Joy (and Why The Colts Will Go 16-0) + Urban Meyer Resigns at Florida
I have only one theory as to why I think the Colts will go 16-0 (and subsequently 19-0) and complete a season that the New England Patriots could not complete the 19-0 season in 2007.
The Patriots don’t seem to take any joy in anything. I mean, I’ve watched ALOT of ESPNEWS and seen plenty of Belichick and Brady Press Conferences and they’re all the same. Just picture it:
Belichick is up there and they just won 59-0 (like they did against the Titans this season) and he’s talking about something he feels like he needs to mope over that happened during the game. He’s always stewing over something and clearly never happy about much of anything. He always sighs before he answers every question. I mean, it’s like a deep and heavy sigh. (I should know because I sigh ALOT and my wife hates it!…but that sound really gets my attention and he makes it all the freaking time.) So, he sighs heavily before answering every question and then he gives the “Phil Jackson-in-between-quarters-non-answer/answer” for every question and then when they tell him “Thank You” he grunts and walks off.
Then Tom Brady gets up there is a crisp suit and tows the party-line like no one ever has in the history of the universe. (All the while he’s giving that fake “Tom Brady-I-want-to-be-a-model” smile and he never answers any questions and gives the same kind of “grunt” that Belichick gives after every question.) I can’t stand it! You can tell that he’s so apathetic to the idea of talking to anyone and having to put on the fake smile AGAIN that he can’t stand it YET he continues to do it and play “Tiger Woods” and pretend to be somebody he’s not instead of being “Tom”. I mean, if he really acts like this when Giselle bore his child was he like “Ok” *with the shoulder shrug…and in the suit*? I personally don’t get it.
Take that lack of joy one step further outside the NFL. Junior Seau was so sour about “graduating” from the San Diego Chargers that he joined the most sour team in the entire league. THEN, he retired again and he was so miserable over that that he unretired and came back to the only team that was a grouchy old sourpuss like him. What about Rodney Harrison? He’s doing commentary on the NFL and he STILL sounds like he’s angry about getting pwned by David Tyree in the commission of one of the most outstanding plays in the history of sports. I mean, if you asked him about anything remotely related to a safety/receiver pass play then he would probably find a way to sneak in the fact that he thinks David Tyree somehow cheated when he clutched the ball against his helmet in a sheer “Act of God”.
This same “sourness” I have already chronicled on this column multiple times by comparing the Patriots to a fictional family helmed by a psychopathic serial killer. Really, do I need to say more? The Patriots are NEVER happy and they NEVER will be. They take no joy in anything. The chants of repeat after their first Super Bowl title only spurned them to think about how they could realize that dream instead of living in the moment. You can tell. They’re STILL stinging from losing the Super Bowl to the Giants and we’re already two seasons removed. How long before they snap out of it?
Now turn your attention to the Colts.
Jim Caldwell (or Tony Dungy) and you see a team that smiles a genuine smile every week. Even at a loss Peyton Manning will stand at the dais (he hasn’t had to do this yet this season, but they’ve lost before so you get the idea) and smile as he recounts the disappointment of a loss and recounts how they will live to fight another day. Each player on that team seems to truly enjoy football and their leaders do especially. Think about Tony Dungy and how he handled himself with the team. He never raised his voice, he was very reserved, and smiled in the face of victory and defeat. Look at Peyton Manning…they STILL run the commercial on the 4-letter network with him and Eli walking down the hall kicking and pinching each other. That’s TRUE joy at the game and the OPPORTUNITY to play the game. Both Manning boys have Super Bowl Rings, but each one also knows how truly fortunate they are to be playing the game, to be filthy rich, and to be potential Hall of Famers.
Look at someone like Jeff Saturday. He’s the key cog in one of the best Offensive Lines in the history of the league and he went undrafted. Do you think he ENJOYS playing? Yep. He can handle a loss because he knows there’s more to life than football…
…and there we found the problem. Vince Lombardi said “Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing” and while that may be true in professional sports these players for the Colts (and their coach) also know that the only thing in life is NOT football. Yes, the Colts have won less Super Bowls than the Patriots, but what good are those titles if you didn’t enjoy them (and I really don’t think the Patriots enjoyed ANY of theirs [maybe the 2002 win over the Rams, but not the other two)? What good does it do you to kill yourself to be really good and not enjoy the fact that you get to play in the NFL? I have a brother-in-law who plays college football and though he will probably never play in the NFL (as cool as that would be) he still enjoys football.
So, what is the mantra for the Colts right now? Well, first is:
“Shame on us if we don’t shoot for 16-0 and ultimately 19-0″
and second is:
“We all have to go home after the game. What are we going home to?”
Now think about the difference the joy would have made in our perception of the Patriots. If they had at least ENJOYED what they were doing we would have probably written off “SpyGate” and said “Oh, those guys are so great…they’d never cheat!” However, since the Patriots are sullen and curmudgeonly then we all immediately assumed they were cheating and cheated their way to a Super Bowl victory.
Would you believe it if someone came out and said the Colts had video tapes of the Bears walkthrough before they beat them down in the Super Bowl? No, you wouldn’t. Don’t lie. Nobody would. You know why? Because the Patriots MADE themselves into the bad guys by not enjoying the game and the Colts made themselves into the good guys by enjoying the game that makes them filthy rich. How much more insulting can you get than to not even enjoy a game that so many people care so much about AND get paid millions of dollars for it? I don’t know how Patriots fans stand it! I really don’t. (But fandom is a whole other story and some of us can’t really explain why we care so much about the teams we love.)
