And this season, more so than any other, was odd. I said that before this playoff run started. I think we all saw how different this team was way back in Week 1 against the Giants. When they beat New England in Foxboro (again), with Brady throwing 4 INTs and Manning lighting up the Patriots defense, we saw something different. Certainly, after the Kansas City playoff game, I started really thinking this team was the best in the NFL. I'd always hoped it, but after that game I somehow knew it.
There is a difference.
We all could write books on Super Bowl 41. It had all kinds of drama. For me, the main thing that sticks out was how the Colts were able to overcome the elements and play outstanding, fundamental football. No gimmicks. No flea-flicker reverses to a wide receiver who throws a TD pass. None of that stuff. Just simple, sound, fundamental football. In one game, the Colts proved just about every pundit wrong. Guys like Bill Simmons, Mike Florio, Jason Whitlock have all, at one time or another, questioned the Colts' toughness, their ability to win big games in bad conditions. And judging by some of their reactions post-Super Bowl, these silly, obnoxious turds are not happy being proven wrong.
And it is funny to see people make statements like "the Colts didn't win the Super Bowl; the Bears lost it." Folks, whenever you hear anyone make a statement like that, make it a point to never, ever listen to that person again. Don't argue with them. Don't give them the satisfaction that you even acknowledge their existence. Anyone that says such statements is a moron, and knows nothing about football.
If you actually watched the Super Bowl, instead of occasionally glancing at it in between trips to the complimentary buffet, it was clear Indianapolis was the superior team. I respect Chicago and the team they have. Lovie Smith is a top 5 coach (better than coaches like Gruden, Billick, and even Shanahan- guys with rings who just got lucky) and they have a strong nucleus to compete in this league for a long time. However, they were no match for Indy, and by the second quarter it was clear. Chicago's defense could not stop the Colts. They couldn't pressure Manning. They couldn't stop the run. They blew assignments (like Wayne's 53-yard TD catch).
Without the deep ball, the Bears offense is nothing. They are NOT a running team, and when people called them such I often chuckled on the inside. This is not an insult to Thomas Jones or the Bears o-line. They are certainly capable of running. What they are not good at is running a patient, stable offense; running the football, throwing underneath, moving the chains. Part of it is Rex Grossman, Chicago's QB. Everyone wants to blame him. Welcome to life as an NFL QB, Rex! Every moron pundit from Jay Mariotti to Phil Simms' mom will call you the goat, whether you deserve it or not. The best advice is to just take it in stride, and go out there and be the best QB you can be. Chicago fans will call for your head. It's ok.
Most fans are dumb. Look at me.
I threw Dungy and his defense under the bus after their embarrassing loss to Jacksonville in November. I thought this team was done, and we were set for another off-season of questions and Manning bashing. I thought Gilbert Gardner would work out as a replacement for David Thornton. I thought the Patriots would seriously regress in 2006, and lose their division to the Dolphins.
Like most fans, I'm dumb.
So, when I see people like Michael Wilbon bitching about Grossman on PTI, I laugh. What Fat Mike doesn't get (because oftentimes his head is so far up his own butt that he mistakes his colon for Tony Kornheiser) is the Bears would not have been in the Super Bowl without Grossman. Period. Without him, the Bears maybe get to the playoffs and maybe lose their first game. Maybe. If you thought Brian Greise was going to lead Chicago to glory, then you obviously haven't watched enough of Brian Greise to have an informed opinion. Did Rex play well in the playoffs? No, but he played well enough. In any case, it is simple to just blame Grossman. I personally think the media is bashing him because Rex called them out for the ignorant scum they are in a press conference. So, this is less about objectively analyzing his SB performance and more about payback. More often than not, press punks like Mariotti and Wilbon are overgrown children who are pampered by corporate media and teams, and when challenged, these pampered punks react like Paris Hilton when her daddy takes away the Porsche for the weekend.
In any case, Rex's Super Bowl performance was not good, but it was not THE reason they lost. The inability of Chicago's defense to stop the Colts offense was the main reason, and the simple fact that Indy was just the better team. There was a reason they were favored by 7.
For us Colts fans, we get to bask in the glory of a championship, the first major one for the city of Indianapolis. This is yet another victory for the NFL in general. The Colts (small market) kicking the crap out of Chicago (big market) is proof the NFL system works, and why sports leagues like Major League Baseball will never match the NFL in popularity or enjoyment as long as they have no salary cap.
For Stampede Blue, even though the season is over, and major NFL news doesn't start percolating until March, we will still have tons to blog about: season evaluations, what to expect in the off-season, and some new features at SB Nation that all us writers are really excited about (can't get into details, but trust me- they are cool). This site has grown enormous over the last six months, and I'm very happy at the community we are building. It has indeed been a "wild ride," and it is only going to get crazier. This is a people powered blog. It doesn't work if it is just me ranting away. When I see important updates and news posted in the diaries, that's what I mean by people powered.
We, together, make Stampede Blue the #1 Colts blog on the Internet. Welcome to the off-season. We've got tons to blog about!