Here we are March 7, 2012, and after hearing the news last night, it cemented what I have been fearing for years. As the years have effortlessly flowed by as a Colts fan, I have been dreading this day, only I thought it would be with Peyton Manning retiring. I have been a Colts fan since they moved here from Baltimore back in the day. I remember Gary Hogaboom, Clarence Verdin, Erik Dickerson, Dean Biasucci, the infamous #1 & #2 draft picks Quentin Coryatt and Steve Emtmann(sp), I remember it all. I especially remember when C.O.L.T.S meant Count On Losing This Sunday
I also remember when I left Indiana for the Air Force in 1997 (ironically the same year Peyton came to Indy). I remember moving to Phoenix to go and work on F-16s and talking football with the other guys on the flight line. The amount of flack I used to get talking about my beloved Colts was almost laughable. BTW, the same year that Reggie Miller and the Pacers took Michael Jordan and the Bulls to game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. It was obvious that Indianapolis and furthermore Indiana was a basketball city still.
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However, after the years kept going and the Colts kept winning, Indiana became a football state. Remember the AFC championship game against the Patriots when Edge was stopped on the one yard line....1 yard from going to the superbowl. Remember when we came back against the Patriots and Joe Addai ran through that hole big enough to drive a car through....then Marlin Jackson intercepted Tom Brady's pass to get us into the Superbowl, I still have that game on my DVR, and when Bob Lamey says "Interception Marlin Jackson, we're going to the Superbowl", and it still gives me the chills! Remember all the good times we had with Peyton Manning under center?
We can safely say that we will no longer have any memories of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis(unless his new team comes to town to play the Colts). All these memories we have of #18 are very nostalgic, especially to me and my military career, and now my civilian career. Anyone walking by my cubicle can see that I am a Colts fan, from my lanyard around my neck, to the 100 items of flare that decorate my cubicle.
You know what isn't going to change? Me being a fan of the Colts. I know some people will hate Jim Irsay for this decision, but who knows what types of memories Andrew Luck will bring us as Colts fans. Maybe it is fitting that Peyton Manning is being replaced by a player named Luck, because that is exactly what we are going to need, Luck. I am not going to be naive enough to think that Luck will be everything that Peyton Manning is/was, but as a fan of this sport, team, I am optimistic.
No matter where Peyton Manning goes, I will follow him. He has meant too much to this town and further more, this league to receive any sort of criticism from me. I will wish him all the best (except when/if he plays the Colts), and I hope that when he receives that phone call from Canton, he does so wearing his Colts jersey and hat.