Hopefully Ballard and new coach Frank Reich will actually win some games next year and not employ the likes of Scott Tolzienon the 2018 roster. One can dare to dream, after all.
As for other comings and goings…..
-per family request (and also per needing to sell a house) I took some time off from school for the fall semester. Worked out well. Instead of returning from work to write papers every week, yours truly actually started doing something I haven’t done for years: read for fun. (I also went to a NCAA Division III basketball game for alma mater number four Anderson University and saw them win. Total cost: $11. Will need to talk about more next time.) Thanks to the local library (after all, I’m still a cheapskate) I was able to finally check out some books that I had been wanting to read but never got around to because I was writing 10-17 page papers for the fun of using them to write even more 10-17 page papers. Since there’s a good chance we’ll have a new party ruling Congress by the time I post again, here’s a few of the books I’d recommend (along with captioned photos):
I first knew the Rolling Stones courtesy of their videos from their their 1981 Tattoo You album as the likes of MTV VJ’s Alan Hunter and Nina Blackwood would note that these middle aged dudes from England had been dominate in the rock and roll world since the early days of the British Invasion. While I got to see a lot of subsequent videos from both the Stones and lead singer Mick Jagger himself during the course of the decade and my years at the Sonland otherwise known as Noblesville High School (which reminds me of Chad Mitchell apparently plucking down $80 for a Stones Steel Wheels North American tour sweatshirt via their Indianapolis concert appearances during Sonland Junior Year and thus seeing Mitchell wear said sweatshirt with matching red doo-rag on queue once a week for the remainder of his Sonland days) I didn’t really know too much about Richards other than reading about his past drug issues. So one day I decided I might as well read about this individual who in recent years has played pirates in Johnny Depp movies while surprising many simply by still breathing. Turned out to be a pretty darn good book. Not many people can write about hanging out with the likes of Bob Dylan and John Lennon with the casualness of me writing about prom dates (which I hope to finally summarize once the decade ends) but Richards does it well and with a good bit of added comedy (for example he notes the antics of popular blog photo op man John Belushi by stating that Belushi “was an extreme experience even in my standards.” ) Simply put, Richards would certainly know. And to his credit he produces one of the best autobiographies I have ever read, period.
You’ll also get to see photos like this one:
So if I read about Richards, the late Ray Charles can see whose biography I’m going to write about next:
One major problem with this book: Spitz has a gimmick where he says (get ready for all caps for this) ME PICK SOMEONE NOT JAGGER-ME WRITE ABOUT SOMEONE WHOLE CHAPTER-NOW ME CLOSE CHAPTER ABOUT JAGGER. Perhaps Spitz was trying to be different, but to be blunt I don’t give two s–ts about what Truman Capote wrote about in the 1950’s (those are words I don’t plan on ever typing again) nor do I want to hear about the marriage issues between Carly Simon and James Taylor. However Spitz does just that with a flourish, and since it’s his book it’s up to you as the reader to decide whether you want to put up with it or not. Fortunately for me since the book was free for three weeks and since I once again admit that I have the social life of a small inland shrew… I put up with it since the book was a quick read (roughly 300 pages) and again you get to see photos like this:
I didn’t just read about the lives and legacies of The Glimmer Twins. Two other books of note:
Posnanski is one of my favorite sportswriters. For better or for worse (and as written previously on this blog it has often been for worse) I am a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan. There was a time-albeit in the midst of the Ford Administration- that the Reds were actually not inept; in fact during the mid-1970’s said Reds were the best team in baseball known as “The Big Red Machine” because good teams don’t give the equal of year-to-year contracts to bad managers who finish in last place every year (which the current Reds regime did last fall). Posnanski gets the job done like rapper extraordinaire Big Daddy Kane as he notes the pressures the pressures the Reds had of actually fulfilling their previously wasted potential by winning back to back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976after failing previously to capture baseball’s world championship in their 1970 and 1972 Series appearances. I also felt Posnanski was fair in his assessment of one of my all time sports heroes, one Peter Edward Rose. That doesn’t happen too often when it comes to media members, so yours truly gives props to Posnanski for not being biased while publicly babbling for the days of Nolan Ryan and multi-purpose stadiums to come back to a sport that is not the cathedral or religious like presence some sportswriters tend to treat it like.
When I was in elementary school the Indianapolis metro area did not have a clusterf–k of a pro football team to call its own until the Colts moved from Baltimore during the spring of my fifth grade year in 1984. Before being subjected to the likes of Mike Pagel and Jack Trudeau losing game after game in the pre-Manning era, I had the good fortune to enjoy fall Sunday afternoons as the times to watch Walter Payton and his Chicago Bears on television. Ironically the Bears were not good until said 1984 when they would reach the NFC title game (losing to San Francisco)…but we know what happened with 1985 as the Bears would win their only Super Bowl as Payton would retire in 1987 as the NFL’s then all-time leading rusher. Bottom line was as the Colts were as inept then as they are now, first Payton and then the Bears themselves made watching NFL football worthwhile when I was growing up. Payton was a big part of my childhood, and Pearlman notes the good and the bad via the physical price Payton paid for playing through injuries throughout his long and illustrious Hall of Fame career. I enjoyed the book and will remain a fan of both Payton and Pearlman’s writing. For a link to those who weren’t as thrilled with Pearlman’s work, see here.
Even got me to do something I have also long babbled about doing but never got around to: getting a Walter Payton jersey. So if you see someone at the Hamilton East Public Libary sporting one this summer while writing ten page school papers on one of the public computers, you’ve been forewarned.
Good time to wrap it up. Happy 2018 to everyone as I also wrap up the Chuck Pagano era of Colts football by throwing out the obligatory Pagano clapping gif:
Sunday evening in central Indiana and another paper due in six days. Basically the summer months have usually gone like this: get up at 6 am….work 10 to 10 1/2 hour day on weekday and 4 to 5 hours Saturday morning…return for dinner and walk dog….do homework….and then debate whether I should hit the hay or write on the blog. Sleep usually wins 99 out of 100 times. So might as well throw out some random babble on a rare blog post as I obviously remember just how much junior high me enjoyed looking at Demi Moore then as adult me does today:
So yeah, that opening game’s kind of important. On the plus side it will be nice to see NFL games again, Pagano or no Pagano. Not like I’m not going to watch based on my shoddy track record, so there’s that.
-I missed watching a rare Cincinnati Reds win today as they beat the Miami Marlins. Now they’re only 16 games under .500 as opposed to 17. Meanwhile the team spends $19 million in salary this year on Queen City media favorite Homer Bailey to “pitch” in the team’s starting rotation. Bailey’s 2017 record as of this typing? Two wins, four losses, and an ERA of 8.56. Meanwhile an individual under the handle mikemo14 called out the Reds for their horrible business sense on the Reds Zone message board. All you have to do is go to the sixth post of this thread with Reds apologist supreme Raisor to know that wouldn’t go well. Raisor has a right to his opinion; I have a right to not want to see s—-y baseball on an annual basis from my favorite major league baseball team. For now I agree to disagree with middle-aged Raisor because if he approves of his team losing roughly 58 percent of their games the last four years then that’s his choice. Not sure what dude would do if his man Bryan Price actually gets relieved from his managerial duties. Actually best I don’t speculate on that one, come to think of it.
-Apparently this ex-Washington Wizard will be in the Indiana Pacers starting lineup this year as well as this ex-Sacramento King who was once a Pacer a few seasons ago. Not sure if either can get the team will help the team win more than 32 games next season, but not my team nor my money to spend. Meanwhile our pals at Pacers Digest seem to approve of Victor Oladipo in what should not be too much a surprise. Again, low expectations for these dudes as I predict a record next year of 32-50 but won’t be shocked to see 30-52.
-Went to two Indianapolis Indians games this summer. The Triple A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates won one and lost the another by jobbing 1-0 in giving up the only run in the top of the 9th. As that loss was on a Monday night and I had to be at work at 7 the next morning, no complaint about the game going by quick nor with the Indians doing their Dollar Menu gimmick for concessions. Nice to do something other than homework on a Monday night for once, so that’s a good thing. Not so good: the team’s 2017 ticket prices. However a lawn seat ticket is less than attending an evening iMax movie (or at least it’s lower than the last time I went when it was $13.50). In any event I like to go to at least one game a year so mark that off the list of ways to avoid doing homework.
-You’re not surprised I stopped to get a free haircut in the midst of writing this. Can’t pass up free stuff these days.
-On the shoe front, increased walking led me to finally have to throw my 1987 Nike Air Trainer 1’s into second status as both shoes now have holes in the sole. As I am too cheap right now to go buy new shoes, I broke out a pair of old school Nike Air Max 90’s that I had worn like three times in ten years. They’re still holding up. Photo example of said shoes:
Good to use thus far. Will probably need to break out the wallet for a new pair soon….or at least do some scanning on eBay.
-One other note from said Indians games: the Saturday night one saw our section win coupons for free Grand Slam Breakfasts from Denny’s. They gave a ton of coupons-like a dozen or so. So I went with the family to a Denny’s off of the interstate in scenic Lebanon yesterday after work. Total fare for three before adding tip: NINE BUCKS. I’ll take it. While that may make my weekend a sad one if that was the highlight (save for writing this blog post), my wallet is thankful nonetheless.
Family has more coupons to use by a deadline date in mid-October. Expecting a couple more Saturday meals at said Denny’s in future weeks. One other positive: they now pull the same gimmick that Burger King and Wendy’s do in serving more than just six flavors of soda. So I got three Vanilla Cokes for my $2.39. Yeah, doesn’t take much for me to get hyped these days.
-This post was not the first time that I have referenced a John Cusack movie. For a Cusack movie with an Indianapolis Indians connection and your “might as well throw this s–t in at 9:30 pm” tidbit of the night, the 1988 Cusack film Eight Men Out was filmed at the old home of said Indians Bush Stadium back during my youth. If one figures that film would be part of my VHS collection, one figures correctly.
-Might as well end this post with a Demi Moore GIF because, well, Demi Moore:
No, THANK YOU, Demi.
Happy summer to any and all who read this as work coming up at 7 am followed by two more papers in the next 20 days. Wish me luck.
