The Set List

With hardcore blues music on my mind, allow me to polish off a few topics as we turn over the night into the new morning.  Midnight means one thing for me.  Get things off my chest.  Here we go.  

Peyton Manning Revisited

This afternoon and evening I had a well played battle with a good friend over The Manning effect.   There wasn’t a ton of fighting over the Colts decision.  The majority was spent jostling over the idea of Manning’s absence playing a decent part in the Colts 2-14 dud of a season in 2011.  This was a good time and always will be.  Standing by your point and defending it with vigor and passion. That’s freedom.   How does a team go from a playoff contender to holding the top draft pick inside one season when losing only one key player?   The Peyton effect everyone.   I am a Manning fan, but this can be seen from miles away.   Let’s review a few things and hit this one more time.

1.)The Colts put themselves in this position by giving Manning the 5 year/90 million dollar contract after a major neck surgery.  Any surgery with the neck is major.  Why give him 5 years at that kind of cash when his status was in question?  Manning couldn’t have asked for that deal or firmly requested it.  I agree that the 28 million dollar bonus and long term contract had to go.  However, why not create a new 2-3 year deal?  Trust me.   Quarterback wasn’t your problem, as seen in the difference in 2011 from 2010 and the 12 seasons before it.  Manning has gas left in the tank, something to prove and another ring to attain before he quits.  Why let him do it elsewhere?  I can understand the decision by Colts owner Jim Isray.  I just don’t like it and more importantly, I don’t agree with it.

2.)The Colts also didn’t bother to draft/trade for a resemblance of a backup quarterback or successor to Peyton until running into Andrew Luck.   Drafting Luck is smart.  Dropping Peyton and throwing Luck to the wolves right away isn’t the right move.   This is a QB driven league.  Manning is a hall of fame quarterback and arguably the best technically sound mind behind center of all time.  He has plenty to teach a kid.  Why not groom Luck and build around Manning’s last hurrah and get set for Luck ball?   Your problems lie on defense and your offensive line, so why make the big change at QB so soon?  Questions is all I have.  The decision was understandable but didn’t make much sense.  Money isn’t a problem because you can restructure.

3.)Manning was a difference maker in his time as the leader and face of the team.   I have been told there is no logic to my statement that Manning’s absence had a lot to do with the Colts downfall in 2011.   I can see it from a distance.   Manning leads Colts to 9 playoff appearances, 2 Super Bowl appearances, gets 4 MVPs, a Super Bowl MVP, and gives the team an annual chance to crack the playoffs and he goes down and the team record falls to 2-14.  There are variables involved all around the team but the biggest one is Manning missing.   He is a special kind of quarterback.   Why else would Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark all have off years?(trust me,  I know, I had all three on my fantasy team).   Manning made them great and without him, they faltered as well.  The team performance was due to a few things, but the offensive collapse points directly to the missing presence of the man who called all the plays himself, designed the playbook, paid the offensive coordinator’s check and orchestrated the action.  Peyton did all of that on a weekly basis.   How is that not the biggest effect from a team that averaged 12 wins from 2002 to 2010 and went 2-14 in 2011?  The Colts won 13 games in 2007, 12 games in 2008, 14 wins in 2009, and 10 in 2010.  The Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006 and returned in 2009, beating the Ravens and Jets to get there before losing to Drew Brees and the Saints.   They lost to the Jets last year in the Wild Card round.  Why release a player who has brought all that success to your franchise as recent as 2010?  That is my problem.   Peyton Manning wasn’t your problem, so why release him?    There is logic here.   Mostly, it’s just an opinion.   This isn’t like the Rams playing horrible football and deciding to start a rebuild by drafting Sam Bradford.  The Rams have been bad since 2005 and need more than a quarterback.  They had no quarterback.  How many GM”s or Owners would let Peyton Manning walk?     The move will have an effect on the league.  Manning has stated he will make his choice in the coming week and I think it will be Seattle.  They are willing to pay for the Manning-Reggie Wayne free agent combo and need a quarterback desperately.  Pete Carroll will cream his pants and love the last piece of the puzzle.  The NFC West is a weak place and Peyton can easily win here.  He doesn’t want to play for Washington and play Eli twice a season.  He can meet him in the playoffs instead and settle a score.  Denver is a wild card selection but they have Tebow Nation.  Seattle is Manning’s destination.    Jim Isray can only hope he made the right move.   He’s letting over 110 wins, 54000 passing yards, 399 touchdowns, 4 MVPs and a Super Bowl winner walk away with gas left in the tank?

