Troll Hunting: Megatroll Chris Baldwin Is In the Cross Hair

WRITER’S NOTE: Roy Hobbson already gave his thoughts on this particular topic (unfortunately Bogarting all my thunder in the process) but since I already wrote this before I knew he was doing a similar piece I figure what the hell, might as well put it out there.  Hopefully there’s still enough rage in you for 1,600 more words decrying the human filth that is Chris Baldwin.

Many of you have probably come across this particular troll in your own internet sojourning (he wrote an article in September titled, “Peyton Manning gets exposed: Looks like Michael Jordan with Wizards as Wade's Bulls beckon” in which he claimed, among other things, that, “Manning will never come close to being the Peyton of old.”  How’d that work out for you Chris?), but he wrote an article so egregious this week that I couldn’t help but fix my troll hunter’s crossbow (trolls are apparently susceptible to crossbows, don’t ask me why, it’s one of life’s great mysteries) squarely on the heart of the embittered Houston beat man.

The article in question has the not so subtle headline, “Peyton Manning completely disrespected by Indianapolis’ fair-weather Andrew Luck love.”  The title of the article alone is offensive (and comically stupid) enough, but, and consider this fair warning, actually reading the contents of this asinine tripe of a news story is guaranteed to send you into convulsions of righteous fury.  So let’s do this troll a favor and put him down.  After all, the only good troll is a dead troll.

"People don't even talk about Peyton Manning anymore," Colts fan Irene McReynolds tells me. "Unless it's too [sic] wonder if Andrew can be even better than him."[sic] I never thought I'd see the day."

She shouldn't be seeing it this soon. Indianapolis is showing just how fair-weather a sports town it is, completely disrespecting the quarterback who put their nowhere hamlet on the map.

Take away a big race that isn't quite so big anymore and Peyton Manning and Indianapolis would be as minor league a sports town as you can get. [sic]

Grammatical errors and poor syntax aside, where to start with this?  The entire premise of this man’s smear piece is based on the singular opinion of one Irene McReynolds.  Assuming Ms. McReynolds actually exists, her assertion that “people don’t even talk about Peyton Manning anymore” is so vague as to be nearly meaningless. 

Who are these “people” she refers to?  Her friends?  Her family?  The entirety of the Colts’ fan community?  We will never know and Mr. Baldwin makes no attempt to elaborate, apparently one solitary person claiming that a nebulous group of “people” did something is good enough for his trollish purposes. 

Forget the fact that there are plenty of “people” who talk about Peyton Manning on a regular basis (look no further than my own earlier piece on the subject for proof), the simple reality that this “journalist” based a vitriol filled diatribe against an entire fanbase on the observation of one woman is trolling at its most depraved.

Astoundingly, that’s not even the most obnoxious thing in this brief quote.  While claiming that a fanbase is fair-weather simply because they fail to pay the proper amount of deference (as determined by Mr. Baldwin himself) to a player no longer on the team, is patently absurd (not to mention untrue to begin with; apparently he hasn’t been following the ongoing saga of Broncos jerseys making appearances at Lucas Oil Stadium), calling Indianapolis a “nowhere hamlet on the map” in a sports context is the equivalent of claiming that the sinking of the Titanic was a minor boating accident.

Indianapolis is the home of the NCAA Hall of Fame, NCAA National Headquarters, quadrennial host of the NCAA Final Four, host of Super Bowl XLVI (and likely candidate for Super Bowl host rotation), home to the two time national runner-up Butler Bulldogs, home to the Indianapolis 500 (aka the greatest spectacle in sports), semi-annual host city of the Big Ten NCAA Basketball Tournament (both men’s and women’s), annual host of the NCAA Big Ten Football Championship, and of course home to the Indiana Pacers.  I didn’t even include Indianapolis as a central fan hub for the #1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers basketball team, the #1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, or the plethora of high school athletic tournaments Indiana is known for (the movie Hoosiers comes to mind).  It’s no wonder the Toronto Star named Indianapolis the “best sports city in North America.”  Good call Chris.

From there, feeling emboldened by his blatant inanity, and demonstrating the short attention span trolls are known for, Baldwin decides to totally shift directions and turn his hateful bile toward Luck himself (why he does this is anyone’s guess, trolls are not rational creatures), and demonstrate his complete lack of football knowledge in the process. 

