Archive for March 2012

A Unfortunate End To A Brilliant Era

March 8, 2012

It’s one of the toughest about things being a owner, coach, fan, athlete or anyone else who has a passion or involvement in sports.  The day that player becomes a part of your team can be one filled with excitement, joy and hope.  Along the way can be a roller coaster ride filled with the unfolding of historic plays leading to memorable victories, record setting performances, heart breaking losses and agonizing defeats.  If you’re lucky you get to experience the pinnacle of sports and that’s winning a championship immortalizing your team among the greats of history.

The era of Peyton Manning as a Indianapolis Colt experienced all of the above with the apex coming in the form of a Super Bowl XLII championship.  In the 14 years Manning wore the Colts trademark blue and white after being the number one overall pick back in 1998, he established himself as arguably the greatest quarterback of his era and a certain first ballot hall of famer when he eventually calls it a career.

Manning took the Colts from the ranks of the laughing stocks of the league to a perennial playoff team and one of the toughest forces to be reckoned with in the 2000’s.  He carved up defenses with precision like accuracy.  He made good receivers in to great ones and made great ones into pro bowlers.  His ability to play the position while practically doing the job of an offensive coordinator was unlike anything most of us have ever seen before.

But like all athletes the reality of father time began to set in.  Manning got older and the injuries, despite costing him zero games, started to take their toll.  Doctors performed three neck surgeries in a 18 month period and Manning after not missing a game in his entire career sat out the entire 2011 season while trying to recuperate from the wear and tear of a physically violent career.

When a situation like Manning’s rears its ugly head, we’re all reminded of the sometimes ugly business side of sports where everyone is replaceable and executives begin to really look at the players as dollar figures.

This was the case for Colts owner Jim Irsay.  He had to make a decision.  Commit $28 million dollars in guaranteed money to the now 36 year old Manning despite not having a clear outlook on his future ability to play the game at a high level or turn the page and bring a franchise defining era to its end.

On Tuesday, March 7, 2012 at an emotion filled conference, the Colts announced that decision.  A 14 year chapter was coming to an end and for the first time since the 1997 season, Manning would no longer grace the Colts sideline.  It was like Michael Jordan leaving the Chicago Bulls or Wayne Gretzky leaving the Edmonton Oilers.  It was a “I remember where I was when…” moment.

In a perfect world, Peyton Manning would’ve only played for one team in his career.  That would’ve been the story book, Hollywood ending to a spectacular career.  Unfortunately this isn’t a story or a movie but sometimes cruel reality.  Between the three neck surgeries, Mannings age, money saved and quarterback  prospects available at the top of the draft, the Colts absolutely made the right decision.  Not the easiest or most popular decision but the right one.

Both sides will move on.  We have not seen the last of Manning in a football uniform as he looks to usher in a new era of success for a different NFL franchise and chances are blue chip prospect Andrew Luck will achieve many years of success and establish his own era of Indianapolis Colts football as their new quarterback much like Manning before him.

As the old saying goes, “all good things must end”.  Too bad for Manning and the Colts it wasn’t when or how we all thought it would.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

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Ramblings Of A Sports Fanatic

March 1, 2012

Thank the good lord for someone like Jeremy Lin and the wave of  “Linsanity” that follows in his wake for rescuing what was a flat-out hideous NBA season (at least from an offensive stand point).  I think his story is great from being drafted out of Harvard to having been cut by not one but two NBA teams before getting a chance to play due to injuries in New York.  I love to root for guys like this.  Like his NFL counter part Tim Tebow, he is just a good person.  I don’t care about the deficiencies in their respective games.  So what if Lin commits a few turnovers or if Tebow’s mechanics need a little work?  These guys make the games they participate in more exciting and they commit awesome acts of kindness to those who’s lives they come across.  Why should I not root for guy’s like that?

Is it just me or is Carmelo Anthony the Stephon Marbury of today’s NBA?  Marbury was a really good individual talent who could not make his abilities translate into better team results.  Teams routinely got better after he left.  Denver has become a better team since they traded Anthony to the Knicks.  New York is 18-18 this season.  They’re 6-4 without Anthony in the line up including the “Birth of Linsanity” stretch in which they went 6-1 in that time with Anthony sidelined.   If you’re doing the math at home New York is 12-14 in game’s in which Anthony’s played.  Smells an awful lot like a Marbury effect if you ask me.

The Lakers are absolutely doing the right thing by rejecting a reported trade offer from Minnesota that would send them small forward Michael Beasley in exchange for the highest of one of their two first round picks in the 2012 draft.  As it stands right now LA is already over the salary cap and doesn’t need to add more to the payroll.  Now if you can get Beasley in exchange for a player or two either with or without a draft pick, that’s a different story.  First priority for the Lakers should be a point guard.  They’re getting used and abused at that position on a nightly basis.

As  Los Angeles Kings fan, I have mixed emotions on the recent trade that brought them forward Jeff Carter and sent defenseman Jack Johnson to Columbus along with a first round pick in either 2012 or 2013.  I’m excited that Carter is part of the team and I hope that he and Mike Richards can rekindle the magic they had together in Philadelphia in which the Flyers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Kings had to do something to help their anemic offense so I support the move from that perspective.  I just hate that Jack Johnson had to be the sacrificial lamb.

I’m not from Sacramento and likely am never going to be a Sacramento Kings fan nor have any emotional involvement with the team.  On that note, I thought it was absolutely wonderful that both the Maloofs and the city came to an agreement on building the team a new arena in the downtown area which will keep the Kings in California’s capital city.  There is arguably no NBA city who loves their team more than the fans of Sacramento love their Kings.  Had they relocated a grave injustice would’ve been committed.

What’s up with Dwayne Wade’s foul on Kobe Bryant in the all-star game last weekend?  Hello Mr Wade, it’s a freaking exhibition game!  Not the playoffs or even regular season and unlike that stupid clause in Major League Baseball’s all-star game, home court in the finals was not being decided.

This weekend when Miami visits the Lakers I would send either Matt Barnes or Metta World Peace to and “take care of business” with Mr. Wade.  Preferably World Peace because he has played so bad all season his potential ejection for a flagrant foul would be doing the Lakers a favor.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I really miss football.

I still can’t believe that Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into one of those trucks that dry the track on a yellow flag during the Daytona 500.  That’s an incident that even Hollywood couldn’t make up.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

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