Some highlights from Aiden’s football season

Aiden Todd - Number 5

Aiden’s football season is over. He’s still practicing, helping the practice squad as the Center Grove Varsity Football team begins its quest to win another State title. And that’s important. But the Junior Varsity team’s season is over. So, for all practical purposes, Aiden’s season is done, too.

It’s really no secret that being a Sophomore on a team that has its share of upperclassmen makes it a challenge. So Aiden really hasn’t gotten as much playing time as he’s been used to having. That’s OK, though. Because he took advantage of the opportunities he had. Some people choose to sulk and complain about not getting very much playing time. And then they use that as an excuse for poor performance on the field (I’ve even heard some professional players do this). I’m happy to say that Aiden didn’t rely on excuses like that (even though it was probably tempting at times). He gave it his all, every time he was on the field.

In the final two games of the season, he was on the field a total of six plays. Like I said, this wasn’t really unexpected. But even though he wasn’t on the field very long, he had a huge impact on the games. Because within the span of just six plays, Aiden recovered a fumble and successfully defended a potential touchdown pass.

Earlier in the Summer, I asked my facebook friends to help come up with a nickname for Aiden since he was going to be wearing #5 this season. As you can see, we came up with a pretty good list.

I was partial to Red Five or Johnny Five, but those didn’t really gain much traction. When I presented the list to him, Aiden’s favorite was Five Finger Discount. Fitting, since he plays defense. Right? The problem was that it was such a long nickname that we never really used it.

We probably should have. Because he had a knack for robbing his opponents of the ball. Here’s some photographic evidence to support my claim.

Fumble Recovery

aiden-recovering-a-fumble

As this play unfolded, we saw commotion around the ball carrier. As you can see, #5 (aka Johnny Five aka Red Five aka Five Finger Discount) is about to jump into the heat of things. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a picture of what happened next. After the dust settled and the refs started peeling players off the dogpile, Aiden popped up and held the ball in the air.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if it was really Aiden or not. I mean, it looked like him and I was pretty sure it was #5 with the ball, but I didn’t see the ref say he had recovered the fumble. It was only after his name was announced over the PA system that he was, in fact, the one who came up with the ball, that everything caught up with me. It was a pretty cool moment to watch.

You could see that Aiden was excited about the fumble recovery as he bounced off the field. And that excitement didn’t fade throughout the rest of the game. Take another look at that photo at the very top of this post. I took it some 10-15 minutes after this game was over. He was still beaming. You can see it in the smirk on his face. I think he was trying to hide his excitement for the picture. Because, you know, serious football players aren’t supposed to smile (or something like that). But he really couldn’t.

From Five Finger Discount to “No Fly Zone.”

Before the final JV game of the season, Aiden said that he didn’t think he was going to have the chance to play. In the Varsity that took place the night before the JV game, Center Grove fought tooth and nail against Cathedral and wound up winning in overtime. It was a high scoring affair, but it was close throughout the game. That meant little room for any JV players to play on Friday night, which meant they would get more playing time during Saturday’s JV game. And that meant less opportunity for Aiden to play.

He did get to play, though. And again, he made the most of the opportunity. He probably saved a touchdown in the process. The opposing quarterback threw a deep, deep ball to his receiver, but #5 was there to break up the play.

aidens-almost-interception-detail

Aiden football highlights aidens-almost-interception-2 aidens-almost-interception-3 aidens-almost-interception-4

The crowd cheered. The team shouted. Some of his teammates called him “No Fly Zone.” Pretty cool stuff.

But here’s the thing: Aiden wasn’t happy about it. “I should have caught it,” he told me later. And he might be right. Although it looks like there could have been offensive pass interference on the play, he did have his hands on the ball. There’s a chance he could have caught it. But breaking up the pass the way he did? That was huge.

And he wasn’t satisfied with it.

You know, they say that football and other sports can make you a better student. After talking with Aiden about this play, I can see how that’s possible. He wasn’t happy with just a “good” play. He was kicking himself for missing the “great” play. It was only a matter of inches. That’s the difference between doing what’s “good enough” and what’s “excellent.” It can be the difference between getting an B+ and an A. And, of course, that can mean the difference between receiving a partial scholarship in college and earning a full-ride. So you shake off the past and keep working towards getting better.

