What if the Colts Were Run Like our Schools?

May 18, 2010

For release Tuesday noon March 18 and thereafter (704 words)

Even months later I still am hopping mad at the Colts. I am angry because they didn’t make Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). Not all their subgroups passed.

Their offensive line caved in during the Super Bowl. Their defensive line didn’t do well, either (no excuse about the injuries). Their defensive backs also failed because they didn’t stop Drew Brees. Thus, way too many subgroups failed to make AYP. Adding insult to injury, the Colts didn’t even win all their games, let alone the Super Bowl.

Thus, we must categorize them as a failing team. Something has to be done. Here’s my idea for the rebuilding of the Colts.

It is obvious since the Colts have not met our standard of perfection that serious reform of their organization is needed. My idea is to make the Colts like the public schools. The first thing that needs to go is Jim Irsay, the owner. I don’t care that he has built up the most-winning NFL team during the last decade. It’s just not the American way that the Colts have an appointed board. Let’s open it up and make it an elected board so the board will be more responsive to the fans. That would be more democratic. We can have fans making the decisions on behalf of the fans who pay their way. Of course, the players union gets to fund the campaigns of these board members and make them beholden to the union. And of course only five percent or so of the fans will even bother to vote in the election.

Next, let’s lobby Congress and the legislature to pass thousands of laws to govern the Colts and let’s make sure we don’t have a single year go by that we don’t have some new reform measure passed. After all, the Colts are not meeting standards and are failing. Next, let’s create all kinds of state and federal agencies to monitor the Colts to make sure all these laws are enforced.

Next, the newly elected board should cut expenses. Economic times are tough all over. Ticket prices are too high, salaries are too high and expenses need to be cut. Let’s cut team President Bill Pollian’s salary or even eliminate his position. After all, it seems all he works is three days during the draft in April. Surely a knowledgeable head coach could do Pollian’s job.

Next, let’s make sure one of those laws gives tenure to the most-senior players — those with more than five years’ experience. That will ensure we keep Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and some of our other superstars.

Like Indiana law for teachers, we could declare that first- and second-year players are “non-permanent” with no seniority rights and must be laid off before all other players regardless of performance. After all, most Indiana school districts are giving lay-off notices to all their first- and second-year teachers. So it’s only fair we treat the Colts the same. Remember, they are not meeting standards either and are failing. What? You are really worried about losing starters such as Donald Brown, Austin Collie, Jacob Lacey, Pat McAffee and Jerraud Powers? Don’t worry. The rest of the players will pitch in and take up the slack. Gee . . . McAffee’s job doesn’t look so tough. I punted in high school and had a 42-yard average. I could do that job.

Now, we only have eight players who are non-permanents. We have 21 who are semi-permanent (three to five years’ experience) and we must lay off most of them, too. There’s not enough in the budget for them, either.

So what? We only lose players like Joseph Addai, Melvin Bullitt, Pierre Garçon, Anthony Gonzalez, Clint Session and a few more who really aren’t needed to meet standards.

But there is good news. There will be replacements. The NFL union contract allows any tenured player who has more than 10 years’ experience to transfer to any open position on any other team. It will be so much fun to watch all these retreads from other teams wear blue and white uniforms with the horseshoe on their helmets.

Jeff Abbot, Ph.D., J.D., an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation (and a satirist here), was a superintendent of schools for 14 years. He now teaches graduate studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.



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