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Volume 4, Number 7
July, 1999

View From the Cheap Seats A Fan is Born - Part II

by Dave Lind

As any regular visitor to our little website can attest, we here at the SCROOMtimes take our football pretty serious. Fanatical might be one word to describe our level ofappreciation of the game, though in truth we passed through that level during our late teens and had achieved Obsessed status by the time we could drink legally. We sortof drifted through the Crazed and Delirious stages throughout our twenties and now, as we begin to make headway into our thirties (or extremely late twenties, as we like to call them) we have elevated our standing to the Spiritual level complete with Worship groups, Theological Discussion Seminars, and a whole pantheon of Football Gods.

In fact, it was during one of our late-season Worship Groups last season that my fellow minister and Editor-in-Chief, Dean Shutt, and I were bemoaning our personal trials and tribulations at the hands of said Football Gods. He being a Colts fan since the days of Bert Jones and I a longtime member of the Raider Nation in good standing, we both agreed that we had seen our share of hard times and bad football and were discussing possible ways for us to adequately prostrate ourselves before the Football Gods and thus sway Their favor in future years.

What we came up with after much soul-searching was the Team Swap . I'll not bore you the details of our little pact (I'll leave that to Mr. Shutt, see his column in this issue), but the short and sweet of it is that for the competitive duration of the 1999 NFL regular season, Mr. Shutt will be taking up my role as a loyal member of the Raider Nation and I will become a ardent backer of his beloved Indianapolis Colts.

This then, my faithful reader(s), marks both my last column (for now) as a Raider fan and my very first column as a Colts fan. This very paragraph could be seen as the transition paragraph for our little experiment. In fact, this sent...(sound of a loud WHACK! as editor smacks columnist with rolled up Athlon Football magazine).

Ok, I am officially a Colts fan now.

Wow, already I can feel my IQ dropping, and suddenly such things as personal hygiene and female companionship don't seem nearly as important. (WHACK!!!)

Moving right along. In truth, we actually consummated the team swap during the Super Bowl festivities in Reno a few months ago. We wanted to waste no time in correcting our Karmic flaws before the upcoming April draft.

How, might you ask, did we fare in that draft?

Well, things were looking quite promising for a while as my newly beloved Colts traded away Marshall Faulk to clear roster (and salary cap) space for Heisman Trophy winner and best pure running back prospect since Bo Jackson, Ricky Williams. With the fourth overall pick in the draft, I awaited eagerly as Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Akili Smith went 1-2-3, leaving the board wide open. Champagne bottles were poised to pop as the celebration set to begin as NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped up to the mike and uttered the words that will haunt the Indianapolis Colts for much of the upcoming millenium.

With the fourth pick, the Indianapolis Colts select...from the University of Miami...Edgerrin James.

Edgerrin James?

Edgerrin F*&%ing James????

What the...Who Where...What the hell happened to Ricky Williams?

HELLOOOOO? Anybody home? This was not Lawrence Phillips we were talking about here, some guy who fights with security guards and drags his wife down the stairs by her hair. This wasn't a kid coming out after his Sophomore year or a rebounding from knee surgery or on probation for marijuana possession, this was a once-per-decade superstud athlete who also happened to be (by ALL accounts) a solid citizen and super person with a stable background and a sound work ethic. To pass on him in favor a quarterback is at least somewhat defensible in light of the dearth of QB talent both in the league and on the horizon, but to take the consensus #2 guy over the undisputed #1 can only be described as patently asinine.

But wait Dave, you might say, surely there must be some legitimate reason why the Colts chose James over Williams. They can't be THAT stupid.

Well, it turns out you would be wrong on both counts. They can, in fact, be exactly that stupid. You see, the reason given (privately, of course) for the decision to pass on Williams was that he had chosen as his agent a rap musician with no previous experience representing athletes and the Colts management was afraid that he might be difficult to deal with.

Did you hear me? The Colts passed on the best running back prospect in over a decade because his agent was a rap star! Fearful of losing him a la John Elway 16 years earlier, they covered their heads and ran like frightened schoolgirls, leaving Williams to be drafted by the only man in the NFL (it seems) with the stones to deserve him: Mike Ditka, who traded his entire 1999 draft and half of his 2000 draft to the Redskins (who REALLY benefited from the Colts blunder) to get him.

To make matters worse, the rap star/sports agent that the Colts were so terrified to deal with, the one they were afraid would be difficult to deal with, turned out to be a big pussycat. Not only was Williams the FIRST pick signed by his team, but the incentive-laden contract negotiated by his agent has been lauded by NFL owners and sportswriters alike as an example of how ALL athletes should be paid.

There can be no doubt at this point that the Football Gods still, for whatever reason, see fit to punish me. To Colts fans everywhere I can only offer my sincerest apologies for what is about to happen to your... I mean our team.
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