Thursday, October 23, 2008

This Explains Everything

Sometimes, there are just mysteries of life that cannot be explained. Examples: who built Stonehenge, how in the hell did the Electric Slide become popular at wedding receptions, and how did Home Alone become a hit movie?

Another mystery is how a certain sportswriter-turned Monday Night Football broadcaster can suck so badly (actually, he sucks really well). Of course I mean Tony Kornheiser of ESPN's PTI and MNF fame. Kornheiser has reached an almost Zen-like level of suckage on the MNF broadcasts. His performance has inspired millions of young people to either enter broadcasting or wear earmuffs indoors.

Until now, the cause of his suck-proficiency has been unknown. But now we may know why:

Tony, glad you asked; I can't really answer

Later this week, I will get my usual pre-"Monday Night Football" Indianapolis Colts telecast phone call from Tony Kornheiser. It will probably come right in the middle of "Dancing With the Stars'' and ruin any chance I might have of seeing Warren Sapp light up the stage with a killer bossa nova.

Oh, God. It's the Suckage-Convergence-Zone (SCuZ)! Tony Kornheiser will call Bob Kravitz to ask Kravitz's opinion on the Colts. Honestly, this is not an uncommon practice, but it shows just how ill-informed Kornheiser is. He watches sports for a living; he should be able to see enough Colts games to do his own analysis.

Can you imagine Kornheiser and Kravitz together? I can imagine them together--in a bus, going over a cliff.

Anyway, let me save Tony the time and trouble, because here are the questions and here are my answers. Well, unless I'm two Johnnie Walkers into the night; then all bets are off:

What's wrong with your team out there?

You have an hour? First, the injuries. Peyton Manning had two knee procedures during training camp -- although it might have been seven for all we really know -- so No. 18 got off to an uncharacteristically rough start.

How ridiculous. Peyton did not have 7 knee surgeries. He did, however, have both legs amputated. What we see out there playing is really a hologram.

In all seriousness, I find it interesting how upset some members of the Indianapolis media are about not knowing about the second knee surgery. There was no reason for the Colts or Manning to divulge the 2nd surgery, since it happened well before the first game of the season. Since Manning practiced the entire week leading up to the Bears game, the 2nd surgery wasn't relevant.

Kravitz is right about the injuries, which Zinglebert noted the effects of in the comments section of the previous post.

Is it possible this team has tuned out coach Tony Dungy?

I'm glad you asked that question, and I hope you noticed how I used this particular literary device in such a way that I could blame the rhetorical "you" for bringing up such a touchy subject.

Ugh. That would have been clever if Bobby didn't draw attention to it--it may have actually worked. And I get the idea that he's doing this tongue-in-cheek, since he doesn't care if people give him crap about bringing up a touchy subject. But it's Kravitz's idea, so he should just present it and move on.

I think it's possible. I really do. I think today's athletes, like most of today's young people, have the attention span of a fruit fly. Pacers president Larry Bird says NBA players stop hearing a particular coach after about three years. Raiders owner Al Davis once said, in a moment of clarity, that NFL coaches lost their players after 10 years -- and he said that years ago.

Actually, pretty good use of examples, but saying "it's possible" is saying nothing. It's like saying, "it's possible the Colts will win 35-10 Monday night." Of course it's possible. Anything is possible. It's possible all of the Colts players just finished reading Dianetics and have become Scientologists.

What happened to Dungy in Tampa? All of his players professed love and respect for him, but when they needed to win a playoff game to possibly save his job, they got rolled by Philadelphia.

It's true: the Buccaneers (under their Buccan-hat) lost to the Eagles 31-9 in the 2001 NFC Wild Card round. However, the Eagles had won the NFC East and were the #3 seed. Tampa was the final wild card team, making the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Perhaps it wasn't that the Tampa players weren't trying--perhaps they lost because they weren't as good as Philly.

