NFL PLAYOFFS: COLTS CONSPIRACY (aka, COLTSpiracy, or ConspirINDY)
Troy Polamalu’s overturned interception was the worst call I have ever seen in the history of football. The play, initially ruled an interception, was challenged by the Colts, and after ten minutes of looking at replays which showed, from all angles, Polamalu catching the ball, keeping possession as he rolled over twice, and standing up with the ball before fumbling and recovering it, the referees overturned the call and gave the Colts the ball back, rejecting a call which would have essentially ended the game.
Joey Porter didn’t buy the NFL’s bullshit explanation and claimed the league had a hidden agenda to get the media-darling Colts into the Superbowl. Not only is Porter definitely correct, but, given the amateurish, Black-Sox like manner in which the fix has played out, I am appalled that no sportswriters are calling the league out.
The NFL wants Manning—their DirecTV rep, Mastercard icon, and nonthreatening Forrest Gumplike hick—in the Superbowl, pure and simple. The death of Tony Dungy’s son in December was icing on the cake, as journalists began prematurely fondling themselves while fantasizing about potential Superbowl storylines. Like some Spider-Man villain who turns to evil after his life’s work is put in jeopardy, the NFL simply couldn’t allow the Colts to lose yesterday, and took it out on the Steelers via their black-and-white striped goons. Anyone notice that Carnage was the line judge?
The season was fixed from day one. The Colts’ rigged-ass schedule included only three games against teams that made the playoffs last year (New England, Pittsburgh, San Diego). The first game of the three, against New England, didn’t come until WEEK NINE, after a murderer’s row of Cleveland, Tennessee, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Houston (a combined 22-58 between them), ensuring that Indy would be undefeated heading into the primetime SI-cover game. They then got Pittsburgh at home on a Monday night in Week 12, so that by the time they played San Diego (at home) and Seattle late in the year, they had already wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And, just to compare, check out the Patriots’ and Chargers’ schedules...isn’t that ridiculous?? Meanwhile, the Colts were favored by a touchdown or more in TWELVE of their sixteen games; they were like a college team that managed to play its pre-conference schedule for a whole season. You really think Indy’s schedule was some coincidental mathematical anomaly? Yeah right, and boxing isn’t fixed either, and wrestling is real, and I couldn’t think of a third thing for this list but you’re still a fucking idiot.
Back to Sunday’s game. Forget the ignored 50-yard pass interference penalty inflicted on Antwaan Randle El in the first quarter, let’s focus just on the overturned interception. There’s five minutes left and the Steelers are up by two scores. They intercept the ball, all but ensuring defeat for the Colts. The referee has two choices: uphold the call, and Pittsburgh runs out the clock, or overturn the call, allowing for an exciting last-minute Manning comeback attempt in a nationally televised game and a chance for the darling Colts to stay on tv another week. The replays not only showed no conclusive evidence to overturn the call, but they also showed extremely conclusive evidence—Matrix-360 camera angles, THX quality sound, and even holograms—that Polamalu retained possession of the ball. Then, the ref has the audacity to give this explanation:
“Upon further review, the player’s knee was down when the ball came loose. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass, it will be Indianapolis’ ball, second down.”
The anger with which I responded to this announcement frightened me. I was unleashing profanity like if Twista was just rapping the word “fuck” again and again for five minutes, cursing even my television itself for existing and showing me what I had just seen. His knee was down, therefore, incomplete pass? What the fuck rule is that?? Might as well have had Tommy Boy come out and explain “I was checkin’ the specs on the…rotary…girder… I’m retarded.” During the review, Dan Dierdorf concluded quickly that it couldn’t be overturned and started talking about other things in the game, and when the call was overturned, he just didn’t know what to say. On the postgame show, Shannon Sharpe referred to “The call made by Referee Archie Manning…whoops, I mean Pete Morelli…”
For argument’s sake, EVEN IF THAT RULE EXISTED, which it doesn’t, then why did the review take ten minutes?? If there is a “knee = no interception” rule—hereafter referred to as the Bulllllllshit Rule—then wouldn’t the refs have watched the first replay and immediately said “oh, his knee hits, Bulllllllshit Rule applies, no catch,” and that’s it?
The review took ten minutes because Pete Morelli was on the phone with the NFL’s Marcellus Wallace equivalent, who was warning him, “You give that ball back to the Colts or say goodbye to your family,” only probably something wittier. Result: the most impossibly overturned call in the history of instant replay, yielding, indeed, an exciting finish but a Colts defeat, meaning Morelli will probably get to keep his life but will at least lose his thumbs.
The saddest part of this whole ordeal is that we don’t really need the Colts in the Superbowl. This is football, the Superbowl is exciting no matter who’s playing (unless it’s the Ravens). This isn’t like baseball relying on the Yankees and Red Sox. Why does the league feel it’s necessary to manufacture a champion, especially when it’s a team as undeserving as the Colts? I’ll explain that sentiment in my next post, but for now, suffice to say that Droopy the Dog was right: Cheaters never win. And neither does Peyton Manning.