Culver City Observer -

By Mitch Chortkoff
Sports Editor 

An Inspirational Day In Pro Football


October 10, 2012

It was the rarest of Sundays for me on October 7. I declined all invitations to do things because I wanted to watch all four major league baseball playoff games on television.

What a treat I expected. The A’s and Tigers at 9 am leading to three more games until nearly midnight.

Playoff baseball is far different than the regular season, from the fans’ enthusiasm to the intensity of the players, with a lot riding on every pitch.

Well, the ballgames were terrific, but an unexpected development made the day even more memorable than I expected.

A rain delay in the Yankees-Orioles game created a gap that I filled in by tuning in the NFL.

I knew Payton Manning and Tom Brady would be opposing each other – a duel of all-time great quarterbacks facing each other. I eagerly watched some of that.

But then came the highlight of the day and what a treat it was.

Chuck Pagano, the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach, had been diagnosed with leukemia earlier in the week and the Colts were dedicating the game to him.

The Colts parted ways with Manning this season and they had been struggling as you might expect. At halftime they trailed the Green Bay Packers, 21-3.

And then it happened. The Colts, led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford, rallied for a most improbable 30-27 victory.

The post-game scene was inspiring. Colts owner Jim Irsay congratulated the team, then held up the game ball and said it was going to a nearby hospital where the coach is being treated.

The players walked to the hospital and presented the game ball to Pagano.

Some Colts players said this was a bigger win than their Super Bowls. That’s how inspirational it was.

There were other story lines on the fifth week of the NFL season, including the Packers’ surprisingly slow start and the concussion suffered by the Redskins’ star rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who hasn’t yet learned to get out of bounds instead of taking on every onrushing defender..

But nothing compared to the drama of the Colts’ victory. And I suspect nothing will for a long time.


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