"Anyway for your sake, I will cheer for the Colts, aka The Replacements. Peyton Manning is eerily similar to Keanu Reeves in terms of personality...as in non-existant! Bamm." - Ryan Covington
A good buddy of mine, and long time Texans fan I might add, sent this to me a few days ago.
Usually trash talk - this wasn't the customary bashing - gets me going. It makes my blood boil and fires me up. This time however, I took great pride in the ribbing. I also found it particularly amusing, especially given our opponent and the season we've been through.
To start, we are The Replacements and we should embrace it (I know the team already has). How many other teams could lose:
1. Their starting running back (Joe Addai) for 8 games
2. Their new backup running back (Mike Hart) for 8 games
3. Their All-pro top-5 tight end (Dallas Clark) for 10 games
4. The NFL's best slot receiver (Austin Collie) for 7 games
5. Their former number one draft pick and 2 or 3 receiver (Anthony Gonzalez) for the w ho le season
finally to the defense...
6. Former defensive player of the year and star safety (Bob Sanders) for the season
7. Back-up and pro bowl caliber safety (Melvin Bullitt) for 12 games
8. Rising star cornerback (Jerraud Powers) for 6 games
9. Starting OLB and energy of the defense (Clint Session) for 11 games
10. Other starting cornerback and 2006 super bowl hero (Kelvin Hayden) for 6 games
Did I leave anyone out? Yep - oops. I didn't even get to the guys who didn't even get to start the season such as corner back David Thomas or backups like safety Jamie Silva and linebacker Codie Glenn. Nor did I include players that missed only a few games or players who played a more minor role.
But you get the point - we are the real life version of the replacements. Hell, even when healthy, isn't half our team a bunch of castoffs anyway? I mean look at our offensive line, did we even draft any of them before round 3?
Ryan Diem - Being drafted with the 118th pick out of power house Northern Illinois definitely counts as being rejected as a CASTOFF!
Kyle Devan - signed undrafted out of Oregon State after being cut by the Redskins. Also, does anything scream castoff more than the fact he was previously a substitute teacher before playing with the Boise Burn? CASTOFF!
Charlie Johnson - a former 6th round pick from Oklahoma State who has been shuffled all over the line, filling in wherever the Colts had the most pressing needs. Definition of the word - CASTOFF!.
Jeff Saturday - Another undrafted free agent who was cut by another team (the Ravens) before the Colts snagged him. He turned out to be the anchor of the line and one of the best center's of all time... Doesn't matter - still a CASTOFF!
Mike Pollack - Even though Mike Pollack was drafted in the second round (a shocking achievement in itself for Colts' linemen), Pollack was a true center who was then converted to guard by Indy, which allows him to tag along with the rest of the CASTOFF crew. (Also might fall into the bust category as well - let's holdout hope for the playoffs).
Jeff Linkenbach - Another undrafted offensive lineman. The guy is such a castoff that even though he is a professional football player on a playoff team, his wikipedia page is 2 sentences. Kuznik, Lubusz, Viovodeship - a small Polish town with a population of only 42 people, got 3. Ouch - CASTOFF!
There you have it - your 2010 Indianapolis Colts CASTOFFS.
Wait, did I leave anyone out? Yep - oops. Those guys were just the offensive line. Don't forget Pierre Garcon (6th round out of Mount Union), Robert Mathis (5th round out of Alabama A&M), Antoine Bethea (6th round out of Howard), Blair White (undrafted), Eric Foster (undrafted), Jacob Lacey (undrafted), Dominic Rhodes (undrafted) Melvin Bullitt (undrafted - also has a great wikipedia pic fyi)... just to name a few of the many other CASTOFFS on the roster. Not like they've really had to contribute or anything.
The incredible part is that these "castoffs" have all played integral parts in helping the Colts make the playoffs. And while the offensive line has at times played down to its reputation, for the most part, all of these guys are an inspiring bunch.