Kravitz seems to think that players can will themselves to victory whenever they want to--that all it takes is desire and love of its coach for a team to win. If that were true, every team would be 16-0 (okay, maybe some teams don't like their coaches very much). It's a little more complicated than that. Yes, sometimes you can see when a team has quit or tuned out its coach. But it's a little simplistic to say that a team doesn't care about its coach because it loses a game that outsiders perceive is necessary to save the coach's job.

There's a reason teams go from players' coaches to authoritarians to players' coaches to authoritarians. After Dungy left Tampa, the Bucs won the Super Bowl under crazy person Jon Gruden. It makes me wonder if associate head coach Jim Caldwell, who is something of a Dungy clone, is really the right guy to take the reins when Dungy leaves, but that's another column for another time.

True. Then why bring it up? None of this is relevant to your point.

Would I save you grief if I asked whether Dungy's long-distance family situation is making some kind of impact?

Again, Tony, brilliant use of a literary device.

Again, great way to ruin its effect by calling attention to it.

Answer: I dunno. But the issue is out there, and before the season, I wrote that if the Colts struggled, we would all wonder whether Dungy's split existence might leave him conflicted. Again, everybody knows Dungy is here and his family is in Tampa. How often does he go home? I'm not sure, and if I asked, I would be told the Colts don't address such questions. But it's fair to wonder, if the players see a coach with one foot in Florida, does it affect their level of commitment and focus?

"...the issue is out there." It is? It's out there because you put it out there! Also, we are not "all wondering." Personally, I don't think it's an issue. Can the team not practice without him? Considering that most, if not all, of the daily work with players is done by the coordinators and position coaches, he's not completely necessary on a daily basis.

Also, Kravitz's earlier point about Caldwell actually hurts his argument here. If Caldwell is a "Dungy clone," then the players shouldn't miss Dungy as much.

I don't buy the argument that the players would either be a) less committed, or b) bothered at all by Dungy's agreement and commitment to his family. I suppose it's possible, but it's also possible that Dungy's agreement could be perceived by the players as making him more committed: "He wants to spend time with his family, but the Colts organization and this team are so important to him that he wants to help us now." Maybe that's not how everyone would react, but it's certainly possible that some of the players feel that way.

Be honest: Is Marvin Harrison finished?

When he struggled the first few games, I said it was too early to tell. When he was great against Baltimore, I said it was too early to tell. I still think it's too early to tell when the entire offense is sputtering.

You can't really disagree here, though I maintain that Harrison looks fine. The offense as a whole has issues, but Marvin is doing his thing. However, one thing I will say is that I think opposing defenses are on to some of the "bread and butter" plays. They seem to be jumping routes (e.g. the Marvin slant) more often.

I will say this, though: I don't see Harrison as a Colt next year, not unless he returns to form the second half of the season. He's scheduled to count for more than $13 million against the salary cap next year, which is a lot of cash for a fading player on a team that's top-heavy on payroll.

Valid point. But will they release him, you think? That seems a bit far-fetched. Then again, in the hard salary cap era, anything is possible.

This is a must-win for them, right?

Yes, absolutely yes.

Technically, no, but I'd hate to see them try to come back from 4 down at this point.

They can't go four games down in the division with nine to go. They're fortunate that nobody besides Tennessee is pulling away in the AFC, so 10 wins might get them a wild card, but as far as the division, they lose Monday and they're done.

Ten wins "might get them a wild card"? As Zinglebert pointed out awhile ago, 10 wins in the AFC usually gets a wild card. If the season ended now, the Colts would be out of the playoffs, but its only due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.

I'll make a prediction now: if the Colts win 10 games, they are definitely in the playoffs.

So, you want to be a guest host one day on "Pardon the Interruption"?

If that ever happens, welcome to the 8th layer of Hell: Fucktards on Parade.

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Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

I love that you were able to come up with the "SCuZ" factor. A combination of Tony and Bobby K. would nearly max out the SCuZ meter.

And as I will comment with every Tony Kornheiser post...

"Kornheiser sucks! Kornheiser sucks! KORNHEISER STILL SUCKS!"

October 24, 2008 at 10:47 AM  

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