Monthly Archives: October 2007
On behalf of the entire Colts fan base, I would like to apologize to the following teams and franchises and their fans:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals
Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos
Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers
Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers
New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars
Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins and New York Jets
Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals
Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens
You will get virtually zero coverage this week about your games coming up this weekend. If it were up to me, there would be equal coverage of all 13 games because I don’t believe any game is worth the hype that the Colts/Patriots game is going to get this week. It’s pretty much insane what this week is going to be like for the media. Based on the previous week’s discussions, I would put this week’s media circus up against any Super Bowl media circus every day and twice on Sunday. And that is where the media gets it wrong. No regular season game is worthy of the coverage given to the NFL championship game. So, I sincerely apologize to all of you who are affiliated with any of the other 24 teams who will be playing football this weekend also.
- I got an email yesterday from someone telling me they would be my new point of contact regarding something work related due to the fact that my previous point of contact was out on leave. What kind of leave you ask? Well…according to the email…MATURITY leave. It’s amazing how one misspelled word can change the meaning of the entire statement. Anyone know where I can sign people up for this kind of leave?
- I was pleased with last night’s performance by the Colts. I am definitely a lot like Tony Dungy in that he’s happy for the win, but can see places for improvement. I was kind of bummed that David Garrard was knocked out the game with an injury because I would have preferred a more fair fight. I just don’t feel like we won the game we went there to play. Another thought, the next time I see Peyton go for the long ball on 3rd and inches I think I may scream loud enough for him to hear me wherever he is playing in this country. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves about him…the unnecessary long ball.
- My life as I know it for the next 12 days has ceased to exist. In 12 days, a possible undefeated Patriots team arrives in Indianapolis to play a possible undefeated Colts team. The fact that I have not gotten sick, yet astounds me. Perhaps it’s because I know we still have to play the Panthers before the Patriots and much like Tony Dungy’s philosophy, I try to take it one game at a time. Of course, that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Now, the Patriots play the Redskins this weekend so barring some miracle, I fully expect them to be 8-0 when they come to the RCA Dome. My Colts on the other hand, I completely believe they can beat the Panthers, but I also know that it depends greatly on which Colts team steps out on the field. I’m trying to think like Steve Young last night: the only thing the Colts/Patriots game will decide is where the post season game will be played should the two teams meet, again. OH MY HEART!
- I was super-siked about the way Alabama played on Saturday, but really hacked off that I didn’t get to see it. And, we won 41-17 with 5 players suspended for reasons that really irk me. Oddly enough, I’m on the NCAA’s side this time, and if the players knowingly did what they’ve been suspended for, then they deserve it. In any case, that win over Tennessee and the win over Arkansas (coming back in the 4th quarter) are the exact reasons why we hired Nick Saban (who has a bit of a Nostradamus touch to him…did he leave Miami at the right time or what!?!). Now, we have two weeks to prepare for LSU, but if you ask me, I don’t think even an entire season is enough time to prepare for them.
- I hate being sick. I had/have bronchitis and had to lie on the couch all weekend, which may sound really awesome to a lot of people, but if you’re coughing up a lung while doing it, it’s not as much fun as you might think. I did a lot of catching up on my Lifetime Movies, Entourage, and other TV shows.
- So, I’ll say it…for all of you who watched Bon Jovi on Saturday Night Live the other weekend, my heartfelt apologies from one of their biggest fans. I was sorely disappointed in the skits that they wrote for him to do. The only one that I laughed at was the naming of the band…oh and the beginning one with Amy Poehler. Perhaps the bar was set too high by Peyton’s performance. 🙂
- Finally, my three new favorite shows of the fall season are The Big Bang Theory, Life, and Moonlight. I may be in the minority on that, but I really don’t care. They’re my guilty pleasures of the week.
Lincoln and daddy watched what turned out to be a very bad Tampa Bay game, but that’s ok. Lincoln’s daddy didn’t exactly have an auspicious introduction to Tampa Bay games either considering he was around for the 0-26 start. I promise, Lincoln, it will get better. And if not, you can always become a Colts fan. 🙂 In any case, here are the pictures of Lincoln and gameday.
