Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 13: The week of the rookie quarterback

Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III

If 2012 is The Year of the Rookie Quarterback in the NFL, then week 13 is the Week of the Rookie Quarterback.

Robert Griffin III can’t fumble without scoring a touchdown. Literally. During his Monday Night Football debut, RGIII led the Washington Redskins to a comeback victory over their divisional rivals and the current Superbowl champions, the New York Giants. The Redskins sit one game behind the Giants in the ultra competitive NFC East. Griffin ran for 72 yards, which puts him at 714 for the season, breaking Cam Newton’s record for a rookie quarterback. And he did it with a “C” on his jersey. The Redskins voted RGIII in as captain of the offense following their bye week.

‘If he stays healthy, he’s going to be a havoc on defenses for a long time.”

-Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck on RGIII

In Manningesque style, Andrew Luck rallies the Indianapolis Colts to a fourth quarter comeback drive against the Detroit Lions and is racking up records faster than Peyton Manning is churning out pizzas. Luck is the first rookie quarterback (drafted number one overall) to win eight games, replacing Sam Bradford’s record of seven wins in 2010. Luck also owns the record for passing yards by a rookie quarterback in a game…and he still has four games to go for passing yards by a rookie for the season (watch out, Cam). Luck has the Colts firmly in place for an AFC wild card playoff spot.

And Russell Wilson continues his campaign of shock and awe in Seattle, leading the Seahawks to a comeback win of their own. In overtime. At Soldier Field. Wilson launched a throwing and running attack on the Chicago Bears, which culminated in a 23-17 victory and their first road win of the season. The Seahawks, at 7-5, sit atop the stack for the NFC wild card draw.

“He just has a tremendous level of awareness and poise and it’s just surprising that anybody could be like that, not just a rookie or a young guy in his first shot playing in Chicago or what not…he just continues to be impressive in all of those ways.”

-Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll on Russell Wilson

These aren’t rookies anymore, people. These aren’t kids. These are players. And they have become men right before our eyes. They are the future of their teams and the future of their sport. These are the players we will be talking about for a decade or more. They will lead, inspire, and leave their names on trophies, record books, and maybe some buildings along the way.

Get used to the Andrew Luck…RGIII talk. It’s not going away anytime soon. Step aside, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady…

The future is now.

XO

Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 10: Livin On A Prayer…

Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck and Offensive Tackle Anthony Castonzo

Whooah…we’re half way there…

Give or take a week.  Or two.

Yes, I was inspired by the music coming from Soldier Field during Sunday Night Football.  And, it just happens to be my personal anthem.  Lucas Oil Stadium (or whoever controls the music at our pad)…take note.

We gotta hold on to what we got…

The Atlanta Falcons that it is.  Trying to hold on to their unbeaten record, the only one left in the NFL this season.  The Falcons played the Saints, who Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith is 2-7 against.  The Falcons fall to 8-1.  The 1972 Dolphins pop the champagne.  And then there were none…

It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not…

Or so it would seem between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.  Or…does it?  Tony Romo is living up to his nickname, Mr. November (no he was not in Playgirl), as he rallies his team to beat the Michael Vick-less Eagles (who left with a concussion in the second quarter).  And there doesn’t look to be a looming quarterback controversy with rookie Nick Foles at the helm.

Also helping the Cowboys, the Giants lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.  If Eli Manning’s arm was tired, it’s rested now.  He’s had two games in a row with no touchdowns.  You know what does look tired?  The Giants offensive line, which allowed four sacks on Manning.  And the Giants defense, which was holier than Tim Tebow.

We’ve got each other and that’s a lot…
For love…we’ll give it a shot…

That would be the Indianapolis Colts.  United by love for their sick coach, Chuck Pagano, the players shaved their heads for him this week.  Then went down to defeat their division rivals, the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Colts, at 6-3, have a two game lead over the other AFC teams in the hunt for a wildcard playoff spot.  Yes, the Colts are the darlings of the NFL…and were also the darlings of the refs on Thursday night.  Still…the Colts are quickly becoming the team that no one wants to play.  Because, they are just that…a team.  And my team, so I may be a little biased.