Sunday morning in Central Indiana. No work or school till Tuesday. The Colts can’t lose another game till August when NFL preseason starts. The Pacers can’t lose another game until later in the week as it’s NBA All-Star weekend. Good time to finally get motivated to return to blogging and post for once. So here goes with random hot takes and thoughts since I last posted on 1./28:
-speaking of the Colts, lots of things have been going on since the end of January. In the last few weeks I got my wish by seeing Diamond Jim Irsay hire former Kansas City Chiefs front office guru Chris Ballard to be the new Colts general manager (replacing one half of my self-named Dysfunctional Duo in one “Big Grig” Ryan Grigson. But the Colts fan base (at least those in cyberspace) still is not close to fully thrilled as they have seen one of their main men decide to call it a career (punter Pat McAfee) while seeing one of their least favorite folks get at least another year to run the proverbial ship (head coach “Ground” Chuck Pagano). I’ll plan to speak more on this in future posts, but as of now I’ll take another year of Pagano because 1) he’s got three more years of checks to cash so Diamond Jim probably doesn’t want to throw that much cash in the furnace while 2) everyone in the sporting world knows he’d better not finish with another subpar record 0f 8-8 or worse if he wants to stay till 2019 and perhaps most importantly 3) he happens to be an individual who is liked by his players (hence they actually made a comeback in the last game of the 2016 season to beat Jacksonville and finish 8-8 instead of rolling over and jobbing to one of the NFL’s worst teams) and hence has done enough for most to say ‘sure, one more year.’
Ground Chuck himself seems ready for a new voice to deal with in the front office:
Add that catchphrase to CHOP THAT WOOD in your Pagano cliche list.
The NFL draft will be in two months (April 27-29). I will assume the new Pagano-Ballard duo will be looking to replace many a 2016 defensive starter with people who can actually play somewhat legitimate NFL defense in 2017 (as mentioned many a time on this blog the Colts finished 30th overall out of 32 teams for the 2016 NFL season in team defenseranking, which does not look good for the head coach linked to former Baltimore Ravens media favorites such as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis). Safe to say they might want to improve on that if they want to win more than 8 games in 2017. I know I’d have no issues for it.
You also know what I’ll probably be doing (besides homework) on the weekend of April 27-29. Let’s hope Ballard and Pagano know what THEY’RE doing around that time too.
-Meanwhile the local NBA franchise- the Indiana Pacers, where those who once wrote or are related to those who once wrote for Indianapolis area newspapers apparently get lifetime employment-continue to embrace mediocrity while making mediocre pro basketball players look like a cross between 1962 Wilt Chamberlain, 1991 Michael Jordan and (to make the mainstream media and The Spin Boys at deadspin.com happy) 2017 Melissa McCarthy on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. After defeating Oklahoma City on February 6 to obtain a decent won-loss record of 29-22, said Pacers seemingly decided that playing defense was no longer an option while ensuring that $7 million per year earning Rodney Stuckey would get time in the playing rotation was since said Stuckey was actually able to suit up for once. As Stuckey plays and Larry Bird approved offseason pickup Thaddeus Charles Young does not (Young sprained his wrist earlier in the month and quite frankly I have no idea when the $!$^ dude will come back) , the Pacers decided it was a good time to lose games. And lose they have. They have lost their last six straight games as they limped into All-Star weekend with a record of 29-28 and allowed the likes of Washington’s Otto Porter and Cleveland’s Kyle Korver to look like first ballot Hall of Famers. I watched the games….they were pretty bad. Plus my good pal from previous posts Lavoy Allen got to replace Young…and as also mentioned earlier when the team jobbed at Philadelphia at the beginning of the season that’s not a good thing. Allen himself got hurt and didn’t play the last three games, so third stringer Kevin Seraphin got thrown into action which was a worst thing. Result is that I now get to read articles like this about trading draft picks to help team star Paul George actually have people on his team who can win a game once in awhile…..
….as George himself has the brethren of the Pacers Digest message board (you know, the ones who include among their regular posters dudes who feel that Roy Hibbert and George Hill are the best players in the business) calling him soft and debating on whether PAUL GEORGE himself should be traded:
Bottom line: courtesy of Bird’s player moves, as of now the Pacers have three quality players in the starting lineup-George, second year big man Myles Turner and newly acquired point guard Jeffrey Demarcus Teague- and little else in legitimate NBA caliber talent. Because former coach Frank Vogel could not get offensive production out of former Pacers like Hibbert (10.6 points per game in his last Pacers season of 2014-15)and Hill (12 PPG in his last season of 2015-16), the Old Bird has been looking to add offensive minded players who can actually score points in pro basketball games instead of having a supposed point guard standing in the corner waiting for someone to pass it to him three times a game (Hill) or having a 7 foot plus big man demand the ball only to make less than 45 percent of his shots (Hibbert). This has led to Bird handing out long term deals for the declining and diminutive Monta Ellis (four year at $44 million), the former All-Star center Al Jefferson (three years at $30 million) and of course Bird’s replacement for a former starter (Lance Stephenson) on two straight Eastern Conference finals squads from 2013 and 2014, the legendary C.J. Miles (four years at $18 million). Oh…and Stuckey got signed to a three year, $21 million conract to promptly miss 56 games in the past 1 1/2 seasons. As a lifelong Pacers fan -and yes, the jokes write themselves there-all four dudes join the inept Young-Allen power forward duo as guys who I look forward to no longer wearing Pacers gear. And without Paul George and Turner to root for, I myself have a hard time watching the Pacers squad. Hence I am tempted to do what Bird himself did when said Pacers barely beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs:
For the statistical minded sons who tell me that I must salivate over ESPN’s Player Efficiency Ratings (PER), I’ll be polite and show a link to the current Pacer PER numbers as of today’s date (NOTE: DATA BE UPDATED WITH EACH DAY SO UPCOMING NUMBERS ARE OF 2/19):
No matter what one may think of the way this PER s–t gets figured out, the Four Letter Sons of ESPN note that an average NBA player has a score of 15.0. That doesn’t help the causes of Allen (9.2 score as of 2/19) or Ellis (9.8), nor does it lead me to think Thaddeus Charles Young is worth $120,000 a year much less $12 million (15.1…which is pretty much average and probably not what you want from a starter that you traded a first round draft pick for should you want to win a World championship). By comparison as of 2/19 the No. 2 ranked player in the NBA at 28.2 (or more than three Monta Ellis’s) is none other than San Antonio’s Kawil Leonard….whom the Pacers once drafted and traded for the one and only GEORGE HILL. No number of message board commentators can tell me that proved to be a good trade. None. Hill has played in as many NBA All-Star games and won as many NBA championships as my middle aged buttocks. Meanwhile Leonard has won the NBA World title with said Spurs and was actually NBA Finals MVP to boot…plus he makes this All-Star game each year and is recognized as one of the top 10 basketball players in the world. Had Bird not drafted George in 2010 and Turner in 2015, safe to say I wouldn’t be shocked if my favorite pro sports team had moved to Las Vegas by now in order to make Bankers Life Fieldhouse the overpriced taxpayer financed home of high school and IUPUI basketball.
No wonder the Pacers fan base needs a bottle of KY Jelly anytime they hear the words Reggie Miller or see said Miller lecture on TNT. And yes, I said that. I’ve heard men older than me talk about Miller like he was their first schoolboy crush (mine, incidentally, was mentioned on earlier posts-one Keri Caswell. That’s probably the only time you’ll see those two names together in written form, so I figured I might as well type it.) But when a team has gone over 40 years since winning a league championship of any kind I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked. Nor will I be shocked if the Pacers barely make the 2017 NBA playoffs only to lose once again to either Toronto, Cleveland or (since I just saw them get destroyed by them the other night) Washington. Won’t be the first time nor the last. After all there are individuals on Instagram who have actually argued with me about the greatness of C.J. Miles. For now I will be polite and assume said individuals are rarely drug tested or approve of NBA players that shoot less than 42 percent from the field. Best way to handle my fan base and their obsession with said Reginald Wayne Miller….which can be shown by example here:
No comment on the overalls. Indiana residents already take enough s–t as it is.
But if you like seeing Rodney Stuckey run into the middle of the lane like a bowling bowl to get injured, this Pacers team is currently the squad for you.
Perhaps I should find a new hobby. Then again, if you’re still reading this (and thank you very much if you are in fact doing so) you already knew that.
-Yes, I should acknowledge one silver lining in a mediocre to s–t Pacer campaign. Last night Pacer starting shooting guard Glenn Robinson III (by the way, typing that tells you how bad this Ellis plays) won the NBA All-Star Weekend’s 2017 Slam Dunk Contest. Photo of one of said dunks (including a cameo by Paul George) courtesy of the Sporting News website:
The fact this Robinson is in the league is an achievement in itself. So bully for him. I expect the two dozen former local sportswriters employed by the Pacers to mention this feat a hundred times or so in the coming weeks. Better that than Ellis’s contract.
-so the local NFL team won’t be playing anytime soon and the local NBA team stinks. Means I should have some hope in watching college basketball, right?
And thank WTHR’s Bob Kravitz and Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass’s approved men’s college basketball coach of the moment Tom Crean for making a rabid, diehard, and loyal fan base (I’m biased, yes, but keep reading) who has not seen a national championship since the Reagan Administration continue to ask out loud –WHAT THE F–? when it comes to either 1) building on any positive momentum from previous seasons or 2) being able to get teams that have multiple McDonald’s high school All-Americans to miss the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on a regular basis. You know that tourney well-they upped the ante to include 68 teams and thus if you win 19 or 20 games in a so-called power conference like the Big Ten then you will probably make said tournament on a regular basis. Like Crean’s mentor Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Or media approved bald man at a football school Thad Motta at Ohio State. Or whomever coaches Wisconsin this week. And since Indiana has put increased money into renovating their ancient arena (Assembly Hall) and adding state of the art practice facilities, it’s not like the athletic department doesn’t give a damn about the program. Crean’s yearly paycheck (he ranks as one of the ten highest paid coaches in college basketball as well as the highest paid employee in the state, meaning my tax dollars more than likely go to his salary…and isn’t that a nice thought?) also ensures the IU basketball program isn’t exactly underfunded.
With all that being spouted out, hate to say this to young Kravitz but I don’t agree with the tone of his headline or the main themes of the article below:
If Kravitz or Crean decided that they needed to shoot the proverbial s–t and tell me the two main things that Crean supporters say day in and day out (talked like deadspin.com’s Drew Magary for dramatic effect)- WE WIN TWO BIG 10 REGULAR SEASON TITLES IN FOUR YEARS HOO HOO HOOSIERS and WE MAKE THREE SWEET SIXTEENS IN FIVE YEARS HE BE HARBAUGH FAMILY TOO BOO PURDUE– then I could see why Crean’s top supporters will defend his record to the last breath while seemingly refuse to even acknowledge one single fault or even admit that as of now Indiana’s basketball program underperforms compared to those of Butler, Purdue and Notre Dame. And right there is the issue. Better yet I’m putting it in caps for all to see:
YOU ARE THE FOURTH BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCHOOL IN THE STATE DESPITE BEING THE BIG NAME BASKETBALL SCHOOL OF A SO-CALLED BASKETBALL STATE.
