And now for the return of an old favorite of mine: Good Idea / Bad Idea, where I present four events and issues and explain why they are a good idea or a bad idea. Here we go:
Issue: The Indianapolis Colts paying tribute to Broncos QB Peyton Manning when Denver meets Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20
For Peyton Manning, it seems like you can go home again. At least for one Sunday evening.
More than a year after he bid adieu to the city of Indianapolis as he made his way to the Rocky Mountains, Manning and the Denver Broncos will visit Lucas Oil Stadium for Week 7’s Sunday Night Football showdown. It will be the first time he will visit the team he led to two Super Bowl appearances, one Super Bowl win, and 11 seasons in which they won 10 or more games – including two seasons in which they started 13-0. There, he will attempt to take his current team to a 7-0 start, while his QB incumbent – second-year signal-caller Andrew Luck – will attempt to get his team back on track after a disappointing 9-19 Monday Night loss at San Diego in Week 6.
With the game seemingly circled in both teams’ respective calendars, questions arose about whether there would be any sort of pomp and circumstance for the return of the Colts’ Prodigal Son. After all, the way in which Manning and the Colts parted ways wasn’t exactly completely amicable – with the league’s worst record in 2011 at 2-14, and Manning recovering from four neck surgeries, the franchise, and owner Jim Irsay, was forced into a proverbial “Sophie’s Choice” – hope Manning comes back healthy and at full strength to make another potential three to five Super Bowl runs in the short-term, or cash his chips in the Andrew Luck Lottery and take the unprecedented Stanford QB prospect for a long-term solution at the position.
Given the current matchup, Irsay obviously chose the latter.
Now, with Manning returning to Indianapolis as a member of the Broncos, the Colts brass have decided to honor Manning in a ceremony on October 20.
The decision wasn’t the no-brainer some thought it would be: Some (read: Skip Bayless) believe that Irsay let Manning go unceremoniously, in favor of satiating his own ego by rebuilding a championship-caliber franchise with Luck. With that in mind, this gesture by the Colts owner could be seen as hollow, or disingenuous. Others could possibly see this as disrespectful of Luck, as a thinly-veiled pining for their old franchise QB, at the helm of an undefeated Broncos team that the Colts could have had, had Irsay and the organization decided to keep him.
In the face of all that, Irsay is doing the right thing. Whether it is a mere gesture to get back in the good graces of his fans and/or Manning, himself, it is a ceremony that is not only expected for a man that brought Indianapolis to relevancy, but a Super Bowl Championship, it is also absolutely warranted. Imagine if the Dallas Cowboys didn’t honor Emmitt Smith the day he came to Cowboys Stadium as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. It would have been unthinkable if the Cowboys organization didn’t do something for their Hall-of-Famer, just like it would be if the Colts didn’t do something for Manning. Worst-case scenario for the Colts: they spark an untapped level of animosity in the future Hall-of-Famer, and they get torched for 49 points – something that is expected of the Broncos offense on a regular basis, in any case.
Best case for the Colts: Indianapolis’ love for Peyton gets to him like it did to Smith the day he came back to Dallas, and his fire for the game gets extinguished at the center of Lucas Oil Stadium, while Andrew Luck and Co. hands the Broncos their first loss.
It could happen, right?
Issue: 49ers CEO Jed York and OT Joe Staley calling out fans after an injury suffered by Cardinals DE Calais Campbell
In the wake of their third straight victory to bring their record to a respectable 4-2, the San Francisco 49ers had plenty of reasons to smile.
However, based on the behavior of some of their fans on Sunday, they had one particular reason to be angry.
Late in Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona DE Calais Campbell suffered an injury that left him incapacitated for several minutes – enough for him to be taken out on a stretcher. While latest reports having him possibly playing on Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks, the injury seemed serious at the time. That did not seem to stop patches of fans at Candlestick Park from doing the Wave and cheering, all while Campbell was getting strapped into a stretcher. Some of the 49ers players were seen trying to discourage the fans from the actions, but it reportedly continued for some time.
