December 2005

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Colts Family Values

The Indianapolis Colts won impressively on Monday Night to improve their record to 11-0. After destroying a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team, now is the time to start seriously thinking about a “Perfect Season”. During the 40 years that comprise the Super Bowl Era, only five other teams have started with 11 wins and four of them became Super Bowl Champions. The Colts certainly have a chance at getting a ring, but they have an opportunity to do something much more special: to have a season to bring generations together by making history.

 

Sports Bonds Us

Sports create a common bond for many of us with our parents, our friends and our children. It’s a unique part of our culture both in America and Internationally, but especially here. We play sports, talk sports and live sports. The best part about it though is how it brings the young and old together through shared experience and understanding.

 

Over Thanksgiving dinner I was sharing a story about my Grandfather, Ben, and one of my last memories of him. We were visiting Pittsburgh in the late Summer of 1973. While watching the Pirates on TV there were tons of commercials for Steelers season tickets. Of course, they each featured the “Immaculate Reception” by Franco Harris against the Raiders that led to the Steelers first playoff win. That play was one of the special moments in sports history and it was shared by everybody, especially my grandfather and me, even though we lived 3,000 miles apart and we were separated by many years in age.

 

My oldest son Benji (named after my grandfather Ben) and his friends at school have started talking about the

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Coach’s Corner, Continued

 
Colts and their unbeaten streak. Of course, since kids love a winner, Peyton Manning is incredible, and we don’t have an NFL team in Los Angeles, many of the kids have become temporary Colts fans. We’ve started talking about the ’72 Dolphins and remembering Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, the incomparable Mercury Morris, Nick Buonticonti and the rest of the “No Name” defense. I lived in Miami in 1972 and I was the same age that Benji is now when the Colts have a chance to make a similar run. We played “Madden ‘06” and used the historic teams (EA Sports really needs to start using the correct names and numbers for those players). Talking about these stories, great teams and shared experiences is part of what makes sports great.

 

What the Colts are doing now is historic. While going undefeated to a Super Bowl win doesn’t make them the greatest team ever, it would absolutely make them one of the most memorable and storied teams to ever take the field. Can you name the winner of Super Bowl VII, XX, XXVI or XXXIII? The answers are: the Dolphins, Bears, Redskins and Broncos – the four teams to start a season 11-0 and win the Super Bowl (In 1984, the Dolphins also started 11-0 but lost in the playoffs). While I doubt that anybody named all four of those Super Bowl Champions, almost everybody could say that the 1972 Dolphins went a perfect 17-0 to become the only NFL team to win every game they played. Watching this season develop can be a very special experience that we will all share across generations. No matter who we root for, we should all be able to appreciate the significance of a special season (except for maybe some people who still live in Baltimore).

 

Can the Colts Do it?

Yes, the Colts are the best team in football. As history shows, it’s almost impossible to not have a bad game and slip up, but the Colts clearly have the ability to run the table. Indianapolis has had a dominate offense for years. The best offense in the NFL features Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley, but the defense is also now one of the best in the league. Tony Dungy has always been a strong defensive coach and he has turned the defense that was rated 29th in the league last season into a unit thanks ranks behind only the Bears in points allowed and fourth in the NFL in yards. The off-season addition of Corey Simon teamed with talented rookie Marlin Jackson and potential Defensive MVP Dwight Freeney have collectively created a dynamic unit that balances the Colts potent offense.

 

There are five regular season games to go and then the playoffs. Let’s take a look at the games:

 

December 4, Titans – The Titans can be a scary team when Steve McNair is healthy, but he rarely is and won’t be again this Sunday. The Titans can’t match up against the Colts and only a mental letdown can be an issue here. Colts win easily to go 12-0.

 

December 11, at Jaguars – The injury to QB Byron Leftwich dramatically changes the complexion of this game which looked like a potential hurdle. While David Gerrard is a solid backup and Jacksonville is a tough place to play, the Colts will win this game to go 13-0.

 

December 18, Chargers – Every week is a must win situation for San Diego as a few early season losses have put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. The Chargers may be the 2nd best team in the NFL and they have certainly played the toughest schedule. While the Chargers have everything to play for and the Colts may have already wrapped up the Division, this game will be

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Coach’s Corner, Continued


played in the RCA Dome and the potential for a playoff rematch makes this a big game for both teams. In a close game and high scoring game, the home field advantage is enough for the Colts to win this one and extend their record to 14-0.

 

December 24, at Seattle – This now looks like the toughest remaining game because it’s on the road and the Seahawks may be the best team in the NFC. Of course, being the best team in the NFC this year may make them only the 5th or 6th best in the NFL, but that’s another story. By week 15, this game may be meaningless to both teams as far as playoff standings go, but it doesn’t minimize the implications of the game for a perfect season or as a potential Super Bowl preview. Shaun Alexander is having an MVP-type season and will match up against the Colts MVP candidate, Edgerrin James. This is another shootout, but the Colts defense is better than Seattle and the Colts win a tight one on the road to go 15-0.