“It’s almost game time, but I have to learn that cheer. How’s it go, again? B-U-C, C-A-N, E-E-R-S, Go Bucs! Is that right cause you know I can’t really spell just yet?
“Daddy’s teaching me the signal for a touchdown. Although, I’m not entirely sure I want to be associated with those guys who dress like zebras. They’re not always the brightest bulbs in the box.”
“I think I’m getting the hang of this now. I hope we get a lot of these touchdowns today. When is game time, again?”
“Hey, I thought daddy and I were watching the game alone. Who is this guy and why is he in my daddy’s seat? Listen fella. My daddy and I are gonna watch the game together, so you’re gonna have to find somewhere else to sit.”
Lincoln had his second peds appointment yesterday. He weighed in at 5lbs 10 oz and is 19 inches long. He’s going to be a completely different person by the time Aunt Leann gets back there at Thanksgiving (30 days and counting).
Andy and Janet have been taking him to the park so they can get some exercise (now that Janet is cleared for that) and pushing him around in his stroller. He sleeps through most of it, but occasionally wakes up to see where he is in the world at that time.
I saw something that blew my whole perception of NFL QBs out of the water. I am a firm believer in practice and timing and comfort when it comes to the relationship between a QB and his receivers. There’s something very concrete to me about knowing when exactly to throw a ball so that when it reaches it’s destination, the intended receiver is there to catch it. And that’s something that I’ve always believed took months even years to perfect. Oh how I was wrong. Enter Vinny Testaverde. He’s on his 512th season in the NFL…or so it seems. I remember when he was drafted by Tampa Bay, and I remember the first time I saw him. I’ve met him a couple of times, too. He was up on a platform stage at Family Fun Fest at the old Tampa Stadium signing autographs for the 100s of fans who had engulfed said platform. He was to be Tampa’s savior. The Heisman Trophy winner from the U riding in to bring the franchise who had endured so many losing seasons into the future. Fast forward 20 years (21 seasons) and 7 NFL teams later, and you come to present day where Vinny holds the record for consecutive seasons with a TD pass. Vinny has played for the Bucs, the original Browns, the Ravens, the Jets (twice), the Cowboys, The Patriots, and now the Panthers. This past Sunday, he had an 88.7 passer rating (a better rating than Peyton Manning had in the Super Bowl) and completed over 60% of his passes to receivers that he only started practicing with since Wednesday morning. Even Brian Griese couldn’t get it together that quickly when he was named starting QB for the Bears a few weeks back. Here’s the story from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King (my very few comments in italics):
With apologies to Tom Brady and his consistent greatness (I obviously did not write this), the Patriots and their quest for perfection, Adrian Peterson and his Gale Sayers-ish day at Soldier Field, and LaDainian Tomlinson‘s déjà vu rampage over the Raiders, I’m leading with the most charismatic story of Week 6.
It’s the story of Vinny Testaverde coming off the couch — literally — a month shy of his 44th birthday to start his first football game in two years, and playing quarterback for a serious playoff contender. I’m not sure you’re going to believe it. I’m not sure I believe it.
I’ll begin at the beginning. Eight days ago, Testaverde was home on Long Island, doing what all his sports-fan neighbors were doing — watching the Giants and Jets on TV from his living room.
Testaverde is married and has three children (girls 16 and 5, and an 11-year-old boy), and he drives them to school and to sports practices. He was cut by the Patriots on Sept. 2, and his football career was basically over. If the Pats had an injury, maybe he’d mop up for them as a third quarterback. Maybe. But he just figured he’d move on with life. He hadn’t thrown a football for five weeks. Until last Monday. And then his semi-house-husband life started changing rapidly.