Because sometimes it’s a matter of inches. That’s true in football. But it’s also true in life.

Hard work and dedication pay off. They don’t always result in accolades or recognition. Sometimes they don’t even result in a win. But you keep working. You keep trying. You keep pressing on and keep getting better. Sure, there will be difficulties. There will be obstacles. And there will probably be a failure or two (or more). But we keep going. That’s what makes a heart of a champion.

Regardless of what the scoreboard says.

What are you doing to become a champion today?

Thank you, Peyton.

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Thank You Peyton

I have been a Peyton Manning fan ever since I was in college. He was in college, too. We went to school less than two hours away from each other. Of course, he had no idea who I am. Never did. And that’s OK.

Because I sure knew who he was.

I remember when he announced he was sticking around the University of Tennessee for senior year. It was a big deal. And the news spread throughout East Tennessee like wildfire. I also remember hearing about the giant “Thank you, Peyton!” billboard that some Vol fans had installed.

Take Home a Piece of H18TORY - Shop for Exclusive Autographed Peyton Manning Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com

My dad was a fan of Tennessee football. So, naturally, I became a fan of Tennessee football. Growing up, I cheered for them (except when they played Indiana ). It was easy to continue cheering for Tennessee while I was at Milligan.  Continue reading “Thank you, Peyton.”

Aiden got to practice with champions

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Aiden Freshman Football Button

Aiden’s freshman season with Center Grove football has been over for around a month. He had a pretty good year on the freshman football team. He started off at Cornerback, but was moved to Safety halfway through the season. And he made an immediate impact.

Here he is in his first game as Safety on the freshman team:

Aiden interception at Lawrence CentralYup.

That’s right. It’s an interception.

He claims it was luck. The quarterback threw it right to him. I continue to remind him that while it might have been lucky that he was where the ball was going, he still needed to have the presence of mind to catch the ball and hold onto it. I think I’ve finally convinced him to stop saying it was a lucky play.

He grabbed another pick a few games later. It bounced off the receiver’s hands and he dove to catch it. Maybe all those games playing catcher in Cowan are still paying off.

Shop for official Indianapolis Colts fan gear and authentic collectibles at NFLShop.com

It was fun watching Aiden and the rest of the boys leave it all on the field every Saturday morning. Well….OK….getting him to school early in the morning every Saturday morning wasn’t exactly fun. But watching them play was fun. They went through some tough games. And they lost for the first time since seventh grade. There were definitely some growing pains. But they kept on playing their hearts out. And that was fun to watch.

Once the season was over, the freshman were invited to practice with the J/V and Varsity teams. Aiden jumped at the opportunity. So over the last month or so, he’s been participating in Center Grove’s practices as they prepared for their playoff push.

This play that sent the Trojans to Lucas Oil Stadium? It brought tears to Aiden’s eyes. If you don’t want to watch all of this video, you can just fast-forward to the 7:20 mark to see what I’m talking about.

Pretty cool. Right?

So we took a trip to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the mighty Center Grove Trojans take on the Penn Kingsman. Both teams were undefeated against teams from Indiana (Penn had lost to a team from Michigan).

Here they come! #GoTrojans #onemore

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Kevin and Caedmon came to watch, too. Aly and Aiden hung out in the Student Section during the game. That was totally fine with me. After the semistate win, I told Aiden that he needed to soak in this experience and that he couldn’t take it for granted. I know their school is a big school and the Trojans have a pretty good athletic program. But trips to the State championship are nothing to take for granted. After all, my alma mater’s football team hasn’t won a Regional championship.* Ever.

NFLShop.com - Customized NFL GearSo they watched and cheered from the Student Section. Caedmon and I cheered and yelled and clapped during every third down. Whenever the Trojans would stop their opponent on third down, we’d give each other high-fives. And if the Kingsmen happened to convert on third down, we’d vow to be louder next time. I had fun with him. I hope he did, too.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t really expect to be as emotionally involved in this game as I was. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, I’m still somewhat emotionally invested in my alma mater’s games. And I don’t know anyone who plays for any of their athletic teams. Over the season I’ve gotten to know some of Center Grove’s players and their parents. I was thrilled to watch these young men leave it all on the field and end the season as Indiana state champions.

