In 2008, the Indianapolis Colts opened up their brand new stadium, making their debut at Lucas Oil Stadium. It's one of the nicest stadiums in the NFL, but it also provides one of the best home field advantages in the NFL (because of course I'm not biased).
Besides being named the best stadium in the NFL in terms of fan experience for three years in a row and counting, Lucas Oil has provided a great atmosphere to support the Colts. In fact, the Colts have the fifth best winning percentage in their home stadium of any team in the league. The Colts have a 37-15 record at Lucas Oil Stadium, winning 71.2% of their home games in the stadium. The only teams with a better win percentage in their home stadiums are the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks.
Here's the Colts' home record by year since moving into Lucas Oil Stadium:
* Thanks, Bill Polian
** Obviously, we're early in the season still
Notice that even in the 2011 season that the Colts were playing with a terrible team that featured the illustrious quarterback talent of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky, the Colts still won two games at home - the only two games they won all season long.
Lucas Oil Stadium doesn't get as loud as the RCA Dome used to, but it's pretty close. And regardless, the improvements of the stadium and the atmosphere are much better and the Colts fans are still the same as ever (great). They don't get as quiet for Andrew Luck's offense as they did for Peyton Manning's offense (and no, Mile High Stadium doesn't either), but the Colts fans still know to be quiet while on offense and make a lot of noise while on defense. The home record at the stadium is certainly in part due to the talented
teams quarterbacks that the Colts have had, but that's true of any team and their home field advantage. The fact of the matter is that the record speaks for itself, and the Colts' record at Lucas Oil Stadium ranks among the best in the league, while the stadium experience has been ranked first in the league for three years running.
Those of you who have attended a game, what's your favorite memory of Lucas Oil Stadium? For me, there are plenty of them - I was at the AFC Championship win over the Jets in the 2009 playoffs, sitting next to Tony Dungy (ok, that's only kinda true... I was sitting in a box seat and his box was right next to mine, so close enough, right?). I was at Peyton Manning's last ever game as a Colt, the 2010 playoff loss to the Jets, and while that's not a pleasant memory (I'm still questioning that timeout), it proved to be a very significant game (Peyton's last as a Colt). I was at the first ever win at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008 against the Baltimore Ravens (classic Peyton to Marvin). Chuck Pagano's return to the sidelines in week seventeen of the 2012 season was one of the best moments I've been a part of as a Colts fan, and the crowd went crazy when the "welcome back Chuck" video showed. That was special. I was there when Edgerrin James returned and was honored in 2009 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. But the loudest I've ever personally heard Lucas Oil Stadium (much less with the roof open!) was in 2012 against the Denver Broncos in Peyton Manning's homecoming. The crowd was pumped from the very beginning, and when they played that video honoring Peyton pre-game and having him come out on the field and waive, the stadium just went nuts. And I mean, it was crazy. But then the game started, and for the first time ever, the crowd was incredibly loud while Peyton Manning was on the field. When Robert Mathis strip-sacked him, Lucas Oil Stadium erupted. That night was one of the more electric crowds the Colts have had in a long time, and that's saying a lot.
The Colts have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL, no doubt. And that's a testament to the Colts and their fans, as they've made Lucas Oil Stadium one of the toughest places to play in the league.
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