It is a sad day. One of the most beloved players of the Indianapolis Colts for the past 7 years is, as of now, no longer with us. While it is a decision that had to be made (in the eyes of most), it is one that comes with misty eyes. Some may be quick to condemn him for his work, or lack thereof, for the Colts in the last 4 years; but, the majority of Colts fans will be grateful for his presence, and grateful for the opportunity they had to see him play the game.
Before taking the time and effort to thank Bob Sanders for his play here in Indianapolis, I need to get something off of my chest.
Shame on you.
Shame on you, Colts fans, for tearing down one of the most talented, selfless players in recent Colts history as soon as he was cut from the team. The man gave his heart, soul, and body to this team (a team that you claim to be a fan of), and you cannot just stop for a moment and appreciate all that he's given? He gave all he had whenever he was on the field, and that is why, in the end, his body gave out on him. Give the man the credit, admiration, and loyalty he deserves.
Shame on you, BBS, for using hindsight and flawed logic in this situation to needlessly criticize Bill Polian. My disagreement to this article could not appropriately fit in a comment, so I would like to comment here. First, the title. The title of an article is a preview of what's to come, the smallest summary of the article. This article is called: 'Colts Cut Bob Sanders: Why You Should Never Trust Bill Polian' (emphasis mine). I'll come back to this. First, let's look at the one quote in which this entire article/premis is based on.
There's no way we would cut Bob Sanders unless he's completely incapable of playing and I don't think that that's the case. I think he'll be back better than ever as the saying goes next summer. I see no situation where we would cut him. Trade? There's an old saying, 'Don't ever trade anybody who can help you.' I think Bob Sanders can help us a lot (laughing), so it would have to be a blockbuster offer to even consider it. I don't see any chance that either thing could happen. I think Bob's back with us, as I say, better than ever and in a good frame of mind – whole and healthy and ready to go.
Now, what did you have to say about this? Quite a bit. Right away in your opening paragraph, you say (emphasis mine):
Still, it's worth noting that, over the past two years, when asked numerous times about the prospect of the Colts cutting Sanders, Colts president Bill Polian was often defiant in his refusal to even consider parting ways with the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
First, you only provide one time in which Polian says they would not cut Bob Sanders. Not numerous times over two years. Second, Polian never says that they would "never consider parting ways" with him. Even in that quote he says that if there was a blockbuster trade offer for Sanders, he would consider it. But, you continue:
Now, we're going to assume that Bob Sanders is not 'incapable of playing.' We will also assume that Polian's comments in 2009 were, to be blunt, a crock of do-do, especially his 'I see no situation where we would cut him,' line of nonsense.
Sanders has been physicaly incapable of playing for the better part of 3 years, as you have so faithfully reminded us. Polian says he couldn't see a situation where they would cut him. How many people "saw" Bob playing virtually no time over 3 years? How many people saw Sanders lasting less than a quarter in live play? And how are those comments now a "crock of do-do" just because the unexpected happened?
The lesson: Money makes the world go around boys and girls. And whenever a person like Bill Polian says 'I see no situation where we would cut [insert player name here],' that person is pulling your leg.
This is ridiculous. Because of one quote (and a twisted one at that), we have to assume that Bill Polian lies about everything? This is why we "Should Never Believe Bill Polian"? Really? If we're going to use that logic, us readers probably shouldn't believe anything you say. I mean, in 2007 you said that Bob Sanders was worth the contract, and in 2008 you said that Sanders was gotten at a "discount" (funny that that article is titled "The next person who says Polian overpays gets smacked" considering how much you've complained about that this year). You've obviously changed your mind on that since then, does that make you a liar? Are you completely discredited now? You once said that the pick of Jerry Hughes was "outstanding... Smart pick by Mr. Polian." You've claimed you're displeasure about that pick numerous times since then, does that mean you were "pulling our leg" in that post-draft article?
