Monthly Archives: December 2009
We did it. Dallas Clark was announced last night as a member of the AFC roster for the 2010 Pro Bowl. And not just that he received the 6th most votes overall for the entire league and the top vote getter for all tight ends!!! I’m terribly excited for him even though I hope more so that he doesn’t get to play in the game. The NFL has moved the Pro Bowl to the Sunday before the Super Bowl, so any players on the Pro Bowl roster who are playing in the Super Bowl the following week are not permitted to participate in the actual Pro Bowl game. They still get the recognition of being voted to it though. And I’m holding out hope that the Colts will be representing the AFC on February 7th in the Super Bowl.
Thank you to everyone who read this previous post and acted on my request to vote for Dallas as much as you could. I greatly appreciate you all for joining with me in this “crusade.”
My favorite catch of Dallas’s this season:
And as the Colts website says:
THE WAIT IS OVER
By John Oehser – Special to Colts.com
Colts TE-Dallas Clark Headed to First Pro Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS – Dallas Clark long ago stopped worrying about post-season awards.
Even if he had worried, he needn’t anymore, because on Tuesday, the Colts’ seven-year veteran tight end received one of the NFL’s biggest honors of all.
Clark, a first-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft who has been a critical part of one of the NFL’s premier offense for the last half decade, not only was named to his first Pro Bowl, he was named to the AFC’s team as a starter.
“I don’t even know when it’s announced,” Clark said last week. “Whatever happens, happens. I’ve had a couple of years where it would have been nice to go and I’d maybe made a case to go, but it’s a tough thing to sell with so many great talents in the league at tight end.
“I’ve learned, and it’s not my focus anymore. There are a lot of guys in the league who deserve to go and don’t. It doesn’t take away from the honor, but it’s not like a player has a disappointing year if he doesn’t go.
“There are one or two players on each team who have great years and deserve to go and it doesn’t work out.”
Clark, who is in the midst of one of the biggest statistical seasons for a tight end in NFL history, was among six Colts players named to the game, with the others being quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive end Dwight Freeney, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, defensive end Robert Mathis and center Jeff Saturday. All but Saturday earned starting honors.
Manning was the leading vote-getter in the fan vote, while Clark was the sixth-leading vote-getter overall and first among tight ends.
Wayne was the 10th-leading vote-getter overall, second among wide receivers.
Freeney led the fan voting among defensive ends.
Clark, who has caught 349 passes for 4,136 yards and 41 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons, has 93 passes for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. The receptions and yards are career-highs, and the 10 touchdowns are one shy of his 2007 career-high.
He caught 58 passes for 616 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2007, then followed that with a 77-reception, 848-yard, six-touchdown season last season. This season, he is nine receptions short of the NFL record for single-season receptions by a tight end, a record set by Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004.
Gonzalez made the last 10 Pro Bowls with the Chiefs and Antonio Gates of San Diego made the last five, but Clark this season had the biggest statistical season among tight ends, with Gonzalez catching 80 passes for 837 yards and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFC.
“It’s been a great year, I think he’s well-deserved,” Caldwell said of Clark Monday. “He’s had some tough competition over the years. There have been some guys at the position that have played really well. I think this year when you look at Dallas and his body of work, he’s certainly deserving.”
Manning, a three-time Associated Press National Football League Most Valuable Player, was named to the game for the eighth consecutive year and for the 10th time overall. Manning made the game in 1999-2000 and from 2002 through this season. The 10 nominations tied the club QB mark of Hall-of-Famer John Unitas. His eight consecutive Pro Bowl bids tie the club marks of Unitas, OG/T-Jim Parker and WR-Marvin Harrison. He has completed 379 passes for 553 yards and 33 touchdowns with 15 interceptions for a 101.0 passer rating.
Freeney, who has 13.5 sacks this season, made the game from 2003-05, and made it this season for a second consecutive season and fifth overall. He has 20 pressures and pass defensed and a forced fumble this season, and he also had a sack in each of the season’s first eight games. Dating to last season, he had a sack in nine consecutive games, one shy of the NFL record.
Freeney’s 13.5 sacks this season rank as the second-highest total in franchise history. He had a franchise-record 16 sacks in 2004 and 13 as a rookie in 2002.
Wayne, who has had more than 1,000 yards each of the last six seasons, made the game for a fourth consecutive season. He has 95 catches for 1,243 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, his third career season with 10 or more touchdown receptions.
He had game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown receptions against New England, San Francisco and Jacksonville.
Saturday, who made the game from 2005-07, after several seasons in which many around the Colts and the NFL believed he was worthy of going, made the game for a fourth time. He missed six games last season with injuries and has started 15 this season. Saturday has anchored a line that has surrendered only 12 sacks in 578 pass attempts, and the club’s passing offense leads the league in yards per game. The offense has produced its 12th consecutive season with 5,000+ total net yards.
