride. I'm embarrassed that they are my team. I'm embarrassed, period.
It kills me that things have come to this. The only glimmer of hope I have left in this franchise is that things might change. Apologies if this all comes out like rambling, but I felt the need to take this blog back to its roots a bit. Back to when I used it to just vent my feelings about the team. Use the comments below to do the same.
Note: I wrote this just as the news of the Chiefs firing Todd Haley hit the Internets. This means that two coaches who defeated the Colts this year (Haley and Jack Del Rio) are unemployed while Caldwell still is.