Monday, January 29, 2007

AFC Championship and Rocky IV

Some of you may be wondering what these two ideas have in common. How can a football game remind you of a Rocky movie? I'll tell you how!

I was fortunate enough to be at the RCA Dome for the AFC Championship game between the Colts and the Patriots. I'm telling you, it was intense!! The crowd was sooo loud that it actually caused physical pain, and the day after I was sick and bowled over in pain.

It was worth every single second!

However, this game didn't exactly go the way I expected it to go, and I doubt any Colts fan wanted it to be this stressful anyway. At least we won!

Back to Rocky IV. If you have watched the series, then you know this movie as the one where Rocky faces the giant Russian, Ivan Drago. He ends up beating the guy and ending the Cold War in the process. "If I's can change...and you's can change..maybe we ALL's can change!!" Legitmate chill moments throughout. During the entire game I felt like the announcers and the trainers for the fight. Let me explain.

In Rocky IV, the end fight didn't start well for our hero. Rocky was getting the stuffing kicked out of him by this massive Russian boxer. The Colts started in a very similar way. We were down 21-3 in the second quarter after a back-breaking interception return for a TD by the Patriots. We were getting killed! There was a woman in the section in front of me who started crying when this happened. She just kept moaning, "Not again..not again!! Please, not again!" Maybe I just imagined her, because I'm pretty sure I was the one weeping and wailing. In any event, just like Rocky, we were getting drilled. We go into the half down 21-6 and things aren't looking so great.

Its a good thing the story doesn't end there. The Rocky-Drago fight was pretty one-sided, but then Rocky started coming back! He had a good round and his trainers were reminding him, "He's just a man! He's not a machine, he's just a man!" At the same time, Drago was sitting in his corner stunned that Rocky was still breathing after the beating he had received. He muttered to his trainers, "He's not human! He's like a piece of iron!"

This is how I imagined the game going. I bet you anything Tony Dungy was in the locker room at halftime telling his team, "They are just men!! They aren't machines...and we can beat them!!" Then the Colts get the ball first in the second half...and we score a touchdown!! This is when I imagined Tom Brady muttering to himself on the sideline, "They are not human! They are like a piece of iron!" It was making me giddy just thinking about it. After that, the Colts defense made a stand and we got the ball back again. Peyton took our team right back down the field again and we scored another touchdown, and then we TIED THE GAME on a two-point conversion. "They are just men!!"

So now the game is tied, 21-21. The Patriots, just like Drago, didn't just roll over after the comeback. In fact, they struck back hard. Drago kept destroying Rocky with huge punches, and the Patriots came back and took the lead with another TD, making it 28-21. The Colts weren't done though, we had proven they were just men, now it was time to hit them back. We scored another TD, our third in a row, to tie the game again at 28-28. This is the part in the fight where Rocky gets on a roll and gets gives Drago a cut above his eye. The announcers scream, "The Russian is bleeding!" After the Colts tied the game again, I was in full Rocky mode now, I think I actually screamed, "The Russians are bleeding!!" We were on a roll, and the game was far from over.

Fast forward to the end of the fight and the end of the game. Rocky is going into the last round needing to knock out Drago, who had never been knocked out, to win the fight. The Colts need to score to force at least overtime, and a TD would come close to locking things up for us.

It's do or die time right now. (Cue "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor)

Rocky comes out swinging and starts making progress. He lands huge punches to the head, devastating shots to Drago's sides, breaking him down piece by piece. Then he lands a huge roundhouse that almost takes the Russian to the ground. The announcers scream, "He's chopping the Russian down!!!" The Colts are in the same position. Peyton has the ball with just over two minutes left in the game, and he has a long field in front of him. Peyton goes to work on the Pats defense, taking shots at them, wearing them down. Then he completes a long pass that rocks the Patriots and gets the crowd really going. "The Russian is bleeding!" Finally after a one minute drive, Joe Addai punches the ball in for a TD and we all just go NUTS. "We're chopping the Patriots down!!" That touchdown was the shot that rocked our opponent, but there was still time left.

Rocky didn't give up, and neither did our Colts. Rocky landed a huge punch that put Drago on the ground, and the Colts moment of truth came when Marlin Jackson intercepted Tom Brady. Both events sent the crowd into a delirium. All that remained was the countdown.

Rocky waited as the referee counted to ten and Drago couldn't get to his feet, and Peyton came out and took a knee, icing the game!

IT WAS AMAZING!! Rocky wins in the last round, and Peyton and the Colts knock out the Patriots to go to the Superbowl.

The lesson to learn from this? I live in my own little universe, and I am sure I appear insane to the outside observor, but I bet at least one of you was thinking the same thing during this game. Anyone?

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