Occasionally, I'll get a few knuckleheads that troll me on Twitter or email me nasty messages saying that I'm not really a Colts fan, and that all I do all day is write 'fake news' that's designed to get page views. Doesn't matter how many sources I cite. Doesn't matter how many links I put in. To these people, I'm apparently nothing more than a page views whore. Hell, I even had another Colts blog essentially call me that back when we correctly reported that Peyton Manning was injured following last season's Week One loss to the Texans.
What's frustrating about these people is that they don't know how often get pressure from the other side. Why am I not using more SEOs in my titles? Why am I ignoring stories that are obvious page view gold?
The reason is this blog is run the only way I know how to run it: My way.
Thus, when I see Jim Irsay use Twitter as his own personal amusement park, where he can send the media on a wild goose chase over a story that has absolutely no legs, I don't jump and say, 'I gotta get in on this!'
To the credit of my parent company, SB Nation, I did not get a phone call, a text, or an email from anyone telling me 'Jim Irsay is in Hattiesburg and is wooing Brett Favre to the Colts. You need to write an article on this.' I appreciate the overall level of freedom SB Nation allows me, especially on this blog. We did write something about Favre to Colts over at SB Nation Indiana. The post generated tens of thousands of hits. Special thanks to one of my editors there, Travis Miller, for writing the little piece. I certainly didn't want to do it.
So, yeah, unless you're the most gullible person on the planet, or an ESPN producer, Jim Irsay was not in Mississippi this weekend wooing Brett Favre to the Colts.
We r evaluating the QB sitch,#18 healing but we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!
This sparked the first round of panic. 'WHAT! PEYTON MIGHT NOT BE READY? FIRE! SOMEONE GET ME SOME FIRE! I'M GONNA BURN LUCAS OIL DOWN!!!'
The second round of panic was cause by Bill Polian. Ole Bill told ESPN on Saturday (via PFT):
"Bottom line, we truly do not know when [Peyton] will be ready," Colts president Bill Polian told ESPN Saturday. "Once the nerves regenerate properly, he’ll be ready. When that happens, he’ll be ready to ramp up immediately. It’s impossible to predict."
So, yeah. The 'minor procedure' Bill Polian said Manning's neck surgery was back in May is now 'we truly do not know when he will be ready' come late-August. A surgery that gave Bill 'little or no worry' (again, his words) in May now involves nerves regenerating (WTF?) in his $90 million dollar quarterbacks neck.
Then, on Sunday, while everyone in Indianapolis is ready to commit ritual seppuku at the thought of Curtis Painter starting Week One against Houston, Jim Irsay tweets us this:
Brad,I'm in Hattiesburg...is it right or left at the Firechief?
Hattiesburg is the small Mississippi town where one Brett Favre lives.The Internet practically exploded in a fiery ball known as a 'Favregasm' when Irsay sent this tweet.
The tweet was enough to get the attention of the Associated Press. AP called both Favre's agent, Bus Cook, and the Colts to confirm that Irsay was in Mississippi to visit Favre. Cook responded:
Favre's longtime agent Bus Cook said he hadn't spoken with the quarterback in a few days, but the "last time I saw him he was on his tractor mowing the back forty."
The Colts general manager, Chris Polian, responded with a no comment.
Now, it's at this point in the process where I get annoyed with the Polians. Supposedly, they are in charge of the football operations. If the Colts had any interest at all in Favre, you'd think they'd know. Thus, when the AP calls them and says 'Is Irsay in Mississippi to court Brett Favre?' Chris Polian should be in the position to say, 'No. We have no interest in signing Favre.'
That would have ended this stupidity right then and there.
But no. Because the Polians seem to have an allergic reaction to media trying to confirm stories that interest the fans of the football team the Polians work for, they give a 'no comment.' Thus, the stupid story continues to ramble along.
Eventually, it became obvious that Irsay was joking even though he did not tweet anything to confirm this was, indeed, a joke. The only tweet he sent to clear things up was this:
I can't clear anything up...everything is fluid and in flux...b ready 4 anything n everything then nothing is not foe BUT FRIEND!
Obviously, this clears nothing up, and it was such a non-apology that the whole thing clearly irked people like ESPN's Paul Kuharsky, who took time to write an article yesterday saying Jim Irsay was no longer credible as a social media source for team matters.
Excuse me while I laugh at Paul's silliness there.
The irony is the parent company Paul works for stopped being an objective and credible source of news a loooooooong time ago. If Paul's mad at Jim Irsay for making him run around like a headless chicken chasing Favre rumors, maybe his anger is better directed at the editors at ESPN.com who likely called Paul early on a Sunday and said, 'IRSAY'S AFTER FAVRE! GET AN EXCLUSIVE!'
Of course, that's just me speculating on the abject stupidity of ESPN if anyone there truly believed Irsay was in Mississippi. If they wanted to know where Irsay truly was last weekend, they could have gone to flightaware.com, checked the tail number on Irsay's private plane (which he takes everywhere), and they would have seen he was in Monterrey, CA. Our own Matt Grecco tweeted about Irsay's plane and it's location this past weekend.
But, whatever. We call that kind of stuff 'good reporting.' Such a thing is often lost in the shuffle at the Worldwide Leader.
So, was this a silly and useless joke that Irsay played on the media? Probably. Irsay says he likes to channel the late, great Andy Kaufman, a man notorious for pulling stunts on the media just to laugh at them.
Was it reckless of Irsay? Yes. If I had reported the Irsay was in Mississippi, or that the Colts were interested in Favre, but I had no source for the story, the Colts would have jumped all over me and denounced me as a factless rumormonger. But, when their owner spreads false rumors just for gits and shiggles, not a peep from the Polians.
Do I like asking rhetorical questions? Yes. I also talk to myself in funny voices, especially when I'm drunk and watching a Colts preseason game.
What is lost in all this is that the Colts ownership and front office clearly misjudged Peyton's injury. We think they hid the injury from the NFL all last season, a clear violation of league rules. After the surgery, which Irsay was given special permission to get information on despite the owners locking out the players at that time, the owner and the front office were confident Manning would be back by training camp.
Since July, they've been backtracking further and further. And, quite honestly, I don't think they know when he will play. And if Peyton is not 100%, Peyton will still want to play, and there isn't much Irsay or the Polians can do to stop him. So, regardless of whether he's healthy or not, No. 18 (and not No. 4 from Mississippi) will be under center for the Colts Week One.
So, there. There is my stupid story on this Brett Favre thing. Happy? I've submitted this 24 hours after the Favre story died down. We won't get much traffic as a result.
BBS, page views whore