Colts punter Pat McAfee is coming off of a career year in which he made the Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. In addition to being one of the NFL's best punters, however, McAfee is also an entertaining personality and makes regular appearances on NFL Network. This morning, McAfee appeared on NFL AM to give his thoughts on the Colts' 2015 schedule.
"We obviously knew our opponents," McAfee said, adding that, "as a punter you look at certain things. You look at: do I want to be cold late in the season? Do I want to deal with wind? Do I want to cry and have nightmares at night? I'm happy we got Buffalo early because the last time I played there we were in the middle of a two foot blizzard and I almost grumpied my pants, I'm going to be honest. We got Miami in December, so I'm going to have to get the tanning bed cooking. And I think we're all excited for the season, we're all excited to get started, but most importantly we're excited to be back at OTAs and kind of have a mission and get back to work together."
McAfee was also asked about the AFC South division and he was very politically correct, emphasizing that the team knows that the division is tough and that they take the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars very seriously. "We know that our biggest challenge is the AFC South," he said. "You win the AFC South, you get into the dance and then whatever happens from there."
In addition to playing the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars twice a year like normal, and in addition to playing at Buffalo early and at Miami late, the Colts also have some of the NFL's best quarterbacks on their schedule, as they will play Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Tom Brady and the Patriots, and Drew Brees and the Saints. McAfee was a teammate of Manning's for three years with the Colts, so he obviously was asked about number 18 facing the Colts again in Indy.
"Well I think whenever Peyton Manning and the Colts split ways and he went to Denver, you could see the NFL schedule makers have an exciting smile in their life," McAfee said. "And we've got a chance to play them every single year now, and the thing about Peyton is he's always so damn good. At the end of the year last year when we played him in the playoffs, he was a little knocked up - or a little dinged up, not knocked up… but he was still making plays. So anytime you play Peyton, you've got to know that you're going to play somebody who's really smart, really talented, a diligent worker, and a guy that has a little revenge to hold against the Colts.
"I don't know, I've got a chance to play with the same team my entire career, so I don't have that revenge feel towards anybody, but they say whenever you leave and you want to go back and make plays. I don't know if Peyton's over that yet, but anytime you play Peyton, Tom Brady, Drew Brees - we're playing all these guys this year who are just so incredibly good, but that's the task in the NFL, everybody's good. Peyton Manning's a different animal, obviously, but the guy that we have playing quarterback is pretty good too."
The guy that the Colts have playing quarterback is indeed very good. In fact, he's the main reason why the Colts have such high expectations for this season.
"I really like where our team is at right now," McAfee said. "Obviously OTAs just started a couple of days ago so we've got a chance to come into the locker room and meet the new guys. I got a chance to meet Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, Langford, Trent Cole, all of these new guys - and they're so cool, they all have the same mindset. All we want to do is play good football. And with Andrew Luck we have a chance every single year to be great, no matter who is around him. Our team is excited about the season."
Of course, the start of the season is still a few months away so there's a little while still left to wait, but there is a lot of excitement surrounding the Colts - both with their new players and their schedule. It's a schedule that is very favorable to the Colts as a team, as well as to Pat McAfee as a punter.