Tough season, tough loss. I am proud we were able to win the division. While I am definitely dissapointed that the Colts could not win the game today, I am not dissapointed in the Colts as a team. We are lucky to have gotten this far with as many injuries as thsi team sustained this year. Would it have been incrdible to win the superbowl? Sure. But here is why I am content with this season and very optimistic about next year(assuming that there will be a season). Jump with me>
Week after week, all season long, we recieved disturbing news(or had to dig for it) that another one of our key players was either done for the year, going to miss an extended period of time, held in limbo where they should've been placed on IR or were just underperfoming due to the dreaded "superbowl hangover". How did this all work out for us? We limped to a 6-6 record. Most of us thought this team was done. Then we had a bright spot where everything seemed to click on all cylinders. Four straight must win games all ending in victories gave us the AFC South title. Most of the time when you win four straight must win games, it is in January and February, and you walk away with the Lombardi trophy. This team has been in the playoffs for a month. Every time we needed a win, they got it. Today was a tough loss to the Jets. You can point the finger at several key areas of the team, a few plays here and there, coaching decisions.... But the fact of the matter is that this team is exhausted both physically and mentally. So am I. And today we all just burnt out. The truth is that this could've happened a month ago. I don't think this team quit today. We just got beat. Its the NFL, and thats how things go. I'm walking away from this season with my head held high. We won the division and to expect anything further is downright crazy. I hope you all can find it in your heart to thank this team for doing all it could do. Overcoming that much adversity is no easy task.
Let me get one thing straight. I know its soooooo cliche to say maybe next year. I can sit here a come up with a billion reasons why next year will be better. And guess what? Thats exactly what I am going to do. First off, at some point, the law of averages has to kick in and we will catch better luck with the overall health of this team. With the exception of Bob Sanders, these players that the Colts have learned to live without will be back. Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, Melvin Bullitt. Secondly, we will have a higher draft position than we have had in quite some time. somewhere around 21-22nd overall. That should help us get the Oline-Dline help we need to improve this team where it is the weakest, IN THE TRENCHES. Third, the superbowl is in Indianapolis. This should mean several things. There is no bigger motivation to get to the superbowl than the fact that the game is in your own building. I expect Polian and Irsay to jump into Free Agency and acquire any players that can make this team better. Now that we wont be a part of the final 8 rule which prevents the top 8 teams from getting these high end free agents, we need to get the guys necessary to make this team more physical. There will be some of our own players that will need to be re-signed. I am totally in favor of keeping Addai as long as the price is reasonable. Maybe we can make a trade for a blockbuster player that will help this team out. LIke for instance, a rebuilding team that needs draft picks such as the Arizona Cardinals, that has great players that would absolutely help this team, like Larry Fitzgerald or Darnell Dockett. Im not saying those deals are possible, just saying that we need to go for broke to win it all next season. Peyton Manning wont be around forever and winning now is becoming more and more important. And that brings me to my next point, We have Peyton Manning. This guy was able to work miracles with the players around him. Lose your tight end, #2 and #4 recievers, get down to your billionth string running back, while one of your top recievers drops every pass thrown to him, behind an offensive line that almost gets your killed and cannot run block(for most of the year) for shit, while your defense cant get off the field and every defense that plays against you trots out on the field with eleven defensive backs(a little exxageration on my part). Its really just spectacular what he can do. If its possible to put a better team around him next year then with all the above mentioned adjustments, he will be even more devastating to opposing defenses. This team just came back down to earth this year. Just like they always do, they will bounce back. But they must do it with more mental toughness. The kind of toughness that doesn't leave you one and done in the postseason.
I know a lot of this is wishful thinking and just hoping for the better. But dammit, something has to be done next year. Its time to go for broke and win the Superbowl. Not a time to sit on our hands during free agency. Not a time to just re-sign the players we have and just hope everyone plays a little sharper. The Dungy mojo has worn off. This team needs to come out and hit people in the mouth. IM NOT TALKING GROUND AND POUND. Im talking putting 40 points up every game and NEVER allowing more than 10. We have the talent to get 7/8 of the way there. WE just need a few pieces and this team will be unstoppable. Whatever. Mortage the future to have these next three seasons ending with Manning raising the Lombardi trophy. Id rather do that than not see another championship and then go back to the way it was before Peyton. The time is now.