 

January 1, Arizona – On paper this looks like a mismatch against the currently 3-8 Cardinals. However, Tony Dungy has repeatedly said that the goal is to win the Super Bowl and not to go 19-0. The ’72 Dolphins playoff motto was: “It don’t mean a thing if we don’t get the ring”. While that is certainly true, immortality is worth striving for and it doesn’t need to be a choice of going undefeated or winning the Super Bowl. It’s certainly possible to do both and then the 2005 Colts will be mentioned as one of the greatest teams ever. No player ever feels like they’re going to get hurt, but it is possible and the “second guessing” if a key player is lost for the playoffs and costs the championship would be unbearable. Last year, the Colts rested their players the last regular season game against the Broncos after winning 8 straight. If they had won that game they’d have 20 consecutive regular season wins besting the Patriots record of 18. Therefore, the biggest obstacle to a perfect season isn’t Arizona, but Tony Dungy. Something this historic and special is worth the risk and the Colts didn’t win last year by resting. Knowing that the Colts will have a first round playoff bye, I think Coach Dungy will play the stars long enough to ice this game and close out the season 16-0.

 

The playoffs are always up for grabs, but the Colts have the best offensive unit in the NFL and a top rated defense. Indianapolis will be the favorite against any team, have home field advantage for the playoffs and the Super Bowl is inside a dome (Detroit’s Ford Field). The Colts have everything lining up perfectly to become a special team that can bring together generations.

 

Special Teams

A special team needs to be recognized and appreciated. Now, you may hate a dominate team as a rival, but you still can appreciate the accomplishment. While an NCAA football team usually can go undefeated each season, the current USC Trojan football team is reaching historic levels and can become the greatest team ever (measured by consecutive wins) next year by passing Oklahoma’s 48 game streak. John Wooden’s UCLA teams, the great Yankees dynasties, the Bulls, Lakers, Cowboys and so many other great teams have all brought us together.

 

We need to be able to see the joy of being part of special teams on the youth level because they simply don’t come along very often. When you, your children or others around you, even in the lowest levels of youth sports play on a championship team, especially a team that goes undefeated; enjoy it. As the ’72 Miami Dolphins have shown you, it’s certainly not easy. From professional sports down to the community level, the Colts can inspire us all again to reach across generations for shared experiences. Treasure and enjoy the unique moments in sports and being part of a special team.
 

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December
Trivia Test 

 

We’ve got great Trivia for all levels  – try a few:

 

1) Who holds the record for most sacks in the postseason?

A)      Bruce Smith

B)      Lawrence Taylor

C)      Reggie White

D)      Joe Green

2) Jim Brown is considered one of the greatest running backs ever - holding the record for rushing yards for many years. How old was he when he retired from football?

A)      29

B)      30

C)      31

D)      32

3) Which NFL team was the first to have all of its games on television?

A)      Giants

B)      Rams

C)      Colts

D)      49ers

4) Now 300 pounders in the NFL are common, but not when William "Refridgerator" Perry played for the Bears. What was Perry`s listed playing weight when the Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985?

A)      320

B)      330

C)      340

D)      350

5) When Gale Sayers tied the NFL record for touchdowns against the 49ers in 1965, how did he score his 6th TD?

A)      Kickoff Return

B)      Pass

C)      Run

D)      Punt Return

 

There are trivia games in general sports, baseball, football, hockey and basketball in three different skill levels. Test your sports skills against kids around the world in the SportsKids Game Section.

  

Answers: 1) A    2) B    3) B    4) C   5) D

 
December Sports poll

 

1)      Are you a sports fan?

-          Not Really

-          I follow sports some, but it’s no biggie

-          Yes, I’m a fan

-          Live it, Love it!

 

2)      Do you feel sports connect generations?

-          Yes, no question about it

-          No, not really

-          I’ve seen it, but not for me

 

3)      Have you ever been part of a championship team that went undefeated?

-          Yes

-          No

 

4)      Will the Colts win the Super Bowl with a perfect 19-0 record?

-          Yes

-          No

 

Last month’s Poll results: 

1) Did the Eagles do the right think in suspending TO?

-          Yes (76.92%)

-          No (19.23%)

 

2)      If you were an NFL GM, would you offer TO a contract to play for your team?

-          Yes (34.62%)

-          No (61.54%)

 

3)      Which team will TO play for in 2006?

-          None, he’s done! (19.23%)

-          New York Jets (11.54%)

-          Atlanta Falcons (23.08%)

-          Denver Broncos (10.58%)

-          Minnesota Vikings (9.62%)

-          Other (25.96%)

 

Cast your vote on these and other sports polls at SportsKids.com