I’ve been an Indianapolis Colts fan as long as I can remember.
When I was younger and didn’t have a team I truly cheered for, my brother gave me an Indianapolis Colts sweatshirt for Christmas one year. It was the year the team sneaked out of Baltimore and moved to Indy.
His rationale (besides probably finding the shirt on sale)? It gave me a team to cheer for and one that was starting anew.
Oh those years were rough.
My favorite Colts player for many years was kicker Dean Biasucci because it seemed like he was the only one who could score with any consistency.
There was the Jeff George saga.
And so many other things. Oh man was there a lot of bad. Bad season after bad season. I honestly wondered if I’d ever have the chance of cheering for a Super Bowl champion in my lifetime.
Then there was the 1998 draft.
Could this be the draft that put the Colts over the top? Ryan Leaf? Peyton Manning?
I know who I was cheering for.
And that wish came true. The team improved. Playoffs. Super Bowl hopes. Still, Manning was tagged with the “can’t win the big game” mantra. That was until 2006.
And Indy had a Super Bowl championship.
It was something I couldn’t believe I was seeing. The celebration was awesome. What a feeling to watch it all happen.
I didn’t think Manning would ever be in another uniform. Ever.
Our fantasy football league is auction style. Every year I paid dearly for Peyton Manning. People pushed me to the brink, but I always won him in the end. There was no chance. I overpaid this past year, knowing there was a strong chance he wouldn’t play all season. I went against my gut and followed my heart. Despite picking a great backup QB, I didn’t win anything, shockingly enough.
As the off-season came, the talk was on. Would the Colts cut him? Would Peyton Manning — with the iffy neck and all — be a free agent?
That reality came Wednesday when Manning and the owner of the Colts, Jim Irsay, held a press conference to announce that the two would be going opposite ways.
I didn’t see it until I got home and had read a few things, but watching Manning and Irsay get choked up got me a bit choked up, too.
It will be very odd to see him in another uniform (if, indeed, he’s able to play next year). I’ll slightly pull for him, but I can’t ever cheer for him to win another Super Bowl (unless it’s an NFC team… I might be able to pull for him in that conference). I hope, when it’s all said and done and his career comes to an end that he’ll be able to do the ceremonial one-day contract and retire as a Colt.
It would only be right.
They announced no other person would ever wear 18 for the Colts, too. It’s not “officially” retired, yet. But I imagine, once his career is over, he’ll have that retired right away.
It’s another building process for the Colts. It could take a while. And the end of an era happened today.
A new era begins soon and that will likely begin with Andrew Luck being selected as the No. 1 overall pick and the next quarterback for the Colts. The shoes he’s filling won’t be easy. The question is, can he do it?
But it’s still going to be hard to not see No. 18 trotting out on the field for the Horseshoes next year.
Thanks, Peyton. The run has been fun and it’s sad to see it end. But Colts fans will never forget this era.
Fundraiser: I am, again, trying to raise money for the Relay For Life. If you donate to me — even a small amount — you will be entered to win a super-sweet quilted scarf. Click here for all the information!
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