INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 12: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts greets fans as he leaves the field following a preseason NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 12, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Do you remember Albert Bentley? Me too.
How about Clarence Verdin, Eugene Daniel and Dean Biasucci? Yep.
What do you think about when I say 'Aaron Bailey'? Probably the same thing I do.
Do you remember the 'Monday Night Miracle', Steve Emtman intercepting Dan Marino and the headline 'Super Colts Bowl Over the 49ers'? If you do, you are probably a lot like me (and we should grab lunch sometime). True, long time Colts fans are hard to come by. Over the last 10-12 years it's been easy, even trendy to support the Colts - I remember when you couldn't be one without ridicule.
I'm not going to sit here and claim I've been here since the beginning, because I haven't. Heck, I was a kid through most of 'hard times' that long time Indianapolis Colts fans refer to. I remember sitting with my Eric Dickerson Starting Lineup figure and listening to games with my father on the radio. When the Colts would lose (which, unfortunately, the Colts did frequently) it would put my dad in such a bad mood we knew to avoid him for hours after the game. I remember when 'Colts' wasn't simply the name of my favorite team but an acronym of a popular local joke. My own brother swore off the Colts in the late eighties to follow Joe Montana and the 49ers (only to become a Chiefs fan when Montana was let go by the team)- but I stayed true. Through Jack Trudeau, Gary Hogeboom, Jeff George, Don Majikowski and Craig Erickson, I stayed true.
It was tough in those days.
Then came Peyton Manning, the vindication all long-suffering Colts fans were waiting for. We finally made it. We had arrived.
13 seasons of bliss (and one very ugly one last year) have brought us back in time to 1998.... kind of. One bad season (as opposed to a decade of failure) and the Colts fan base appeared to be heading back into the dark ages. Season ticket renewals collapsed (the team wiped out a ten year waiting list and STILL has tickets available) when the fans couldn't handle the departure of their favorite son, Peyton.
Enter Andrew Luck (aka, 'Hope') and Colts fans again have a reason to believe.
This is why I love football. This is why I love the Colts.
I'm Nick Ragsdale and I'm the newest contributor for Stampede Blue. Like most of you, I've been a Colts fan as long as I can remember. I'm a new season ticket holder (thanks to those of you who decided not to renew) and I'm excited about what the 'new era' has to bring. I've always enjoyed writing... I guess it's in my blood. My grandfather was a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, in fact, he was part of a team of reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1975. Don't expect anything of THAT quality here... I just enjoy talking and writing about the Colts.
I've been married to a very patient woman for the last seven years and we have three kids. I plan on making weekly picks for the site and sharing some thoughts and opinions on the team's decisions. You should know ahead of time, like my wife does - I'm usually right. (Thanks for being patient, honey)
Here's to the new season.
Follow me on Twitter at @ColtsInsiders