We’ve got to hold on ready or not…

And the San Diego Chargers were not.  Ready.  At.  All.  For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  But, they were cleared of any wrong doing in the Stickygate scandal.  So there’s that…

You live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got…

Only the New York Jets don’t appear to have any fight left in them.  Or if they do, it is on the bench…praying.  The Jets were beat by the Seattle Seahawks 28-7.  Even Seahawks Wide Receiver Golden Tate had a chance to throw…and he did.  For a touchdown to Sidney Rice.

A few side notes…

The NFL may want to look into this concussion thing, *insert sarcasm* as three starting quarterbacks went out with them on Sunday: Jay Cutler (Bears), Alex Smith (49ers), and Michel Vick (Eagles).  Two of which had something to lose…

And for the first time since 2008, we had a tie game in the NFL.  And just like last time…one of the players was not aware of the rules.  *Insert Donovan McNabb joke.*

Do they not cover this at rookie camp?  Brush up on it during training camp?  If I’m an NFL coach (and I don’t aspire to be), the first thing I do when my team goes into overtime is…REMIND THEM OF HOW IT WORKS!  And maybe have a pop quiz on the NFL Rule Book.  Sorry.  Didn’t mean to yell…

So, here we are.  At the turning point of the season.  Some things are becoming more obvious…others, more puzzling.  The one thing we can be sure of…a wild ride from here.

Take my hand…we’ll make it, I swear…

XO

This post brought to you by Bon Jovi.

Colts are building more than a monster

Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano with Offensive Coordinator and Interim Coach Bruce Arians

I thought I saw an inspiring and heartful performance on Saturday night.  Watching an emotional AJ McCarron bring the Alabama Crimson Tide back to beat the LSU Tigers in “Death Valley.”  And it was.  A strong, coming of age performance by a young quarterback and his team.

Then I watched my Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.  And then I saw Coach Chuck Pagano’s locker room speech afterwards.  Have there ever been more tears shed in one weekend of football?  No wonder I’m emotionally drained.  Vince Lombardi must be rolling over in his grave.  I bet he’s smiling though.

Sunday was truly a special day.  Coach Pagano, who was diagnosed with leukemia during the Colts bye week at the end of September, returned to the team for the first time.  He surprised players in the locker room before the game and joined them there after to celebrate their 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Yesterday was more than a win though.  It was a turning point for the team.  The Colts have gone from “the worst team in the NFL” to “that team.”  That team that’s dangerous.  That team that’s on a playoff run.  That team that’s playing for more than football.

And led by Andrew Luck, the young quarterback who now owns the rookie passing record.  Luck passed for 433 yards and two touchdowns, passing Peyton Manning and Cam Newton along the way.

And speaking of numbers…check this out.  As of week nine, the Broncos sit at 5-3.  Peyton Manning has passed for 2,404 yards.  The Colts are also 5-3.  Andrew Luck has passed for…2,404 yards.  Look it up, people.  It’s true.  And eerie…in a divine kind of way.

Yes, after all that second guessing…we’re going to be just fine.  Better than fine.  We’re going to be great.

Coach Pagano, who starts another round of chemotherapy this week, will overcome.  He said it himself Sunday, “It’s already beat.”

The Colts will overcome.  Overcome illness, injuries, mistakes.  Throw anything at them. They will find a way.

Because this team is building more than a team, more than a monster.  They’re building character.

And that’s the most dangerous thing of all.  Because if you have character, no one can beat you.

Ever.

 XO

Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 8: The one with The Queen, and the bumble bees, and Superman…

Week eight of the NFL season had London calling for the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams.  It was strange to hear our anthem followed by God Save The Queen.  I still can’t decide how I feel about that.  But God save The Queen when she saw how the Patriots head coach was dressed.  Yes, The Hoodie went global.  And it made its debut during a fan rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and Owner Robert Kraft

Will Belichick start a European fashion trend?  Will they be rocking hoodies with dress shirts and headbands on Oxford Street?  In Chelsea?  Probably not.  On behalf of America, I apologize to the Brits and Her Majesty.  I also apologize for the game…the Patriots beat the Rams 45-7.  American football is the greatest sport in the world.  But it is much more entertaining when two teams play.