After doing a job to Syracuse in the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 with his All-American big man (Cody Zeller) standing on the three point line looking lost despite the fact that everyone in America knows Syracuse plays a 2-3 zone defense, the Crean-led Indiana University men’s basketball team has not exactly been a tour de force. At best if it was a pro boxing card they would be looked at as being a mid-card (middle of the card) team; they’re not going to go 6-25 every year (though ironically that was in fact the IU basketball record the first year he coached said IU in 2008-2009) but they aren’t going to regularly challenge the likes of Wisconsin for conference supremacy nor are they going to do a damn thing in the annual showcase of conference hoops icons in the Big 10 Tournament. Your records thus far since Zeller and Victor Oladipo left IU early to go to the NBA in 2013 as of this moment are as follows:
2013-2014: 17 wins, 15 losses in the regular season: 7 wins, 11 losses in the Big 10 season to tie for 8th in the conference; lost 1st game of conference tournament; no NCAA appearance OR NIT appearance.
(Dude had high school All-Americans and a future NBA lottery pick in Noah Vonleh on the team and couldn’t even make the NIT. Please remember that.)
2014-2015:20-14 regular season; 9-9 Big 10 to finish 7th; `1-1 in Big 10 tournament (beat Northwestern, lost to Maryland); lost in first round of NCAA tourney.
2015-2016: 27-8 regular season, 15-3 Big 10 to finish 1st;0-1 in Big 10 tournament (lost to Michigan); won two games in NCAA tournament to make Sweet 16; lost to North Carolina in said Sweet 16.
(I’ll give him his due there…now read below):
2016-2017: thus far 15-12 regular season, 5-9 Big 10 (currently one of the bottom four records in said Big 10 as only Illinois, Ohio State and Rutgers are worse); currently have lost five of their last six games)….and having to win the Big 10 tourney to make the NCAA tourney (as of now, good luck with that).
To Kravitz, Glass, Hank Williams, Jr., et al out there that deals with sports as a profession…..out of those four seasons I just summarized, one of these things is not like the other. Meaning we’ve got a pretty good sample size to look at. And since your man Crean is one of the highest paid college coaches in all the land, I ask you this: do you think that Indiana University, its athletic department, its supporters and the state are actually getting a satisfactory return on such a high investment like the one Glass has put into Crean thus far?
Off of those numbers, I don’t see it. And since we’re talking about a man’s record with an overall won loss percentage of 55% in nine seasons (plus if you want to talk Big 10, your man’s percentage goes down to 44% and he’s only placed higher than 7th in a 14 team league in four of his eight full seasons)….please explain to me why you feel he should keep getting free passes year after year for mediocre results at a program that ranks as one of the TOP 5 COLLEGES IN THE NATION when it comes to NCAA tourney success since Indiana joins Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and UCLA as the only schools to have won five or more NCAA men’s hoops titles.
Again, read that last part. Only Michigan State (two) joins Indiana as being Big 10 schools with one or more NCAA championships.
Indiana has been the basketball school of the Big 10 throughout its existence, and under Crean they have lost over half of their Big 10 games. YET CREAN IS HERE IN HIS NINTH SEASON.
Yet the Indiana fan base is told by media men that they cannot voice their opinion about making a change because it is “foolish” since Troy Williams had one good half against Kentucky in last season’s NCAA tourney.
Yet the Indiana fan base is told by media for the most part to accept being out of the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years…..better yet for the fifth time in nine years under the direction of a highly paid coach who has a contract that runs through 2020 as per the Old Glass on this ESPN article from yore:
With a team that has a chance to “earn” a losing record of less than .500 for the season unless they win at least one more game, don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying I have as good a chance to coach an NCAA championship team as Crean does in the near future. Also feel many keyboard warriors like myself-and Kravitz for that matter-can say the same.
Means I don’t really have high hopes for IU basketball as long as Crean is still employed as part of the program….with the only exception being if they somehow got it together and won a couple of games in this upcoming Big 10 tournament. And with all due respect to Crean’s supporters, your man Crean has won THREE Big 10 tournament games in eight years. You have to win at least three IN A SINGLE YEAR’S TOURNAMENT (damn right I capitalized that) to win one of those things. If you say DER DIS BE DUH YEAR you’ve got a lot more optimism than I do, because the record shows Crean’s not getting in done when an automatic NCAA bid is on the line and games need to be won outside the city limits of Bloomington, Indiana. Not like he’s just starting out nor given the personnel to do so since he starts TWO high school All-Americans (Thomas Bryant and James Blackmon Jr.) in his current five man lineup.
Hence my reaction to defending Crean right now is the equivalent of this picture of the man himself after, yes, another Big 10 tourney loss:
But as we all know, I’m not going to make or break what happens to Crean if he in fact goes 15-17. That responsibility belongs to The Old Glass, the Indiana athletic director. His call on whether three subpar years out of four are enough to allow Crean to have a shot at year number 10 as the Indiana head coach.
Those again still reading-and again thanks so much for tolerating my frustrations-can figure out my preference.
However I also know that money is the bottom line so Glass doesn’t want to throw a few million dollars at Crean to leave when he can stay another year or three to earn the remainder of that contract…that Kravitz’s man has an injury excuse due to starter OG Anunoby being out for the season (IU has lost six of eight games since that OG got hurt in mid-January against Penn State)….and that as a fan I should realize that you’re not going to win the NCAA title or Big 10 title every single year. Plus yes I know Crean’s program performed like a top tier school should last season with a conference title of some sort, an upset of a higher ranked seed to make the NCAA tourney’s second weekend (while losing to a top seeded North Carolina that was predicted to go far in the tourney) and a 27 win season. I get that. That’s why I typed it twice, Hoosier upbringing or not. (That and the fact that last season may not be repeated by the IU basketball program for a long, long time.)
Hence I’ll make my prediction: no matter what the Indiana won-loss record will be at the end of the 2016-2017 season, the OG injury and the theory that enough of the OG/Blackmon/Robert Johnson/Bryant nucleus will realize they are nowhere near NBA ready (nor able to transfer somewhere else if NBA dreams are awaiting) will be enough for Glass to decide that three subpar seasons out of four will not be enough to oust Crean from Assembly Hall.
Meaning four subpar seasons out of five will do the trick. Meaning Crean’s squad will need to improve-read, make the NCAA tourney in 2018 should they stay on tract to miss it altogether in 2017)-for Crean to finish out said contract through 2020.
Meaning, yes, Crean and Ground Chuck Pagano have something in common in my view: the excuses will be made to give them ONE MORE YEAR despite plenty of time and tenure to show what they can and cannot do as the lead men and faces of their teams.
For the sake of the Indiana fan base and the program having any sort of relevance in the modern college basketball world, I’ll paraphrase what I’ve said to the Colts’ owner by ending this post with a similar message to the Indiana athletic director:
Your move, Big Glass.
Happy Sunday to all in cyberspace and thanks for reading fitzthoughtsblog.
No Ryan Grigson in the Indianapolis Colts front office. Didn’t think I’d be typing that a week before this year’s Super Bowl, but alas I just did.
“Ground” Chuck Pagano? As of now, still the Colts head coach. Granted that could change in a week or two if Grigson’s replacement gets the okay from team owner Diamond Jim Irsay to bring in his own coach for a full fledged regime change, but as of this typing I’ll go with Pagano coming back for 2017 with his job on the line. Playoff appearance and or AFC South Division championship brings him back to finish his contact…..no playoffs sends him elsewhere.
Diamond Jim? Just happy a move was made. ANY move, to be honest.
No more Dysfunctional Duo of Pagano and Grigson makes me happy…for now.
So……time to replace Grigson. And to his credit (in my opinion, anyway) Irsay has been public about being aggressive in replacing one of only two open general manager jobs that remain in the media’s beloved National Football League (Young Jed York’s San Francisco crew is the other, and I have a feeling that current ATL offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will get full control as head coach/GM/overlord once that Super Bowl deal gets finished up next weekend). Better yet it sounds like current Colts front office VP (read: Grigson’s right hand man) Jimmy Raye III will NOT be the number one candidate, and that’s also find with me because the franchise needs to go in a winning direction instead of bringing in ex-Philadelphia Eagles (obligatory mention time of Big Grig’s Man Trent Cole) or failed first round draft picks that played their college ball in the state of Florida to struggle against the Jacksonville Jaguars every year. Raye getting promoted……head shake time from over here. Hope it’s not the case.
While it’s a recap of what’s been posted on the Interwebs, a listing of those interviewed by Irsay along with RAPID REACTION from said Interwebs will help me out in detailing my takes on the matter before I post on the five factors yours truly feels will help get the Colts back into the NFL postseason in 2017. Hence per the Colts’ own website said candidates include these front office individuals with other NFL teams outside the Circle City:
–Kansas City’s Chris Ballard
-Seattle sons Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner
-Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton
–Green Bay’s Eliot Wolf (son of longtime media legend Ron Wolf, hence the name was familiar)
The local Colts propaganda machine of Fox 59 do the obvious of saying ‘we need a GM’ (though in fairness their man Mike Chappell has covered the team since I was in elementary school, so he’s not going to be a modern Jim Rome Show caller and cut a bad pro wrestling promo on the matter)
Young Josh Wilson of the Stampede Blue group in SB Nation notes that these GM’s to be also get the chance to get down with Ground Chuck (note the first comment of 12Colts12 on the comment section as he would prefer no Chuck in his Colts coverage):
My preference is either Ballard (who has built a pretty good defense in Kansas City as well as a contender that overcomes Andy Reid being Andy Reid to regularly make the postseason) or one of the Seahawks duo (good defense and two Super Bowl appearances) because I simply don’t want more of the Grigson-Pagano era rehashed and see Raye as doing just that. Also don’t think Wolf comes here and not sure if Paton would be the best bet when the others that were mentioned are on said list.
As for fan reaction, the Coltfreaks.com board makes sure to take a swipe at the current owner on page 4 courtesy of a Dr. Spaceman:
Expecting a move that could in fact lead to making another move in a few short days. Good for me and better for the Colts franchise and its fans. Which leads me to do the usual conclusion with the second round of GM interviews on the way shortly:
As the 45th and newest Chief Executive would likely point out, Indianapolis Colts fans like myself have been looking for some light at the end of the tunnel after two consecutive seasons of missing the National Football League playoffs in 2015 and 2016.
This afternoon we may have finally gotten the news that keeps our franchise from becoming an afterthought in central Indiana. Also might keep the fan base from making unneeded drug related cracks and insults about the team’s owner…for a week or two, anyway.
Said news: The Dysfunctional Duo of coach Ground Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan ‘Big Grig’ Grigson has been dissolved as ESPN media man Adam Schefter reports that Grigson has been relieved of his duties in the Colts’ front office.
