The Colts made a mistake.

The smartest man in football may have pulled the bonehead move of the season in the NFL.

I admire the Colts President Bill Polian.  As much as one can be in the game of football, he is a genius.  He built a winning organization at Buffalo, and he was the man at the helm when the Carolina Panthers made it to the NFC Championship in only their second year in the league.  He knows football.  He knows talent.  He knows the NFL, and Sunday he spit on its history.  His Indianapolis Colts had the opportunity to pursue the ultimate achievement in the NFL, a perfect season.  Instead he devised a strategy that pulled his key players from the lineup by the fourth quarter, effectively giving the game to the New York Jets and ending a historical run at perfection. 

Ostensibly, it was done to protect the starters from injury as they head into the playoffs.  1.) I don’t buy it.  I think Polian believes that pursuing a perfect season was too much pressure to carry into the playoffs.  I think he believes his players will play loose and have more focus going into the games without the added stress of remaining perfect. 

If  we’ve learned anything this season, we’ve learned the Colts thrive on pressure.  In fact, they don’t seem to play with focus until the game is on the line and it’s do or die on each remaining possession.  I think Polian took away that sense of urgency that seems to give the Colts the edge. 

2.) The Colts have one more game in the regular season, and they get a bye week in the playoffs.  If Polian is concerned about injury to his key players, that means they won’t see any significant playing time in the last regular season game.  Manning and the gang didn’t look too sharp last week when they were in the game.  We’re looking at three weeks of a preseason type atmosphere for those key players.  Can you say “rusty?”  I don’t like where this headed.

Look, Bill Polian knows more about football than I could ever know if I lived three lifetimes studying the game.  That being said, I think he made a mistake for his team.  I think he disrespected the game, and I think he robbed the Indianapolis fans.  Bill as Ricky used to say to Lucy, “You got some splaining to do!”

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The time is nigh for the Lost Days laptop giveaways!

One week to go until the deadline.  Get your entries in now!

I’m giving away two laptop (netbook) computers. Here’s how you can win. It starts with you answering the qualifying question. Read on.

What is the name of the Bigfoot that injures Owen?

Obviously, you will have to have read the book in order to know the answer, and that is the point of the contest. You are welcome to purchase the book by clicking here, Lost Days. But purchasing the book is not necessary. I would never make you purchase the book. That would be a real jerky thing to do. You can download the PDF for free by clicking here, Lost Days – Free PDF Version

1. You must be a member of the Lost Days Facebook group in order to be eligible to enter the contest.

2. Lost Days Facebook group members must provide the correct answer to the qualifying question to be officially entered in the drawing.

3. There are no limits to the number of times Lost Days Facebook group members can attempt to correctly answer the qualifying question.

4. Spread the word bonus – If you provide the correct answer to the qualifying question, you can earn extra entries for each member that joins the Lost Days Facebook group based on your referral.

5. You must provide the correct answer to the qualifying question by January 4.

6. A video of the drawing will be posted on the Lost Days Facebook group on January 10.

7. The answer to the qualifying question can be found in both the Lost Days book and in the free PDF: Lost Days – Free PDF Version. The book is available for sale on Amazon if you prefer the print version: Lost Days

8. PLEASE DO NOT post the answer to the qualifying question on Facebook or any other public forum, including, but not limited to blogs, messageboards, other social media sites, etc. And don’t send out a mass email to friends and family with the answer. They always make their way back to me, and it makes things very awkward.

9. Send the answer to lostdays@rwridley.com with the subject line “I know the answer.” The subject line is very important because it helps me streamline the process, so please remember to use it.

10. The qualifying question is… Wait, not yet! I will post a video with the question on the Lost Days Facebook group page very, very soon!

11. Second Drawing: The second laptop will be for the top 10 people with the most Spread the Word Bonus Points. What are Spread the Word Bonus Points? Simple, whenever someone joins the Lost Days Facebook Group and leaves a comment saying “I’m a fan because (your name) sent me.” You get a Spread the Word Bonus Point (provided you answer the qualifying question correctly). To give everyone ample time to get the word out, I am holding the second drawing on January 17. BTW – You can start spreading the word now.

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Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Bigfoot.

A Thick Skull Editorial

A Skullboy Byline: I take great pleasure in addressing a question from a fat, jolly old friend to this blog. 

Dear Editor,

I am centuries old.  Some of my elf friends say there is no Bigfoot.  Mrs. Claus says if you see it on R.W. Ridley’s blog, it’s so.  Please tell me the truth, is there a Bigfoot?”

Santa “Old Saint Nick” Claus

Santa, your elf friends are wrong.  They have fallen victim to the disease called rational thinking.  To them, the improbable is impossible.  They are only comfortable with the world they know, and scoff at anything that threatens their perception of what is realistic.  To them, the world is entirely discovered.

Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Bigfoot.  He’s as real as the footprints he leaves behind.  The greatest discoveries in science and nature and medicine and art have yet to be discovered, and without people who allow themselves to believe in the improbable – even the impossible – they will remain undiscovered.  In order to progress and grow as a society, we have to explore those things that shouldn’t be, that can’t be. 

Skepticism is useful until it replaces curiosity.  It is not necessary that your elf friends believe in Bigfoot, Santa, but don’t let it dampen your curiosity.  We need the curious for our own survival.  Explore the improbable.  Embrace the impossible.  Discover what can’t be, and we will all be better for it.

No Bigfoot?  How boring would life be if there weren’t people who allowed themselves to believe in something so improbable?  Nay, how dangerous would life be if there weren’t people who allowed themselves to believe in something so improbable?  So, believe in Bigfoot, Santa!  Your elf friends are total boneheads!

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

"Yes, Dwight there is a Santa Claus, and he knows more about Bear attacks than you!"

My editorial on Mr. Church’s editorial: I’m not a hugely sentimental guy, but this letter gets to me every time I read it.  It expresses in perfect language the absolute importance of believing in the good in life and ultimately people.  The Oz Chronicles books, as bloody and scary as they are, express the same thing.  I realize this won’t mean much to those of you who haven’t read the books, but for those of you who have, you should know that Stevie picked Oz as his warrior not because he was strong, or smart, or good – in fact, Oz treats Stevie terribly.  Stevie picks Oz because he sees the magic in him, the good.  Mr. Church is much more concise and congenial in his defense of the good in man, but I assure you we essentially are saying the same thing. 

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa!  Merry Buddhist Day!  Good Hindu Holidays!  Happy Good Merry Muslim Celebration!  What every your beliefs, party like you’re at a Scranton party because everyone knows there ain’t no party like a Scranton party!

By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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“I wish it was Christmas today!”

To make up for yesterday’s post, I give you a SNL parody song that has suddenly become a classic.  BTW – only in the age of the interwebs can something “suddenly” become a classic.  This is Julian Casablancas singing, “I wish it was Christmas today!”

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