The Cardinals called. Matt Leinart had suffered a broken clavicle the previous day and coach Ken Whisenhunt needed a backup for Kurt Warner. Testaverde was interested, but the distance bothered him. By the end of the day, though, he was excited enough to think: Hey, this is for me (SERIOUSLY…you’re almost 44).
He liked Warner, liked Whisenhunt, and figured he might get a chance to play some for a team that looked like it might contend for a division title. So he agreed to a one-year contract Monday night with the Cardinals and prepared to join them Tuesday to learn Whisenhunt’s system. The Cardinals left an E-ticket for Testaverde for the first thing Tuesday morning, even arranged a car service for his trip to the airport at 4:30 a.m.
“The alarm rang Tuesday morning, and I just sat there thinking, I can’t go. I can’t leave my family. It’s too far,” Testaverde told me Saturday evening, over the phone, from Phoenix, ” And so I went back to sleep, and when I got up, I called Ken and told him how sorry I was. But I said if I didn’t tell him now, I’d have done it three weeks from now, and really left them in a jam.”
That was about 9:30 Tuesday morning. The kids were out of the house, gone to school, and now he just sat there. He thought: That’s it. That’s the end of my football career (Umm…hello…most people thought that was, oh, 5 years back at least). I had a chance, but it wasn’t the right one.
Less than an hour later, his phone rang. It was an old friend, Jerry Simmons, who he’d known as the strength coach with the Cleveland Browns when Testaverde played there in the ’90s. Simmons was with Carolina now. As soon as he heard Simmons’ voice, Testaverde figured he was calling to see if he wanted to play for the Panthers. Which he was. And the good thing about Charlotte is that it’s a 70-minute flight from New York, not the four-hour-plus trip to Phoenix.
So here was Testaverde, who hadn’t thrown a football in five weeks, who was sure his career was over — now he was beating off teams with a stick.
“The first thing I thought of was I didn’t want to go play for Carolina, because they were playing Arizona this week, and I felt bad about saying no to Arizona after I told them I’d come,” he said. “But then I thought of the positives. I know the offense they run, because it’s basically an offense I’m familiar with from my years in New York and New England, and I knew they had a good team. Plus, I’d be closer to home. In Phoenix, I don’t think I’d have been able to come home on my off-day.”
He flew to Charlotte on Wednesday morning, but his plane was late, and by the time he dressed and got to the Panthers’ practice field, the workout was already in progress. Quite literally, he jogged onto the field, met a couple of the offensive coaches and was handed a play to run in the huddle.
Without meeting a single player, he jogged to the huddle, said “OK,” and then called the play. No “Hey, I’m Vinny.” He just called the play and ran it.
“Surreal,” said tackle Jordan Gross. “If the new guy’s a tackle or a linebacker, he’d be able to walk in and sort of blend in. But the quarterback, he’s the leader of the whole team, and here comes Vinny without saying anything. It was one of those weird moments. Like, we all knew who he was and had respect for what he’d done in football. But he didn’t know who we were.”
By Saturday, after three practices, Testaverde still didn’t know who they all were. “I’m still meeting guys,” he said. “I’ll probably take a media guide next week, look over our roster and try to figure out who everyone is. But I’ve got too many things to get straight here for the game before I do that.” (Oh and did I mention Vinny is color blind, too.)
With the Cards, Testaverde would have been a relief pitcher. With the Panthers, because starter Jake Delhomme was lost for the year with an elbow injury and backup David Carr was likely out this week with a bad back, there was a good chance Testaverde would start for the first time since November 2005. “If he has to play,” coach JohnFox said Saturday, “he’ll probably have about 60 percent of the game plan down. Physically, after watching him for a few days, there’s no question in my mind he can handle it.”
Carr tried to get loose Sunday morning but didn’t feel good enough to play. And so it fell to Testaverde, at 43 years and 335 days old, to try to George Blanda the Panthers to a win to keep pace with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South. He started strong, completing nine of 11 in the first quarter.
“I felt great,” he said Sunday night. “I felt strong.”