At least they got to see the Gronk show.  Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski had eight catches and two touchdowns.  After the first, he did an awkward march before spiking the ball.  The crowd went nuts for his Changing of the Gronk.  Asked later who he was imitating, Gronkowski replied, “That little nutcracker dude that’s guarding the house.”  Americans…

Speaking of fashion statements…the Steelers took a lot of grief when they took the field on Sunday in this:

Steelers’ Halloween Costumes/Throwback Uniforms

Yes, the throwback uniforms are hideous.  But I think they were misunderstood.  The Steelers were dressed up for Halloween (as Peyton, Eli and Deion).  They just couldn’t get the wings and tutus to fly (literally) with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  That’s why they call it the No Fun League.

Seriously though, no one ever wore those as uniforms…right?

Meanwhile, on NFL Halloween Sunday…Indianapolis Colts Running Back Vick Ballard played Superman, though he wasn’t in costume.  It was without a doubt the play of the day (and most likely the play of the week, maybe the month).  In overtime against the Tennessee Titans, Ballard goes in flying, upside down, over the pylon for the game winning touchdown.

Colts Running Back Vick Ballard Flies One In (In Overtime) Against the Titans

It was the Colts’ first road win of the season (and last season) and their first back-to-back win of the season (and last season).  Bet the Titans get their hands on some Kryptonite (or Stickum) before the teams meet again in Indy on December 9th.

And a real life hero, 11-year-old Dante Cano from Marlboro, New Jersey.  He came up with the idea of using pink penalty flags for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wrote Roger Goodell with his idea.  On Sunday, Cano was invited to Met Life Stadium to present the pink flags to the officials before the game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.

Dante Cano (11) Meets NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

We hope to see the pink flags used during all the October games next season.  And remember, you can now bid on all the NFL in Pink items used this month.  The money goes to the NFL’s A Crucial Catch.

Just proves you don’t need a cape or a jersey to be a hero.

Or a hoodie.

XO

Ladies, get your game on…in style!

NFL Colts Style Lounge at Lucas Oil Stadium

The National Football League wants to make it easier than ever for female fans to look stylish in their favorite team colors.  And not just for game day!  Because today’s team fashions are just that…fashionable.

Gone are the days of oversized jerseys or smaller pink jerseys on women.  With females making up 45% of the NFL’s fans, team apparel has come a long way.  And the NFL wants to show you just how far it’s come.

The NFL brought its Fit For You Style Lounge to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday.  The pop up boutique was located inside the stadium and featured some of the newest and most fashionable women’s Colts apparel and accessories.  Every way to show your team spirit…including Colts manicures and fan photo opportunities.

I shopped the store with my mom before the Colts/Browns game and we both found fun, new Colts stuff.  Some of it we had seen before, but some was brand new.  Alyssa Milano’s Touch by AM line was well represented and has always been one of our favorites.  A new name to women’s fan wear, All Sport Couture, made its debut with fitted tops fashioned for game day or date night.  The high-end line was started by Indianapolis designer Lena Ward and carries a higher price tag than some fans are used to paying to show their team spirit…but for couture, it’s still a bargain!

The one day event left me wanting more…more apparel (which you can now shop online at the NFL women’s shop), and more events like this.  I am hoping the Fit for You Colts Style Lounge will make a return appearance next season, and judging by the turnout, I would assume so.  Better yet, let’s make it a permanent addition (calling Mr. Irsay…).  In the meantime, there may be one coming to a stadium near you!

Check out the Fit for You Style Lounge in your NFL city:

Detroit Lions, October 28th

New Orleans Saints, November 5th

Kansas City Chiefs, November 17th

St. Louis Rams, November 18th

San Diego Chargers, December 2nd

I love to see the NFL doing special stuff for the ladies.  They’ve finally figured out who their best fans are.  Or at least, their best looking fans!  Either way, our message to the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell is…we love it!  And we want more!

Females, fashion, and football…does it get any better than that?

XO