1-16-17: Football Fitzthoughts Five: NFL Divisional Playoffs Recap

The month of January used to be a time for National Football League playoff football courtesy of the local pro pigskin franchise headquartered on West 56th Street in Indianapolis. Previous posts have shown why that is no longer the case, and plenty of modern day warriors in the Indianapolis sports media have recently decided to play Kelly Clarkson and that Ruben dude from early 00’s American Idol to yell THAT COLTS TEAM CLOWN SHOW DUR DUH DUR NO PEY-DON BE HERE thanks to recent events of the last few days. Said recent events: NFL rumor roundup maestros Adam Schefter of the Four Letter Sons and MMA enthusiast Jay Glazer of Fox Sports noting that Diamond Jim Irsay indeed looked to add the combo of fellow Four Letter Sons/Monday Night Football color man Jon Gruden and legendary retired Colts QB P. Williams Manning to the team’s brain trust. Word was that Gruden wanted roster control (i.e.- the ability to do the job of Irsay favorite and current Colts general manager ‘Big Grig’ Ryan Grigson) and Manning wanted an equity (read: some ownership stake) of the Colts billion dollar franchise to come aboard. Irsay the elder said no to the first while The Daughters Irsay (the three female future heirs to the team) said no to the latter. Hence as of this typing nothing has changed: no public announcement from said Diamond Jim on who’s running the Colts on and off the field in 2017, and no apparent change from the 16-16 mediocrity that has come from Grigson and head coach Ground Chuck Pagano over the past two years. Meet the new Sons, same as the old Sons in other words. (EDIT ON 1/22: since posting this has now become just one son instead of two as Grigson received his walking papers from Diamond Jim yesterday afternoon. We now await Grigson’s replacement as this sentence is typed.)

Local media icons including Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel (whom I like, which is against the grain of most smart a– type commentators that babble incoherently on the Internet) and WTHR‘s Bob Kravitz (who famously feuded with former Colts GM Bill Polian during the team’s more successful days of yesteryear) have united in describing the Colts as having much in common with events sponsored by Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Fair enough: they get paid well to do so by their current employers. But I still go back to the main point that needs to be remembered in all of this chaotic lack of action when it comes to the Colts making an authoritative stance on who’s going to coach their team in 2017: as long as Diamond Jim continues to believe that his man Grigson is the cream of the NFL front office crop, then it’s going to be hard to make the changes needed to give Andrew Luck and company a shot of actually contending for the World title in the near future. That’s why I am accepting The Dysfunctional Duo as the team that will run the Colts in 2017, and that’s why I also figure that if they can’t make the playoffs for a third year in a row then the decision for Diamond Jim to change courses will be an easier one to make. Particularly when it comes to his man Grigson, a gent who for every Vontae Davis pickup (good) will counter with the likes of Laron Landry, Todd Heremanns and of course long time fitzthoughtsblog subject Trent Cole (not so good) in shaping a team that currently has more holes than the proverbial piece of Swiss cheese. Perhaps things will change in the next few days, perhaps not…..nevertheless if one wants to defend Pagano and Grigson for their past two years of mediocrity because a change was actually attempted to be made, then I’ll just throw out this GIF with the Pagano approved power running attack led by Grigson pickup and ex-Colt Trent Richardson from SB Nation:

That was to be our current franchise running back here in central Indiana. Best to move on as I go to teams that have actually done something for themselves in the 2016-17 NFL campaign via

FITZTHOUGHTS FIVE: NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF WEEKEND THOUGHTS:

5.) THE SON SHINES IN THE ATL:

In my fantasy football league that I have participated in for 14 years without winning first place, the gent pictured above is known as The Son Matt Ryan as most TV commentators talk about him like he is in fact their son: never making an error, never with a hair out of place, and straight out of the same neighborhood as Wally and the Beav. Problem is our pal usually doesn’t get the job done in playoff games, and so I had no issue picking against the Son’s Atlanta Falcons when they played the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night. As I watched the game, I found that proved to be a big mistake. (I went 2-2 on  my picks this weekend-find out what other game I screwed up on in a moment.) It was also a beating: the ATL 36, Seattle 20 as Ryan threw for 338 years and three touchdowns against a Seattle defense that is considered the cat’s meow with sportswriters from Tacoma to Tybee Island. Ryan and his main hombre Quintorris Lopez Jones dominated the game from start to finish, and even the Falcon defense showed up for once in a big contest by intercepting Seahawk QB and matinee idol Russell Wilson twice. The Falcons are now one game from the Super Bowl as they get to play the BJ Novak lookalike pictured below next week:

4) JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR YOUNG AARON RODGERS

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (known as YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUNNNG Aaron Rodgers in said fantasy league as he was the then younger replacement of current knee pad spokesman Brett Favre) always reminds me of the smaller son who would attempt to do comedy without performing actual comedy on the late NBC sitcom The Office, one BJ Novak. (With the exception of a time when Novak cut a promo essentially telling the John Krasinski played character Jim Halpert to STFO because his ME BE SIMPLE LADIES MAN STARE CAMERA BAT EYES gimmick was too much for even Novak’s Ryan Howard to handle, I struggled to deal with said Novak on the tube even if he may have drank a beer at Harvard during the hey days of Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. But enough about my TV critical tastes). Despite reminders of looking like each other as seen below…..

