On love, loss, and homecomings. Peyton’s coming home. And I am a mess.

The heart is a funny thing. It sneaks up on you during the darndest times. You can tell yourself whatever you want in your head. But your heart won’t let you lie.

I was fine. I was good. Better than good…I was great. I was watching the Cowboys – Redskins game on Sunday Night Football. I was thinking about how happy I was that my Colts chose Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III.

And then, I heard it…Peyton Manning’s voice. Those famous words, “I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback.”

Here we go. Required viewing. Just like the Mayflower vans when the Colts play the Ravens. We’ll be seeing that clip a lot this week. Every day. Multiple times a day. All week. I’ve seen it so many times, it hardly even bothers me anymore.

But what I saw next…I was totally unprepared for. I looked up from my iPad to see Peyton Manning in a Colts jersey. Running onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. In slow motion. The words, “I’m coming home…I’m coming home…Tell the world that I’m coming home,” played in the background.

It caught me off guard. I couldn’t breathe. Almost instantly, there were tears. Lots of tears. Running down my face. I kind of gasped and sobbed at the same time.

What was happening?

You know how you think you’re over someone? And then you see them? And you feel like someone hit you with a big old bag of bricks? Like you’ve been knocked off your feet?

That’s what happened to me when I saw the promo for Peyton Manning’s homecoming on Sunday Night Football.

I went into a mini tailspin. Which is weird, because I’m over it. I’m so over him. I’ve moved on. I have Andrew Luck. What more could I ask for?

I feel like I did in high school. When my old boyfriend came home from college and I was happily dating someone else. It’s weird. Especially when your new boyfriend tells your old boyfriend he’s sick of hearing about him all the time.

Yes. That actually happened. I know. But I’m pretty sure it won’t happen this week. That’s not exactly Andrew Luck’s style.

All this time, I’ve been thinking about the game. I’ve been thinking about my team. I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to wear. But, I hadn’t yet pictured what would happen when I saw Peyton Manning back on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Until Sunday night.

And all I can tell you is this…

It wasn’t pretty. And I’m going to need waterproof mascara. And I may need counseling.

Damn it, Peyton.

I thought I was over you.


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.


Coffee Cup Quarterback (Monday Edition) | Preseason Week 3: The One With the Starters

Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason.  When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season.  For some teams, that was good news.  For others…not so much.

The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers.  Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form.  He ran, he threw, he impressed.  And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12.  No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet.  That was four field goals for them.  They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow.  Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do.  And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do.  There were visions of hope.  After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time.  Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team.  At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down.  The timing was nothing short of divine.  This is what Tebow can do.  A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther.  This is also what Tebow can do.

Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft.  Tebow was eventually booed as well.  Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason.  Tough crowd.

And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this.  For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:

Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played.  When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.”  When they count.  Good plan.

And then we had the battle of the draft picks.  Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field.  There was hype.  There was a t-shirt…

In the end, it was just another preseason game.  Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths.  Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot.  Both had moments of brilliance.  Both had rookie mistakes.  The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17.  The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman.  Yes, Wrecks Grossman.  The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant.  Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.  Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!

Other highlights for week three of the preseason:

We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.

We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.

Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”

One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs.  There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call.  The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes.  Plenty of them.  But it is the preseason.  And the games don’t count.  Yet.  The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far.  That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record.  We need better than this for the regular season.  And really, by the start of it.

So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.

And…a Jets touchdown.


Chapter One

Indianapolis Colts rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck wrote the first chapter in the history of his NFL career on Sunday.  And he couldn’t have scripted it much better himself.  The consensus from coaches, teammates, fans, and the media was that they also couldn’t have written a better start for the Stanford star and this year’s top NFL draft pick.

Luck took the field for the Colts first preseason game against the St. Louis Rams in front of a sold out crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Sold out?  In a preseason game?  Do you think Indianapolis fans are looking forward to a fresh start?  His first play, a quick toss to Running Back Donald Brown…for a touchdown!

Colts owner Jim Irsay immediately tweeted:

 “Historic beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!! The legend has begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, that is 31 exclamation points.  I didn’t count them, but SI’s Peter King did.  And those weren’t the only exclamation points we saw from Irsay Sunday afternoon…

Luck also had a beautiful touchdown pass to Austin Collie.  And commanded a fantastic drive that resulted in Delone Carter running (or more like jumping) one in for a 21-3 halftime lead.  In four possessions, Luck finished the day 10-of-16 for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns.  His passer rating was 142.7.  The Colts beat the Rams 38-3.

Not to go crazy with comparisons, but someone else started his Colts and NFL career with a touchdown pass (to Marvin Harrison) on his first play.  He finished his first game 8-of-15 for 113 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  His passer rating was 72.4.  He was also the number one draft pick that year.  His career, while still playing out, is stuff legends are made of.  No, we don’t need another Peyton Manning, but it sure looks like we got one!  At least so far…

Yes, it’s true.  We have Luck…and his name is Andrew.  The transition is complete.  There was one tweet by Scott Kacsmar under @CaptainComeback that summed it up perfectly and left me both sad and ecstatic at the same time:

“It’s like Peyton’s final gift to Colts fans was missing a season that secured their next 10-15 years #AndrewLuck”

The only known cure for a broken heart is falling in love.  And Colts fans just fell in love again.