After the game, the 49ers could not let these actions stand, and they had to show their fans – as well as the NFL community – that they would not condone such actions. CEO Jed York and OT Joe Staley took to Twitter that night and posted the following:
While this could have been seen as an overreaction by the organization and its players, it nonetheless needed to be said. Staley was right: the action could easily have been taken as disrespectful to an injured opponent – literally “adding insult to injury”, in Campbell’s case.
In a world where perception trumps reality a vast majority of the time, any explanation involving the fans’ ignorance to what was happening on the field is no excuse for what they did. Furthermore, it was absolutely necessary for York and Staley, two respected members of the organization, to call out their fans. No matter what the level of animosity towards opposing players and teams, a level of human decency must be paid, and the organization had to make that known.
After all, if Navorro Bowman went down in a heap at University of Phoenix Stadium, we wouldn’t want Cardinals fans to be singing a crowd rendition of Steam’s “Kiss Him Goodbye”. Sure, it would fan the flames of an awesome in-division rivalry, but it needn’t get that barbaric. Bottom line: it wasn’t York and Staley who were in the wrong, here – it was those select fans.
Issue: Counting out Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater from the Heisman race after his performance vs. Rutgers (310 pass yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)
Before Louisville’s game against Rutgers, there was a growing number of pundits with one foot in the “Teddy Bridgewater for Heisman” bandwagon. The Junior QB looked to be the most talented player in the country, and had the potential to put up video game numbers against shoddy defenses in a weak regular season schedule. Currently considered a No. 1 prospect for teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars in next year’s NFL Draft, Bridgewater still had to look invincible against his opponents, according to most, if he wanted a shot at the coveted Heisman trophy.
Unfortunately, despite his numbers – 310 passing yards, 2 touchdowns to only 1 interception – many have already dismissed him from the Heisman race.
In the Heisman game, candidates must light up the field every week and put up gaudy numbers based on their competition. The stats, in Thursday’s case, were not eye-popping for Bridgewater. So, in the words of one football analyst, “Case Closed.”
Well, allow me to retort with another famous football analyst quote:
Sure, Bridgewater did not impress in Louisville’s win over Rutgers. But that doesn’t mean he can’t impress moving forward, despite the weak schedule he has coming up (games against teams like Central Florida, South Florida, Memphis and Cincinnati). According to current polls, four players are ahead of Bridgewater in Heisman voting: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Florida State QB Jameis Winston, and Clemson QB Tajh Boyd. All four play in highly competitive conferences, and will likely beat up each candidate down the stretch. It will only take one poor performance to knock each off their respective Heisman pedestal, and the season is only halfway through.
If Bridgewater can pick up the pieces of his Rutgers performance and put up eye-popping video game numbers the rest of the way, there is a chance (however small) he could still pull out an upset in the Heisman race. After all, if USC RB Reggie Bush could do it against a relatively weak Pac-10 in 2005, Bridgewater certainly still has a chance to do the same.
Stranger things have happened in the world of College Football.
Issue: Opposing fans using blown-up pictures of Kate Upton to distract Detroit Tigers SP Justin Verlander
In the wake of their unceremonious ousting at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland A’s – more specifically, their fans – brought to light a distraction tactic that caught the eye of the national media.
Ace pitcher Justin Verlander, who pitched in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Divisional Series at O.co Coliseum, had been romantically linked to supermodel Kate Upton earlier this year. With that in mind, patches of A’s fans brought it upon themselves to bring large cutouts of Upton’s face, and flash them in front of Verlander behind home plate, throughout the game.
The distraction tactic was meant to mock Verlander, considering their romantic link, and perhaps rubbing in the fact that Upton has repeatedly denied any romantic relationship with Verlander, or, for that matter, anyone, insisting that she is currently single.
Obviously, these tactics just so happened to fail miserably – Verlander managed to carry a no-hitter into the 7th inning, finishing with an 8-inning, 2-hit performance that shut out the A’s in a victory.
In defense of the cut-outs, there were only patches of Kate Upton’s face in Verlander’s peripheral view. Should Verlander pitch in hostile territory, places like Fenway Park, Coors Field or Dodgers Stadium could fill the stands with various pictures of Kate Upton, to up the mock factor by 1,000. That could certainly distract Verlander.
Then again, it could just provoke him to pitch a perfect game against his potential opponents, judging from Game 5 of the ALDS.
So, maybe not.