The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby (And Z.W.): Indy Road Trip To Watch Cam Newton

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In this week's edition of Ricky-Bobby-Z.W., the TUP crew talks about taking a road trip to Indianapolis to watch Cam Newton lead the Panthers to victory over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Words and stories, after the jump...

Z.W. Martin (@ZWMartin):

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You two clowns went to Indianapolis to watch the Colts face the Cam Newtons. Since Indy is so terrible, I will assume Cam and Co. (his team is really meaningless -- THAT transcending) won the game (Ron Rivera 4 Life). You both are super fanboys of Cam, so, did he live up to the hype? What was the hype/your expectations? What stood out? How's Indy's new stadium? Any play make you go "Holy balls!"? Etc.

Bobby Loesch (@bobbystompy):

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Clowns? I'd resent that if we weren't clowns.

Watching the Cam Newtons was great. It's rare and almost disappointing when a sporting event plays out exactly how you think it will, but in this case, it played out exactly how I expected, though it wasn't disappointing. These things happen when Cam Newton runs into the end zone backwards then does his Superman celebration right at you*.

* - OK, we were in the upper deck, but it was still relatively close

Lucas Oil was dope. Roughly 28 times better than the Metrodome. Please die, Metrodome. Die, like, forever. While outdoor football is probably always 'the way' to go, there's something so nice and comfortable about indoor pigskin. I remember thinking, "If this was a Bears game, even though I'd care about the game itself more, I still wouldn't wanna go."

You just have to have so much mental preparation attending an outdoor football game in crappy weather. We got out of the car in Indy and it was rainy and in the 40s. The 10 minute walk to the stadium was torture. Four hours outside woulda been awful. Indoor, the game flew by. The Big Ten Title Game is definitely in good hands.

A few more impressions...
Curtis Painter: Somehow worse in person. No disrespect to the guy intended, but he threw a 10-yard out so long, it may have only been completed if it was a 30-yard out.

Reggie Wayne: Still awesome.

Colts fans: We either saw one or zero Luck jerseys, and the custom Colts jersey maker inside the stadium said he's only made two all year. He said a company that does the same thing had only made six. The Colts Luck Jersey Phenomenon may be overblown by highlights on TV. Something not blown out of proportion?

Jeff Saturday: Twelve of his jerseys spotted! The real upset? Mostly on women. Well, maybe not mostly, but at least 50-50.

Marvin Harrison: One of my least favorite players ever got honored at halftime. It was weird to see him; feels like he's been outta the NFL forever.

2008 Colts vs. 2011 Colts: Pointed out by me at the game -- what is so different from the Colts team that almost went undefeated and the Colts team now? Besides Peyton, of course. How could this team be so bad that they're threatening 0-16? It's, like, all the same players!

Cam: Lived up to the hype. His speed was great to see in person. But I almost craved more. I would have loved to be on the field -- guaranteed not to be hit or hurt, of course -- just to see that super tall, super fast dude move. Maybe more impressive than his speed? He made some hella impressive throws into very tight windows. All in all, B. I'd give him a B+, but he took a lot of bad sacks.

Z.W. Martin (@ZWMartin):

I'm not that shocked by the Luck thing. Indianapolis is so Peyton Manning crazy that it would almost be like if Chicagoans started wearing Neal Anderson jerseys in 1987, except that Manning will probably still return, like, next season. If Luck goes to Indy, he will be a backup until Manning decides his future health is more important than football and money. (Who wants the jersey of a backup? Yuck.) That won't be for awhile if Manning -- and his incredible asshole nature -- has anything to do with it (think MJ).

Besides, is Luck still the for sure #1 pick anymore? Matt Barkley is looking awfully good.

Bobby Loesch (@bobbystompy):

I love Barkley, but I also love Luck. I'll probably roll with Barkley in the debate, but only because it's more fun.

As for the "what did you expect?" question. I know. But... I mean.... I've seen several Andrew Luck Colts jerseys in highlights this year. Including away games. So I dunno, man.

Ricky O'Donnell (@TUP_Ricky):

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Michael Vick has been my favorite football player -- non-Bears division -- since his Virginia Tech days, now more than a decade ago. I think Cam Newton has officially overtaken him this season, though. Yes, for as electrifying as Vick was a season ago in Philadelphia, he's been just as underwhelming this year. Hell, he might only be the third most exciting player on his own offense. I'd like to think Cam's upheaval has more to do with Newton becoming an iconoclast than the beginning of Vick's end, though.

The starting point for this discussion should probably be Andrew Sharp's SB Nation piece on Newton's trails and tribulations over the last calendar year. It's amazing he's gone through so much already at just age 22. That everything -- from the entire college scandal to the Heisman and National Championship, from draft doubters to becoming the No. 1 overall pick -- has ended in such a loud pro start is telling. This has the markings of an iconic career. He is actualized Vince Young. It seems like the type of thing you should see in person, if possible.

Even if we missed nearly that entire Bears game, I'm still really glad we went. It was impressive how much Cam looked like he belonged out there. It's true, he wasn't exactly being compared to the league's greatest competition on Sunday. But think of all the top ten overall quarterbacks who have flamed out so spectacularly. Being a rookie quarterback in the NFL just might be as hard a task as there is in sports. And yet, here's Cam: doing the Jason Terry taunt at an opposing stadium as he takes the field for warmups, evading defenders, making throws in small windows, being a me-first battering ram on the ground in the red zone. Like, shouldn't his head be spinning right now, after a lockout-shortened training camp? Any normal rookie, yes. But Cam is truly a next level baller.

  • Lucas Oil Stadium was really nice. Probably the nicest sports venue I've ever been in. Not having to worry about the rain outside was pretty amazing. The temperature inside the stadium was, like, immaculate. I think they achieved perfect room temperature. Isn't that a "Community" joke?
  • The pace of our game was great. I noticed midway through the third quarter that Colts-Cam was going the quickest of all the noon games, and the group found itself rooting for it to be the first game finished of the day. I'm pretty sure it was. There were no challenges, very few penalties, no extended injury breaks. Football games tend to drag with so many commercials on TV, but it didn't feel that way in person at all.
  • I went to a Bulls-Pacers game in Indy in the first round of the last playoffs, and was blown away with the amount of Tyler Hansbrough jerseys. I still wasn't prepared for all the Jeff Saturday love, though. I mean, 12 jerseys! I feel like if he ran for governor, other candidates wouldn't even be on the ballot.

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