Assuming you are one of the Indiana residents who is a fan of the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, or Detroit Loins despite the Colts being from your home state, I am going to do my best to convince you that the Colts are more deserving of your rabid loyalty than the team for whom you currently cheer.
I will do that without jeering Ryan Pace, Mike Brown, or whomever runs the Lions franchise. This is not a comparative exercise, but one of looking at the Colts as so superior in many ways, only a fool would continue to back the losers from surrounding states.
My reasons are not entirely about the on field product. They reflect the amount of time I spend around the team at the practice facility, locker room, and media room where coach Frank Reich, the coordinators, and general manager Chris Ballard. While most present a version of their best selves, the media still gets a reasonable idea who these guys are and whether they are worthy of your allegiance.
Here are 10 reasons the abdicate your position as fans of some other team and embrace the Colts as your new NFL favorites:
7 – It’s in your backyard. Geography doesn’t need to be the biggest determining factor for franchise affinity, but it certainly should create a familiarity that makes it simple to migrate to the team your co-workers and neighbors back.
6 – Uniforms. Back the the mid-1990s, a friend in Chicago opined that if he had to pick an NFL jersey to wear to work it would be the Colts. He said they were the classiest, and I think he is 100% right. While other teams have developed throwbacks and alternates to spur swag sales, the Colts have held firm with two simple and historic versions. If it was good enough for Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning, it’s good enough for Quentin Nelson and Darius Leonard – and you!
5 – Colts kept the Patriots out of two Super Bowls. Whether the Bears, Lions, or Bengals are your favorite team, it is damn likely you hate the Patriots more than any other team – even the Packers and Steelers. The Colts are the reason Tom Brady and Bill Belichick don’t have eight Super Bowl championships. If the enemy of your enemy is your friend, then the Colts are good friends.
4 – Lucas Oil Stadium. Not ostentatious but very comfortable, Lucas Oil Stadium is nearing 15 years old and it still feels new. Tickets aren’t crazy expensive, and access is easy from any side of town or the many downtown hotels. Like so many things in Indy – Lucas Oil Stadium just makes sense.
3 – Jim Irsay. He’s not a dot-com billionaire or oil magnate – just the son of an owner who was raised inside the Colts locker room, became the GM, and has a hunger for championships that equals his quest for cash. Sure, there are warts, but would you rather have Irsay, the McCaskeys, Fords, or Mike Brown as an owner? If you choose anyone other than Irsay, you are not processing information rationally.
2 – Honesty. Chris Ballard is self-effacing and transparent. That conveys confidence to people inside and outside the locker room. He appears to be a very real guy who happens to be gifted at evaluating football players as pieces that fit the Colts culture. There is no haughty nonsense from Ballard in alibiing a bad draft choice or free agent signing. If Ballard makes a mistake, he unmakes it as quickly as possible and accepts responsibility for it. That humility is rare among NFL executives.
1 – (Speaking of) Humility. I’m so sick and tired of self-immersed and pampered athletes, I can’t stand it. Ludicrously rich athletes act as though they are the heads of their own churches rather than rich guys with crazy skills and abilities. The Colts are down to earth, not just by comparison with other pro athletes, but with servers at Applebee’s, bank tellers, and computer programmers. And I’m not talking about the end of the bench guys, but pro bowlers like Darius Leonard, Quentin Nelson, Jack Doyle, and every other guy in the room. These are football players, not divas. If you want self-importance, the Browns are right up the road. If you want football players who are committed to each other, they wear horseshoes.
It would be nice if the Colts won 12 games to convince you they do things the right way, but last year’s issues give you an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon without looking like a frontrunner.