Come on, you didn't think I'd let the weekend arrive without overwhelming y'all with yet another opinion on the game of the week, did you?
Pats-Colts: The only game that will be more scrutinized and overexposed this year is the Super Bowl. Are you sick of it yet? Huh? If not, I'm here to push you over the edge so far that the only way you'll clear your head is to immediately Google something about David Beckham.
But you have to understand ... what else am I going to write about?
A kicker going Brian Cox on a crowd? Nah. Too "Brian Cox, 1990s."
The John Kitna Halloween costume situation? Too funny! I mean when was the last time you saw a uber born-again QB reach into the satire bucket and pull out a doozy like that? Actually, you know what? On my way to Colts-Pats I will digress on this one ...
I know Kitna's caught some grief, but I couldn't love the guy more now. If you missed it, he and his wife had some Halloween costume fun with one of the more embarrassing coach moments in recent history -- Lions' assistant Joe Cullen cruising through a fast-food drive through inebriated ... and nude. A situation that is now under control -- a safe assumption, seeing that Cullen is still employed. You don't keep your gig after a move like that unless you worked through a few things and got some big time organizational support, and what more proof of survival do you need than your starting QB having some fun with you?
Outraged outsiders probably don't realize that a locker room is mean and mocking place -- much like the TV writing rooms I work in (barring a strike -- more on that next week). Nothing is sacred, everyone gets hit, weaknesses are dissected -- it's part of the esprit de corps. I know in my line of work, you better have a thick skin and be able to handle dark, gallows humor on a daily basis.
Case in point, I worked on a talk show back in the '90s with a hungry, young writing staff that, in hindsight, looks like murderer's row today. Virtually every young guy getting union scale on that staff has gone on to big things -- creating hit TV shows, hit movies -- long, high-impact careers. It was a stridently funny and critical environment. It's the way it is -- you don't assemble a group of joke writers, put them in a small room together, and expect them to act like Chip 'N Dale. You really had to know the room, or you were dead man walking.
Which brings me to the show's producer -- a short, balding lawn dwarf inexplicably endowed with the patina of power. He made his bones producing award shows and music specials, and had risen to a point of power where he was rarely challenged. Now, mind you, back in the early '90s bald dudes were fond of pulling their side hair back into a new wave ponytail, which he did, but okay, no harm, no foul ... until the day he walked into the writer's office sporting a big, fluffy hair piece on his head ... and made the fatal error of not copping to it immediately.
Uproarious laughter and a thousand "Hey, Daniel Boone called -- he wants his hat back" jokes flowed, and this cat was truly shocked and outraged. He honestly thought he'd get away with it! Talk about not knowing the room. Needless to say, it spoke of a ... disconnect between his sensibilities and a working comedy show. He was replaced a month later.
If you can't take a joke, you aren't going to last long. And if you want to scold Kitna, then you don't know the room, either.
Now, where was I?
Oh yeah ... New England @ Indy: A matchup so compelling, the honest among us might even admit it eclipses the game our favorite team is playing this Sunday. The way the Pats are rolling, every team is suddenly a have-not, even playoff teams, which means the real have-nots have fallen so far below the parity line that a bleak "we don't have a shot" feeling pervades.
And it's all thanks to New England's lack of mercy. It's not good enough to merely win, your enemy must be humiliated. It brings to mind a great, crazy, heightened line of dialogue from the original Conan movie, starring the Governator:
Genghis Kahn: "What is best in life?"
Metrosexual barbarian: "... a Falcon on you wrist, and wind in you hair."
Genghis Kahn: "Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?"
Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you ... and hear the lamentation of their women."
Needless to say, Arnold's answer is met with cheers, as are the Patriots. They are playing with that kind of animosity, and the world is caught up in it. How else do you explain this: For the life of me, I can't remember seeing a defending Super Bowl champion, with a 7-0 record, installed as a 5.5 point underdog at home.
Such is the fate of the Colts, as Gengis Belichick and his conquering Patriot horde prepare to invade the RCA dome and burn it to the ground. Is it warranted? Hard to say.
If the Colts are the moat protecting the castle of a competitive 2007 NFL season, can they get it done?
Both squads are undefeated, yet a closer look at the schedule in search of tough opponents goes to the Pats -- they beat San Diego and Dallas. The Colts beat the Titans and ... hmmm, Jacksonville? Tampa? Not as compelling. Nor are the margins of victory. I clearly wrote about the Pats piling up "we don't need to cheat" BCS points three weeks early, because the way they abused the Redskins was just mean, man. With all due respect to Indy, it's probably a good thing they get to play this one at home -- am I crazy to say it gives them a fighting chance?
That's a terrible thing to say about our defending champions, but it's not just me. Seems like a decade (or one Randy Moss signing ago) that the Colts won themselves a shiny chunk o' Lombardi. Today, no one is treating them like the champs. Not the way Belichick and Co. are pillaging the NFL, one village at a time, making sure they leave no survivors. Passing for it on fourth down with a 38-point lead late in the game? What does that tell you? The mad genius is going to stay up extra-late cooking up new schemes to make Peyton crazy.
Know what else is going to keep him up late? Recent history. The vestigial perception is that Beligenius crawled inside Peyton's skull and died there, but it's not accurate. The Colts have won the last three in a row in against New England, and at the present time, they are 13-0 at home.
Joseph Addai (and super-sub Kenton Keith) give the Colts a slight edge in the running game. A healthy Bob Sanders takes their D to another level. The Dome plays into Tom Moore's offensive attack ...