Over the next two weeks, we'll be wrapping up our thoughts on the 2012 regular season for the Indianapolis Colts. We'll breakdown positions, coaches, and other areas of the team. We'll talk free agency, draft, and the continued progress of the young players. In many ways, this was one of the best seasons I, personally, have ever covered. As one of SB Nation's oldest NFL bloggers (old, as in, I've been doing this the longest for SB Nation), I've seen my share of crazy seasons.
This one, for me, was my favorite. Even more so than the 2006 season, which saw the Colts win the Super Bowl, I found this campaign the most interesting. Maybe a few of you feel the same.
Consider where we were a year ago this time:
- Colts fire Bill and Chris Polian, completely change over the front office
- Colts fire Jim Caldwell, after flirting with almost retaining him with Steve Spagnoulo as the defensive coordinator
- Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning use media to yell at each other, and during the Super Bowl week in Indianapolis no less
- Colts release Manning, amid tears and speculation his career and health were at risk
- 13% of Colts season ticket holders give up on team, and all before they even see Andrew Luck play
Last year's offseason was about change, fair-weather fans, bitterness, anger, confusion, our team's crazy owner making a fool of himself on Twitter, a gutted roster, a general manager we don't know, a head coach with no previous NFL head coaching experience... and so on.
Now, as we move into the 2013 offseason, the front office looks like one of the best in the league, Chuck Pagano has proven he can lead a football team, Andrew Luck is amazing, and there is once again a waiting list for Colts season tickets. What a difference an 11-5 season makes.
2012 was anything but dull. It changed how we, as bloggers, were to cover the team. The status quo was out the window, and in were fresh ideas, transparency, and a front office and coaching staff that actually seemed to get it.
However, with a season like 2012, now the stakes are raised. Simply getting to the playoffs and going one-and-done, like this year, will not be acceptable next year. With over $40 million in cap space, along with several picks in the draft, Ryan Grigson and the front office are now tasked not with "rebuilding" a flawed and talentless roster. Their job now is to build a Super Bowl contender for next season.
Yep, that's what 11-5 seasons do for ya, folks. They raise the stakes. Personally, I'm much happier writing about that than I am writing about fans abandoning the franchise.
Keep it here, people. The offseason will be something fun, for a change.