If the 2005 Indianapolis Colts want respect from me, they are going to have to earn it on the field tonight at Mach3 Park. Beating up on the aging defense and no offense Baltimore Ravens; crunching the pitiful San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans; barely edging out the offense-less Jacksonville Jags and Cleveland Browns; and outlasting a defense-less St. Louis Rams is hardly awe-inspiring. The Jags are a potential wild card team...next year. The other six are all but guaranteed to be at home in January.
In comparison, the Pats outlasted the Raiders on national tv (not that it would jack-up the opposition or anything to open the season against the Super Bowl champs on a Thursday night); simply outslugged the Pittsburgh Steelers; outlasted the Atlanta Falcons; almost came back against the Denver Broncos; and lost to San Diego and Carolina. Hmm, I count five playoff teams with Buffalo and Oakland being superior to at least five if not six of the teams the Colts played this year.
Trade schedules, and the Pats are 7-0 and the Colts are 4-3.
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BRING DA FUNK/BRING DA NOISE:
There is the one thing that the Patriots do to the Colts to beat them. It is not exotic defensive schemes, it is not psychological head games, it is not out-smarting, out-lasting, or out-anything the Colts other than one thing: they out-slug them. To use a boxing comparison: the Patriots are Rocky Marciano; the Colts are Ezzard Charles. (OK, not a good example. Note to self, boxers from the 1950s are not good to make a point to a modern audience.) Let me elaborate and educate:
Rocky was tough. He was not the biggest (in fact, today he would be a cruiserweight or light-heavyweight), he was far from the fastest (Cassius Clay he was not), nor was the strongest; but he was relentless. He never stopped coming at the other guy. You could hit him, pound him, bloody him, bruise him, knock him down, but he got up and kept coming at you. He would hit you in the head, the chest, the stomach, the arms, it did not matter. He knew that for 45 minutes in the ring there was no place to hide and he would find you and keep hitting you until you fell down and did not get up. That is what the Patriots do. From the opening kick-off until the final whistle they keep pounding away at you. The Colts are the quick, fast, speedy, exciting, fast-strikers. They do not hold up well to a pounding. That is why the Patriots have been able to beat them.
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DAVE RAYNOR, THAT'S WHY!
A kick-off specialist? Talk about the height of arrogance in the NFL. The Colts carry Dave Raynor, a rookie kicker, as their kick-off specialist. 53 spots on a roster, and the Colts do not need another special teams gunner, or antoher back-up defensive back (they do have former Pat safety Dex Reid, after all), and who needs another running back (what with Pats practice squad runner Kory Chapman riding the pine): nope, the mighty Colts need to make room for a kick-off specialist. And people wonder why I root against the Colts.
* * *
You know it is a good footy match when Kathy is interested and it's on the radio. On the way home Sunday afternoon, the Revs were on WEEI-FM 103.7 (Providence) and I was trying to get the score and minutes of the match (note to the announcers: people tuning in should not have to wait 15 minutes to find out what minute the match is in and what the score happens to be). Of course, it was the last minutes of regulation and stoppage time when I had tuned in. With the almost tie waved off by the offsides in stoppage time, it was easily the most exciting footy on the radio of my lifetime (Note: yes it was the only time I have listened to a New England Revolution match on the radio but it does not change the fact it was exciting).
On the flip side was the Celtics weekend. They played a spectacular game against the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons only to see the Ripper hit a twenty-footer with 0.8 seconds on the clock. Fortunately, I missed the Bobcats meltdown in the fourth quarter. I caught bits and pieces of the game earlier and kept thinking to myself: Why do they let these losers stay in the game? They could blow it by not running them out of the building now. Unfortunately, it appeared I was right on in my analysis. The Celtics did allow the Bobcats to sneak out a win in the end. Disgustipating!
* * *
THIS IS A CALL:
Since calling out my Toffees of Everton in this space a couple of weeks ago, they have won three matches including trouncing my hometown's sister-city, Middlesbrough. The most note-worthy event was the big zero put up by Chelsea this weekend.
Hey Brigs, is Man City for real? They lost to freaking Fulham!
* * *
RED SOX HOT STOVE:
FREE AGENTS WORTH A LOOK-SEE:
Kevin Millwood - SP - Indians (Best free agent pitcher, but will likely cost too much)
Paul Byrd - SP - Angels (Solid #4 man to replace Arroyo when he moves to the bullpen full-time)
Jarrod Washburn - SP - Angels (My favorite American League left-handed pitcher)
Jacque Jones - OF - Twins (Johnny who?)
Pokey Reese - INF - Mariners (OK, a little bit of the old senimental feelings are ok)
Kenny Rogers - SP - Rangers (Yes, I know. But the man can pitch!)
Kyle Farnsworth - RP - Braves (This would be the signing to take some heat off Craig Hansen and Keith Foulke)
Jeremy Burnitz - DH - Cubs (Because slow, right-handed power-hitters are the Red Sox birth-right)
Nomar Garciaparra - 3B - Cubs (And he turns to Larry Lucchino and says: Thanks, Beautiful!)
Byung-Hyun Kim - RP - Rockies (What the hell...)
A.J. Burnett - SP - Marlins (Because John Henry loves him more than Theo)
Elmer Dessens - SP/RP - Dodgers (Check the stats...check the stats. Besides, Brigs loves Elmer. Picks him up every year in fantasy baseball)
Wes Helms - 3B - Brewers (Young, talented, and cheaper than Nomar)
Braden Looper - RP - Mets (Since you never know what former closer will bounce back with a huge season...)
Mike Piazza - DH - Mets (See: Jeremy Burnitz comments above)
Todd Pratt - C - Phillies (Dammit, we should have never let him get away in the first place!)
Matt Morris - SP - Cardinals (like my farts, silent but deadly)
Joe Randa - 1b/3b - Padres (Everyone loves Joe)
* * *
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