Well, Colts fans. We did it. We survived the most horrid, disappointing season in recent memory. We said goodbye to our dearly beloved quarterback, Peyton Manning. We watched as many of our favorite old reliables packed up and headed out of town. I actually saw Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme at Target a few days before they were released. Wish I would have said hi…or bye. Either way, we did it. Pat yourself on the back and call yourself a good fan. Yes, even if you cheered for the Colts to lose.
I’m not denying it, it was ugly my friends. I always feared the day we’d have to put Curtis Painter in for part of a game. Part of a season, unimaginable. Well, we don’t have to imagine any more. We saw it, in all its gory splendor. And then, just as we were about to seal the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, the team figures out what we fans knew from the start of preseason, that Dan Orlovsky was actually the best quarterback on the roster. Is it any wonder Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell are gone? Orlovsky proved almost immediately that he could win games. Hell, they got down 31-3 and he almost brought them back to beat the Patriots! But then, we Colts fans were really in a pickle. We love winning, we’re used to winning, but…this is no time to win! It all came down to that last game of the season in Jacksonville. There we were 2-13, the Rams were 2-13, but by way of the “easier schedule” we held the advantage. All we had to do was lose one more game. I will never forget watching that fated game and praying that Dallas Clark would do what he did all season and drop another pass, desperately hoping that some Jaguar defender would pick off just one more of Orlovsky’s passes, and screaming, “Don’t catch that!” every time Austin Collie got near the ball. By the grace of God, we lost. We won the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. And the rest is history…to be made. Starting now.
This week Andrew Luck will rejoin his new teammates after finishing his classes and graduating from Stanford. Yes, it was additional torture for us Colts fans to endure the weeks of Peyton Manning footage while our rookie quarterback is not allowed to play with his team (per NFL rules) until he finishes college. But if you think it was hard on us, imagine being Andrew Luck! You’re chosen as the number one pick in the NFL draft and they ask you, “What are you going to do now?” Not go to Disneyland, not go to Vegas, but go…back to college. To take finals. Those who know him say it’s been torture for Luck not being here with his team. Knowing he’s about to make a quarter of a billion dollars over the next four years has to help though. And missing that time with his teammates? Time Head Coach Chuck Pagano says, “You never get back”? If he’s even half the quarterback everyone says he is (and he is), the kid will be just fine. Better than fine, he’ll be fantastic.
Yes, we will always miss Peyton Manning, both for who he was and what he did. But as Peyton said, “In life and in sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever.” At 36 years old and after three neck surgeries, it was time for the Colts to turn the page and open a new chapter in Colts history. And when you think about it, it’s really quite amazing that the Colts were forced to play their hand on Peyton Manning, in the very year that the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning was entering the draft. Luck (pun intended)? Devine intervention? Good karma? Call it what you will. Regardless, it is a new and exciting start for our Indianapolis Colts. And we can say we were here to see it from the start. It all starts in just a few days.
So…here’s to Luck. And to new beginnings. And to never having to cheer against our team. Ever.