Of course, in an effort to encourage Aiden (and Aly, too) to soak it all in because this could have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we drove down to the school for a post-game celebration. In many ways, it was like any post-game rally that you’ll see in the movies. Some speeches. Some clapping. Some cheering. The playing of the school song. Some more cheering. And then they played the song that they play after the Trojans score at home.

Some post game celebration. #GoTrojans #onemore #STATECHAMPS

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

I have to say, they played this song a lot this season. I think everyone knows the words to this song better than they know the fight song.

It was a great night to be a Trojan. Or the parent of a Torjan. Or a neighbor of a Trojan. It was a hard-fought football game with a fantastic conclusion. The slogan for this year’s football season was “One More.” It was fitting since they were one game short of making it to the State Finals last year. I think next year’s theme should be the same: “One More.” But this time, it’s because they’re hungry for a repeat.

That could be fun.

*In Indiana, the high school football playoffs break down like this: Sectionals >>Regionals>>Semistate>>State Championship. Center Grove is in the largest class in the state, 6A. There are 32 teams in this class.

Effortless Apple Nachos for an effortless meal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessMeals #CollectiveBias

Apple Nachos Recipe #EffortlessMeals #ad

I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but Fall is the season of controlled chaos around here. Well, I hope it’s controlled. Our three kids are enrolled at three different schools and their events seem to be stacked on top of each other. I’m working two jobs and Christy’s job requires a lot of prep at home. Homework demands, doctor appointments, and church commitments keep us on our toes. And in our free time, we’re usually taking Aiden to and from something football related. Yes, our lives are hectic. Sometimes it even feels like Christy and I are expected to be in three different places at the same time. In the midst of our family’s hustle and bustle, we still try to make sharing a meal together a top priority. That’s why I’m glad Walmart has effortless meals that are quick and easy. They’re the perfect meal for busy families like ours. Continue reading “Effortless Apple Nachos for an effortless meal”

Celebrating Bosse Field’s 100th anniversary!

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Bosse Field is 100 years old

I’ve been to sports facilities that just ooze history out of every corner. It’s a mystical, magical experience. Some say Bosse Field has that same kind of feel. There’s good reason for that.

Bosse Field is about to turn 100 years old.


It’s the third-oldest ballpark still in use in the United States. Only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are older. From concerts to an NFL team (ever hear of the Evansville Crimson Giants? Yeah, me neither. You learn something new every day.) to minor league baseball, Bosse Field has seen its share of memorable moments.
Bosse Field

I have a few personal memories of Bosse Field. Both are honestly pretty faint. I think I remember attending an All Star game for our t-ball league there. I also remember attending a Triplets game. Or maybe more. And I think I had one of their Knothole Gang shirts at one point.

Bosse Field is a place steeped in history. That made it the perfect setting for A League of Their Own. Although Madonna later said she wasn’t much of a fan of our fair city, the fact that A League of Their Own was filmed in Evansville was a source of great civic pride. In many ways, it still is.

Shop for thousands of 100% authentic autographed sports collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comI still puff out my chest a little bit whenever I talk about the movie. I’m always quick to inform people that it was filmed in my hometown. And that Uncle Dale took Grandmama to the filming of the final scenes. They needed extras dressed in 1940s attire to fill the stands for the championship game. I have other friends that were there that day, too. Every time I watch the movie, I scan the crowd to see if I can find anyone I know. I haven’t been able to find anyone yet. But I’m sure I will someday.

I remember riding in the car with my Aunt Patsy one evening. A limo pulled beside us while we were heading down Morgan Avenue. “What if that’s one of the cast from that movie they’re filming here – the one about girls’ baseball?” we said to ourselves. Then a window rolled down and a hand reached out and waved at us. Aunt Patsy was convinced that it was Tom Hanks. I’m still not convinced.

Fortunately, Mr. Hanks doesn’t think Evansville is the equivalent of Prague.

So in honor of Bosse Field’s 100th anniversary, I’m going to be introducing my kids to A League of Their Own. Of course we’ll have peanuts and cracker jack. And since the Rockford Peaches play such a prominent role in the film, we’re gonna have an old favorite of mine from my Scouting days: Simple Peach Cobbler a la mode.

What? I haven’t shared this fabulous recipe yet? That’s a travesty. I’ll have to do that very soon. But for now, you’ll have to wait. But don’t cry about it while you wait.