If this is in fact the case, then personally there’s no issue saying I was wrong about the ‘Grigano’ combination coming back in 2017 (as previously posted many times on this blog). And as mentioned many times before, the YOUR MOVE DIAMOND JIM quote finally happens….with the move I personally preferred (Grigson being the one of the two to leave the organization first) seemingly being the move that Colts owner Diamond Jim Irsay has decided to make. (We can discuss Pagano’s coaching weaknesses in full detail later on, but for now as a fan of this franchise since 1984 I’ll take what I can get in the way of good news….or after these three weeks ANY actual news, come to think of it.)
My next Colts related post was going to concern the five reasons I felt the team still had a chance to contend and return to the playoffs in 2017. Should this Grigson news be official, safe to say that you already know what one of said five reason will be.
For the time being it’s RAPID REACTION TIME on the end to Grigson’s tenure as the main football personnel man at West 56th Street, Indianapolis….
First, the news from local Indy media man turned Four Letter Son Mike Wells (EDIT: updated with a Diamond Jim press conference noting our main man Ground Chuck is back to coach in 2017..for now):
The Spin Boys take a moment from planning the 2020 Democratic National Convention to give their, uh, spin on the matter (comments at the time include local Indy radio man Dan Dakich splurging out a tweet):
…and lastly a link to coltfreaks.com, the home of some Grigson fans who absolved him from most of the blame for the team’s decline due in part to the inept in-game coaching of Ground Chuck Pagano (note the post title added ‘no joke’ to ensure that there was actual news instead of rumors on the matter) :
Apparently Diamond Jim will speak to the media later on about this matter. And apparently I may have reason to have confidence in this year’s draft and offseason personnel moves. While I’ll watch Diamond Jim’s team in 2017, as of this moment I now feel like there is some hope for the team’s future. And hope is always a good thing when watching sports in my view.
Might save NFL Network from being axed on the cable deal too.
As always, stay tuned…but for now I’ll repeat myself when it comes to the YOUR MOVE DIAMOND JIM thing……
Wednesday night in Central Indiana, 8:23 pm Eastern time…..and I’m doing something I probably never would have thought about doing some 25 years ago at college number one Transylvania University: attending class by listening to said class by calling in to listen to the lecture via cellular phone. As one can tell, I’m handling the situation well. After said class comes HOMEWORK HOMEWORK HOMEWORK as I’m hoping (emphasis on hoping) to just get things done after said class ends (hopefully at its scheduled time of 9 pm.) While waiting for said class to conclude, few random takes on life, liberty and finding photos of the 1978 classic comedy film Animal House via the Interwebs:
-hearing rumors that the Colts interviewed current Monday Night Football color commentator Jon Gruden on his interest in joining the Diamond Jim Irsay approved organization that currently employs the Dysfunctional Duo of Ground Chuck Pagano and ‘Big Grig’ Ryan Grigson in leadership roles. No complaints with me on that. As always stay tuned to see if that actually does take place.
-as mentioned earlier hoping to finally wrap up details on Sonland senior year at Noblesville High before getting into two big influences: the one night out in May 1991 with The Prom Date and the time pledging and initiating into the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity in 1991-92. Without the first, the second doesn’t happen. Plus some good comedy stories on how said Prom Date helped me be ready to deal with women that were nice and not so nice. (The pledgeship Christmas Party right before fall term finals comes to mind. Safe to say the photo I posted on Instagram a couple weeks back from said party was of interest because said beautiful sorority member Miss Carol King was in fact NOT my date that evening. Doesn’t speak well for the actual date unless you want some real comedy about why I decided to ask said not so great actual date out in the first place. (Hint: she commented on one of my body parts on the way back from class.)
-I just commented in the class just now. Sounds like I might have a good eight weeks since there’s no SPSS or stupid computer $!$%! to deal with. More up my alley.
-no Subway sandwich tonight for dinner as I opted for some grilled chicken from McDonald’s. Hoping to make that the last Mickey D’s stop for awhile. (Reminds me of one of my frosh year highlights at TU….I had a 3 pm class on Tuesdays and Thursdays so once a week I would say enough with Apple Jacks for lunch and decide to roll out in the 1988 Cavalier to the McDonald’s that was on the University of Kentucky campus. Would rock the drive thru and park somewhere to chow before driving back to the freshman parking lot and wandering over to class. Class was Freshman Studies (the equal of Comp 101 at most colleges), and I liked it because it was writing related. No spreadsheet or quantitative b—s— like I dealt with last November and December, and it was a good thing. One of the few classes I missed, and coincidentally one of the ones I got straight A’s in.
Yeah, it was sad that I got revved up for McDonald’s. But that hopefully tells you how bad that TU cafeteria food was at times. Safe to say I don’t miss it.
-Well, class just finished so I will leave with a quick take and a quick GIF:
….take wise I still feel I’m at the crossroads on this school stuff. Struggling still with burnout. Temper flares in having to deal with it on the weekends. So this next eight weeks will be pretty crucial in determining what direction I take. Have a feeling I’ll be glad to blog about it as I hope to be more active here than I was the last few months of 2016 (when I’d avoid the blog for weeks at a time because I equal home computer time with schoolwork.)
….and as for the Fitzthoughts GIF of the Day, might as well keep the Animal House theme going:
Ah, the early 60’s.
Thanks as always to anyone and all who read these as January continues on.
Sunday morning in snowy central Indiana. Seven people combined at chapel at Noblesville’s First Christian Church yet a very good service nonetheless. Good way to start the week as I await an afternoon of National Football League playoff action that won’t include the local NFL franchise as part of the proceedings.
Shocking, I know. After all there’s a nice collection of monotonous posts detailing how the Diamond Jim and the Dysfunctional Duo made that happen. But after getting an Instragram post from a Colts related fan site advising that ‘Big Grig’ Ryan Grigson approved Colts defensive underachiever Trent Cole was looking to play one more year (and comments arguing whether his season ending hit to Raiders QB Derek Carr on Christmas weekend was a clean shot or not), it made it an easy choice for me to say to myself “self, use this good energy to write another blog post on NFL football since you’re not ready to go take a morning nap.” Hence this post.
Here we go…..
FITZTHOUGHTS FIVE FOR NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND:
5) GROUND CHUCK STAYS GROUNDED, BIG BILL O’BRIEN ADVANCES:
Don’t be surprised about me whining about there being a Houston-Oakland matchup with what would be listed as backup quarterbacks (Brock Osweiler for Houston after he lost his starting gig to Tom Savage before Savage got hurt towards season’s end; Conner Cook for Oakland thanks to said Trent Cole hit referenced earlier as well as another injury to second stringer Matt McGloin) and then watching part of said game. If I could watch the Colts job 62-7 to New Orleans back in 2011….then safe to say I tend to watch anything on the tube that has the NFL involved. Said NFL Network is made for dumbf—s like me who say ‘sure, I’ll watch those highlights of the 2006 AFC Championship Game for a 50th time’ even though I actually did attend said game in person. (Good reference for future post material as well as good reference why I added that tag line to the blog header this weekend, too.)
So, I find the game on ABC as current media man Jon Gruden cuts his catchphrases while the son of the late Boston media man Will McDonough does his employers a favor by not resorting to insulting the stadium that the game is being held in. (That Son McDonough did just that by comparing the New York metro area’s MetLife Stadium to a toaster during last month’s Colts-Jets Monday Night Football matchup. That might make smart mark bloggers and message board types squeal like teenage girls at a One Direction concert, but not too sure if I would be a smarta– about it on national television 1) SINCE YOUR EMPLOYER HAS ALREADY HAD SUPER BOWLS PLAYED THERE and 2) with all due respect….you’re Sean McDonough. But this time the broadcasting duo actually seemed to focus on the game instead of billion dollar taxpayer financed architecture….and it ended up not being much of a game as I would be happy that the Raiders were holding the Texans offense to field goals in the early stages. That didn’t last long, and of course the Raiders didn’t get too much out of Conner Cook because you’r probably not getting much out of a rookie playing his first ever NFL game that matters on the road in the $!$^$ playoffs. So when a Texans touchdown towards the end of the first half made the score 20-7 in favor of Houston, I basically said to myself the game was over. Which it was. Final score: Houston 27, Oakland 14, and me wishing to myself that the Dysfunctional Duo of Ground Chuck and the Big Grig was off the Indianapolis Colts payroll. Maybe next year. Then again, best for me to not to think about next year just yet.
As for Houston, for some reason the Interwebs kept lecturing about their head coach Bill O’Brien and his job status. Dude has won two straight division titles. Dude just won a playoff game. I assume he won’t have any issues getting another gig if the Texans decide that he’s not worth keeping. If John Fox can stay in Chicago after going 3-13 this season, then I figure someone could do worse than have O’Brien on their staff. Then again I figured that Scottie Thurman would once be the next Scottie Pippen when he left a successful college hoops run at Arkansas for the NBA in the 1990s….and according to this Wikipedia link here, dude didn’t even make the NBA:
Did learn something new today: there was a pro hoops team (ABA post 1970s version) called the Arkansas RimRockers. So there’s that.
4) STAFFORD AND SONS FAIL AT SEATTLE
Stafford and Sons is my code name for the Detroit Lions as they are led by modern day warrior and former No. 1 overall NFL draft selection Matthew Stafford at quarterback. NBC did the honors of televising the Lions’ NFC wild card matchup with the Seattle Seahawks with Old Al Michaels saying Al Michaels things and Stafford’s offensive line being pretty damn offensive. NBC made sure to point out the Lions had not won a road playoff game since the Eisenhower Administration, and not surprisingly that didn’t change after last night. Final: Seattle 26, Detroit 6. Said pictured Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards and scored said pictured touchdown above. Dominant running games are something I don’t see on TV too often, so all props to Rawls for getting the job done in convincing fashion.
All credit to Detroit just to get to the postseason in the first place, but it will be interesting to see what they do in the upcoming NFL offseason to improve their chances for 2017. I have a feeling that offensive and defensive line help will be at the forefront as Seattle dominated the line of scrimmage all night long. Figuring Lions fan will have similar thinking.
3) SUPER SUNDAY WITH SUPER BOWL WINNING QUARTERBACKS
After two time World champ Ben Roethlisberger and his Steel City Sons of Pittsburgh play Miami in the 1 pm AFC playoff matchup, we get the honor of seeing the two pictured gents battle at (cueing ESPNer Chris Berman) DA FROZUN TONDRUH UV LAMBOW FIEEELLLLD as Young Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers host E. Nelson Manning and the New York Football Giants. As mentioned previously it’s the game I’m most interested in. No qualms as of now if either team advances to the Super Bowl, either. Just need to make sure I can put up with Fox’s Joe Buck on commentary as I tend to struggle with his presence on televised sporting events. Then again there is an invention called the mute button….so I need to not be lazy and actually use it for once.
TLDR: doubt I’ll be doing homework today. After all, football. Enough said.
