Welcome to the land of expectations!
If you thought this season was a "rebuilding year," you were wrong. Sorry. Doesn't matter if Colts players were actually quoted as said this was a rebuilding year. They were wrong too. Playoffs are the expectation of the owner, Jim Irsay, and now that the Colts are 2-2 after knocking off the Green Bay Packers, playoffs should be the expectation of the fanbase.
For those of you out there who still cling to this notion that the Colts can function in the Indianapolis market while they "rebuild" (as we've often stated, "rebuilding" is a euphemism for "losing lots of games because the roster stinks"), then you aren't basing your opinions in reality.
Sunday's game against the Packers was barely a sellout, and Lucas Oil Stadium was nearly 1/3 full of Packers fans. I don't care what Bob Kravitz tweeted on Sunday. I'm sure he has his own reasons for writing what he wrote, no matter how laughably inaccurate it was. I saw the camera panning to the crowds. I talked with other media and fans at the game. There was a heavy Packer fan contingent in that stadium on Sunday. I know Packers fans travel well, but come on! Part of the reason why so many Cheeseheads were there is that supposed Colts fans sold their tickets to them.
Seriously? People do this, and then get mad at me for calling them "fair-weather?" GTFOH!
During critical situations in the fourth quarter, I could hear chants of "Go Pack Go!" through the TV speakers. When John Kuhn ran for the first Packers touchdown, it sounded as if the entire stadium harmonized "KUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHN!" in unison. Even interim head coach Bruce Arians noted during his post-game press conference that the Colts crowd was far to passive and inactive during critical situations for the Colts defense. The "sit-with-their-arms-folded" bunch seems to be back in the stands at Lucas Oil. It took a miracle drive by Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne to get these people screaming and yelling, which is the entire point of actually going to a game.
Understand something folks, had the Packers blown out the Colts on Sunday, the next home game would likely not have been a sellout. That means local blackouts. That means we, as a fan base, look like fair-weather idiots who probably don't deserve the football franchise that resides in the city. Hate me all you want for writing that. I live in the city where the NFL holds court. That IS how we are perceived, and perception in the NFL is everything.
However, through the grace of the football gods and the skills of Andrew Luck, the Colts won on Sunday. It seems all but assured that games going forward will be sold out. Hey, maybe the morons who have been wearing will finally stop being ignorant, inbred yokels and start acting like intelligent football fans. jerseys to the stadium on Sundays
Hey, I can dream, can't I?
Maybe now, FINALLY, we can stop flowing with the fair-weather winds and start getting fully interested in this damn team! Part of investing in the team is having expectations, and when those expectations are not met you hold the people in charge accountable.
Let's echo Bruce Arians on this subject, shall we?
We want to win. We've got some guys on the team that aren't into rebuilding, and neither am I. It's all about right now.
When asked a follow-up question on Monday regarding the team's "rebuilding year" and whether Chuck Pagano hired Arians with the expectation that he would coach a "rebuilding" offense, Arians answered:
I wouldn't even be here. That word was never brought up.
So, going forward, if you are a fan and have tickets, it is probably a good idea that you do not sell those tickets to the opposing crowd. Fanbases for teams expected to make the playoffs tend not to do that. Just sayin'.
If you do sell them, fine. It's a free country. Just kindly stop being a defensive little pansy when people like me point a finger at you and call you fair-weather. For those of you who bought tickets, attended the game, and cheered your head off, you're awesome. If you ranted like an asylum inmate during the first half, but hollered and danced like a deranged lunatic in the second half, god bless you.
The idea now is to keep that going. Keep expectations high. Demand excellence.
If you don't get that expectation, do not be passive. Actively insist your money's worth. Yes, this is a playoff team. That's the expectation within the organization. If that is truly the expectation, then the fanbase needs to start acting like one that expects post-season as well.
NOTE: I'm sure someone in the comments will make the incessantly stupid statement, "Hey, I didn't see you at the game. Who are you to judge?" To that idiot I say that I started my own fan blog all by myself six years ago because I care about this team and franchise. I write every day on it. I've cultivated a readership that has grown and grown and grown every year. I do phone interviews, watch game tape, edit contributor articles, and study, study, study because I care. I don't need to prove my fan "loyalty" by attending a game, and I have never scalped a ticket. I do all this work because I love the franchise and the city, now matter how annoyed I often get with both. I feel an obligation to inform the fanbase. All this is done for a salary that barely pays for my yearly electric bill. That's what I do.
All you have to do is buy some friggin' tickets and friggin' cheer.