Because there’s no crying in baseball.

If you’re looking for smoe pretty cool memorabilia from A League of Their Own, check out this link:Movie Collectibles and Memorabilia. They also have some pretty cool All American Girls Professional Baseball League memorabilia, too.

The 2014 Matty Awards

The ballots have been cast. The votes have been tallied. They winners are about to be revealed.

That’s right, friends! It’s time for the annual release of the Matty Awards! I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat in anticipation of this year’s announcement. This is, after all, a highly coveted award. It’s right up there with The Old Man’s fragile Leg Lamp.

So here’s this years winners in all their glory. But before I announce them, please note that the links included are affiliate links. If you happen to buy any of these fine products, a small portion of the profits will go back to me. And that helps keep this blog up and running. Thank you for your continued support!

Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, I’m pleased to present the 2014 Matty Award recipients.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2014 Matty Awards

Best Movie


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I think the second Captain America is my favorite installment in the Marvel series so far. Of course, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Some say it’s even better than Winter Soldier. That’s a pretty tall order. I plan on finding out soon if this is a valid claim or not.

Best Album


Andrew Peterson, “After All These Years: A Collection

Andrew Peterson is no stranger to this award. In fact, his album, Behold the Lamb, won the award for Best Album in the inaugural appearance of this award (back when it was called the Ralphies).

This is not your typical “best of” or “greatest hits” album. There are some new songs mixed in with the old ones. And the old ones have been redone. It’s like Andrew Peterson is covering Andrew Peterson on this album (or something like that). While I love every song on this album, I’m especially fond of the second half.

Best Song

I think this category is going to be handed over to my kids. Permanently.

Here are their choices…

Aiden


Lecrae, “Nuthin”
from the album, Anomaly

Alyson


One Direction, “Girl Almighty”
from the album, Four

Mihret


“Let it Go”
from the Frozen soundtrack

I know. Mihret’s choice is a shock. Isn’t it?

A #Frozen #selfie with Olaf. #Christmas2014

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Best Book (nonfiction)


Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmul

Not only is this the story of the creation of Pixar and the resurrection of Disney Animation, but it also talks about how to be a creative organization. This is a must-read for any fan of Pixar, Disney, or Steve Jobs. It might even be a must-read for fans of Industrial Light and Magic. It’s also a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about leadership, management, creativity, teamwork, or storytelling.

The chapter about failure is worth the price of admission alone. It’s completely contrary to what I’ve experienced in the corporate world.

Best Book (fiction)


The Warden and the Wolf King
by Andrew Peterson

No, this hasn’t become the Andrew Peterson Awards Show or anything like that. I managed to read some good works fiction this year. The Warden and the Wolf King is the best work of fiction I’ve read in a long time. I laughed. I cheered. I cried. I couldn’t put the book down. It is a fitting end to the Wingfeather Saga.

Best TV Show

Still retired. I have one show that I’d like to name, but I don’t want to jinx it. It seems like every show that wins this award is canceled shortly afterward. So I’ll keep my choice to myself because I kind of like watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

oops.

Best Sports Moment

Aiden Todd, North Middle School

I didn’t write about this when it happened. And it was one of the few times I didn’t have the camera ready when Aiden was on the football field this season, but the best sports moment, by far, has to be the interception he got during one of his games. Hopefully it’s only the first of many in his career. Although I don’t have a video or a photo of his interception, here’s a little video I put together while playing around with flipagram.

 

Best Blog

DorkDaddy
Dork Daddy
I mean, the guy is raising his kids in the ways of the Geek. And he and his family dressed up like characters from The Princess Bride this Halloween. And he even took his kids to meet Wesley himself. That makes for an awesome dad. And an awesome blog.

I could probably also give the award to Indy with Kids and Geeking in Indiana, too. But they’d be repeat winners. And we’ve already had repeat winners this year. Besides, they’ll probably win next year, too. Because they’re pretty awesome people with some pretty cool blogs, too.

Now it’s your turn! What books, movies, etc. are on YOUR list for 2014?

