What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
The Argument: The Indianapolis Colts Are The NFL’s Next “Sinking Ship”
Whenever there’s a conversation about a “changing of the guard,” it’s almost always about a shift in the top teams in the league. We all know the days of the New England Patriots…the National Football League’s (NFL) most recent “mega-dynasty”…are over. But with the emergence from the NFL cellar of teams like the New York Jets, New York Giants, and Seattle Seahawks, it certainly seems like the time to talk about those settling to the bottom in their stead.
I’m so certain as to the identity of at least one of the NFL’s next sinking ships is that I’m already re-naming the franchise. From now on, I will be calling them the Indianapolis Titani-Colts. There’s one reason why this team is heading for the bottom; it’s all about the guy at the helm; the owner “Cap’n Jim” Irsay.
Trust me, this isn’t about Jeff Saturday, although I will get to him in a bit. I’ve always liked him; as a player and as a TV “talking head,” there’s was nothing not to like. Truth be told, the firing of Frank Reich and the hiring of Jeff Saturday are just symptoms of a larger systemic syndrome plaguing the the Titani-Colts. The bottom line is “Cap’n Jim” has his franchise on a collision course with the floor of the NFL sea, and firing Frank Reich means the “Cap’n” is fresh out of scapegoats…with one BIG exception.
As I will illustrate, that’s really what “Cap’n Jim’s” hiring of Jeff Saturday is all about.
The list in that Tweet is just the last three on the list. I’m nor fans of the artists formerly known as the Colts, but thanks to the tyranny of the NFL’s regional TV rules, I see them every goddamn week. That means I’ve got a uniquely objective view as to when the collision course with the iceberg was set. It was waaaaaay before the tenure of just about anybody in Indianapolis…except “Cap’n Jim.”
To be fair, two unrelated events started this process, and to be even more fair, Irsay couldn’t control either one. Between the illness of then-head coach Chuck Pagano, and the sudden retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck, the seemingly ready-to-do-some damage combination of coach/quarterback disappeared for the Colts. You can ask any NFL fan, having the right coach/quarterback combination is a major piece of building a championship team. But it didn’t happen.
Pagano’s illness happened in Luck’s rookie season, and it always looked to me like they never really hit their stride together. Sure, there were some early play-off successes, but the Colts missed the post-season in 2015, 2016, and 2017, which ultimately got Pagano fired. It was also during tat time that Andrew Luck began racking up the injuries which led to his retirement before the 2019 season.
The Colts not getting into the play-offs for three straight years and Andrew Luck getting beaten to a fruit-juicy pulp was a result of something which will become a theme here…a series of bad payer personnel decisions. Naturally, the guy who took the fall for that was general manger Ryan Grigson. He got the gaffe near the end of the 2017 campaign, but a) the damage was already done, and b) “Cap’n Jim” was still a very “hands-on” owner.
Now, the next general manager inherited two problems. From the jump, Chris Ballard had to a) find his head coach, b) find his quarterback to go with that coach, and c) do so with constant interference from “Cap’n Jim.” Regardless of the reason, instability at the quarterback position is death. Just look at the Colts’ roster under center back to the day when the play-off drought that got Pagano the gate started.
In that list, there’s only three seasons in which the Clts’ starting quarterback played a full season; they went to the play-offs in two of them. 2021 is the outlier, but that’s a case of the quarterback getting hurt before the season, and as a result the offense never gelled. The team barely missed the post-season, and it seemed clear to the impartial observer that the combination of coach Frank Reich and quarterback Carson Wentz has every chance to pay-off just like ti did in Philladelphia. But “Cap’n’ Jim” decided otherwise.
Incensed by a final game loss to Jacksonville , and ignoring plenty of positive signs. “Cap’n Jim” exiled the quarterback he traded for (complete with his huge contract) and voila, Carson Wentz became the latest scapegoat. Naturally, it was his fault the overpaid offensive line underperformed in pass protection on the rare occasional it was healthy as a complete unit and said passing game lacked a tight end or a legitimate deep threat
Instead, “Cap’n Jim” brought in a 38-year old retread who was a solid decade past his MVP days, and expected him to fix all the other problems I just mentioned. Well, here we are just about to start the season’s 10th game, Matt Ryan and Frank Reich have both been scapegoated and set adrift…and now the Jeff Saturday era begins.
While there’s been a lot of noise made about Saturday’s hiring, nobody’s got this right yet. You see, Saturday is on the sidelines now because he’s a fan favorite; “Cap’n Jim” has no downside here. It Saturday somehow pulls off a miracle and resurrects a team with a patchwork offensive line, a rookie quarterback whose only really weapon has a bum hamstring, and a defense which spends too much time on the field due the Colts’ offensive ineptitude, “Cap’n Jim” looks like a genius. The other way, no matter how bad it gets, Saturday won’t get any of the blame, which allows “Cap’n Jim” the opportunity to make his next scapegoat walk the plank.
That brings us back to the big exception. If general manager Chris Ballard doesn’t already know this, here’s his “heads up” for what’s coming. “Cap’n Jim” knows the ship is taking on water, and he needs the next man to toss overboard to cover for his own general boobery. That guy would be Chris Ballard.
In other words, if you’re a fan of the Indianapolis Titani-Colts, and you think Jeff Saturday is going to change anything, I’ve got bad news for you. The ship is about to hit the iceberg, and the only way that is going to get fixed is to get “Cap’n Jim” out from behind the wheel.
Change my mind.
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As always, that’s some quality photoshop, sir.
Even the as-of-yet undefeated Jeff Saturday would have to agree.
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