Indianapolis deserves a championship. Indiana deserves a chamionship. We need a championship. I need a championship. And this Sunday, when the Colts win the Superbowl, I will have that championship.
The majority of sports fans in major cities are spoiled. New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and all the other meccas have countless professional sports championships. Indiana has none. Well, nothing since the days of the ABA. Personally, none of the teams that I route for have won it all since the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, and then I was too young and not educated enough to truly appreciate it. The fans of teams that have won multiple championships don't understand what it's like to bond with a small market team that has the odds against them. There's something special about that relationship; the bond between fan and team is stronger becuase it's based on hardship. With the big cities...it's like a relationship between a hot girl and a good looking guy. Sure, the physical attration is strong, and the sex is probably great, but do they really care about each other? Aren't they quicker to turn on each other when things aren't going well? Those weak relationships are headed for divorce, and who suffers there? That's right. The kids. Think about the children, you weak-minded sports fans! Think about the children!
I take pride in the struggles I have faced as a sports fan, and I use them as an analogy to my life. All the difficulties I face and hurdles I have to overcome will be worth it when success I finally meet success. It will be all the more sweeter. It's appropriate that Prince is the halftime entertainment for this Superbowl, because come Sunday night, I'll be partying like it's 1999.
Enough of this who deserve what talk. It's time to break down the game. Oh, I know Xs and Os. I know Xs and Os very much.
Bears fans are grasping at anything they can hold onto to say that they have an advantage in this game. The most common argument I'm hearing is that the Colts can't stop the running game. Well, I suppose these Bears fans haven't been paying as much attention to the Colts performances this season and postseason as I have...but then again, I'm a fan and have seen every game. Here's what has happened with the Colts D. They're used to big games in the playoffs. They're addicted to them. So, the regular season games just don't have the same appeal, and it's hard to exert the energy necessary in them when you're waiting for the playoffs. And defense is 80% heart. Add that to some major injuries during the season and you get one of the worst regular season run defenses in history. But now we're in the playoffs and fairly healthy.
In the playoffs, the Colts D has been a completely different animal. Bob Sanders is back (he was being saved for the playoffs) and the defense has a new attitude. In each of the past three playoff games, the Colts were supposed to get run over. Well, instead they stuffed it. Bottled it up. Shipped it Fed Ex. The experts say they can't explain it...well the experts should talk to me, because it's all clear as day over here.
And still! Still, the Bears fans say that the Colts can't stop the run! They say that the stats show that the Chiefs, the Ravens, and the Patriots didn't run enough, that those teams gave up on the run too soon. Did they? Did they really? I hear that the Colts offense was the reason why the Chiefs hardly had the ball and couldn't run. Let's look at that.
There is no debating that the Colts stuffed Larry Johnson. The reason the Colts had the ball so much is that the Chiefs went 3-and-out almost everytime after the Colts D stuffed the run twice and got an incompletion or sack. It was the defense that allowed the Colts offense to have the ball for that long.
I hear that the Ravens had success when they ran, but they just gave up on it too much. Well, the Ravens were playing from behind, and if you watched the game you should have seen that the Colts stopped the Ravens running game when it mattered. It's not about YPC (Yards Per Carry) and total yards (though these numbers were way below what the Colts surrendered on the season). It's about getting to third and long and forcing a pass. The Colts stopped the run when they had to and put the ball in McNair's hands...who then put it into Bethea's hands.
Third, let's look a little more in depth at the AFC Championship game. Bears fans are really harping on this game saying that the Patriots were killing the Colts with the run and simply gave up on it too soon. I admit that the Patriots running game started off well. The Patriots are one of the best teams in football, and they had a couple great drives to start the game. However, a huge chunk of their run production was on a huge run by Corey Dillon (35 yards). I've heard how you can't eliminate large runs when talking about YPC, but this situation is a little different. It was 4th and 1 from midfield, and the Colts stacked the line. In these situations, if the runner breaks the first tackle then he's going to go a long way. Both teams took a risk and the Colts got burnt. You have to discount judging the Colts run D a little on this play, though.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Colts run defense woke up. Check, check, check it out.
Look at all the negative runs. This is why New England stopped running. They were moving backwards. Here, check out the third quarter.
Besides the first Faulk run for 8 yards, the other two runs are negative. Both drives go 3-and-out. In the fourth quarter, the Patriots start off with one more negative run. Since halfway through the second quarter, every Patriots running play except for one went for negative yards. This is why Belichick starting passing every down, and so would any other coach that had a tired defense and knew that he had to move the ball to win the game.
Sure, if you look at the stats through hopeful Chicagoan eyes, it might appear that the Colts were not as successful at defending the run as they were. But it's about the flow of the game and not just blanket stats. The Colts are completely capable of shutting down the Bears running game.
The Colts should win this game. They will win this game. They better f'ing fucking win this game.