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Manning In The Middle: Why Being Mediocre is the Worst Sin in Sports

BY CLAY ABLES | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
Being an Indianapolis Colts fan is one of interesting measure. From the outside looking in, most would say the last 20 years have been pretty exuberant.

Manning: The greatest regular season quarterback of all time.

Weapons galore starting with Marvin Harrison, then Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne.

Three Hall of Fame level playmakers along side a cast of characters as deep and talented as a Seinfeld rerun. Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Dominic Rhodes, Brandon Stokley, Pierre Garcon. Must I go on?

If you were a Colts fan then, it was an embarrassment of riches. Then it all seemed to dwindle downhill.

Manning had neck surgery, or four. Maybe more.

All looked to be hopeless, Colts fans were having nightmares of Jeff George pick-sixes as Manning rode off to Denver.

The Colts hit the lottery and received the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. And who happens to be sitting on the doorstep? The most polished NFL prospect since some guy from Tennessee came out in 1998?

Andrew Luck. Stanford’s prodigal son wouldn’t turn Colts faithful this time, as was the case 19 years prior as this ESPN clip shows.

Luck is everything as advertised. Indianapolis feels like it’s back.

By year three, Luck makes it to the AFC Championship game and if it wasn’t for deflated footballs they might have won!

The part about the deflated footballs, that’s the insane Colts fan who’s still out of his mind — and always will be.

Smash-cut to current day and things aren’t so bright for Indy fans. Colts football is staggering like a punch-drunk boxer. Bad offensive line, horrific defense and unstable management.

Today the Colts are in the worst position in sports. Good enough to get by.

In life good enough to get by isn’t always a bad thing. Some would argue it’s the place of complete content. Good enough to pay the bills and have some fun, not worrying about all the stresses of keeping up with the Jones’s.

In sports, however, it’s a fan’s worst nightmare. A 2-14 record did that for he Colts, but it lead to a different way of being stuck in mediocrity.

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Blair White could be your fitness trainer, but shouldn’t be your top receiver.

It’s what I call The Adam Wallace Project Theory. You don’t know Adam Wallace, but I do. He was my high school’s version of Tom Brady.

A star athlete, 4.0 GPA, good looks and although he didn’t date Gisele, he could’ve. He’s still referred to as “Flawless Wallace”.

As a class clown like me, you dream of having Adam in your group project.  Because you know if he’s in your group, you just get out of the way and let Adam carry you to an A.

This is now the role Luck carries with the Colts. It started to happen at the end of Manning’s career in blue.

Harrison was out the door, so was James and Jim Irsay started to think Manning could turn Blair White into Reggie Wayne.

As time passes on, talent wins out in the NFL and one man can’t carry the show.

Luck is so good, the front office in Indy keeps a roulette wheel rolling in transactions.Phillip Dorsett was a slot receiver in the first round. Trent Richardson was first-round pick.

It’s just not players either.

Indianapolis signed Joe Philbin as the offensive line coach. Does Ryan Grigson just put his Snuggie on and take long naps during the regular season?

You’re putting Luck’s future in the hands of Chuck Pagano and Joe Philbin. Sorry, I need to take a quick break to pray for Luck’s health and sanity.

Even with all of these mistakes — very evident on Sunday — Luck still pulled them through. Superman was 24-for-37 with 331 yards and willed them to a win.

With the Texans’ history of being completely unpredictable, it’s very likely Indianapolis will be in the hunt for a division title late in the year.

If you have your Luck jersey on while you’re reading this, you should root against this notion. Because 9-7 and first-round playoff losses, keeps people saying good enough.

The two worst words in sports are good enough. They cripple franchises.

About Clay Ables (7 Articles)
Play by Play Broadcaster for ESPN 3, ACC Network, and some other networks. Contact me @Clay_Ables on Twitter.

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