Cheering up a friend with some game day food

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Game Day Food #TeamJellO

If you have spent any amount of time on this blog, you know that I’m an avid college sports enthusiast. I’m particularly fond of a particular team that wears cream and crimson and is located not too far from my home. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to this team. I understand what it means to be passionate about your favorite college team. That’s why my heart went out to our family friends when they had to face a very difficult sports-related decision. I’m hoping to use a Jell-O University Mold Kit to create some amazing tailgating food that will surely help ease this family’s pain.

Hook'em Jiggler #TeamJellO

My friends are die-hard fans of the Texas Longhorns. Just as I would bleed cream and crimson if you were to cut me, I am convinced that family would bleed burnt orange. As you would expect, this devotion to the Longhorns also means a certain dislike for their favorite team’s arch rival. I can understand that. I’m not a fan of the other major state school in Indiana – the one that wears black and gold. And don’t get me started on that blue and white team from the state to our south.

This rivalry between the Longhorns and that other in-state team that happens to wear maroon has been brewing for more than a hundred years. It runs deep. Very deep. So you can imagine the disappointment when my friend’s youngest son came home from his instructional league football practice with the news that their team is going to be that very same rival team. My friend’s son is going to have to wear maroon all season long.

As you might expect, they are heartbroken. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our friends are torn. What do they do? How do they support their son without compromising their beliefs and betraying all that they have held dear? How do they show that they love him even though they cannot imagine cheering for the maroon team all season long? I do not envy their position. I’m glad I never had to make such a decision with my kids and their instructional league teams. I did come pretty close to such a conundrum when my son was on a certain baseball team from the New England area, but that wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as this. While I cannot help them navigate the ins and outs of what colors they should wear (I can’t imagine them wearing anything maroon – ever) and when to cheer at their son’s games, I can be there for them. I can support them. I can bring a smile on their face.

Just in time for the football season, the new Jell-O Jigglers University Mold Kits make an awesome addition to any die-hard fan’s tailgating arsenal. I went to Walmart.com and bought the Hook’em University of Texas kit. These kits are available for 20 of the major collegiate athletics programs around the country. They can be found in store for your local university team, but since Austin, Texas, is more than a thousand miles away from central Indiana, it made a whole lot more sense to have them ship the kit to me.

Walmart #TeamJello screenshot

The kit arrived a few days later and I quickly went to work. This family was down on their luck. They needed some serious cheering up. This was a job for some Jell-O pie and University of Texas Jigglers.

Making the Hook’em Jigglers

Hook'em Jigglers University Mold Kit #TeamJellO

Shaped like the head of a Longhorn, these Jigglers were extremely easy to make. You simply spray the mold tray, mix the Jell-O in a bowl with some boiling water, and then pour the mix into the molds. It’s really as simple as that. The hardest part is the wait. You need to let them cool for three hours before you do anything with them. Since I love orange Jell-O, this was a challenge. But I toughed it out.

Making the Jell-O Pie

Jell-O Pie #TeamJello

While the Jigglers were cooling, I went about making the Jell-O Pie. It’s so silky and smooth and tasty, you’d think it took some serious culinary skill to create such a masterpiece. Fortunately for me, it was as easy as…well…as easy as pie. Here’s what you do to make a Jell-O pie:

Ingredients

  • 1 Pie crust. Baked. You can make your own from scratch if you’d like, but the premade, frozen variety works fine, too.
  • 1 Pint of vanilla ice cream. Softened.
  • 1 Box of Orange Jell-O mix. You can use any flavor mix that you’d like. I used orange because the Longhorns are orange and it just made sense.
  • 1 1/4 cup of boiling water.
  • 4 ounces (approximately) of whipped topping
  • 10 Jigglers

Directions

  1. Combine softened ice cream, Jell-O mix, and boiling water into a bowl. Stir until mixed through.
  2. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
  3. Place pie in the refrigerator. Allow it to cool.
  4. Once it has cooled, add a layer of whipped topping.
  5. After your Jigglers have finished cooling, use them to decorate the top of the pie.

See? It’s amazingly simple. It might be a little time consuming, but it is definitely worth the wait!

Jell-O Pie with Jigglers #TeamJellO

I can’t wait to take these to my friends’ house. They’re going to love sharing their Texas Longhorns school spirit together! Even though they might have to endure the maroon for a short time, all of them are Longhorns to the core. This Jell-O pie and these Hook’em Jigglers are sure to knock their socks off!