So when my buddy Ryan says we are like the Replacements, we should take pride in that. No other team could ever have close to the years of success we have had with our "talent pool" No way. Look at teams like the Cowboys, Chargers and Giants who are littered with first round and other high draft picks. Guess what? Tomorrow night they are watching at home on the couch (Man it feels good to write about the Chargers not making the playoffs - very therapeutic).
Besides the horrifying fact that the Colts are protecting 100 million dollar Peyton Manning with a former substitute teacher, Colts fans should feel great and damn proud about our team being called replacements or castoffs because our castoffs know how to win. Hello playoffs 9 years in a row.
Our castoffs have defined what it means to work hard, do things the right way and be rewarded with incredible success... Strange, it almost sounds like the American dream huh? Any chance we could replace the Cowboy's as America's favorite team? Doubtful but hey, whats not to like? Which brings me to my second point of while I was tickled by the "trash talk"....
Quick side note:
Before getting on to the second part, it would be remiss not to give Polian, Cadwell and the front office credit as well. BBS wrote a nice article about how Cadwell should get credit for the Colts recent surge but the much maligned Polian needs some as well. Yes our offensive line is in desperate need and yes Polian's recent drafts haven't been nearly as successful as previous ones, but find me a GM who could discover the talent listed above.
The very fact that we have survived so many injuries and have returned to the postseason for a 9th consecutive time is a testament to not only Polian's gift of uncovering gems late in the draft, but also building depth. Something that has been sorely overlooked is the fact that every player the Colts have signed or asked to step up has risen to the challenge and played admirably. Polian is deserving of some praise for this.
Back to point two:
Some might call him bland and dull (more on that later). Non-Colts fans might even say he is tedious to watch with all he pre-snap calls. But one thing is for sure, no matter if you are a Chargers fan, a Pats fan or a non partisan casual observer, everybody knows Peyton Manning and the Colts are winners.
Peyton Manning has redefined the meaning of role model and leader and other - not surprisingly - successful quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are following suit.
Sure he isn't the coolest guy. Or somebody who gives great and flashy soundbites. But how many superbowls have Terrell Owens - a guy who bandwagons on to contenders I might add - and Ochocinco won? Chris Johnson's competed in more celebrity races than he has in super bowls and look at Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan.Sure, he is a pretty good coach, but so far (and starting tomorrow, he's going to have to wait at least one more season) that is it.
Rex Ryan also brings me to my final point and why I found the timing of the joke/trash talk particularly amusing. The Colts are boring and the Jets are not. Sure, fine, whatever. Which organization would you rather be?
A winning franchise that does things the right way and which has a cool owner who gives away free tickets to boot OR a franchise that is being sued by a former masseuse for not reporting sexual harassment by their star player, was punished by the NFL for the sexual harassment of a female reporter, had a coach who purposely tripped an opposing player and who ordered his players to endanger the health of their opponents AND a coach who had an embarrassing fetish video surface on the internet? Phew.... that was almost as long as the Colt's injury report.
As for the answer? Yeah, thought so. I too will take the no-nonense, clean cut winning team. That's not to say the Colts are perfect. We've had our own issues recently whether it be Dominic Rhodes DUI, Ed Johnson's Marijuana or Pat McAfee's drunken swim. But, we learn from our mistakes, discipline the perpetrators seriously and move on like any responsible and professional adult or team does.
So yeah, I agree with my friend Ryan with most of his trash talk. The only thing that actually made me mad was saying Peyton's personality is non-existant. He might be all business on the field, but the guy is a riot off it.
There are a whole collection of SNL skits and old master card commercials on youtube to back me up on that.
Tomorrow we have a lot to be proud of when our Colts take the field. It will no doubt be a tough game against a quality and experienced opponent. But, referring back to the movie, we can draw inspiration from the scene when the coach was asked what it would take to overcome the odds and win (in this case to make the playoffs). He responded, "Miles and miles of heart." Fortunately for the Colts, they have proven they have more than plenty of that.
Let's hope the outcome tomorrow night is the same.
Be loud and proud.