Football: one time and one time only

Championship Sunday means a slow news day for baseball. A few tidbits are worth mentioning, but the lack of real news gives me a chance to cross sports lines and discuss—today and today only—football.

My roommate is perhaps the biggest Colts fan I’ve ever met. I was downstairs finishing some laundry during pre-game, and I could hear him upstairs, cheering and clapping as CBS ran their pre-game fodder.

When the game started, though, the scene at our house got a bit ugly. The Pats looked solid, and the Colts were flailing; it was destined to be a typical Belichick-Manning bout. Making matters worse for my roommate, I was reading (as I love to do during football games) Education of a Coach by David Halberstam, which to this point is an insightful, informative, and well-written book about Belichick.

Because of the bias instilled by my reading material, I figured the game was over at 21-3. My roommate (hereby known as CB) did, too, pleading with me to stop reading and play “Worms: Armageddon” for Nintendo 64 with him (it is wonderful, by the way, having Super Nintendo, N64, Playstation 2, and Game Cube at the house; though, all I really play is Madden and Mario Kart).

After a few rounds, I had had enough of the game, pleading with CB to flip back to the game. Reluctantly, he hit the “input” button on the remote, and there it was: Pats 21, Indy 13, and Petyon was taking a snap from the Pats 30. Next thing we knew, touchdown Colts, the two-point was successful, and the game was tied. Of course, this didn’t bode well for CB, either.

He couldn’t quite sit down to watch the rest of the game. He’d periodically stand up, and when the Pats hit a field goal, he even went upstairs because the pressure was too much. Indy was so close, but he had seen them be so close before, only to blow it in the end.

The sonic boom came a few minutes later. Oh, when the Colts scored that final touchdown, our house almost shook. A minute left, Colts up four, and CB couldn’t have been happier…

But then reality hit. There was exactly one minute left in the game. Ellis Hobbs had done a spectacular job returning kicks all game, and Tom Brady was ready to embody Joe Montana. It was the ending all Colts fans feared: the team was on the brink of victory, but had left enough time for Brady to do what he did best.

And, judging by the first two plays of the drive, that’s the way it was going to end. Brady looked sharp, and thoughts of the Bengals raced through my mind. The Drive. CB was biting his nails intensely at this point, fearing the worst.

In one fleeting moment, it was all over. Brady made an uncharacteristically bad read, and Marlon Jackson stepped up with the ball in his hands. Game over. Colts to the Super Bowl.

Surprisingly, CB didn’t let out a sonic boom. He didn’t really yell at all, in fact. I think he was just sincerely relieved that the game didn’t end up like so many Pats-Indy games before. He went off to call his father in celebration, while I was left to ponder the outcome.

I know a lot of people want to blame Reche Caldwell and his dropped passes for flubbing the game. And, in a way, that’s accurate. Yes, Tom Brady wasn’t his best in the second half, but he’s not going to be his best in every game. The players surrounding him have to sometimes pick up the slack, which they normally do well. Such is the M.O. of a Belichick-coached team. But this team was different. Instead of the reliable Deion Branch, Brady had to go to Caldwell, who clearly crumbled under the pressure (you could see it in those WIIIIIIIIIDE eyes following his two big drops).

The most positive story is that of Peyton Manning, who was able to shed (though he claimed he didn’t need to shed it) the burden of beating the Pats in the playoffs. He played very well in the second half, and truly earned the victory. And, to amplify the situation for him, it was in comeback fashion. I’ve had my doubts about him in the past (never trust a Manning in the playoffs, I routinely quipped to my buddy AB—and that still applies for Eli, FYI). But after the Colts won two playoff games in spite of Peyton’s mediocre play, and after he truly “stepped up” (I kinda hate that phrase) yesterday, I’ve got $10,000 Monopoly money on the Colts in two weeks.

This one’s for you, CB.


3 Responses to “Football: one time and one time only”

  1. 1 Brent January 23, 2007 at 7:46 am

    I can’t wait until my Chicago Bears make minced meat out of Peyton Manning! Hope your roommate likes that one!

    85-86 & 06-07 baby!


  2. 3 Brent January 24, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Ah, you suck! It’s okay. I just would love to see the look on your face when the Bears win.

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January 2007
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