Political Football: Divided loyalty? Not quite
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was OMB director for former President George W. Bush. But these days Peyton Manning is his commander in chief.
First, you have to know that I spent two decades as an irrationally passionate Redskins fan. I moved to D.C. at the dawn of the Gibbs era and was there for the glory years. As young marrieds, about the only recreation Cheri and I had time for was Sundays at RFK, on some tickets we lucked into for a few years while their owners were raising kids. I perfected the system of driving our '65 VW as far down East Capitol St. as you could go and still find the very last free side-street parking spot.
When we came home to Indiana, the Colts were bad and the Skins were still great, so I maintained dual citizenship for a good while. Now I live and die with the Colts, but keep a friendly eye on Washington, and two wins against Dallas makes me as happy as anything not involving our home team. Except New England losing to anyone.
Here in Indy, we fans are nervous. On paper, this year's team looked as good as any we've seen. There were worries about a rebuilt offensive line, but we thought the defense might compensate for any offensive sputters. Five games in, things don't feel right. The offense and defense have each had a couple good games, but not on the same day, unless you count the New York game. And it's not clear how good a Giants team the Colts were beating, at least back in Week 2.
We're spoiled rotten, after all. Seven straight seasons of twelve wins or more will do that to you. And when, like last Sunday, Peyton throws even four or five balls maybe four or five inches high or wide, we panic. There's some doubt and confusion out here.
One thing is certain. Skins fans will see some up-tempo football this Sunday, not just defending Peyton's no-huddle, no catching your breath, no mass substitutions offense. When Washington has the ball, the fastest defense in the league will close holes, run down ball carriers, and get on top of McNabb with a quickness you won't see the rest of the year.
Of course, that speed also means less size, and a know-nothing fan like me wonders if that accounts for the injuries that hit the Colts every year. For instance, they left camp with the best three safeties in the NFL, and two of them are already gone for most or all of the season. Receivers started getting injured in the first quarter of Game 1; there is a chance that the Skins will be the first opponent to face Peyton's whole corps of targets.
The 3-point spread I see in today's paper feels about right, given the resourcefulness this year's Skins appear to have developed. In what may be the NFL's toughest division, the Colts really need this win. With six home games left, the road to twelve would be open once again. And I could go back to singing an occasional verse of "Hail to the Redskins", especially on December 19th, when Washington plays Dallas again.
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