The Colt game is now history and itâ€™s taken me the better part 10 days to write this column. As luck would have it, two days after the game I went out of town on business to a city and region that has a lot more to worry about than wins and losses â€“ something that put things into perspective – but more on that later.
Iâ€™m not going to dissect the game. Itâ€™s already been done by many, all of whom are better qualified than me and, besides, itâ€™s old news. But I do have to talk about the one thing from the game that will stick with me forever, and that was The Sound of Silence.
Those of you who were there know what I mean. Many thousands of us sat in silence at the end of the game. You could hear a pin drop. After about 5 minutes, I gathered myself up and walked out of the stadium and headed to my cousinâ€™s Ravens Walk tailgate. For the first time, I heard the stadium concourse, full of people, silent. Nobody had anything to say; Nobody wanted to say anything.; Nobody could say anything, and I didnâ€™t want to hear anything! At the tail gate, I pulled slowly on a beer and puffed on my â€œpost-victory celebrationâ€ cigar.
I kept thinking…before the game, if you were told that Peyton Manning would have no TD passes, that the Colts would never cross the goal line, that Manning would finish with two picks, numerous hurries, a sack, and a QB rating of 30, what would you think?
Nothing tasted right so I quickly headed to the Light Rail and home.
The next day, I didnâ€™t read the newspapers or web accounts. I packed and headed for the airport. I knew my business trip would help me put this crushing loss out of my mind. It did, but not in the way I intended. I spent the better part of the week in Oklahoma City, a town trying to recover from a disastrous 3-day ice storm. 100,000 people without power, 25 dead, most roads and streets a treacherous ice rink. Simply surviving on the road systems and staying warm were priorities.
It also helped clear my head.
They were still digging out when I left.
I returned home in plenty of time for the Conference championship games, my head clearer but my heart still heavy. Unlike former Baltimore Colt fans, I had no special grudge to hold against the current Colts. Not when after the game Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy acted with perfect manners and dignity (unlike the Patriots).
So who would I root for?
I was initially conflicted â€“ until I read newspapers, web pages, and heard radio accounts of how Bill Polian and crew acted in their boxes before, during, and after the game. That settled it. Pats all the way.
But wait a minute â€“ another Super Bowl with media golden boy Tom Brady and the inscrutable and insufferable Bill Belichick?
I guess now itâ€™s the Bears all the way!
Notes from the weekend:
Michael Vick a coach killer? No way â€“ see Terrell Owens. The number of teams heâ€™s wrecked is now up to three.
Parcellsâ€™ retirement was the only prediction I got right from the divisional and conference championship games. I guess that why Iâ€™m Fran the Fan and not Fran the Expert.
I still have one more game for Rex Grossman to prove my prediction that he will cost Chicago big time in a game that counts.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots are collective louts. The â€œLights Outâ€ celebration in San Diego; pushing photographers and writers out of the way to greet Marty Schottenheimer; the post game interview on CBS. Belichick is an idiot-savant. No social skills, no interpersonal skills, a control freak, but he sure can coach a football team!!
Years ago Dwayne Thomas of the Cowboys called Tom Landry â€œPlastic Man.â€ He never met Bill Belichick.
Is it time for training camp yet?