The rhythm of NFL games skips a beat at this point in January every year. Instead of a 6-day cycle of anticipation for the next “event”, we get to wait 13 days. I would certainly not count that as a disastrous state of affairs were it not for the added 7 days of nonsense that sports fans will endure between now and Super Bowl Sunday. I will try not to focus on any such nonsense for the next two weeks and speak of the upcoming game only in the final edition of Mythical Picks a week from next Friday. I know already that I will not be able to avoid some mention of happenings on Media Day next week because that event is so outrageous that it brings out a normally dormant strain of lunacy in the folks who attend. Other than that …
The teams for the game are set; the Patriots and the Falcons have earned their places in the game; a bazillion people will tune in to see the game. Much of the foofaraw over the next two weeks is superfluous at its very best.
About a week ago, I ran across a report about the advertising revenue that this year’s Super Bowl is expected to generate. According to this report, FOX could take in about $500M in ad revenue for the day if you add up the revenue from the pre-game “festivities” plus the game itself plus the post-game “hosannas”. Last year, the total revenue for super Bowl Sunday was $445M. An interesting fact – at least it was interesting to me – from this report is that nine different automobile brands will buy ad spots somewhere in this mix of programming.
Over the weekend, profootballtalk.nbcsports.com reported that the Spring Football League that is launching this year will invite three NFL “veterans” who are not under contract to any teams at the moment to participate. Obviously, having recognizable names would be a plus for the league; obviously, playing in these games offers those players a showcase for whatever football skills they possess. The three “veterans” identified in the report were:
- Johnny Manziel
- Ray Rice
- Vince Young
The CEO of the Spring League, Brian Woods, said that the Spring League will be happy to provide a platform for players who want to demonstrate to the football mavens that those players are still relevant and deserve employment consideration. Granted that these three players provide a lot more name recognition to the Spring League that Joe Flabeetz would provide. However, I am not sure that very many people will recognize those names in a sufficiently interested or positive way as to motivate them to watch those players perform in a Spring Football League otherwise populated with Joe Flabeetz and Sam Glotz and Biff Bopf.
The Indy Colts fired GM Ryan Grigson and are now on the lookout for a new GM. This event comes a year after Colts’ owner. Jim Irsay, gave a contract extension to Grigson and to head coach Chuck Pagano despite rumors a year ago that both of them could be on the chopping block. There was a report that Irsay had tried to contact Peyton Manning about taking the GM job in Indy but then that report was refuted – sort of and …
The situation in Indy is a precarious one. The Colts are a bad football team with a franchise QB. Most bad teams do not have a franchise QB and that omission from their rosters is a significant contributor to their “badness”. What happens in Indy is that the Colts have an outstanding QB and they play in a chronically weak division meaning that they win enough games to make it seem as if they are a decent team. The reason I say the situation there is precarious is because Andrew Luck has been injured in each of the last two years. He had to miss time in 2015 and we recently learned that he needed post-season shoulder surgery after 2016. The Colts do not have a roster that can protect the asset they do have that separates them from the abject bottom-feeders in the league at the moment – – the Browns, Niners, etc.
If I may use a business analogy here, the Colts have not taken out an insurance policy on the thing that makes their business competitive. Looking at this from the outside, that situation can obtain in several ways:
- The coaching staff may have sufficient raw material to work with but the coaching staff is not sufficiently competent to take that raw material and mold it into a functioning unit.
- The GM/Front Office may not recognize the fundamental lack of talent on the roster in several areas and therefore makes no effort to improve those areas.
- The owner may not be a constructive element in establishing working environment where folks can pool resources to solve common problems.
- Or, it could be all of the above…
Back when the Colts were a very good team, the GM was Bill Polian who had an excellent track record when it came to building rosters. After a bad season – so bad that the Colts had the #1 overall pick they would use to draft Andrew Luck – Jim Irsay decided to clean house and fired just about everyone. What he has now is an apparently dysfunctional working environment and an obviously dysfunctional team. If the Colts are to find a way not to squander the asset that is Andrew Luck, they need in no particular order:
- An upgraded offensive line to keep him in one piece.
- An upgraded running game – likely to come with an upgraded OL – so that he does not have to throw the ball so often.
- An upgraded defense so that he is not always playing catch-up and throwing the ball behind his porous OL.
Now let me look at some recent drafts by the Colts:
- In 2014, they took two offensive linemen. One of them is still on the roster but is not listed on the depth chart for 2016. I have no idea where the other one is.
- In 2015, they took one offensive lineman in the 7th round and he is the Colts’ starting right guard.
- In 2016, they took 4 offensive linemen (including 2 centers) and all four made the squad and are on the roster.
At some point, someone “in charge” at Indy has to decide if those 7 offensive linemen taken in recent years were good picks who are still in “development mode” or if they were good picks who have been insufficiently coached to develop properly or if they were bad picks from the beginning. It is going to take a “football guy” to sort all of that out and given the recent history of the Colts and their owner, I wonder how much of a salary premium the team will have to pay to a “football guy” to wade into that miasma. Stay tuned …
Finally, here is a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Acid: Something you definitely have to be on to appreciate Carrot Top.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………