2) FOOTBALL TIME IN AMERICA EQUALS HOOPS APATHY IN HOOSIERLAND
The NFL is dominating my sports television viewing these days, so I haven’t been watching too much of the local NBA franchise in part because until recently they like to lose games by playing Lavoy Allen regular minutes. In recent times Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan has changed that as Kevin Seraphin has replaced the seemingly unconcerned Allen in the Pacers rotation. Coincidentally the team has actually started to win some games (including the one from this photo where they beat the New York Knicks last night for their fifth straight win). Also not playing the pictured Jeffrey Demarquis Teague and Monta Ellis together has been a good thing as Ellis now comes off the bench and no longer gives up 25 to 30 points to whomever he attempts to guard. To paraphrase media semi-icon Bill Simmons (currently collecting checks at HBO) on the matter, good times.
The apathy though comes with the long grind of the 82 game season and the recent mediocrity (38-44 record with no playoffs in 2014-15,45-37 record with an opening round playoff series loss to Toronto in 2015-16) that said local NBA franchise has been dealing with while keeping the likes of Allen and Rodney Stuckey on their roster as supposed vital parts. With both out of the rotation (Stuckey’s hurt yet again) coincidentally the team has actually won some games. Referenced in earlier posts that I’d prefer to not see Allen in a Pacer uniform after this summer; hoping that this recent stretch of winning play makes that a reality. Since Stuckey will be on the last year of his contract next season, then I’ll reserve judgement for a later time. But it would be preferable for this team to actually do more than lose to Cleveland or Toronto in the playoffs if they want to keep the Indianapolis area interested in their whereabouts. One can only have so many bobble head doll giveaways…..and since the team currently ranks 20th out of 30 NBA teams in league attendance figures, IMO having Allen and Stuckey around won’t change that anytime soon. Link for attendance figures below from our friends out of Bristol, Connecticut:
I didn’t want to babble about Tom Crean and the underachieving Indiana University hoops team, nor cry even more about the state of the Colts. So to finish things out I’ll go back roughly a quarter century ago to the days when the before mentioned Scottie Pippen was throwing down dunks as a Chicago Bull with said GIF of him dunking against the Cleveland Cavaliers:
That reminds me of something from said 25 years ago when I was a first year pledging Delta Sigma Phi at college number one Transylvania University. That something is for my school shoes for the year I bought a new pair of Nike Air Flight Lites as worn by said Pippen. IIRC they cost in the ball park of $115-120, so if one ever wonders from previous posts the results were from me picking up trash for a summer in the Park 100 office complex….now one no longer needs to wonder. And thanks to the World Wid Web, here’s a photo of said shoes with an autograph from none other than said Pippen himself:
Time has definitely flied by. Sometimes I miss those days from college number one. Good to have something like this blog to be able to remember said days. Hope I can get towards covering them soon as I still have to get through recapping senior year of high school first. We’ll see if I can get the job done while not ranting as much about The Dysfunctional Duo in the upcoming months.
Thanks again to any and all who read this and have a good week.
For the last few months yours truly has often uttered the following words when hoping improvements would be made to the current Indianapolis Colts organization: Your move, Diamond Jim.
According to multiple national media sources this morning, apparently Diamond Jim has made his move….by making no move at all.
Got the news around 10 am from said multiple media media sources as they proclaimed there would be no coaching change-or general manager change-at all for the Colts in 2017 as the Diamond Jim in question (Colts owner Jim Irsay) had decided to keep head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson in the wake of missing the National Football League postseason in back to back seasons with matching 8-8 records. Not since the years 1997 and 1998 had Central Indiana’s professional football franchise gone consecutive years without playing in postseason games. In the opinion of this non-iconic keyboard warrior typing this blog post, the vast amount of credit-or blame-for this predicament falls at the feet of said Pagano and Grigson with an assist to Irsay for the franchise’s decline from AFC championship game participant in 2014 to third place finisher in the AFC South Division in 2016. Under Irsay’s watch the Dysfunctional Duo has allowed the Colts to slide into mediocrity after multiple seasons of bad Grigson-led drafts, worst Grigson-led free agency choices, and finally head scratching coaching decisions by Pagano and his staff that cost the team greatly when they still had the opportunity to win AFC South Division titles in the last two seasons. Yet as of now it appears that said Pagano and Grigson will get another chance to right a leaky ship that has been described in multiple previous posts as being anything but a Super Bowl contender in recent years.
Yours truly had predicted this, so yours truly is neither surprised nor should be crowned the Son of Sons for making said prediction. On the other hand, if one outside of the Indianapolis area wonders if the majority of Colts fans are upset with said situation, then one would be right.
In highlight of my lack of tech skills, cut and paste time for links on news and reaction to said news from said Colts fans.
First, the boys at NFL.com and their announcement:
Best take from said coltfreaks.com posters showing the lack of support on Irsay’s decision (or non-decision perhaps) comes from WaynesWorld87 as he waits till the end before dropping the four letter bombs:
This is the type of gross mismanagement that can cause a franchise to lose fans. I’m not saying I’m done being a Colts fan, because it’s hard to just quit doing something you’ve done for 30 years, but my passion for the Colts has dwindled down to a flickering flame.
I can’t believe I’m reliving this off-season nightmare two years in a row when it was obvious that Pagano wasn’t going to cut it as our head coach. We’ve got a generational talent at QB and we’re about to waste a sixth season of his career with a glorified cheerleader and motivational speaker as our head coach.
Mr. Irsay, you can go **** yourself. You have just announced to the entire NFL watching world that you are a terrible owner.
….and that leads to this final tidbit from the oft referenced poster GoBigBlue88:
If this does happen, I can say: I probably won’t even be blaming Pagano or Grigson when things go wrong anymore. I’ll just be blaming Irsay directly. Totally on him at this point.
My takes on the matter have been recorded before, so I’ll be quick: Irsay has put both his financial stamp and emotional stamp on the Pagano-Grigson combination via giving dudes four year extensions after last season. We’re only through year one. There’s six more years of contract (three for Pagano, three for Grigson) scratch to pay out. By going 8-8 again the Dysfunctional Duo has done just enough to keep their gigs going and ensure they’re present for at least half the time that they’re obligated to get bankrolled for. Business decision made at the risk of losing fan support as well as cash flow via ticket sales. Yet the Dysfunctional Duo as of now are able to live off their first three seasons (33-15 regular season record, 16-2 AFC South record) to get a pass for their last two mediocre ones (16-16 regular season record, 7-5 AFC South record with THREE STRAIGHT LOSSES to back-to-back AFC South champ Houston). As a result, more Pagano and Grigson on your TV sets for the 2017 season.
My prediction: nothing less than 9 wins and a postseason berth of ANY KIND (be it via winning said AFC South or making the postseason as one of the two AFC wild card teams) will be acceptable to Irsay in 2017.
If the Colts make the playoffs next season then I’ll expect Pagano and Grigson to finish up their deals and hope for the best. But if they don’t?
Probably best to not think about it right now.
Will probably come back in the next post or two to how the Dysfunctional Duo can take advantage of this third chance and get the franchise back on track. For now, a GIF of dude rocking a Johnny Unitas jersey and dancing during a nationally televised game against Tennessee in days of yore:
At least that’s one move that cracked me up today, so there’s that.
As always thanks to any and all out in Internetland who may read these…..should post later on as parts of Central Indiana celebrate sub zero temperatures and I celebrate just two more evenings without classwork.
Hello as always to anyone and everyone out in cyberspace. I have the day off as this is being Monday is being celebrated as New Year’s, so it’s a good chance to actually post on fitzthoughtsblog for a third consecutive day. And since I have the National Football League on my mind, might as well throw out some random HOT TAKES in the matter that made Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless a regular presence on our TV screens:
The sports media declares this first day that comes at the end of each NFL season as Black Monday as it’s the day that most unsuccessful teams will decide to part ways with their head coaches and/or executives. While the local NFL franchise as of now is not making any changes (as predicted so far in this blog and by national outlets like SportsIllustrated-yep, they’re still around) nonetheless some changes have already been made both in the midst of the 2016 regular season and towards year’s end. Among those are Buffalo parting ways with Rex Ryan before their season finale against the New York Jets; the mid-season departures of Jacksonville’s Gus Bradley and Los Angeles (via St. Louis)’s Jeff Fisher; and lastly former media man Mike Riley getting ousted from his gig in San Diego. Add to that the official news this morning from that Gary Kubiak is leaving Denver just one year after taking them to the Super Bowl title and we pro football fans have a few job openings to watch out for in 2017. I apparently have already misfired on one personal prediction that John Fox (win loss record of 9-23 in two seasons) would lose his gig in Chicago, but apparently the Bears front office led by The Son Ryan Pace gave him a “vote” of confidence that says dude returns to see if can do better than their 3-13 in 2016 (which by law of averages shouldn’t be hard to do if that deems the necessary “improvement” to stay in charge when team just went 3-13). Same goes with Hue Jackson in Cleveland who will be back-for now- as his boss Jimmy Haslem gave him a vote of confidence despite the Browns finishing a league worst 1-15 this past season. On the other hand I was correct (but not going out on a limb) that Chip Kelly would not return in San Francisco after his squad went 2-14 (only the 1-15 Cleveland Browns were worse this year) For future predictions that may or may not happen, my takes are that the only place left to watch on NFL fronts is located on West 56th Street in Indianapolis. If Cleveland is confident enough to keep the leadership that took them to the worst regular season record in their team’s history, then more power to them. At the very least they won’t be paying the salaries for two head coaches next year.
From a personal standpoint there is little reason to be concerned or thrilled about watching the upcoming American Football Conference playoffs (of which said Colts will not be a part of for the second straight year) because the participants include two teams with histories of recent postseason success (the NBC approved New England Patriots and the Omar Epps approved Pittsburgh Steelers) while the remaining four teams-Houston, Oakland, Kansas City and Miami-have not much success in recent postseason play since the Raiders’ last Super Bowl appearance was 14 years ago and the Chiefs have not participated in said big game since the Nixon Administration. (Miami’s last postseason success was-of course-against the Colts over a decade and a half ago. And Houston is apparently starting Brock Osweiler in a playoff game against Oakland next weekend, so best of luck in that regard.) I expect a Patriots-Steelers AFC title game with the Patriots winning. If I’m wrong, so be it. If I’m right, not like I’m Nostradamus. Hence I don’t expect to put too much time and worry in taking time out to watch a potential Osweiler-Conner Cook matchup next weekend. No amount of national sports media slobbering over the NFL can or will change that.
