It was October 21, 2013. Around 12:15 in the morning. At Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. You couldn’t see it. And you couldn’t hear it. But, it happened. And we all knew it.
It was an unceremonious changing of the guard, so to speak. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts beat Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. On his former home turf.
It all started with a hero’s welcome.
The Colts, the City of Indianapolis, and the fans welcomed Peyton Manning “home” with a video tribute and a cheering standing ovation that went on and on.
It was a chance to say hello, goodbye, and thanks for the memories.
From there…well, let’s just say it wasn’t Hoosier hospitality at its finest.
We cheered loudly against him, roughed him up, beat him in the stadium he built, and sent Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos home with their first loss of the season.
The crowd was electric. It was third down every down when Peyton Manning had the ball. And even though the roof and window were open, Lucas Oil Stadium was deafening. As one fan put it, it’s a good thing they opened the roof, because the crowd noise would have blown it off anyway.
The Colts defense was tough, physical, and dominating. They forced the Broncos off the field on third down time and time again. Peyton Manning was sacked four times. Twice by Robert Mathis, who looked like a guy who had been salivating over the opportunity for years.
And Andrew Luck. Who was cool, calm, and collected. Peyton Manning’s replacement. And every bit the leader of this new Colts team. Luck ran the Colts offense like a deadly weapon. With timing, precision, and rapid fire.
The “Boomstick” went BOOM!
And that’s how the War of 1812 was won.
But, that’s not where our story ends.
It ends at midfield. When the game is over.
When Peyton Manning, “The Sheriff,” pats Andrew Luck on the helmet and says, “Son, this is your town now.”
I don’t know if that really happened, but in my mind it did. And I like that version. So, I’m going with it.
Then, the townspeople rallied around Andrew Luck.
And escorted Peyton Manning to the door. Of his plane.
Just before he boarded, someone said, “Hey, Peyton…hold on. We need to get your key to the city. Because…it belongs to someone else now.”
Someone named Luck.
That’s right, Andrew. No more living in Peyton Manning’s shadow. This is your city now. Even if Peyton didn’t say it…
I just did.