The Death of a Franchise

It's back to the drawing board in Indianapolis. Days after releasing Peyton Manning in the hopes that Andrew Luck is going to be the cities savior, the Colts announce the departures of Gary Brackett, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Melvin Bullitt, and Curtis Painter. The most disturbing news is they are listening to trade offers for Dwight Freeney as well.

I understand that nothing lasts forever and sometimes you have to move on, but this team did a horrible job of building and planning for life without Peyton. Jim Irsay, if we all remember, is the same guy that packed this team up in the middle of the night and brought them to Indy from Baltimore. He has no idea how to run a football organization. His best two moves were drafting Peyton Manning (which they almost didn't) and hiring Tony Dungy. Bill Polian played a huge part in both of those decisions, and now he is gone as well. This team has consistently gotten worse since Dungy retired. Yes, they made the Super Bowl the year after but that was Dungy's team. Very comparable to Barry Switzer in Dallas.

It appears that Irsay thinks getting the top overall pick means he gets to draft eight players. Losing Dallas Clark means Andrew Luck will have no target to check down to when he's running for his life next season. He will also be without the services of Reggie Wayne (who will likely follow Manning wherever he goes). So we're looking at Austin Collie, who is one concussion away from retirement, and possibly Pierre Garcon if they can hang on to him in free agency. Jacob Tamme is likely out the door as well, and their now starting running back Donald Brown only shows up two or three games a season. Not a very impressive starting line up.

Irsay has a lot to prove with all the moves he's made this week
Irsay has a lot to prove with all the moves he's made this week

So What's Next?

Let's face it, this is the equivalent of an expansion team. They have absolutely no franchise player to speak of, and the only person they've hung on to in free agency is Robert Mathis. Mathis was made the highest paid defensive end in league history at his age. This team is in total rebuilding mode due to the lack of knowledge from Irsay to maintain an organization at a professional level. You'll never see this happen from Robert Kraft in New England. They reload, not rebuild.

But that's where we find ourselves in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is obviously going to be the new QB in town, but what can he bring us with no line, no weapons around him, and no defense? My guess is the same record as last season and another top pick in next year's draft. Chuck Pagano is a defensive guy from Baltimore so I suspect them to make this team look like a Ravens and Steelers team. He will build a defense first and bring in a bruising running back. The days of exciting offensive football in Indy are over. When and if this team ever gets competitive, it's going to be tough defense and ground and pound on offense. Unless they make some huge moves in free agency, that's not going to happen this year. The defense looks like Swiss cheese and they have no running game to speak of.

Speaking as a football fan and a Colts fan living in Indianapolis, I speak for most of the city when I say; "We miss you already Peyton! I'll be purchasing your jersey for whoever you play for and rooting for you to win wherever you go."

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MarkRFox profile image

MarkRFox 4 years ago

Good info. I agree, the Colts have done a pathetic job over the last few years only Manning covered it up.

One thing you are absolutely right about, Kraft, Belichick, and Cesario would never let that happen. Even when Brady went down in 08' they still one 11 games and got screwed out of the playoffs that they should have made based on a tie breaker while an 8-8 Chargers team went to the post season. Belichick is already planning for life without Brady with the revamping of the of line with Solder at 6'8' and Cannon at 6'6 in order to protect Brady for the last years and for a much taller Ryan Mallet, who they stole in the 3rd round of last year's draft. Many believe they will continue the revamping of the line by drafting Peter Konz from Wisconsin at center and cut ties with Koppen as well.

The Colts are a mess, but they got what they deserved.

I would not say Dungy was a good move though, he only won a Super Bowl after years of making the playoffs, but not winning a game. The only reason he got even one ring was because A-The Patriots choked up 21-3 in the first half of the AFC championship when they were going for a 3-peat and B- because they got Adam Vinatieri who helped them get over the hump. Signing him was one good move you forgot to mention the Colts made. Without him they would have never won.

Cre8tor profile image

Cre8tor 4 years ago from Ohio

I agree with you whole heartedly and I'm a Browns fan. (Victim of another great brass organization) The only thing I think I partly disagree with is how they planned for Peyton's exit. I think they saw Luck coming and figured he would be great to bring up under Manning...didn't see the neck taking him out for a season though and certainly can't afford that money if he goes down again. I hope they pick up some good late rounders and free agents to keep the team up...hate to see any fan have to go through what I do on a yearly basis. (Bye RG...we could've been friends......hi Colt...Pat...)

