I haven't really talked about my beloved Colts as much this year on the blog as I have in years past. There was training camp, the pre-season game, and my personal favorite: Tom Brady-In-A-Casket. But other than that I've been pretty quiet. I realize that not all of my readers are quite as enamored with the Colts as I am, so I've tried my best not to overwhelm you with my obsession.
Up until December 27th, this had been the most magical season for me yet. As my boys in blue marched through the regular season racking up wins, each game brought with it more excitement, screaming, and nail-biting on my part. I think I may have worn a new traffic pattern in our family room rug from my incessant pacing in many a fourth quarter.
The rumors swirled around Indy that the Colts would do nothing differently on the December 27th game versus the Jets than they did any other season when the playoff spot and home field advantage had been secured. They would rest their starters. Still, the city was buzzing that they would continue on – for the franchise, for the players, for the fans and the city that love their Colts. Two more games, potentially easy wins, and we'd seal our place in history with the Dolphins and Patriots as the only teams to go undefeated in the regular season.
Even if you didn't see the game, you know what happened. The starters were benched, and the Jets left with a win. I've felt a lot of things when it comes to my Colts. I've been a fan long enough to have suffered some pretty humiliating losses, to have been disappointed, frustrated, and sad. That game, and the one against Buffalo that followed, left me with an unfamiliar feeling: anger. Let me clarify: I wasn't angry with the players. They did what they were told to do, and they did it (thankfully without any Brett Favre-like drama). No, I was angry at the ownership and management, for not giving a flip about anything but their asses. For calling an undefeated season "inconsequential."
We had the chance to do something unforgettable, something that would place us in a whole new category. Was it risky? Absolutely. Could we have ruined a chance at another Super Bowl with a season-ending injury to an essential player? Of course. But teams with balls go for it. We just came across looking like the wusses that rest of the country believes us to be. I'm sick and tired of being a "finesse" team. I want to be the team that everyone is scared of, the team that will do anything to win. Had we attained the perfect season and not made it to Super Bowl, I'm certain this city and its fans would have been proud of our Colts. Disappointed, for sure, but the pride would have been a salve for that wound. I can't say the same if we don't bring home the trophy now. It's gonna get ugly.
So in the last two weeks, when I've normally been basking in the glow of a glorious season, talking smack right and left, I've been quiet. Stewing, if you will. Not once have I worn my new horseshoe bling, my Peyton Manning earrings, or my jersey. Like a jilted lover, I've been pouting, waiting for my beloved team to take me back, to offer a heartfelt apology.
Needless to say, neither Coach Caldwell nor Mr. Polian have me on speed dial. Lord knows I wish Peyton did. I took to heart his words in a recent press conference, though, pleading with the fans to put this all past us, to focus on the playoffs and to support the team.
It starts all over this Saturday. I'm putting the anger and the bitterness away, and hoping for the sweet taste of victory instead. One game at a time, boys. Make us proud again.