Mathis, who made the game for the first time last season, had 9.5 sacks this season before missing this past Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. He also has a team-high 23 quarterback pressures and five forced fumbles.
The club’s six selections tie the second-most ever in the club’s Indianapolis era. The Colts had six selections in 1987 and 2007, while the team had eight nominees in 2005.
As the last few hours tick away on this Christmas 2009, I thought I’d hand out a few virtual presents. These are the people out there on my nice list who deserve a little something extra in their stocking…and would if I could I’d turn these virtual presents into the real thing.
- Coach Roy Williams: A Carolina team that understands when they listen to you and the rest of the coaching staff, things happen…good things…like winning ballgames. I give you a team that plays with a sense of urgency and desire that knows putting on that Carolina uniform is a privilege and it comes with a lot of responsibility and no guarantees. Much is expected, but just suiting up doesn’t automatically get the wins.
- Indiana Pacers: An understanding that there are 4 quarters in an NBA game and that you have to play all 4 of them including the 3rd quarter, which your team seems to have a mental block on. So I give you a stifling defense and an offense whose shots fall. Oh and I’ll throw in a bit of healthiness for the players who seem to have chronic ailments.
- Philadelphia Eagles: To the other 52 players on the team who voted Michael Vick their representative for the Ed Block Courage Award, I give you all common sense, cause right now you ain’t got the sense God gave a billy goat. Showing up for work on time for the only team that would take him, is not courage, people…it’s called responsibility and shockingly, when you’re an adult, you have those…responsibilities.
- Nick Saban: A media crew that understands asking questions like “what’s it feel like to be playing for a national championship?” is one of the stupidest questions ever imagined. And it’s not that you want them to act like the national championship isn’t a big deal, but that you want them to do a little better with constructing the questions they ask your players. Or better yet…hows about we just get rid of the media altogether. I’m certain that would make you the happiest person on the planet. I’m gonna throw in a fully customized calendar for your PDA/Cell Phone/Blackberry that buzzes you a week prior to your wedding anniversary and keeps buzzing you until you prove to it that you’ve purchased a proper gift for said occasion because Ms. Terry has put up with a lot being married to you, I’m sure. She deserves at least a little recognition on the day y’all got hitched.
- Indianapolis Colts: I’d give you a 19-0 season, but I think y’all would rather work for it than it just be handed to you. So what I’ll give you is to stop the media from asking y’all constantly if you’re going to rest until the playoffs or if you’re shooting for the perfect season. How about y’all are going to walk on the field prepared to win the game presented to you at that time…and we’ll just let the media take that and shove it down their pretty little broken record throats. I also give you health for the post season that hopefully leads to a little something shiny from Tiffany and Co. round about the first weekend of February.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Oh where do I start. How about I give you Derrick Brooks back? I’ll also give you an ownership that cares about the franchise enough to stop playing games with it cause they think it’s fun to see what will happen if they do “X.” It’s not a SimCity computer game, Glasers! The great thing is that your true fan base still loves you and supports you. They know where the real problem lies even if the local radio broadcasters have a gag order on talking about the elephant in the room.
- Washington Redskin Fans: I give you Daniel Snyder’s head on a platter. Period.
- President Obama: A country of citizens with just a smidge more patience and understanding because Rome wasn’t built in a day and even still a lot of it is in ruins now anyway.
- Congress: Oh wait…these gifts are for the people on my nice list. My bad.
- Tavern on the Green: 100 more years in the restaurant business. I’m sad you’re closing your doors on December 31st when I never got to dine with you.
- Our Military Troops: A quick and safe return home to your loved ones and the certainty of knowing just how much the citizens of this country thank you all for your service to secure our freedom.
I think that about wraps it up (no pun intended). I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and that Santa brought you everything you asked for. 2010 is gonna be great…just you wait and see!
The following is the 2009 Newsletter that is enclosed with my Christmas cards for out of town family and friends or in town family and friends who don’t get to hear all this stuff throughout the year. A lot of it has been highlighted on the blog, so I guess you could consider this a 2009 blog year in review. Enjoy!
Dear Family and Friends,
WOW! Is it the end of 2009 already? I think I stuffed as much as I could into this year, but I still can’t believe it’s almost over. In January, a friend of mine won the ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Contest after sitting in a recliner at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore watching nothing but sports for over 70 hours. As a result, the Fox morning show invited her (and a guest – me) to New York City to appear on their show for an interview. It was only a 24 hour visit, but we packed as much into that day as we could including getting to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree before they took it down. ESPN Zone invites previous winners back the next year to compete, again, so knowing her, she’ll score another trip to NYC in just a few weeks. Also in January, our country inaugurated a new President. My parents, though never planning to go to the Inauguration, which participating in becomes part of my job every four years, planned to visit me during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. But as luck (or agony as they might tell you) would have it, I was able to get tickets for them to attend the Inauguration. It was their first one, and despite the freezing temperatures, they survived and enjoyed being there for history in the making.