Gross said Testaverde got none of the mental stuff wrong, and erred only when he began calling some plays before the substitutes got to the Panthers huddle. He looked heavy-legged, though he was sacked only twice. As the game got down to the nitty-gritty midway through the fourth quarter, with the Arizona defense clogging the line and inviting Testaverde to throw deep, he knew he might have to stretch the defense to have a chance to win.
This is Testaverde’s 21st year in the NFL, and he’s had quite a few talented receivers to work with over the years. But none had the explosion and consistent playmaking ability of Steve Smith. During the week, Smith had told him, “Don’t worry about overthrowing me. You can’t overthrow me.”
With just more than five minutes remaining in the game and Carolina trailing 10-9, this advice came in handy. On first down from the Carolina 35, Testaverde sent Smith in single coverage streaking down the right side. He faked a handoff to his back, then looked up top to see the coverage. “I saw a single high safety, which was good,” he said. The safety couldn’t cover the whole field, and Testaverde was happy he wasn’t rushing to help on Smith. Vinny let it fly.
Does anyone throw a nicer deep ball, with any more perfect mechanics, than Vinny Testaverde? Remember when he used to be derided with the Bucs for being such an up-and-down player? No one ever said he couldn’t throw a football the way God intended it to be thrown.
“Oh no!” he said to himself after launching the ball toward Smith. “I overthrew him.”
He didn’t. “For some reason, the corner on that side stopped, or slowed down,” said Testaverde. Smith pushed into an extra gear, caught up to the ball, and brought it down for a 65-yard touchdown.
“See?” Smith told him on the sidelines. “You can’t overthrow me.”
Carolina 25, Arizona 10. Testaverde: 20 of 33 (.606) for 206 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, 88.7 rating. More yards than Brett Favre. More accurate than Carson Palmer.
“Great game, Dad!” Gross said to Testaverde, with a grin, afterward.
He’s not old enough to be Gross’ dad, but it’s close.
When Fox gave Testaverde the game ball, the Panthers noticed Vinny was a little emotional. “I’m so happy to be here, playing football,” he said. “A week ago, I was sitting on my couch, watching games on TV. Now I’m playing games that mean something.”
What does the future hold? A starting job? Vinny in the playoffs? Who knows? Let’s not spoil a great story. Let’s let the fairy tale of a guy who never thought he’d start again live for a while.
“Hey Dad,” 16-year-old daughter Alicia told him over the phone after the game. “You still have it!”
Out of the mouths of babes.
You see. This is a guy who figured he was done, who doesn’t know the names of the players on the team he’s playing for, and managed to make it look like he’d been playing with the Panthers since training camp. The offensive line was trusted with making sure they didn’t put this guy in a wheelchair prematurely, and he trusted them only getting sacked twice. The receivers were trusted with making sure they were there when the ball came down, and even though Vinny slipped in his confidence in that one a couple times, his stats say otherwise. This is a guy who’s beaten the odds for at least the last 20 years. He wasn’t what everyone thought he would be when he was drafted 1st overall in 1987, but what he lacks in meeting the expectations of his critics, he makes up for in persistence. He has no quit in him. I’m not sure what he’s playing for. Does he believe that if he keeps coming back, he’ll win a Super Bowl? Does he just love the game so much, that he can’t let it go? Maybe a little of both, but whatever the reason, the guy’s got heart. Geriatric jokes aside, Vinny answered his critics on Sunday with that single 65 yard touchdown pass. He does indeed still have it.
Lincoln has a website now. You can find it here or in the sidebar under “Blogs I Read.”
“Now if I could just get this peanut butter cup up here to my mouth…”
I bought a box of these to take with my lunch every day, and I think I’ve found a new BFF. I love oreos dunked in milk because it makes them soft, and I’m a soft cookie girl. But these little guys are soft oreos without all the milk all over your hands. YUM!!!!
P.S. I ate them with a Weight Watchers meal…does the cakester discount the nutritional value of the meal? Like chocolate cake with a diet coke?