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More radar love, injury updates, and Warren Sapp

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Looks like Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea, and Marvin Harrison are all out for Sunday's game at Oakland. With Indy clinching a playoff birth last weekend, and with a two (really three) game lead in the division, don't expect to see too many injured players suiting up. Even Manning is sick of answering all the injury questions:
Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning isn't sure when Harrison might return, either, and until then is content relying on rookie Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts' top draft pick in April, to fill the void.

Harrison last played against Jacksonville on Oct. 22.

"Nobody really has any clue around here about Marvin and what's going on there, so Gonzo's the guy," Manning said. "I don't know anything. It's Gonzo who's out there at the right, and we've got to get Devin (Aromashodu) more comfortable out there in the three-wides package."

Manning acknowledged later he is tired of answering weekly questions about Harrison's health.

Answering injury questions has to be preferred over those "Why can't you win the big one?" questions we all heard for years. We've talked an awful lot about Indy flying under the radar, a phrase annoyingly over-used in sports. However, in the Colts case, it is a bit strange that a defending Super Bowl Champion team with an 11-2 record and the #2 ranked defense is getting so very little recognition.
These days, Dungy, Manning and the Colts just keep chugging along at an impressive clip, without the burdens of years past, and out of the spotlight trained on the New England Patriots' undefeated season, the Miami Dolphins' winless campaign and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's conviction on federal dogfighting charges.

"In our locker room, you don't see anybody like, 'Oh, we're not getting the recognition that we should,'" Colts running back Joseph Addai said in a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "I don't think that really matters. You win the game, regardless. We're playing good ball and that's the only thing that matters."

There's something to be said for Indianapolis' seemingly boring, methodical approach. Dungy's players stay out of trouble, take his cue on doing things in a business-like manner and soar among the elite year after year.

You don't ever hear about the Colts being involved in spying on opposing teams or any on-field or off-field controversies that distract from the task at hand. It's Dungy's way.

It's important to note that players and teams haven't forgotten about Indy, just the dumb ass media. This is a level of respect that comes with Dungy's teams, which often handle themselves in a classy way. Sure, occasionally you'll hear the grumbling from National Enquirer wannabe Mike Florio about how John Teerlick tells his d-lineman to take out QB's knees, or how Bill Polian is actually the most powerful man in the NFL, re-writing the rules to suit himself. But, all that is fluff garbage is designed to distract from what we already know: This is a great Colts team that conducts itself with tremendous class.
Chuck Noll (center) taught Dungy (left) how to win. And yes, that is Tom Moore to the right. And yes, He's always looked old.

Take the Baltimore game: It was over in the beginning of the third quarter. The score was 37-7, and Dungy did the unthinkable: He pulled Manning and the starters with about 8:00 left in the third. This is typical for Dungy, a man more interested in winning the right way than padding stats so he can flip off the rest of the NFL. This is what taints, somewhat, Tom Brady breaking Manning's 49 TDs in a season mark.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have always been a big Brady fan even as our Patriot counterparts continue to insult and berate our QB. What he is doing this year is amazing, and solidifies what I've said for a while: Peyton and tom are the two best to ever play this game. But, as Colts fans, we all know that if Dungy and Manning had done in 2004 the kind of tasteless, stat-padding crap Belichick and Brady have done this season, Peyton Manning would have thrown 60 TDs. Hell, there were three games this season where Manning could have padded his TD stats (Saints, Ravens, Panthers) but opted to hand the ball off (or site for a quarter or two).

That, my friends, is what we call class. That's winning the right way. Many NFL fans don't care about that kind of stuff. To them I say "whatever." If Indy went out there to embarrass people, they'd beat some teams so badly it would scar opposing fans for life. They'd wake up with shakes in the night, sweating as they re-live watching the Colts smite their favorite club 95-0 in front of a national TV audience. When our guys kick your guys' ass the right way, you can complain about how Bill Polian is changing the rules and ruining football. While you are doing that, we'll enjoy our second consecutive Super Bowl parade, complete with both Lombardi Trophies.

"Trust me, people know all about the Colts," Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "Sure they do. You just aren't hearing much about them right now. Just wait. Their time will come."
Why thank you Warren. There was a time when I thought the Colts should have traded for you, and maybe (just for novelty sake) they still should. Maybe the Raiders could give us back Dom Rhodes as well, since they don't use him. At least Dom can catch the football out of the backfield.

I really enjoy watching my football team knowing that there is, at the very least, a strong effort to win and play the right way. No showboating. No running up the score. No cheating. No pretense. Just a great football team playing great football. sure, it's not sexy, cool, or even "normal." and most people's immediate reaction to it is to dismiss it as fake. Whatever. Looks real to me, and unlike most of the talking heads, I watch them almost every Sunday.