Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yum, Yum! Plate O' Crow!

Looks like I was proven wrong about the Colts chances after resting players. Where's my fork and my salt? Todd, can you help a feller out here?

While I did watch the game, and was pulling for the Colts, I found myself fairly detached from it. I watched hockey and surfed at the same time. I'm not one of those sports fans who merely cheers on the team wearing my colors. I like my teams to have certain characterisitcs that I can identify with. Shrinking from greatness and history is just not something I can get behind.

I've struggled with being a San Jose Sharks fan these last couple of seasons. Now they are one of the most talented teams in the league. It wasn't always the case. My favorite years backing the Sharks were '99-04. These were the years with decent talent like Owen Nolan, Mike Vernon, Mike Ricci, Vincent Damphousse, and Gary Suter. They were coached by Daryl Sutter, and were a tough, gritty team, with players like Bryan Marchment, Stephane Matteau, Adam Graves, Dave Lowry, Ronnie Stern, Tony Granato, and Ron Sutter. These teams acheived beyond their talent, and I really wanted to pull for them each and every game.

Now? They team often takes the tack of, "We're the great San Jose Sharks. We merely need to put our sticks on the ice, and we'll win". They've gotten knocked out of the playoffs, early in the playoffs, every season since coach Sutter left.

Give me heart over talent any day. I couldn't tell which it was that won the game for the Colts yesterday. Maybe a little of each. Maybe a lot of Ravens' mistakes. Big mistakes.

I'll watch the next game. Well, at least part of it. I'll be playing hockey during part of it. I really don't suspect I'll be thinking about the Colts even a little bit while out on the ice.


Wainstead said...

And next week: Jets/Colts rematch. I had a good feeling going into today's game, and it was a squeaker... but I think the Colts are gonna prevail next week.

varangianguard said...

I'm saving any plate of crow for after the Jets game. That's the test, not the Ravens.

Besides, the Colts defense was the only bright spot against the Ravens. The offense was about 2 inches and a lucky fumble return from an entirely different outcome.

I'll have to go find Peyton Manning's QB rating. Too many interceptions for someone without a running game.

Mike Kole said...

Steve- I guess I'll leave my Colts Super Bowl shirt at home. Was going to bring it to NYC, but do I need the hassles?

VG- I think the Jets have a great situation. They come in with momentum out the wazoo and confidence that they can beat the Colts at Indy, regardless or whether it was Painter or a can of Alpo at QB. The Colts have everything stacked against them: Big favorite with everything to lose, the possibility of being second-guessed the whole off-season. The Jets even have history to work with. Prior to Super Bowl 3, the NFL Colts were 18 point favorites over the AFL Jets, some guy called Namath guaranteed a victory, and Suzy Kolber's life would never be the same. It would be awesome if Sanchez guaranteed a victory.

varangianguard said...

The Colts better hope they win this weekend. I'm pretty sure that will be the only way I'll be eating crow.

What about that Cowboy linebacker full of ginger late in the game about the Vike's last touchdown?

Maybe, had he and his teammates brought that kind of emotion to the rest of the game, the score might have been at least a little closer.

Todd S. said...

I agree: being a big favorite is a HUGE disadvantage because that means, uh, that you're better than the other team?

I thought the Ravens played with a ton more heart Saturday night. And I think the Detroit Lions displayed a lot of guts, grittiness, hustle, and heart all of 2009.

In other words, I'll take talent every day and twice on Sundays.

Mike Kole said...

Todd, I'm not saying that I don't like the talent on the Colts or the Sharks. I've just been disappointed a lot by each, having so much talent in fact, but really only delivering so seldom when it matters. Ask any Patriots fan to count off the Super Bowl tally for the last ten years, for case in point.

In the case of the Sharks, in the 2000 playoffs, they were the #8 seed and faced a tough, talented #1 seed in St. Louis. Took 'em 7 games, but the Sharks outworked the Blues to win the series. Last year, the #1 Sharks were eliminated by the #8 Ducks. The Sharks were miles more tlaented. Out in five.

And yesterday, the imminently more talented Chargers, the favorite, lost at home to... the Jets.

Now, all calculation still favors the Colts, but to count out a Jets team that has won two playoff games already is the very stuff that breeds upset.

Todd S. said...

Show me some evidence that I should be worried that the Colts are counting out the Jets.

You can't just show up and win; NFL teams are too close, talent-wise. But I don't get some of the hand-wringing on this thread. Peyton Manning works as hard as any player in the NFL. Because he is supremely talented, does that mean he doesn't have heart?

One other thing: there are statistical measures that show those 2003 and 2004 Patriots teams were simply better than the Colts-and the better team of course won the game. To me the only obvious underachievement was the 2005 (played in '06) game against Pittsburgh. But even there, the Colts lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champions.

Winning championships in professional sports is really difficult. Sometimes factors out of your control come into play.

Mike Kole said...

Hand-wringing? I ate some crow, and explained how I like a certain idealism in my entertainment.

But really? You didn't think the Colts underacheived in either of their playoff losses to the Chargers? I sure did.

Todd S. said...

Some of the hand-wringing was in the comments, not your original post. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

As for the Chargers, there might be some underachievement there. But things like that happen in one-and-done situations. And of course, those match-ups were closer than they appeared because...wait for it...certain injuries to the Colts.

Mike Kole said...

Yeah, but in both games, the Chargers were without or lost LT, and in one game they lost Rivers. In both games, the Colts came in with the better record, last year with a vastly superior record. Ergo... wait for it... underachievement. :-D

This is why I like hockey playoffs. Seven games eliminates the whole 'we were flat', 'we were hurt', 'they got hot/lucky', etc. Over seven games, the better team really does win. The NFL loves the phrase 'on any given Sunday'. That applies ever as well to the playoffs.

Todd S. said...

NFL team records aren't everything, particularly with only a 16 game schedule. By the statistical measures at Football Outsiders, the Chargers were the better team in 2008, plus they had home field advantage. See here:

In 2007, Indy was better for the full year, but if you give more weight to the last half of the season, San Diego actually was the better team again. Check out the weighted DVOA in the second table on this page:

So things are not as underachievier* as they appear.

*Not a real word, as far as I know.