Game winning combination #TeamJellO

The Hook’em University Mold Kit and Jell-O pie are a game-winning combination!

 

Game time heroics with DiGiorno pizza

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

It’s no secret that our family loves football. We try to watch it every chance we get. We love the big-time hits and the big-time plays. When the game is on the line, it’s exciting to see who steps up to become the game time hero. We love it when that one moment happens where the momentum of the game completely shifts. And it usually happens because of someone’s heroic efforts. And when that heroic moment occurs, the game is remembered as one for the record books.

The same is true with parties. Whether you’re tailgating or having a party at home to watch the big game, it doesn’t become memorable until the hero shows up with some amazing food. When we watched last week’s football games, we wanted to make it an amazing, memorable experience for the family. In order for that to happen, we needed some amazing, memorable food. Pizza Hero #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizzas at Walmart #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbiasSo I put on my hero cape and headed to our local Walmart.

I stocked up on soft drinks, chips and dip, pretzels and mini corndogs (per the kids’ request). I also stocked up on some Rising Crust DiGiorno pizzas. With a rollback price of $4.50 a pizza, it was a pretty fabulous price. I know my pizza. I spent several years working in the pizza industry. I know that you can’t possibly get a deal close to this when you order delivery. This is a great deal for a high quality pizza.

You might even say it was a heroic deal.

Shopping cart at Walmart #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

So I went straight to the frozen foods section at the back of the store and grabbed a Three Meat pizza for me and Aiden. For the girls, I bought a Four Cheese pizza. I also snuck in a Spinach Garlic Mushroom pizza for Christy. OK. I got it for myself, too. I had never had their Spinach Garlic Mushroom pizza  before. Most people in my family think I don’t like mushrooms. And as a general rule, that’s true. But I really liked this pizza. Three Meat will always be my favorite, but I have to admit I was kind of looking forward to trying the mushroom and spinach pizza.

With a kitchen full of game time goodies we were finally ready for our football party. We couldn’t wait for Sunday afternoon. About 45 minutes before game time, I fired up the oven.

The end result was a hot, bubbly, amazing pie that would put most other pizzas to shame.

DiGiorno Rising Crust Three Meat Pizza #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

We had a great time watching football and eating some fabulous game time goodies. The day was full of heroes – on and off the field.

Aiden Hero #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias Mihret to the rescue #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

Why I’m glad Peyton is no longer a Colt

Peyton Manning conducting Rocky Top at Neyland Stadium
image via Washington Post

I’ve been a fan of Petyon Manning’s since we lived in the long, orange shadow of the Vols while he was playing for Tennessee. I was excited that he was drafted by the Colts. I, like the rest of Indianapolis, was sad to watch this press conference not too long ago:

Apparently, some people still think that Irsay made the wrong call. Some people think that Manning should still be a Colt.

While I wish Peyton was still wearing the Blue Horseshoe, I’m glad he is no longer playing for Indianapolis. I have 41 reasons why. Some of them are pretty vicious.

Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Vikings
image via TwinCities.com
Andrew Luck sacked by the Bears
image via NY Daily News
Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Redskins
image via Washington Post

Mr. Luck spent a lot of time on the ground last year. Peyton Manning playing behind that kind of “protection” could have led been career-ending. Watch that video again and imagine #18 getting hit like that. I realize and appreciate how violent football can be. I realize that Manning got hit in Denver last year. But he didn’t get hit as much as Luck did. He was only sacked 21 times.

In case Skip Bayless didn’t know, that’s twenty fewer sacks than the Colts offensive line allowed. Getting hit like that can take its toll on the body. And remember – no one really knew how Peyton’s neck was going to hold up last year.

I’m glad Peyton landed on his feet. I’m glad he’s shattering all those records in Denver. I hope he keeps doing well. And there will always be part of me that wishes he was still a Colt. But not after last season. Because I’m not entirely sure he would have survived last season. The way that O-line played last year, Mr. Manning could still be a former Colt.

I’m much happier seeing him on the field instead of out of the game altogether. That being said, it’s still going to be tough watching the Colts hit him (assuming, of course, they can get to the quarterback – something they couldn’t do last night).

You might disagree with me. You still might think it was a terrible decision to cut ties with #18. That’s OK. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Unless you’re Skip Bayless.