So, that’s the difference. The rivalry of the decade in football between the Colts and the Patriots will always be won, for me, with the Joy the Colts seem to take in the game whilst the Patriots seem indifferent. (You want to know the sad part…I think the Pats enjoy football, but their coach doesn’t. So for all his Championships and a bust in the Hall of Fame he has little to show for it. Look at the locker room revolt that’s going on now and tell me those guys care about him as much as they care about their teammates.) In 20 years the Patriots 2007 offense will be toasting champagne because no one broke their single-season scoring records, but Bill Belichick will be nowhere in sight (unlike the ’72 Dolphins who ALWAYS have Don Shula with them.) They will have found the Joy(too late) that could catapult the Colts to a Super Bowl run similar to what the Patriots have already had. Is it hard to imagine? I don’t think so…
Read after the jump for my take on Urban Meyer’s resignation…
I had just written the opening of this column when I started checking e-mail and I was met with the headline “Florida Coach Shocks College Football With Decision” and I read to find out that Urban Meyer resigned as Head Football Coach at the University of Florida citing health concerns. I have two problems with this, but first my disclaimer: If he is TRULY concerned about his health he would have made this decision alot sooner (and certainly before Charlie Strong took the Louisville job, but I won’t begrudge him the reason…I’m just not buying it.)
Problem #1: Tim Tebow is just about done (actually he’s been done since the blow to the back of the head he took at the beginning of the season) and he’s only got one game left. Tebow’s been at Florida for 4 of Meyer’s 5 years and contributed to both championships that Meyer has won at Florida. Now, do you think (just a little bit) that Meyer looked around and said “Tebow’s gone and I can’t replicate this. I made some waves with Alex Smith at Utah but that was all luck. Now, we just got our behinds handed to us by Bama and I’m going to come back WITHOUT Tebow?” I think he did.
The health thing is a really good excuse (and probably valid) but it’s awful convenient don’t you think? This is too rich for me. Way too rich.
Reason #2: Charlie Strong took the Louisville job a couple weeks ago and I’ll bet you anything that Meyer had already made up his mind. I also believe that Charlie Strong has had a hard time getting a head coaching job because he’s black, in the south, and married to a white woman (and I can say that because I’m from the south myself.) Now, Charlie Strong goes to Louisville and THEN Meyer resigns? I think this points to an obvious lack of consideration for Strong that (in my opinion) extends this long streak of prejudice and bias that Strong has had to deal with in the South. He had been waiting for the Florida job too (and like Johnny Dawkins with Duke Basketball) he got tired of waiting only Coach K didn’t resign two weeks after Dawkins left. Urban Meyer might as well have punched Charlie Strong in the face and poked him in the eyeballs “Three Stooges” style because that would have produced the same effect as letting Strong leave and THEN resigning. If I’m Charlie Strong I’m really tempted to get a plane ticket and go down to Gainesville to whoop Meyer’s tail right here and now for totally messing with me over a job that I could have had had Meyer been even remotely considerate of me.
This speaks volumes, I think, to Meyer’s conceit and arrogance. Yes, the Spread Offense really helped, but in the end it was Florida’s defense that stopped all those teams they were blowing out and in the end Charlie Strong was the constant at Florida…not Urban Meyer. I’m not sure we can fully quantify how arrogant Meyer is given that he chose this time of year to resign. Right before the meat of the bowl season ON THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS!!! Did he think it would be rude to give this to Charlie Strong as a Christmas present? I mean, I’ve never gotten a punch in the face as a present, but I do enjoy getting my Christmas presents on Christmas Day.
Meyer thinks he’s the Big Show and he can retire (for now) and come back in a couple years in a blaze of glory. I’ll be just as ticked off as I am now and I hope he takes his dream job at Notre Dame (like Brian Kelly will last) and gets his tail whooped by whoever Charlie Strong is coaching (who knows…it could be Florida yet.) Knock, knock Urbie…Charlie Strong won you two titles and you should be glad. How about a thank you instead of a slap in the face?
Shame on you Urban Meyer. You timed this SO well and hardly anyone will question you…but I will and I hope others do to, because we can’t deny that you just screwed Florida, Charlie Strong, and your integrity.
General’s Note: As of December 27th Urban Meyer is now said to be on indefinite leave as opposed to being fully resigned. This raises a lot of questions and the biggest, I think, is why all the back and forth? Is all the backlash of “Please don’t leave” really getting to him? It’s definitely nice to be wanted, but why go back on such a big decision now? Is he torn because of his health, because of Tebow, because of Charlie Strong? He’s clearly confident because his star D-Coordinator is gone to Louisville and he still wants to do this without Tebow, but I’m not sure anymore what’s going on in his head. I still think there’s some odd timing to this and though I find it suspicious I am starting to think that he’s one of those guys who just CAN’T stop coaching (which is good…look at JoePa still going strong at 83. Urban’s only 45 so that gives him another 38 good years if he wants to be like ole Joe.) Maybe his wife told him it was time to quit and now he’s going back to her and saying “Babe, I can’t do that right now.” Either way it seems he’s torn about many of things. This turn back towards Florida tells me that Urban is a little tougher than I thought (and I thank the good coach for proving me wrong.)
In my estimation he wanted to hang it up, but his heart told him no. If his heart is as big as this change of events implies then he will go down as the best and not a “Tebow-induced blip” like I thought. Only time will tell.
Tune in Monday for more from the General!