Never mind that Andrew Luck is mostly a game manager at the moment — way more than Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who often gets saddled with that label. Never mind that he hasn't shown close to the brilliance that Robert Griffin III has displayed while carrying a flawed Redskins team…

His intangibles are off the charts, Luck's defenders — and he has a media army of them that Tebow could never grab — will tell you. Which is a nice way of saying, Please don't look at the actual stats.

Instead, the Luck brigade will spin one that has little to do with the quarterback and a lot to do with real luck and a surprising defense: The Colts' 6-1 record in games decided by seven points or less. 

If the rubbish up to this point wasn’t unpalatable enough, now we are asked to stomach the statement that Andrew Luck is a “game manager,” a term that, according to Wikipedia, is used to describe a “non-star quarterback on a winning team… [who] avoids making mistakes that prevent his team's defense and rushing offenses from succeeding.”  In other words, a QB who doesn’t do much to help his team win but is careful with the football and allows his elite defense and running game to do the bulk of the work.  Sound like Andrew Luck to you?  Yeah, nice try troll.

I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves.  The Colts defense ranks 20th in total defense, 20th in rush defense, 28th in opponent passer rating, 22nd in points allowed, is 32nd in FO’s DVOA metric, oh, and did I mention is on pace to break the NFL record for fewest takeaways in a season (11 by the strike shortened 1982 Baltimore Colts; the 2012 Colts currently have 7; Houston has 20).  The only thing “surprising” about the Colts defense is just how bad it is.

But how about that rushing game that Luck is protecting with his game management skills?  The Colts run game ranks 17th in yards (Houston 5th), 22nd in yards per attempt (Houston 13th), 18th in rushing first down percentage (Houston 5th), well you get the idea.

So it’s obvious that Luck isn’t protecting his run game, and only a moron would suggest the Colts are winning because of their defense (oh wait…), so how then are they managing to win games?  Why throwing the ball of course. 

Indy ranks 7th in passing yards (1st in passing yards in the air, RGIII and Schaub are 20th and 10th respectively), 5th in pass attempts per game, 3rd in yards per completion (Schaub and his game managing is 13th), 3rd in deep ball percentage (Schaub is 23rd, RG III slightly worse at 31st out of 32), 16th in play action percentage (RGIII and Schaub are 1st and 3rd respectively, so who is relying on their run game again?), and 3rd in total QBR with RGIII 5th and Schaub 10th (not surprisingly Baldwin dismisses ESPN’s proprietary stat as “made up”). 

I’d prefer not to get into a detailed comparison of Luck vs. RGIII, it’s been done already elsewhere, but claiming that Griffin is “carrying a flawed Redskins team” (as if the Colts weren’t flawed) that ranks 1st in rushing yards, 3rd in rushing yards per attempt, and 3rd in rushing play percentage, is insultingly dumb. 

Luck is on pace to shatter the rookie record for pass attempts (590 by Sam Bradford) with a ridiculous 653 attempts (that’s nearly 41 a game), not to mention yards at 4,662 (4,051 by Cam Newton).  When a QB is throwing 41 times a game it usually means they are consistently behind/losing.  Not so with the Colts.  They are winning with Luck throwing 40+ times behind an offensive line that ranks 25th in pass protection by Pro Football Focus.  Game manager my ass.

I could further address statements like, “Luck's numbers do not seem so spectacular when stacked up next to Andrew Dalton's 2011 rookie season.” And, “Andrew Luck is still much more myth than reality at this point. He is a magazine cover boy propped up by others. To so completely disregard the memory of Peyton Manning for that is pretty classless and even more clueless.” But to do so would just be belaboring the point.

Nobody in Indianapolis is disregarding the memory of Peyton Manning, in fact it’s mind boggling, and more than a little ironic, just how “clueless” that statement is.  Peyton Manning is an icon in this city and always will be, should we stop showing up for games at Lucas Oil or not cheer as loudly for Luck?  That’s absurd, and what's worse, the miscreant who wrote it knows it is. 

I’m comfortable laying this beast to rest in the shallow grave I just dug for him… here’s hoping his body isn’t unearthed and reanimated to troll again.  On second thought, maybe I should dig the grave a little deeper.