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Jim Irsay: Colts vs. Patriots Will be a "Huge, Huge, Huge" Game in 2015

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He's not wrong.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots used to play in the same division, but it wasn't until they were re-aligned into separate divisions that the rivalry really started.  That was when Peyton Manning was emerging as a star in Indianapolis and Tom Brady was emerging as a star in New England.  And the rivalry between the AFC's two best teams and the NFL's two best quarterbacks became one of the most entertaining rivalries in football over the past decade.

Recently, the rivalry has been very one-sided, with the Patriots winning the last six contests - the last four of which have been very one-sided games, too.  But then deflategate happened, and the bad blood between the teams reached what is perhaps an all-time high.  The Colts brought it to the NFL's attention that the Patriots were cheating, and the Patriots weren't very happy about it - believing that the Colts were a part of a sting operation and then accusing Indy of cheating as well.

When the 2015 NFL schedule was released, the week six game between the Patriots and the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football immediately caught the attention of many, because it was a rematch of the AFC Championship game, yes, but also because of the whole storyline with deflategate.  And then Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, and if that holds (he's currently appealing it), his first game back would be against the Colts.

So in other words, it's safe to say that the October 18 meeting between these two teams will receive quite a bit of attention.  Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay realizes that as well, and speaking to the media at today's owner's meetings, he said that it's going to be a "huge, huge, huge" game, per The Boston Globe's Ben Volin:

<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://instagram.com/p/26a5isDeVW/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">Jim Irsay: &#34;The Patriot game will be a huge, huge, huge game, obviously.&#34;</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by @benvolin on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2015-05-20T17:53:18+00:00">May 20, 2015 at 10:53am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>

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The atmosphere surrounding that game will be huge anyway, and if that truly is Brady's first game back, it will become much bigger.  The two teams are widely considered to be the best two in the AFC, and so on top of the underlying deflategate saga is the fact that it could very well be a matchup of the best two teams in the conference.  That game is certainly one to circle on the calendar.

Also of note from Irsay, he mentioned that the chain of custody for footballs must be watched closely (and it's something that the owners discussed at their meetings), and he also said that it's "certain" that a team will be playing in Los Angeles soon, the only question is how many teams it will be.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Jim Irsay says its important that the chain of custody of footballs is watched closely. Won’t delve into specifics of what was discussed</p>&mdash; Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/601082619158073344">May 20, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a> owner Jim Irsay: "One thing is for certain: There will be an NFL team in Los Angeles in the coming years." Question is how many</p>&mdash; Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/601083425496272896">May 20, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>