By Mike In Woburn, 98.5 The Sports Hub Contributor
BOSTON (CBS) — I know the phrase that would be the most appropriate response to anything that Indianapolis Star columnist/Colts propagandist Gregg Doyel writes is “Don’t feed the trolls.” He’s obviously starving for attention out in Gumpville, USA, and he probably feels the need to get back in Colts owner/amateur pharmacist Jim Irsay’s graces after this Oct. 23, 2013 column where he told Irsay to zip it.
So he trolls and he trolls and he trolls. The latest article on this week’s Pats/Colts matchup is just more of the same, calling the Pats cheaters and saying that their cheating shows that they are afraid.
The cheating stuff is pure Clickbait 101. It’s been done before and he’ll likely do it again.
If I wanted to lower myself to his level, I could. In fact, let’s take a walk on the Darkside for a paragraph or two.
Did the Pats cheat? It can’t be proven and we will probably never know. But based on what Tom Brady has done since the second half of last year’s AFC Championship Game, it doesn’t look like it was a major contributor to his greatness.
In the first half of the AFC Championship Game, Brady completed 11-of-21 passes for 95 yards, a touchdown and one interception. In the second half, with “properly inflated balls,” Brady was 12-for-14 for 131 yards, two touchdowns and zero picks. Brady’s greatness continued in the Super Bowl, as Brady shredded the vaunted Seahawks defense. He went 37-for-50 for 328 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, all with properly inflated balls. And Brady this season? He’s just a pedestrian 116-for-160, a 72.5 percent completion percentage, for 1,387 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero picks.
It seems like properly inflated Brady is just as good as his alleged nefarious alter ego.
I wonder if our buddy Gregg has been keeping up with how Andrew Luck has been doing with his new squeaky clean balls?
In the AFC Championship Game, where the Colts balls were used as the state’s evidence in the league’s sting operation against the Patriots, Luck was 12-of-33 for 126 yards with no TDs and two picks. That’s good for a QB rating of 23. This season, again with very “legal” footballs, Luck is 65-for-116, good for 753 yards, five TDs and seven interceptions.
Hmmm … it would seem that Luck has been more than significantly affected by the newly regulated footballs. Couple those numbers with the video of a Colts staff member diving on an Andrew Luck ball nearly intercepted by the Bills like it was Jim Irsay’s laundry bag of “driving money,” and you begin to wonder if that Colts “AFC Finalist” banner needs an asterisk next to it.
Now that’s enough of a walk down Doyel’s side of the street for me. I’d prefer to educate the man instead. Specifically, I’d like to refute his ludicrous assentation that the Patriots are “afraid” of something.
I know he’s new in town but he might want to brush up on the Colts history, because if there is a team more motivated by fear, it’s Indianapolis. For starters, Indianapolis got its NFL franchise by gutlessly slinking out of Baltimore in the dead of night.
When it became clear that the early incarnations of Peyton Manning’s Colts were incapable of beating Bill Belichick’s dynastic Patriots, Colts GM Bill Polian slithered to the competition committee and changed the way the game was played in favor of offense and Polian’s Colts. Not what you would call a courageous way to beat your archrival. What did Bill Belichick do in response? He built one of the greatest offenses in NFL history and nearly went undefeated in 2007.
When Peyton Manning was recovering from a possible career-ending neck injury in 2011, the Colts didn’t try and soldier on like the Patriots did with Matt Cassell in 2008. They tanked. The charade included “replacing” Manning with washed-up Kerry Collins and never-was Curtis Painter while the most competent QB on their roster, Dan Orlovsky, sat on the bench. In short, the Colts cheated their way to another franchise QB in Andrew Luck because they were too scared to go on without Manning.
But maybe the biggest act of cowardice in the history of sports was what the Colts perpetrated on their fans on Dec. 27, 2009. The Colts were undefeated. 14-0. They were leading the New York Jets 15-10 with 5:36 left in the third quarter. Inexplicably, Peyton Manning was removed from the game for Painter and twenty minutes later, the Colts’ quest for immortality was over.
We watch sports to be entertained but to also witness greatness. So when the Colts deliberately surrendered a chance at greatness to take the pressure of the intestinally unstable Manning, it was counter to everything we as fans are taught to respect. The Colts laid down because they were afraid to be great. They were afraid of the pressure. They saw the 2007 Patriots attempt to go undefeated fail, and instead of going undefeated themselves and having something to rub in the face of the Patriots and their fans forever, they quit.
Doyel wants to lament how his “hometown” (he was born in Hawaii and grew up in Mississippi) fans were wronged by the Pats’ “cheating” last season? It doesn’t even compare to what the Colts themselves cheated their fans from experiencing that night in December.
When it comes to being motivated by fear, the Colts are in a league by themselves. It’s why they seemed to put more effort into a PSI sting operation than actually preparing to win last year’s AFC title game. It’s why in all the examples I cited, the Colts — unlike the Patriots — changed their strategy to circumvent failure instead of trying to overcome it.
So Doyel can try to cast aspersions on the Patriots and their accomplishments but in reality the Indianapolis Colts have done more to rob themselves of glory than any Patriots shenanigans could ever accomplish. I suggest Mr. Doyel either realize this for himself or take some of his own advice to Jim Irsay.
And zip it.
Mike In Woburn, formerly known as Mike From Attleboro, is a regular caller to the Felger & Massarotti Show. You can find him on Twitter @MikeFromATown.