…and below…

..and because why the f— not, also below…

…this Young Rodgers can play football well enough to make NBCer Dan Patrick literally soil his pants in mid-sentence. (Don’t listen to Patrick when he talks on his radio show about Rodgers; it gets pretty bad. Actually it gets downright creepy to where I hope Patrick has some lotion near him to ease the pain.) And the evidence came last night as I watched the game and said to myself ‘dude doesn’t miss a pass.’ Since said dude was like 18 for 20 at one time in yesterday’s game against Dallas, that seemed to be the case. Final Rodgers lines for scoring and not snorting: 28 for 43 for 356 yards and two touchdowns plus a game winning drive to set up the winning Mason Crosby field goal as time expired. Green Bay 34, Dallas 31, and I get to see Rodgers and Ryan square off for the NFC title next weekend. Could be worse. Could deal with worse scenarios. After all I once watched a Rams-Bucs NFC final game in January 2000 that had a score of 11-6. Like looking at my reflection in the mirror, it wasn’t pretty.

Moving on…..ironically enough…

3) PATRIOTS BEAT TEXANS-NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Had to throw out the meme out with the late Leslie Nielsen in rare form during the midst of the 1988 comedy film delight The Naked Gun. (Sonland High Sidenote: as hopefully will be discussed in future posts, said Nielsen film was the favorite non-Sylvester Stallone starring film of the Diabolical Number 10. Don’t ask for any other choices if you went to the Top Gun video store in Sonland City-aka Noblesville-in 1990-it was Nielsen or nothing. Not surprisingly I have seen said film about four or five dozen times, so IMO the Nielsen estate owes me a free VHS or something out of the deal to compensate for Number 10 salivating over the prospect of seeing Priscilla Presley‘s stuffed beaver on most fall weekends. Not like anything was wrong with said beaver sightings, but variety can be a good thing after the 24th of 25th viewing.)

Back to topic…actually the game was not thrilling because everyone in the free world expected New England to defeat Houston on Saturday night and talking about a video store that now houses a Pizza King was actually more interesting to me. Then again New England wins every year and Houston beats the Colts all the time so that’s how life works. New England 34, Houston 16, forgone conclusion. New England’s opponent for the AFC title next weekend? Pittsburgh, courtesy of this game with this individual in red:

2) ANDY REID LOSE A PLAYOFF GAME? SHOCK.

Good news for fans of Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs is they kept the high powered Pittsburgh Steelers offense out of the end zone last night. Bad news: Reid’s Alex Smith led offense was pretty s—ty with bad line, worse play calling and the belief that Smith’s THROW THREE FOUR YARD PASS IN ROW persona was going to get the job done. Kansas City’s defense and running game will tend to put the Chiefs in the playoffs each year, but the Reid-Smith combo can’t get it done when it matters and it showed last night. The Chiefs had just 227 total yards on offense, failed on what would be game tying two point conversion near the game’s end, and as they usually do lost a playoff game at home 18-16 to said Steel City Sons. Reid and Smith can get you to the proverbial playoff bar, but when it comes time to throw down the big drink at playoff time I have the vision that they will tend to spill the fifths on themselves before slipping onto the spillage and knocking themselves unconscious. Per our friends at profootballreference.com here is the stat log for Smith’s 2-4 overall playoff record (admittedly spruced up by the time that the Colts’ Greg Toler made Smith look like 1985 Joe Montana a couple years back)

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SmitAl03/gamelog/post/

…and for comparison’s sake, here’s Andy Reid’s career head coaching line that shows a record of 11-12 come playoff time:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/ReidAn0.htm

TLDR: I had no issue picking against the Chiefs last night, and more than likely neither did you. Not sure if they will ever break through in a New England dominated conference, but I assume the Chiefs brain trust will give Smith and Reid another five or six years to try. (Then again, they beat the Colts this year….but two words: Chuck Pagano.)

I get to root for Pittsburgh next weekend. Should make things interesting as that doesn’t always happen.

Which leads to

1  WHO TO PICK FOR THE CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES?

Admittedly still mulling that one. Had originally picked a Dallas-New England Super Bowl…that’s not happening. I’ve got six days to decide, so I’ll probably post those around Friday or Saturday (homework permitting).

Either way it’s football, and that means I’ll be watching. I’ve been doing it for 35 years. Hope to do it 35 more…and then some.

Finishing with THE FITZTHOUGHTS GIF OF THE DAY:

Yeah, I could see why that movie was a Number 10 approved classic. Fortunately for my movie viewing weekend experience, said movie stopped being seen 24-7 once said Number 10 was introduced by yours truly to the Hot Sonland Chick he would eventually date and take to prom (obligatory mentioning of The Prom Date as we got to double date with said Number 10 and other previously mentioned female of prior posts). Hoping Top Gun video had used the previous video rental monies to buy a new VHS tape as that tape got way too much air time back in the day. As in Trump gets inaugurated this week type play.

Hard to find a punch line to follow that one up with. Then again I’ll admit the GIF cracks me up. And reminds me there were some good times going to the Sonland. Not a whole $!$^@ of a lot, but some.

And some is better than none as far as I’m concerned. Need to remember that.

Thanks to any and all who may read this and best wishes for a good week out in cyberspace.

Jeff

Instagram: @fitzthoughts

fitzthoughtsblog.wordpress.com

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