One of the pillars of the Colts franchise over the past decade has been Robert Mathis, who is retiring after 14 seasons with the team.
To thank him for his contributions to the franchise, the Colts have hung a “Thank you for the memories” banner over the picture of Mathis that hangs outside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
This is keeping with the tradition of other former Colts who have left the franchise while their banner hung outside of the stadium. The Colts also did it to honor Peyton Manning, Dwight Freeney, Antoine Bethea, and Reggie Wayne after each of them left the team. So that’s pretty good company for Mathis, and it’s a well-deserved honor before the team takes his banner down from the stadium.
Mathis retires as the Colts’ all-time leader in sacks and the NFL’s all-time leader in strip sacks, and only Johnny Unitas has played more seasons with the Colts than Mathis did. Mathis was a huge part of the success the Colts had in the Peyton Manning era as he formed a tremendous pass rush duo with Dwight Freeney, and then Mathis has also been an instrumental player in the first few years of the Andrew Luck era as well. Mathis has been a team leader and in 2013 set a franchise record with 19.5 sacks, leading the league. He’s a well-respected player and teammate who accomplished a lot of great things during his career.
Now the question becomes who the Colts should replace Mathis’s banner with outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. Currently, Andrew Luck, Adam Vinatieri, and T.Y. Hilton also have banners outside the stadium, so who else should join them? There isn’t really a clear option. Pat McAfee would be the logical choice, but that would mean having two specialists on the banners - would the Colts want that? If they don’t consider that a problem, then it should be McAfee. But if the Colts want to put up someone else, it’s quite unclear - though cornerback Vontae Davis might be the best option there. It’s probably an indictment of their roster, however, that two of the four most-deserving players to have banners outside of the stadium are the kicker and the punter (as good as they are).
Who do you think should join Luck, Hilton, and Vinatieri outside of Lucas Oil Stadium?