By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — My oh my oh my. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
The Indianapolis Colts — the franchise that launched a thousand DeflateGate ships — now must be known as dirty, rotten cheaters.
How terrifically sad.
This is now the case after former Colts offensive lineman Tarik Glenn admitted to a massive, significant, earth-shattering system of cheating that the Colts employed in order to help make the game significantly easier for quarterback Peyton Manning.
Yup — call in Ted Wells, call in Robert Mueller, and heck, get the whole dang FBI involved for this one — as we have got ourselves a full-on scandal.
“We were playing on the road, it might have been Peyton’s rookie year , and it was really loud. Peyton hadn’t mastered the silent count, so [former offensive line coach] Howard Mudd had us wearing these hearing aids that were supposed to muffle the crowd while projecting the quarterback’s voice.”
(My sincerest apologies for not warning you ahead of time to be seated in a chair before reading a shocking quote such as that one.)
As Florio dutifully noted after 9 p.m. on July 3, “A ‘hearing aid’ or any type of electronic device would amount to a clear and blatant violation of the rules.”
This is, of course, a matter of national significance. The integrity of the game was compromised by Manning, the face of the league for more than a decade, the man who dodged a sexual harassment case in Knoxville and got out of an HGH controversy by saying it was sent to his house for his wife’s use might finally be brought down here by this — a most egregious act of cheating.
Unfortunately for Manning, it didn’t even work! As a rookie, while cheating just to try to survive in the NFL, he still ended up leading the league with 28 interceptions. Talk about a shot to the ego. That type of embarrassment could … lead a man to cheat even harder in order to get a leg up on the competition.
If the Colts cheated once … it doesn’t take a wild imagination to envision the Colts cheating again. And again. And again. It even makes you wonder how badly he cheats when he’s on the golf course.
It makes you question whether the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI victory over the Bears should be stricken from the record — especially after you look at this photograph of a secret cheating meeting involving both Manning and Glenn:
Let’s take a closer look.
Be honest: Does this not look like the face of a man who knows that he cheated his way to his first championship?
Frankly, it’s not outrageous in the least to take all 71,940 of Manning’s passing yards and all 539 of his touchdowns and both of his Super Bowl victories and wipe them clean from the record books. If he and his team were willing to institute a blatant cheating scheme to blatantly and cognizantly skirt the NFL rules and thus tarnish the integrity of the great sport of football, then Roger Goodell and the NFL has no choice but to come down hard on a man who has displayed wanton disregard for the rules of the league.
Doubly frankly, one can’t help but wonder if Manning is no longer a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Triply frankly, a prison sentence should not be ruled out.
Whatever happens next, one thing is clear: The Colts are now on the record as confirmed cheaters. Given the other accusations regarding the artificial crowd noise at the RCA Dome, as well as the false injury reporting regarding quarterback Andrew Luck, plus the accusations of stealing signals, and also let’s not forget their team employees illegally sticking needles into footballs on the sideline, we are correct in saying there is a “culture of cheating” surrounding the entire Colts organization.
It’s a shame that a potentially great organization simply can’t abide by the rules.
NOTE: Because such hyperbole has caused confusion in the past, 99 percent of this reaction has been written in jest. The base information in real, but the calls to strike Manning’s records from existence are not. It is merely an attempt to display how ludicrous many (all?) national media voices were in their reaction to accusations of the Patriots taking fractions of PSIs out of footballs. The goal is to maybe make some people feel stupid for having espoused such foolish opinions. Explaining this method sure does take most of the fun out of it, but it’s probably worth it to save too many Peyton adorers from seeing red and blowing their top on Independence Day, the holiest of holidays.