In 1998, first round draft pick Peyton Manning became the new quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Team owner Jim Irsay opened that door for the former Vol great by first firing the general manager Bill Tobin, then coach Lindy Infante, and finally quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Fastforward to the present, 14 years later.
This month, Irsay started the deja vu train by firing vice-chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris Polian, the general manager. Yesterday, head coach Jim Caldwell was fired. Big questions are obvious. Will Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck be the first pick in the NFL draft, currently held (unless part of a trade) by Indianapolis? And what of Peyton Manning, 36 years old, having recently had his third neck surgery since March 2010?
Some people like their football in certain ways. Just like they like their grits, iced tea, and, well anything else that folks are particular about. Traditionalists, and there are many, eschew games like we saw today — the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. Those same people are the ones who get downright giddy over a 9-to-6-in-overtime game of the century, and at the same time find absolutely no joy in the recent Alamo Bowl that featured 1,397 yards of total offense, 123 points scored, 17 touchdowns, and a newly-crowned Heisman Trophy winner. Two ends of a very long spectrum, no doubt. But it is hard to understand how college football fans could not be enamored with the drama of this evening’s double-header of New Years Day (plus one) bowl games.
The last day of any NFL season can bring a lot of drama as playoff qualifications and seeds are sorted out. This season’s finale gave us a lot of notable bullet points. The following are those I collected throughout the afternoon based on a variety of Twitter entries and announcements on Fox, CBS, and the NFL Network.
With little less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, New England scored at Denver to put the Pats up 34-14. That was a 20-point deficit for the Broncos against a marquee opponent, at home. A perfect script for another Tebow-esque performance that would have surpassed the previous six comeback wins. It would have been Iron Chef material, with apologies to Geoffrey Zakarian. The final act caved however. Instead of running through brick walls, Tebow’s Broncos traded fourth quarter TDs with the Patriots to let the thin air out of the big Mile High Balloon. It wasn’t in the cards. Of course neither were the previous heroic wins. Thousands of people actually do heroic things every day. God is a busy man. Far too busy for a man making a living playing professional sports. Teach a man to fish…