Fourth and Long

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I have a couple of things I want to cover this week. Let’s get started shall we.

I touched on something a few weeks ago that has been gnawing at me ever since. What if I told you that Peyton Manning had been (until injury of course) the best football player in the world, would you argue? What if I told you I could prove it?

If the proof really is in the pudding then the pudding must be the Colts 2011 regular season. The Indianapolis offense was simply abysmal after the loss of Manning for the year.

A quick review of the 2010 Colts with Peyton at quarterback reads like this, 4,700 yards passing with a 66.3 completion percentage, 288 yards passing yards per game and 33 touchdowns on the year.

The 2011 version of that same team minus Mr. Manning managed just 3,223 yards passing with a 56.6 completion percentage, 187.2 passing yards per game and 14 touchdowns on the year.

The numbers aren’t even close and the most telling statistic is in the win-loss column. The 2010 Indianapolis Colts went 10-6 before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Jets. Comparatively the 2011 Colts managed just 2 wins on the season (not counting their lone pre-season victory over the Bengals).

Donald Brown and Joseph Addai are decent running backs. Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are good wide receivers. Dallas Clark is a good tight end. With Peyton Manning at quarterback, they all get much better.

The truth is that as great as we all thought Peyton Manning was in Indianapolis, he was really much better – maybe the best ever.

Sam Amick, a writer for Sports Illustrated did a column recently previewing the 2012 U.S.A Olympic Basketball team. Amick insists that they will be better than the 1992 Dream Team plus Christian Laettner and while I have not had as much to drink as he clearly has I can’t help but get excited about the talent on our Olympic squad. They sure will be fun to watch.

I can’t end this column without bringing up the 33 point tail whupping my beloved Tar Heels took down in Tallahassee at the hands of Florida State.

The Heels were out manned, out coached and out gunned. They showed a lack of execution, a lack of hustle and a lack of heart. They are far too talented to play like that and I hope for their sake that they use it as motivation to get better.


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at