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2006 Playoffs, AFC Championship Game: Colts 38-Patriots 34

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I love this picture.
Photo: NFL.com
I could literally sit down here and write a small novella on how this game, in many ways, summarized what it is like to be a Colts fan during the Dungy era. For the past 5 years, we Colts fans have seen games like this time and again, but when they occur facing the dreaded New England Patriots, the result is usually a big, fat "L" for the Colts. Example: three years ago during the 2003 season, almost the exact same game ws played between these two teams in the RCA Dome. The final score was the same as this one (38-34), only then the Patriots came out on top. This time around, Joseph Addai punched the ball in on the goalline. In 2003, Edgerrin James was stuffed by Willie McGinest. Both games saw the Colts roar back after getting down early.

This time, the Colts pulled it out.

I could literally go into a laundry list of things to say about specific players, coaches, etc. But, I won't. I'll simply state that this AFC Championship Game was the greatest AFC Championship Game ever played.

Period.

It beat out the Steelers and the Colts in 1996 (Harbaugh's Hail Mary dropped by Aaron Bailey in the endzone), considered by many to be one of the greatest playoff games ever. This one topped it. You did not have to be a football fan to enjoy or appreciate this game. That's how good it was. That's how special it was. This game won over new fans to the NFL sport. It has helped solidify the legend of Peyton Manning. It guaranteed that, for the first time in NFL history, a black man will coach a Super Bowl winning team.

It was a great, great game and if you didn't like it go to the hospital immediately and ask the doctors there to give you a pulse.

As a fan, I am tremendously proud. I'm proud of the team, the coaches, Jim Irsay (a good man and owner, trying to overcome the errors of his father), the city of Indianapolis, the fans, everybody. I'm also proud of Patriots fans, guys like InBradyWeTrust. InBradyWeTrust and I have talked all season about the Colts and Patriots. He was the one that broke the news to me that Vinatieri had signed with Indy prior to the 2006 season. It is only fitting that his comments reflect, in my mind, the attitude of the Patriots organization after their loss to the Colts:

Congrats, guys. Peyton Manning is a class act. I will be rooting for you in the Super Bowl. Tough pill for us to swallow giving up a 21-3 lead, but that was one ballsy performance by your quarterback...heck, we completely overachieved this year. In fact, Petyon was kinda like "aw shucks". Classy. If I were him, I would have been yelling to everyone, "FU, FU, FU". Truly a class act. Congrats (especially Big Blue)...I wish you luck.

Please sack Grossman at leat 5 times and shut up those Bear fans! AFC is where it is at.

InBradyWeTrust's last line is correct. The AFC is indeed king, and has been king for some time. The Patriots and the Steelers are a high standard, and the Colts will have to meet those standards, and then some, when they face the Chicago Bears. As much as we Colts fans hate New England, they are probably the greatest organization in professional sports right now. In the modern NFL, with modern salary caps, restrictions, injuries, and more this team continues to win. They are 12-2 in the playoffs in the Belichick era, 3-1 in AFC Championship Games.

To be the best, ya gotta beat'm.

I will continue to talk about this game throughout the week, highlighting things here and there, as well as discussing the Chicago Bears as we lead up to Super Bowl 41. In the meantime, comment away. The Colts are in the Super Bowl, and damn does it feel good!