New England Patriots

“Rivalry”?

You can’t blame Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard for being upset with Josh McDaniels. The Patriots offensive coordinator is staying in New England after backing out of the Colts’ head coaching job, and without even getting a guarantee to succeed Bill Belichick as head coach. And as a result, he’s taking perhaps the biggest risk of his professional life.

But Ballard’s parting shot at his Wednesday press conference, while entertaining, probably still rings hollow in Indianapolis.

After fielding several questions regarding the McDaniels saga, Ballard concluded his press conference by declaring “The rivalry is back on” before walking off. Quite the performance for the GM, but not exactly one to take seriously – especially if he’s still not going to have a healthy Andrew Luck next season.

The Patriots and Colts haven’t played each other since 2015, but Bill Belichick hasn’t lost to Indy since the infamous “Fourth-and-2” game in 2009. The Pats have won seven straight since then, including two playoff wins by a combined score of 88-29.

Can Colts Live Up To Ballard’s Promise?

To be fair to Ballard, he was wholly justified to let McDaniels go without trying to convince him to stay with the Colts. “We want a head coach that wants to be all in,” he added.

So to call this a “rivalry” is certainly a bit of a stretch. But assuming Luck has two functioning arms and can take the field for the Colts, they could be back in the AFC conversation next season. Ballard has them heading in the right direction at other areas of the roster since taking over for Ryan Grigson.

But still, “rivalry”? They need to prove capable of winning a game before that comment can be taken seriously. Riveting press conference, though.

The Colts will pay a visit to Gillette Stadium during the 2018 regular season. Then we’ll find out if they can live up to Ballard’s proclamation.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.