Blues Continue to Rock at Home/Take Over NHL Lead

After a 6-1 road trip, the Blues come home and embarrass the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 before beating the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night 3-1.   David Backes becomes the team’s first 20 goal scorer and Andy McDonald adds another nifty no look pass to his resume.   The Blues move into first place overall in the NHL with a Rangers loss.   For one night, the Blues are in first place.  It is March 9th.  That’s the most impressive thing.  The Blues have enjoyed great success under Ken Hitchcock even with a tough wrath of injuries.   David Perron and McDonald missed a portion of the season early on with concussions.   Matt D’Dgostini, Alex Steen and Kris Russell are out with concussions right now.  Steen has missed over 30 games.   Jamie Langenbrunner is out with a broken foot.  Kent Huskins is nursing a sprained hand.  The Blues have been hurting all season and still managing to consistently stay in the hunt for the top 3 spots in the entire league.  Blues fans, this team may be for real.  It’s still a surreal feeling to watch this team play so well, so dominant and manage to win big games.  They have won 28 games at home and are getting close to 100 points.  Exciting.

Ryan Braun Isn’t Innocent

Let’s get something straight.  Ryan Braun isn’t innocent and never was ruled innocent.  Anyone who has paid attention to any legal system understands its many flaws.   Ryan Braun was found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and given a 50 game suspension.  He appealed and the arbitrator found that the MLB policy was violated by the testing party.  After obtaining the sample, the tester left it in his office over the weekend instead of sending it out right away.   Therefore, Braun’s lawyers found a loophole in the policy, stated the sitting sample over a period of days as a violation and used it as a means to get the player away clean.   In a more severe case, this would be like lawyers getting a man off for robbery.   The lawyers stated that the sample could have been tampered with during the period it was on the desk in the office.   Braun isn’t innocent and was never found innocent.   A bad part of my wording last week was stating Braun was proven innocent.  The reality is he never got away clean.  He simply got off and will slip back into baseball.  The Brewers need him for star power and MLB gets the message and won’t push the case.  As anything in life, it all is about money and Braun means too much.      MLB only chases down ex-stars so he is safe.  He just isn’t considered clean anymore.

Matt Adams Hype Needs to Slow Down

Sure, the kid has cranked 2 hits this first week of spring training action.   Let’s not jump to ridiculous conclusions.   Adams has power and will see plenty of action in the minors in 2012 but that will be all.   Every time some young player starts cranking long balls and there is a spot open on the roster in two years, fans go nuts.   Adams is a big kid and has talent, so lets see how it all plays out.  His defense isn’t good, so he will play first base.   He may come up big in 2013 or 2014.  Pitt him against Memphis pitching and see how he fares.   I love a load of hype as much as the next guy but this is way premature.   Just because Albert is gone doesn’t mean we have to start sucking a minor league power bat’s dick just yet.

Speaking of Albert Pujols, we will see a lot of him in red this season on ESPN and FOX.   He stayed out of the NL but he couldn’t stay away from the color red.  It just doesn’t look right.   This transition will probably take awhile.

While the Oscars sucked and few films made my balls tingle in 2011, The Town still ranks as one of the best films in recent memory.   Ben Affleck’s ode to his hometown in bank robber central Charlestown, Ma was so authentic, well done, action packed, and contained stellar acting and pacing.   It was a cops/robbers classic.  Affleck was great as Doug McRay, the criminal seeking a different life and the supporting cast was genuinely excellent, especially Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, and Rebecca Hall.   The Town was old school cool and a modern classic at the same time.  Affleck knows how to make Boston crime drams and this was genuine.   On Tuesday, a special collector’s edition was released and it features a new documentary, 34 extra minutes of film, storybooks, FBI files on the crew and other goodies.   I am a sucker for behind the scenes porn and finding out how a film got from point A to Z.   This will be in my collection.

Archer is a underrated classic on FX.  A dry hilarious James Bond spoof masquerading as a  regular comedy scores high because of its crude subjects matters and the lead character’s complete disdain for authority.     Think of James Bond in comedy mode.   Archer is a funny series and the key is Jon Benjamin’s great work in the lead role.   Voice work is tricky and he nails it cold.

While Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao find ways to not fight each other, there are fights out there.   Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto climb back into the ring in a month to settle a close first fight that Ortiz won by decision.   Sergio Martinez is fighting a bum on HBO on Sunday.  Canelo Alvarez, the young Mexican fighter with gun barrels for firsts, is going to promptly end Shane Mosley’s career before The Mayweather Jr./Cotto fight.   Pacquaio deals with the undefeatred yet beatable Timothy Bradley.   I am up for a good fight anytime.

As I sign off here, I crank up the Black Keys early heavy blues album, The Big Come Up.   These guys are a apecial brand of musician and show it in the studio and on stage.   When I see them at Chaifetz Arena on April 27th, I will be looking for them to put a little gold on the ceiling.  You can slowly fall asleep to this music not because it puts you to sleep but gives you the knowledge that you are listening to greatness.   Here’s a track off the Big Come Up called “Leavin Trunk”.  Listen for the nasty good hard guitar entrance the song throws at you.

That’s it.  I must go now because I am tired as hell and need sleep, as in my eyes are closing and the hands are flat lining.   Thanks for reading and don’t forget about the new website my friends and I are starting,   Go there, enter your email and start getting newsletters and movie updates on May 4th.   2012 could be an exciting year.



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