In the spring, the North Carolina men’s basketball team won their sixth national championship. It was a championship that mom and I (and a good bit of the country) had been expecting and waiting for the last four years. As part of their championship victory lap, they were invited to the White House to be congratulated by President Obama. Through a little courage and a “the worst they can say is no” thought process, I garnered an invitation to the event myself. It was so much fun, and it marked the 2nd time I have been to the White House, both times for congratulatory events to sports teams. Mom, dad, Andy, Janet, and Lincoln traveled to North Carolina during spring break. It was Lincoln’s first trip to North Carolina where he got to meet Andy’s godmother, play with our cousin Louann’s farm animals, and meet several family members who had heard and seen everything about him. I’m certain that will not be his last trip to the Tar Heel State.
In the summer, my annual work conference took me to Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, you read that right…I voluntarily attended a conference…in Phoenix…in July! It was miserably hot while I was there. Even the weathermen on the news admitted it was well above normal temperatures for the area. But, I enjoyed it as best I could. I got to tour both the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks stadiums. I think at this point I’m on a mission to see as many stadiums in my lifetime as I can. Instead of returning to DC from Phoenix, I flew to North Carolina for mom’s family reunion (Readling side). It was so great to see so many people that I hadn’t seen in years. We had a great time, great food, great stories, and great laughter. During our time in North Carolina, we stopped to see the new National Championship trophy in Chapel Hill. I swear seeing those new trophies never gets old even though they all look the same. There’s always a different story for each of them.
In September, Lincoln turned two years old and we celebrated with a huge pool party! We even had to coax the birthday boy out of the pool to have cake and open presents. He really does love the water and would stay in there forever if you’d let him. Lincoln also started a music class called Tots and Tunes at the Patel Conservatory at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. I got to attend his first class with him and one over Thanksgiving as well. It’s quite an adorable little class with singing, dancing, and playing instruments. He seems to really enjoy it. Also in September, dad flew up to visit me in DC, and I took him to the Tampa Bay Rays/Baltimore Orioles game for his birthday. We had a really great time despite waiting for and finally giving up on the peanut guy to come back around. I ended up just going to the stand to get them myself because what’s a baseball game without peanuts. Oh…and the Rays WON! At the end of September, I flew to Alabama to visit my best friend, Angela. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple years, so we were long overdue for some quality time. While there, we went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Arkansas football game. We were blessed to get tickets in one of the new luxury boxes at the stadium thanks to my dear friends Duane and Suzanne Cunningham. It was fantastic to get to see them and catch up during the little time that we had. Watching the game from the box was an incredible experience, especially since it was raining that day. We also got to catch up with Angela and my boss from our college days, Dr. Heggem. He’s always been one of our favorite people, so getting to see him and his family was so much fun. My time in Alabama was too, too short, but I was the most relaxed I’d been in a really long time. It just felt like I was home. I miss that place terribly and hope to visit when I have more time to sit and talk with everyone.
This December I’m actually going home to Florida for Christmas for the first time since 2003. I am really excited. After winning their 22nd SEC Championship game, my alma mater, Alabama will play for what we all hope will be its 13th National Championship in football on January 7th in Pasadena, California. This season has been stressful to say the least with a few too many heart stopping games, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’m beyond thrilled with how the team has persevered and fought until the last seconds ticked off the clock. This is the team I always dreamed of when I was in college watching some of the worst seasons in Alabama history. Our coach, Nick Saban, has proven his worth in every way imaginable and our players have made me so, so proud…on and off the field. Oh…and my Indianapolis Colts aren’t doing too shabby, either…12-0 as of this writing.
In other developments this year, Andy accepted a new job as the Director of Basketball Operations for the women’s basketball program at the University of South Florida. He’s really enjoying working with the program and recently returned from a tournament in California during the Thanksgiving holidays. They won the tournament and the additional scheduled game vs. UC Irvine outside the tournament. The west coast was kind to them. Their record is currently 6-2. Go Lady Bulls! Janet continues to teach at Tomlin Middle School in Plant City and has added Drama Club advisor to her list of duties. Also, she joined the Krewe of Agustina de Aragon, which is an organization in the Tampa area that does various charitable events throughout the year and honors the discovery of the Tampa area by the Spaniards. As for mom and dad, they continue to enjoy retirement and being grandparents. I think they could spend 24 hours a day with Lincoln and never grow tired of it. They spent a lot of time with him at Busch Gardens as Lincoln still gets free admission and Busch Gardens has an annual pass for them. Lincoln now thinks that every time Mimi and Pa come to visit that he’s going to Busch Gardens, and he’s usually correct!
Well, I think that’s about it, and really…wasn’t that enough! I can’t believe we’re already entering our second decade of 21st century, but if this first decade was any indication, I can’t wait to see what the second has waiting for us. I hope you all have safe and happy holiday seasons. Hug the ones you love, and tell them how much they mean to you. Until next year, stay safe, and remember to laugh, think, and cry every day…it makes for a full day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,