Thursday, January 19, 2012

Colts: Is it time for Peyton Manning to Go?

Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Colts axed three-year lame duck coach Jim Caldwell, completing an upper management firing trifecta which included most of the Polian family tree.

The Colts are being dismantled swifter than the 2008 Lehman Brothers starting lineup. All of this shake-up is due to the now infamous neck of Peyton Manning. If his neck is healthy, he could have three more years at a Peyton-elite level at which time he will be 38 years old.

But, do the math; you could potentially have fifteen years of elite quarterbacking with Andrew Luck. He probably won’t ever have the regular reason success as Peyton, arguably the best regular reason quarterback of all time, (9-10 in the playoffs). According to College and NFL Scouts and Coaches, Andrew Luck is the most Pro-ready NFL prospect since John Elway.

No one can ever predict college success will equate to NFL dominance, but we can forecast with almost absolute certainty that with his pedigree, work ethic, and physical tools he will be far from a bust. If your Colts ownership, you must look towards the future.

Manning could come back and in a two to three year vacuum be remarkable, but that only makes us prisoners of a prism lens.

In a popularity contest, Peyton will always be the President Elect in Indianapolis, basically building the stadium with every audible at the line of scrimmage.

But, there’s a reason why fans don’t run NFL teams, it takes an impartial jury, a group of people out to make profits and profess winning above all else. We learned from the Colts this season that maybe they aren’t as rock-solid an organization as we thought. Without a franchise quarterback, they were huffed and puffed around the field like pigs in a straw house, a decline sharper than a diamond knife.

The Colts organization quickly assumed NFL cellar dweller status when number 18 went down. If Manning was the glue that held this team together for the last thirteen seasons, if he was the one thing standing between the Colts as an AFC powerhouse and the AFC’s punch-line, then it’s more of a reason to draft a “sure thing” at the quarterback position.

The actor Robe Lowe tweeted yesterday that Manning is done and Peyton’s father Archie laughed it off. This is one of those rare moments in history when a tweet has a thread of viable substance prompting a real discussion.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay has a choice to make, he got rid of the Polian’s and Caldwell, but is he willing to do what is necessary for his team’s future success? The answer still remains to be seen, but deciding not to pick Luck should have zero to do with the health of Peyton’s neck, that’s nothing more than speculation. His 35 year-old age, 28 million dollars owed next year, and a monster salary cap hit are the inescapable facts.

If you’re going to suck, which the Colts did this year, at least suck for Luck.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Philadelphia 76ers: A Team Playing as One

The crack in the Liberty Bell seems just a tiny bit smaller. The NBA is relevant again in Philadelphia.

The Sixers (6-2) are off to a fast start, the best since they reeled off an effortless ten in a row to start the 2000-01 season.

All Sixer fans remember that year.

I was in High School watching Eric Snow running the point, Allen Iverson running the show, and Dikembe Mutombo growling in his deep octave with every block and finger wag.

That was the year they got to the Finals, the season they won the first game against the Lakers who were previously unbeaten in the playoffs.

Sadly, they went on to lose the next four in a row and the series. Shaquille O’neal dominated the paint, while Kobe etched his status in stone as Kobe, the Black Mamba, the Assassin, and the superstar.

The Sixers reached the Finals despite the supporting cast. The current team is starting hot because of it.

Five players are averaging over 12 points a contest. The teams leading scorer is Lou Williams at 16 points per game (not a typo). Iverson used to take double that many shot attempts in a single game. Their identity today is much more U2 than Bono.

The Sixers are more balanced than Jillian Michaels diet. The days of the superstar chucking it up 30 times a game are long gone. They win with “team” now, on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. If the 2000 Sixers are the 2012 version’s doppelganger, than the 2003 Detroit Pistons that won the NBA championship are this current team’s fraternal twins.

That squad won with defense, balanced scoring, and a team first mentality. There are no divas on this Sixers roster. The most recognizable member might be the ex-mascot Hip-Hop. They win with their bench, pine deeper than the Federal Reserve.

This team is young, but selfless beyond their years. Last season, the Sixers made the playoffs and won two games against the goliath Miami Heat playing them tough.

Is it just me or can Doug Collins coach?

He has something to prove. Collins carries that ultimate chip on his shoulder having coached Jordan and Pippen, while still being ring less. His player’s have bought in and all seem to be on the same page.

They follow the playbook of passing to the open man, stingy defense, contesting shots, and cleaning the glass like Windex.

The Sixers have more flavors than Dr. Pepper these days. In the playoffs, they are going to be the team no one wants to play. Who do you focus in on defensively; Williams, Iguodala, Young, Turner, Brand? I’ll take five corvettes over one Maserati and four PT cruisers. The Sixers are the cream that has risen, while eastern conference powers of the past are falling like the winter wheat.

I foresee big things for them this season. Like their brotherly love counterpart, Rocky, maybe this is the year they can go the distance or at least one more round.