Well Sunday is the biggest event in all of sports. The Super Bowl. The Colts take on the Saints in what will hopefully be one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all time. One can dream, right?
This week I figured it would make sense for people to get to know Brad Wells, the main man at our Colts site Stampede Blue since last week was all about the Saints Dave Cariello. Both Brad and Dave are actually on the ground in Miami right now, working their way around the Super Bowl media crowd. So without further ado, let's get to know Brad Wells.
Tyler Bleszinski: Tell me about how you came to be a part of SB Nation.
Brad Wells: Well, I guess I am one of the "original" football bloggers. I started back when SB Nation had only six writers covering six NFL teams. We had blogs for the Patriots, Bears, Steelers, Seahawks, and Cowboys. I used to read the Bears and Patriots blogs at the time, and (pretty much on a whim) I emailed Tyler blind and asked if I could write for the Colts. I had no real credentials, no previous blog of my own. But, because there was, literally, NOTHING out there at the time in terms of Colts blogs, Tyler gave me the green light. We've been going strong since March 2006. I averaged, maybe, 400 hits a day back then. Now, let's just say it is a lot more. It's been very gratifying to see more Colts blogs spring up since we started Stampede Blue and, in a way, we started that small trend. I hope more pop up. We need a stronger Colts fan presence on the web.
Bleszinski: How would you describe the Stampede Blue community?
Wells: VOLATILE! Seriously, the community is wonderful and the central core of what makes a blog work. I have to say that the community maybe agrees with, what, 20% of what I write. Some enjoy when I go off on rants about big media. Some don't. Some love it when I'm Sally Sunshine about the team; others want a more harsh, "realistic" take on things. Some love stats over passion; others love fan zeal and think "stats are for losers." I got dudes who post LOLCat pics in game threads and I got ladies who create Colts team and player logos after nearly every game. I got people who like my podcasts over my writing, and others who think I should shut up and stick to the keyboard. Overall, they are a very vocal and intelligent bunch who hold my feet to the fire on every opinion and misspelled word I post. I very much appreciate that.
Bleszinski: I know you have an interesting perspective on how the main writers on our sites should approach things. Can you share that?
Wells: Well, I'm an opinionated guy who actually believes strongly in the "knee-jerk" reaction. We are so conditioned as writers and people to temper our opinions for fear of offending someone. In several instances, I understand that approach. In blogging, it doesn't work. I also hate, HATE, HATE!!! conformity. This is the Hoosier in me: Trends are for the brainless. I never accept anything at face value and I question every trend I see pop up in the blogosphere and in big media. So, when I see our main writers conforming, when I see them does the exact same thing people at Deadspin, The Big Lead, and other sports sites do, I boil. The whole point of SB Nation is to present an alternative to that. I've lost count of how many times I ripped Deadspin for their horrid opinions on the Colts, pulling the old "Peyton is a choker" talking points out of the grave whenever they feel the need to rip him or the team. Or, when Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports starts spewing nonsense about the Colts struggling against 3-4 defenses when the stats and the wins clearly show otherwise. You have to attack this kind of thinking and call it out for the lazy sack of BS it is. And when I see our own writers fall prey to similar lazy lines of thinking, sometimes you have to smack the mallet across their skulls too. At the same time, I expect (and very often receive, equal treatment if I write something lazy.
Bleszinski: How'd you become a Colts fan?
Wells: I guess around 1991. I never played sports in school. Believe it or not, I was once quite meek, quiet, and introverted. I didn't like causing problems and I was afraid to engage in competitive activities. My father despised football, decrying it as an overly violent gladiatorial match that signaled our country's descent into the decadence of ancient Rome. However, my mom liked football because she thought then-Colts rookie QB Jeff George was cute. So, on Sundays, my mom, brother, and I would watch Colts games. At the time, watching the team was pretty brutal. But, those brutal years have made these current ones all the sweeter. And while Jeff George was Ryan Leaf long before Ryan Leaf, he did help me and my family discover and enjoy football. So, I guess he wasn't THAT bad.
Bleszinski: What is your all-time favorite Colts moment?
Wells: Probably the 2006 AFC Championship against the Patriots. The 2006 Super Bowl is up there as well along with the comeback against the Bucs on MNF in 2003. One of my favorite "moments" was watching Robert Mathis do a "Superman" while trying to sack Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl three years ago. Another was watching Manning's long TD bomb in Brandon Stokley in a 2003 playoff game. Just amazing games, amazing moments.
Bleszinski: Who is your all-time favorite Colt and who is your current favorite if that's different?
Wells: All-time, I have to be a dork and say Manning. Another I'll mention is Raymond Berry. I never saw him play "live," but everything I've read about him from Mark Bowman's book "The Greatest Game Ever," makes me just really respect Berry. The guy would run routes so precise he'd find flaws in how the markers were painted on the field. I think it's important to take note of the old Baltimore Colts because, much to the annoyance of Baltimore fans, they are very much part of the Indianapolis Colts lore. Berry has attended games in Indianapolis, and is often seen chatting up Reggie Wayne. Current fav is still Peyton. I've never seen anyone play QB like him. Just an amazing player on so many levels.
Bleszinski: What do you expect to happen in the Super Bowl?
Wells: Well, I expect my Colts to win! Also, I expect a helluva fight from the Saints. Both teams have great QBs and tremendous offenses. Everyone expects a ton of points. I expect some great defensive play from both teams. All these defenses will hear about for two weeks is offense, offense, offense. Both Ds will take that personally and use it to motivate their play.
Bleszinski: I don't suppose you think Archie Manning will be rooting for his old team?
Wells: Um, no. He's actually got a great quote on exactly this subject. He said that he is rooting for his son, and that "anybody who thinks it's different must not have children." I liked Archie long before Peyton was drafted by Indy. Had he played in Baltimore in the 1970s, they may have won a bit more. If he'd have played in Pittsburgh, they'd have won 5 or 6 rings. Great player.
Bleszinski: Tell me something about yourself that your readers might not know that would surprise them.
Wells: Well, the "I was once meek" thing might fill the quota here, but I'll also reveal that Im a big fan of Team Fortress 2. My play handle is TheDrago. I don't own a console because consoles are for sell outs. PC gaming is the only gaming (for old men). I've also been on TV, but I won't reveal the shows.
Bleszinski: Thanks so much for your time. I appreciate it and best of luck next Sunday.
Wells: I expect it to be hard work. I've done media events before, but nothing like the Super Bowl. It will be a fight to get information, access, and probably decent parking. I'm looking forward to meeting many of the media people I speak to across the country. I'm also looking forward to meeting the ones I've ripped. Mike Tunison better where a cup.