Meanwhile I’m more intrigued with the National Football Conference playoffs as you’ve got a free for all with three recent World title winners-Green Bay, the New York Football Giants and “Pistol” Pete Carroll’s sons of Seattle-are in the postseason along with a resurgent Dallas Cowboys squad that actually has a running game that could cause problems if they actually made it to the big game. So if I had to pick one game to watch next weekend it will be New York-Green Bay. As for the other two participants-Atlanta and Detroit-I’ll be surprised if they made it based on a half century of past postseason failures. Should they make it, more power and good for their fan bases. It’s nice to actually win once in a while after dealing with 4-12 seasons and failed first round draft picks (see the examples of Jeff George and Steve Emtman for the local NFL team in the early 1990’s. Safe to say Diamond Jim Irsay has been a better owner than personnel man after you read those two names out loud. But more on Diamond Jim in a moment.) Either way there are plenty of intriguing NFC teams to watch in the Super Bowl, and that may be enough for me to watch said game in full.
For the final non-local NFL team hot take……..I learned a valuable lesson with fantasy football this year: I am going to have to start drafting running backs earlier and not rely on the waiver wire like I have in the past. I finished 4th out of 10 teams as I made the postseason tourney of eight…won my first round game…and then got destroyed in the semifinals and subsequent 3rd place game in part because my top running back (local NFL team’s Frank Gore) usually was replaced by his backup (Robert Turbin) when it came time for the local NFL team to run the ball in goal line sets for scoring. Turbin carried the ball 47 times this year….SEVEN OF THOSE were for touchdowns, and many games I would be cursing because he would replace Gore (who carried the ball 263 times for 1,025 overall rushing yards) and hence Gore only had four touchdowns. So should I end up drafting Turbin next year only to see Turbin get the gout and end up on injured reserve while someone else drafts Gore and gets a ten touchdown season out of said Gore, you read it here first. Main word of advice: don’t draft Brandon Marshall with your first round pick. The fictional Brandon Walsh of Beverly Hills 90210 would have been a better choice. Hence I was just happy to finish fourth as Marshall and Cam Newton both had, shall we say, pretty s—-y years in terms of fantasy football production. Not sure what I can do to follow up a Brandon Walsh mention other than to show a 90210 GIF with his boys Steve Sanders and Dylan McKay, so here’s said GIF:
And yes, that may have been the highlight of my day. I’m easy to please.
With that out of the way….
….I also did not strain too hard to predict the Indianapolis Colts would struggle yet prevail in their home finale against Jacksonville yesterday. I watched the game in full as I saw the Colts look incoherent and uninterested in spotting said Jacksonville a 17-0 lead early on. I was not surprised that the Colts would then come back to tie the game in the second half because Jacksonville (coming in with a record of 3-12) simply is not going to dominate most foes, nor was I surprised that the Colts would find ways to turn the ball over and try to give the game away. Yet fortunately for Colts head coach Ground Chuck Pagano and his pocketbook, the Jaguars failed to take advantage of the last Colts giveaway in the fourth quarter and could only muster a field goal to take a 20-17 lead with a minute and half to go in regulation time. And fortunately for Pagano and his main man Big Grig Ryan Grigson, their boss picked his gentleman in the 2012 NFL draft:
While the national media prefers to get down with Seattle’s son Russell Wilson, the gent with the ball-one Andrew Austen Luck-is the sole reason at times why I actually say to myself that it’s worth rooting for this Colts franchise in our year of 2017. Take it away, United Press International:
INDIANAPOLIS — Just when it seemed as if the Jacksonville Jaguars had upset the Indianapolis Colts again, quarterback Andrew Luck made the most of the game’s final seconds to end a disappointing season on an upbeat note.
Luck’s 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jack Doyle with nine seconds remaining gave the Colts a 24-20 victory and an 8-8 finish to an inconsistent season on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“When you’ve got Andrew back there, you’ve got a shot,” said Doyle, who triumphantly spiked the football after his decisive catch while sitting in the end zone.
The Jaguars (3-13) had won the previous two meetings between the AFC South rivals, and thought they had pulled out another victory on Jason Myers’ 41-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining.
But that was ample time for Luck. Although out of timeouts, the no-huddle Colts drove 75 yards in eight plays and took 1:24 off the clock. Luck completed all six of his passes on the drive for 70 yards.
“It felt good to get that touchdown at that moment,” said Luck, who completed 24 of 41 passes for 321 yards with two scores and one interception. “There were times earlier this year that we didn’t finish games when we had the chance in the two-minute drill or four-minute drill. So to get that one was very joyous and maybe released a little frustration.”
The polite way to put it: quarterback is the least of the Colts’ concerns right now. In concluding this post I’m going to also be polite, not throw furniture, try to limit the whining and note what I personally think the Colts need to do in order to get back into the postseason and rise up from the mediocrity that has been the staple of this franchise for the past two seasons. Hence the
FITZTHOUGHTS FIVE: COLTS ISSUES TO ADDRESS BEFORE THE 2017 SEASON:
Most are going to be obvious, but these are going to be listed in the mindset that both Pagano and general manager Grigson will return next season to earn their keep in cashing Irsay’s paychecks. Should they do that, consider this free advice from a lifelong fan who has followed the Indianapolis version of said Colts since their 1984 inception (meaning I have seen a lot of s–tty play as well as a lot of success during the Peyton Manning/Tony Dungy era and appreciate the good seasons more because they aren’t always going to take place in a 32 team league):
5.REPLACE THE UNFANTASTIC FOUR
Media men were thrilled that Robert Mathis got a quarterback sack that forced a fumble which the Colts recovered to keep them alive in said game yesterday. I was thrilled because Mathis could end his career on a positive note and the team could then be able to move on with their need to replace said Mathis this offseason. Yesterday I profiled Mathis’s lack of on-field production in 2014, 2015 and 2016 so I won’t lecture about that now. Instead I simply state that if the Colts defense does not want to outright s–k again in 2017 (their 2016 ranking: 30th overall in the area of yards per game given up to opponents; only Cleveland and San Francisco were worse) I feel the team needs to part ways with these four individuals that play at linebacker (the team’s arguably worst position) and defensive line (which is not much better since your defense is one of the worst in the league yet again):
-Mathis (per sportac.com he counted $5 million against the team’s salary cap this season)
-defensive lineman and Pagano favorite Arthur “Soul Train” Jones ($3 million against the cap, suspended for the first four games of 2016 due to using performance enhancing drugs, played all of eight games this season-including the two losses to Houston that cost the team the division- with 30 tackles and no quarterback sacks )
-inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson ($4.5 million against the salary cap, suspended for the final four games of 2016 due to performance enhancing drugs)
-and finally the much mentioned man of Grigson one Trent Cole ($5 million against the salary cap, 16 tackles in just seven games played, only one quarterback sack).
If you went off on-field production (not good), production per salary earned (again not good), overall games played in 2016 (horrendous as you have eight combined games missed due to suspensions with two of the dudes missing half of the season and another being suspended when the team actually still had a chance to make the postseason)….with Mathis retiring, why would one want any of the other three back? This is where Pagano and Grigson have really screwed the proverbial pooch because per said sportac.com as of now the Colts are on the hook for some THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLARS in salary between just Jackson and Jones next year. Should both leave the franchise after June 1 of next year, their cap hits go down to under $3 million combined. With Cole and Mathis both not listed as part of next year’s group, the Colts brain trust have to decide whether or not the Jones-Jackson combo can continue to give negative returns as they have not exactly been Pro Bowl material in their Colts tenures. You can tell I hope they look elsewhere. In short I feel you need four new defensive starters AT A MINIMUM in the front seven of the defensive alignment Pagano likes to run (preferably anyone to play tackle that replaces Jones and anyone else who plays inside linebacker to replace Jackson, plus two new outside linebackers to replace Mathis and Cole.) Without addressing that, I see the team at best looking to go for a three-peat of finishing with said 8-8 record. Hoping this gets looked at and is the main priority of Grigson if he’s still holding court as Diamond Jim’s executive of choice.
Won’t be too verbal on the other four, so here goes:
4) YOUR OFFENSIVE LINE STILL NEEDS WORK.
The late Ray Charles could see this, but I am afraid that Grigson’s emphasis on drafting offensive linemen in the 2016 collegiate draft (including center Ryan Kelly in the 1st round, tackle Le’Raven Clark in the 3rd and multi-position playing Joe Haeg in the fifth round) will lead to the organization saying THAT BE ENOUGH and assuming that those three will join Ohio State sons Anthony Castanzo and Jack Mewhort to make up the team’s offensive line for the next decade. I strongly disagree. The team still has trouble protecting their franchise quarterback Luck as Luck was sacked 46 times in 2016 (only four teams in the league were worse in that regard according to NFL.com) and saw Luck miss a game due to a concussion that the Colts-of course-would lose to Pittsburgh when every game counted to make the postseason in late November and December. Castanzo in particular, well, it’s best to not say anything other than he’s digressed badly since 2014 and does not look like the icon that the Colts pay him to be (only Luck has a higher salary cap hit for next year’s squad). And the team still has issues running the ball up the middle like Pagano and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski insist on doing for marginal results (hence 8-8 records a go go). Suggestion: you’re stuck with your first round pick at center and with Castanzo in the lineup, so they’re there. However every other position-particularly both guard spots-need to be improved on, and I also would prefer to never see Joe Reitz start at offensive tackle again. TLDR: three new linemen to go with Castanzo and Kelly, and if Mewhort can’t recover from his injury plagued 2016 then you’d better have someone to step in that’s not part of this draft class because they probably aren’t going to be enough to keep Luck from being hospitalized again. I’m afraid that they will keep the same group that ended 2016 with Mewhort taking over at one of the guard slots and Haeg teaming with Clark on the right side of the line….and I’m not too excited about that. If the Colts organization feels that those dudes are ready to win the World title……then the Colts organization is a lot more optimistic than I am. Hoping that gets addressed because this line is NOT good enough to beat Houston right now……and if you want to make the playoffs, you kind of need to actually beat Houston to do so. Hence I suggest they don’t get thrilled about squeaking out a game against Jacksonville and assume ALL BE WELL BAWH SON with one of the team’s major weaknesses.
Oh, the other three:
3) LINEBACKER LINEBACKER LINEBACKER!. Per a man called “Horse” on the coltfreaks.com message board….See number five, but basically if the team is going to be successful they need to have NFL caliber linebackers on their NFL roster. Jackson and Cole ensured that was not the case in 2016. I’ll simply post the link to their draft thoughts as I agree that the team needs to look at linebackers far and wide in this coming NFL draft:
I suggest no Adam Morrison or Josh McNary in the 2017 starting lineup. I also suggest you don’t break the bank to overpay Erik Walden…..so if Walden gets a $10 million/per year contract, don’t be too shocked because I won’t be. Nevertheless if you’re going to run a linebacker based defense like Pagano wants to (his 3-4 package he favored while coaching in Baltimore) then you’d better have some competent linebacker play. As of now, the franchise does not. Hope that changes soon.