Bigpayno profile image

Bigpayno 4 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana Author

@Mark...Man you are the biggest New England fan I've ever seen! To say the Colts would have never won the Super Bowl without Vinatieri is absurd. I don't know any kicker that's made that big of an impact to change a team from a non-contender to a contender. It's just not feasible. And Dungy was an excellent coach and THE best move outside of drafting Peyton Manning. I wouldn't say the Patriots choked in that game. Dungy made the necessary adjustments they needed to win the game. It's not like they blew a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter. They jumped out to that lead because of great defense and turnovers, but the Colts were a better team that year and settled down and ultimately won the game. And you prove my point that Brady is overrated and a system quarterback, because Belichick plugged in a new QB and still won eleven games. I think they are just great at developing QB's, because Hoyer has looked really good when given opportunities.

MarkRFox profile image

MarkRFox 4 years ago

Yes I am, but regardless they would not have won without him. Every year when they had Vanderjagt, he would seemingly miss a big one and every year the Colts couldn't go anywhere. For years, they couldn't even win a playoff game. Then, all of a sudden they got Vinatieri, who had ice in his veins, and they went all the way because he seemingly did not miss one field goal during that run. They beat the Patriots by 4 points that year in the AFC championship to get to the only Super Bowl they won. Think they would have done that with Vanderjagt? I will stick with my statement. Colts would have never won without Vinatieri. (Don't get me wrong, Vinatieri helped the Patriots win their 3 titles too in a big way, especially the first one.)

99' Colts one and done and lost by 3

00' One and done

02' Blowout one and done

03' Couldn't get to a Super Bowl

04' Couldn't get to a Super Bowl

05'One and done and lost by 3

06' Signed Vinatieri and beat Baltimore in the second round when had a record tying 5 field goals, which the Colts won 15-6. Then he beat the Patriots by 4 when he didn't miss in that game and had 3 field goals.


10' When they made their second one, he beat the Jets with 53 seconds left when he nailed a 50 yarder to go up 16-14 in the AFC championship game.

I think that proves my point.

Bigpayno profile image

Bigpayno 4 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana Author

Vanderjagt left the Colts as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He missed one big field goal and didn't get along with Manning, which is what led to his dismissal. Vinatieri is a great kicker and was a great addition to the Colts, but you'll never convince me or an NFL analyst that he is the only reason they won the Super Bowl.

MarkRFox profile image

MarkRFox 4 years ago

He was the difference in their 2 Super Bowl appearances with 1 victory. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I assure you there are plenty of analysts who believe Adam was the difference in their Super Bowl runs. I will always believe they never would have made one, had they not signed him. Who cares what his all time stats are if he never sniffed a championship. That sounds like Dolphins fans talking about Marino before all of his records were eventually broken, yet he won only one AFC title and never won anything else.

And don't forget, Vanderjagt wasn't only cut by the Colts..he was cut the next year by Dallas after making a high percentage...why? Because he was not clutch. Also, Vanderjagt had more than one big miss in his playoff runs with the 2000, he missed a 49 yarder that would have won the game for the Colts in overtime. In 05' he missed a 46 yarder that would have tied the game, but instead saw Pittsburgh win by 3.

Bigpayno profile image

Bigpayno 4 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana Author

I hate using Super Bowl victories as a gauge of someone's talent. Dan Marino was an amazing quarterback and had two good receivers, and it stops there. I challenge you to name his running backs without looking them up. Sammy Morris? There is nobody that could even make another team that started in the backfield for him. They didn't always have the greatest defenses either, and they had a stacked Buffalo team in the same division that made it nearly impossible to even make the playoffs. Analyzing the NFL and its players means looking at every situation in depth. It goes from the coaching staff, the talent that surrounds the player, and the competition they play. That's why it's hard to say if one player is better than the other in the NFL. Baseball and basketball is much easier to determine because it's more of a one man game, especially the NBA. Vanderjagt did suck after the Colts cut him, because he lost his confidence. You see that all the time with kickers. That's why he isn't in the league anymore. He could never get it back.

MarkRFox profile image

MarkRFox 4 years ago

He didn't suck..he was what he always was...not clutch in anyway shape or form. He made 72 percent of his kicks with Dallas that year, but was still cut.

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

well it should be interesting to see what happens from here. i was a bit surprised to see bill polian being let go by the colts, as one would figure given his track record with the team, that they'd certainly keep him around to help build a new franchise around luck. however, i doubt seriously that the colts will win more than 4 games next year.

however, pretty good analysis of the whole situation though.

Bigpayno profile image

Bigpayno 4 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana Author

I agree. I think Polian was the man putting all those pieces in place, not Irsay. He's going to be in for a long road rebuilding virtually an expansion team.

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