The Colts, and their fans, can no longer be sure, or even confident, that Bob Sanders will be physically capable to play during the season. So, they cut him, likely due to the fact that he is unwilling to take a lesser contract. You've said yourself that they should "just cut him and be done with him." But now that they have done that, you're criticizing Polian for not keeping his word? Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't, for Mr. Polian. It makes perfect sense, in the terms of Polian's quote, and in terms of the present, to cut Sanders at the current contract. I personally thank Bill Polian for attempting to keep such a high-impact player for so long, but knowing now that it is time to let go.
On an additional note, if you still believe that it was Polian's fault for keeping an oft-injured player around, consider this: If Polian chose to keep him, he was most likely given some information and advice by the medical and training staff for the Colts regarding Bob's injuries (both his likelihood of getting more and his chance of healing properly and quickly). I'd say that they were the ones who share more of the blame than Polian, if blame is needed at all.
Now that that is off of my chest, I would like to thank Bob Sanders for his time in Indianapolis. While the thanks and gratitude may be a little late, I believe it is still appropriate to document the Indianapolis Colts fan's appreciation for Bob Sanders.
"The Eraser" was known for his big hits, energy on the field, and ability to single-handedly transform our running defense. As stated before, the greatest quality of Bobzilla was the fact that when he was on the field, you knew that he was giving everything he had. The amount of effort he displayed on the football field was unmatched by any teammate or competitor. Though small in size (he was only 5-8 and 200 pounds), he made up for it with a fearless attacking style that drew in the fans, pumped up his teammates, and terrorized his opponents. Sanders did whatever he could to keep the opposing player from gaining another inch, whether that was a diving ankle tackle or a stand-him-up stick. For a Colts fan, it was so incredibly relieving to have one of the physical, punisher-type players on our team, rather than the opposing.
BobZombie was the player that provided our highlight reel for the defensive side of the ball. He was the only player on the Colts who could stop the bowling ball known as Maurice Jones-Drew. A few of my favorite moments in remembrance of Sanders are some of the hits on Jones-Drew (the stone cold stop on the goal line, the 4th down on Monday night). He could take a pick back for 30 yards, weaving in and out of players and tip toeing down the sideline. He was the sparkplug of the defense, and really of the entire team, as the energy was contagious.
Bob was known as The Eraser, not because he had soft pink tips, but because he had the unique ability to erase the mistakes of the rest of the defense, especially when it comes to defending the run. He could sense where the play was going quite early, and committed himself to the ball. Even if the running back got to the "second level," he was immediately brought down by #21. Often times Bob would get to the running back before they even got to the first level, knifing through the trenches to get to the ball carrier. The best example of Bob raising the performance of the defense was the 2006 playoffs, a season and dream that Colts fans will for ever owe to Bob Sanders.
During the 2006 regular season, the Colts defense, especially against the run, was atrocious. All Colts fans remember the game against Jacksonville, in which our defense was historically bad, giving up 375 yards on the ground. Going into the playoffs, our only hope was to outscore our opponent with Peyton, Reggie, Marvin, and our dual headed ground game. But the return of Sanders brought a new energy to the defense, and in the playoffs they were remarkable, holding every team but the Patriots under 100 yards of rushing. Sanders himself can be reminded of several specific plays, such as the deflection of Brady's pass to Troy Brown in the AFCCG (which led to Addai's game-winning TD run). Another play that Sanders gave as a highlight was the fumble forced in the Super Bowl, when Sanders' hit on Cedric Benson knocked out the ball (recovered by the Colts), as well as knocking Benson out of the game. Sanders got another turnover with a leaping interception later in the game, allowing the Colts to keep a steady lead on the Bears. Overall, a large part of the Super Bowl run was due to Sanders' return. Both his individual play and the effect he had on the defense were crucial to that magical month of playoff football.
For your viewing pleasure:
Bob Miked Up (A very entertaining watch):
All in all, Sanders deserves to be adored for his time here. He gave everything he had, and I cannot fault him for injuries derailing what could have been a Hall of Fame worthy career. All I can do is profusely thank him for all he's done for the Colts franchise, and all he's done for me as a fan. It's been a pleasure to root for him, and an honor, and I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next.
Thank you #21. You will be missed.