2) THE RETURN OF THE MISSING MONCRIEF: The Colts’ strength and bread and butter is supposed to be their passing game. While offensive coordinator Chudzinski apparently believes that consists of only throwing 30 times a game to T.Y Hilton (more in a moment) the team is supposed to be stocked at receiver and tight end so Luck has plenty of capable pass catchers to throw to. We know the deal with Hilton: he led the league in receiving yards this season with 1,448 yards and hence he earns his huge paycheck (he’ll cost $10 million against the salary cap next year). However the inability to have a second wide receiving threat to go with Hilton-exemplified by the mediocrity of Grigson approved 2015 first round draft pick Phillip Dorsett who’s scored three touchdowns in two years) leads me to wonder out loud if the organization can afford another year like the one they received out of a man who couldn’t stay on the field due to injuries throughout 2016: Donte Moncrief. And when he was out there……..it wasn’t pretty.
Yes, the first thing most people will do is say HE SCORE TOUCHDOWN because basically all dude did in 2016 was take advantage of other teams double teaming Hilton when the Colts were in red zone (read: inside the opponents’ 20 yard line) situations. However….dude couldn’t stay on the field, and when the team needed him the most-that one Houston game listed that he did suit up for-no production whatsoever. While dude has caught 13 touchdown passes in two years (he had six overall in 2015) nevertheless he has not been able to provide the team with the ability to be the Reggie Wayne to Hilton’s Marvin Harrison. The Colts also went 3-6 in games Moncrief played while 5-2 when he was not in the lineup. Not the sign of a man bound for Canton, Ohio unless it’s to play in a preseason game. And 307 overall receiving yards pales in comparison to the before mentioned Hilton. For this team to actually attempt to run a vertical passing attack that can be Super Bowl worthy, it has to get more out of Moncrief…or find someone else who can replace him and do better. As of now, that’s not Dorsett. And judging from Moncrief having a case of the drops throughout recent times by only catching 30 of 56 passes thrown to him in 2016 per ESPN.com, it very well may not be Moncrief. Meaning Luck more often than not focuses on Hilton said 30 times a game because the other wide receivers probably aren’t going to catch it; go to this link below to see the Colts rank seventh overall among NFL teams in dropped passes in 2016:
For the Colts to contend and beat Houston, another capable receiving threat has to show up from the wide receiver position (especially when they play said Houston). That was not the case in 2016.
Last of all..
1-NO MORE OFFENSIVE THUD FROM PAGANO AND THAT SON CHUD
When Pep Hamilton was let go as the team’s offensive coordinator after the Colts got off to a s–t start in the middle of the 2015 season, fans like myself were happy that Chudzinski got the nod to replace Hamilton as we felt anyone-ANYONE-could do better. Problem IMO was two fold…and the two serve as the team’s head coach and offensivecoordinator. The issues:
-Pagano teams like to RUNSONRUN by seeming to favor running up the middle 20-30 times a game to set up the 70 yard pass (which usually is aimed for Hilton, and many a time does not work if Hilton is being covered by multiple defensive backs). We found it matters not who the offensive coordinator is…Pagano wants to go away from the team’s strength (aka his franchise quarterback Luck and the passing game) while emphasizing the likes of running backs Turbin, Jesse Ferguson and Josh Robinson as the focal points of the team’s offense. As of now all three gents have as much chance of winning the NFL rushing title as the 40 plus year old man typing this sentence. And where the team has started two or three rookies at times at the three offensive line positions that need to be strong for said running game to work (center, left guard and right guard) that strategy has not been a successful one…in fact I say it’s downright s—-y. The Colts ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing during the 2015 season…and this year only ranked 23rd. If you’ve got the Dallas Cowboys‘ offensive line (Dallas was 2nd in NFL rushing this season) or a stud running back like Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (the Bills were 1st) then said strategy may work. The Colts have neither. Be it the blame of Grigson, Pagano, Irsay or The Iron Sheik in not getting the personnel to run the ground game approved and dictated by said Ground Chuck, nevertheless the organization wants to play a style of football that is not suited for its franchise player (quarterback Luck)…and when your quarterback is often your best runner then it points to failures across the board between coaching, personnel, strategy and team philosophy. And the coaching failures fall onto Pagano and His Son Chud in failing to capitalize on having a No. 1 overall draft pick and franchise quarterback that is ready to enter his physical prime. Hence you’d better find another plan of attack to make this work-like one not relying on Ferguson to be your best option to go to on fourth down when a game is on the line (which what That Son Chud apparently called when the Colts lost to Jacksonville earlier in the year. Again, not good).
The other issue…
Pagano and That Son Chud are unable to defeat these two gents pictured below.
Those gents are media favorites via Boston Romeo Crennel (defensive coordinator with sheet of paper hanging around his neck) and Bill O’Brien (head coach) of the Houston Texans. Before Hamilton got sacked in 2015, the Colts were able to beat Houston 27-20 in a nationally televised game. Since That Son Chud took the reigns of calling the team’s offensive plays, the Colts are 0-3 to said Houston as they have lost games by the scores of 16-10, 26-23 and 22-17. The Colts average roughly that 17 points a game from the final contest when Chud calls the shots….simply put right now Chud vs Crennel in a battle of wits is a man with a slingshot against a man with a 44 Magnum. In two of those losses (losses one and three) Gore ran for a combined 85 yards. That’s not going to get it done, yet Chud and Pagano have yet to figure out a way to successfully game plan against this duo even when their star defender (famed commercial pitchman JJ Watt) is off the field. Simply put Chud and Pagano are either going to have to compose the stud running game via running back and offensive line that Pagano seems hell bent on producing (which a That Son Chud offense cannot do) or find an alternative way to actually defeat these two dudes in a regular season NFL game when a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback and receiver are part of your team. Since said Texans dudes are only 15-14 when playing against the rest of the NFL these past two seasons (including getting blanked 30-0 by Kansas City in last year’s playoffs) it shouldn’t be a lifelong struggle. Yet the Pagano/Chud duo hasn’t gotten the job done against O’Brien and Crennel, and the result has been two years away from the postseason with mediocrity reigning supreme.
From the looks of things we’ll know more in a half hour (Pagano has a press conference scheduled for 1:30 pm and it’s currently 1 here in central Indiana) if the Pagano/Chud combo gets two more shots at beating the Twin Texans powers that have handled them successfully the next two years. Should they get that chance, for the franchise’s sake the results will need to be different. But if the organization continues to send out bad linebackers, bad offense lines, unproductive wide receivers and lastly base their offense around coaching ideals that are at best mediocre…….then it could be another mediocre 2017 to go with 2015 and 2016 for the organization ran by Diamond Jim Irsay.
Hence you’ll know what I’ll be doing at 1:30 pm. The question is whether Irsay and company know what they’re doing in order to get this team back into playoff contention.
9:57 am on a Central Indiana Christmas morning as I type this sentence. As always a nice gap between posts thanks due to school (final stuff wrapped up last weekend) and doing 10 hour days here and there on the work front. With a four day weekend given due to Christmas falling on a Sunday, yours truly worked 7 am to 2 pm on Friday (the office was closed but the department was there to do extra stuff) and then began holiday shopping at 2:01 pm of said Friday. Learned a valuable lesson: lots of people do the same thing. The result was me doing the vast majority of said shopping in and around semi-scenic downtown Noblesville (known to those who may read this blog as Sonland City) with a 1 am trip on Christmas Eve to the local Kohl’s. Line was the longest I’d ever seen when I went at 3 pm. That was not the case at 1 am as I took advantage of the store being open 24 hours. Family holiday stuff was taken care of last night, and here I am typing in the midst of doing laundry while enjoying some peace and quiet (and most importantly no $!$%#@ school work) before debating if I stay at said school or decide to go elsewhere. (More on that later because, well, holidays. Forget I mentioned it.)
But as the post title notes there was something to do before said holiday functions: attempt to watch the local professional football franchise-Diamond Jim Irsay’s Indianapolis Colts by way of Baltimore in 1984– try to keep their small as f— playoff chances alive by trying to defeat an Oakland Raiders team that on paper was every bit superior both on the field and in the coaching ranks when compared to Irsay’s approved boys of head coach/University of Miami supporter Ground Chuck Pagano and front office savant/general manager/ex-Eagles super scout ‘Big Grig’ Ryan Grigson. I had expected a loss where the locals would find a way to lose close by screwing around via bad Pagano decisions and the inability to get defensive stops when it mattered most. Not like I am winning the lottery by proclaiming it, but I was right. The Colts allowed a backup quarterback by the name of Matt McGloin to make two critical first downs to keep them from having a shot at tying the game and forcing overtime. The last one came over the outstretched arms of Grigson approved acquisition Vontae Davis as Raider fan favorite and media man Amari Cooper sealed the game with a third down catch that made me say ‘well, of course our best defensive player will get beat when the season is on the line.’ So I got to see the man holding the ball below show why the Colts defense deserved its cruddy ranking of 27th out of 32 teams in the National Football League:
…and I in turn then had to face the prospect of not worrying too much about watching NFL football after next Sunday nor buying any additional overpriced Colts related merchandise to go into Diamond Jim’s pockets. For the second straight year a Colts team with what should be the best quarterback by far in its AFC South Division– one Andrew Austen Luck-will be sitting at home while a Houston Texans team that has been quarterbacked by the likes of Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage will have won the division crown. While an actual win next week would put the Colts’ record at my personal preseason prediction of 8 wins and 8 losses, nonetheless it is not always fun to dedicate 3 to 3 1/2 hours of your week to watch a team that simply is going to have mediocrity as its ceiling. Making the same mistakes over and over again doesn’t help either. Like being unprepared for games. Or having special teams related f–k–s like the botched fake field goal in the first quarter when you have a future Hall of Fame kicker (multimillionaire Adam Matthew Vinatieri) to kick said field goals. Or having your coach challenge catches that were actual catches and losing time outs that would eventually cost you when trying to make a comeback after giving up 26 STRAIGHT POINTS. In short it was the usual bag of manure Colts fans have witnessed during these 2015 and 2016 regular seasons: s—–y play early against a quality team, try to make comeback against quality team, fall short against quality team. Add to that the inability to beat the division rival Houston Texans (the Colts are 1-3 against them the last two seasons) and the Paul Tagliabue approved Jacksonville Jaguars (the Colts are 1-2 against Jacksonville during the past two seasons with said Jacksonville in town a week from today) and those 11-5 regular season records that come from feasting on AFC South opponents like Jacksonville, Houston and Tennessee quickly turn into records of 8-8. Which basically sticks you in NFL purgatory and makes people look for excuses in saying WE BE ONE PLAY AWAY towards getting the world title as opposed to being 8-8.
Which in turn leads me to quit babbling and cut through the s–t to the main point: Diamond Jim’s sons are at the crossroads, and his financial commitment (four year contracts through 2019) and adoration for the Dysfunctional Duo of Ground Chuck and The Big Grig (particularly Grigson, whose player acquisition efforts via both free agency and the annual college draft are both not really inspiring) has me at the crossroads of whether the team is going to be worth the time, effort and financial commitment to fully support as long as said Ground Chuck and Big Grig are underachieving in a division that is regularly considered among the worst in professional sports.
TLDR: I don’t see the local NFL team contending for a World title-much less making the $!$%@% Super Bowl– as long as Irsay allows Pagano and Grigson to be the forebearing sons of his organization. And with that, it’s going to be more difficult as a fan to be motivated to give two s–ts about the local NFL team no matter how much positive press coverage they get with a local Indianapolis media that all but wipes their proverbial buttocks after the local team s–ts on themselves week in and week out when faced with playing a team not located in Nashville. (In 2015 and 2016, the Colts are 4-0 against said Tennessee Titans squad residing in Nashville. Against the rest of the league, they are 11-16. Not the recipe for being an icon no matter how many Robert Mathis replica jerseys from 2008 are still being carted around by Indy suburbanites.)
With discussing Pagano, I’ll let his defenders simply watch this GIF from last year’s nationally televised epic fail against the NBC approved team from the Boston area:
….and when discussing Grigson, watch number 92 in a blue uniform not really do too well on this following play:
The gent wearing 92 is a former Colt first round draft pick selected by Grigson by the name of Bjorne Werner in 2013 (which was not too long ago). With no career ending injury or decision to quit the sport altogether made by this man, said Grigson approved man Werner should be at the very worst on an NFL roster and at the very least some kind of cornerstone player for the local team to build around for its future. Turns out he’s neither. How bad was the dude? HE NO LONGER PLAYS IN THE NFL. And before the team’s current drift into mediocrity when they actually made the 2014-15 AFC Championship game against New England, Werner was a healthy scratch WHO COULD NOT MAKE THE ROSTER FOR THE BIGGEST GAME THE TEAM HAS PLAYED SINCE 2010. No NFL team has wanted him since he was finally waived this past March. Point? Blowing a first round pick that badly in today’s NFL is like throwing millions of dollars into a furnace. And unfortunately for Colts fans, Grigson -with help now from Pagano as shown by the acquisition of Pagano approved but not ready for prime time player TJ Green of Clemson as the team’s starting safety-gets to be the son that stirs the drink when it comes to drafting and signing players. Not good.
Should people continue to defend Grigson, I’ll leave a GIF of this former first round pick (courtesy of 2012, which was also not too long ago) that was wearing number 34 who ALSO is not currently in the NFL these days:
Best to not say anything else after the words Trent Richardson. Most NFL fans know. However, as of this day Irsay has his franchise contractually obligated to THREE MOREYEARS of the Dysfunctional Duo. When one would ask ‘Why the f–k did that happen?’ I would respond with curse words. To bring a non-Dave Chappelle like response to the matter, I’ll turn to the coltfreaks.com message board for a good response from a man who knows his football by the codename of GoBigBlue88 after the team looked inept this year against Kansas City:
“None of this matters unless Jim Irsay realizes that putting together a winning franchise that plays watchable football is more important than teaching heartwarming life lessons on loyalty and family. He wants this organization to be a family. Well, guess what? Pagano and Grigson are the sketchy uncles you deliberately cut out of the family, and replace with better guys who marry in.”
As for Diamond Jim, again I say take it away GoBigBlue88 (this time after barely beating a losing Chicago Bears squad earlier in the season:
“I also feel like it makes no sense to have Chuck Pagano as the head coach of a franchise with Andrew Luck at QB. Jim Irsay really messed this one up. He committed to the worst possible coach for a modern passing offense. And he committed to a GM who doesn’t invest in the pieces the head coach wants to run his awful system. The result is a complete mess that wastes Luck’s talent, amplifies a lot of shortcomings, and makes Jim Irsay the man who owes us answers.”
TLDR: The organization is at the crossroads, and it is up to the owner to decide if he really wants to risk three more weeks-much less three more years-of a Dysfunctional Duo that really doesn’t do much at all to inspire thoughts of winning the World title. Now if he wants 8-8 records each year…those are his boys, all right. However that may not work much longer in a marketplace that doesn’t really care to support mediocre pro sports teams ran by questionable ownership decisions that enable s—y front office work and s—-y coaching. (See the 2007-2011 Indiana Pacers as a good example of this. That trade for Troy Murphy didn’t sell too many tickets or win too many games. Since I went to games for THREE DOLLARS apiece back then, humor me and take my word for it.)
My summary take on the whole thing goes to two points:
-Irsay has been a good businessman in building a brand that as of the early 2000’s were merely a blip on the local radar to year after year after year of bad teams (the Colts won only TWO playoff games from 1984 to 2002 before winning two to get to the 2003 AFC championship game and starting the onslaught of every household in central Indiana owning some type of Peyton Manning related merchandise). As a result the tide has turned to where Irsay has gone from begging the city of Indianapolis for money while shopping his team around in the mid 1990’s (ESPN reported him to be in talks with Los Angeles to move the team, and the city in turn renovated the RCA Dome to lower the seating so Colts home games could actually sell out and be shown on local TV) to becoming one of the richest men in the world as a billionaire listed on the Forbes 1000 list. (We won’t even scratch the surface of the funding towards the current Colts home of Lucas Oil Stadium, but safe to say Irsay isn’t hurting in the pocketbook.) To keep the dollars flowing, one must have good public relations. By winning his last two games of the 2015 season, said Pagano had some good PR in effect and had the local Indianapolis media getting down with him despite some bumbling coaching moves as shown above. Good PR equals more people dropping more coin on those overpriced T-shirts and replica Colt jerseys that are sported at the local Meijer. Hence to keep the good PR going, more Pagano.
-Point two: if Irsay was going to keep Pagano for the PR, then at the end of the day it was-and is-still his football team. Hence, he needs to be happy. Hence, his son Grigson was going to be in full effect and part of the process despite seeing a preseason Super Bowl contender of 2015 get embarrassed on national TV by Pittsburgh and New England while needing missed field goal kicking to split the two games against lowly Jacksonville. And to prove that this was no year by year gimmick with the Dysfunctional Duo always having to worry if the other horseshoe was going to drop…..FOUR YEAR EXTENSIONS BAW GAWD. In the words of the immortal Tara Lynn Walczak,“YIPPEE SKIPPEE.”
Backing up point two on the point reference and the Irsay-Grigson connection….
Photo of younger 1980s Irsay with his late father Robert:
,,,,and photo of Irsay with that man called Grigson:
Simply put, there’s a bond between the two that leads me to associate them together with the team more than players past (Manning) and present (Luck). Hence the “family” connection GoBigBlue88 referred to in his earlier message board posts. And if one wants me to settle down and give Grigson some positive remarks, read here: after Bill and Chris Polian built a roster that took the team from Super Bowl participant in 2009 to the worst team in the league in 2011 when Manning hurt his neck, Grigson was able to do two things: not be a Polian and put together a roster on the proverbial fly that was able to beat AFC South teams and thus return to playoff contention overnight. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 the Colts had a combined record of 16-2 when playing their AFC South counterparts in Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee. While the team record against the rest of the league dropped to 17-13, nevertheless it was no coincidence that the sparkling AFC South record helped get the team to three straight postseason berths via the AFC wild card in 2012 and two straight AFC South division titles in 2013 and 2014. But with the need to improve the offensive line and defensive pass rush apparent after getting drilled by New England in said 2014-15 AFC title game against said New England…..Grigson has built a roster that does neither. Hence Luck is still a candidate to be hospitalized every time he drops back to pass and the defense will find ways to choke games like they did earlier in the year against Detroit and Houston (the latter on national TV via losing a 14 point lead in the final quarter). Hence your record of 15-16 overall with 6-5 against said AFC South teams in the past two regular NFL seasons. Being unable to beat said South sons leads to where the franchise is at again: at the crossroads with Irsay having a huge cash commitment giving leadership to the man who burned first round picks on Werner and U of Miami man Philip Dorsett as well as the coach who runs fake punts with nine men on one side of the field. As of this moment, not the most inspiring thing to sell towards getting season ticket holders to renew for 2017…or better yet to leave the house this coming Sunday and watch the Colts’ season home finale in person.
My humble opinion is that the key to the Colts’ franchise future comes down to the relationship between Irsay and Grigson. If Irsay feels that Grigson is worth keeping as his right hand man simply because they can contend for the AFC South division title with a 7-7 record in December year in and year out, then I am bracing myself for more of the same that I’ve seen the last two seasons. At the very least I’ll go out on a limb and say next week is a deja vu of last year: Pagano barely beats a division opponent in the season home finale to finish 8-8, gets the feel good gimmicks from local media men, and in turn comes back for 2017. And since the Dysfunctional Duo of Pagano and Grigson kept their gigs last year-and in turn for four more years of paydays-by being “connected to the hip” then I will thus be ready for more Grigson. Irsay in turn next week assures that said Duo are back for 2017. Wash, rinse, repeat.
At the very least will only have to deal with the possibility of giving the Duo TWO YEARS worth of free money away as opposed to three years should the Colts again fail to make the NFL playoffs. Financial deal on the matter, we get: after all, this is a business and Irsay is a businessman. He’s not going to want to cut checks to people not getting down on West 56th Street.
At the very most? I say Irsay’s risking the chance of causing some serious damage to the relationship between the local NFL team and its fan base. Eventually casual fan is going to say WHY WE NO GO PLAYOFFS NO MORE? and in turn say WHY ME BUY JERSEY WHEN TEAM NO GOOD? Better yet hardcore fan and corporate fan may say WHY ME DROP 100 BUCKS TO LOSE TO HOUSTON AGAIN? and in turn may not drop those few G’s a year on season tickets.
While that may not matter to the media men that now swoon to kissing the NFL’s a– because there’s a team now playing to half capacity crowds in a 95 year old building in Los Angeles, I would like to think that the latter matters to Irsay. He’s seen the team deal with fan apathy that comes from losing year after year in the past and in turn not been able to rake the scratch that he later received during the Manning era of 1998 to 2011 for him to become the billionaire he is today. For his sake, I hope his belief in Grigson being the modern day Marvin Gaye of pro football personnel men comes to fruition. If not, then I’m definitely going to be holding on to that Super Bowl Champions hoodie from a decade ago because that will probably be the only World title merch I’ll be seeing for a while.
A long while.
When it comes to 3,000 words on a Christmas Day about the Dysfunctional Duo, I’ll end it with these four: Your move, Diamond Jim.