This season has been a disappointment for Colts fans on many different levels. The on-field play has not been great. The coaching worse. Injuries have decimated the roster from top to bottom. None the less, Colts fans have a lot to be thankful for.
First and foremost, Colts fans should be thankful for General Manager Chris Ballard. He is one of the top talent evaluators in the NFL. In the limited time we’ve seen his draft picks play, they’ve produced. His free agency acquisitions have produced. It’s been a long time since Colts fans could say something like that.
It’s not just Ballard’s eye for talent that Colts fans should be thankful for but also the way that he handles his other duties as general manager. Ballard is patient and practices what he preaches.
A notorious former GM might have been extremely short-sighted and selfish by rushing Andrew Luck back as an attempt to save his own job rather than look out for the long-term success of the franchise. Ballard hasn’t done that. He’s got his eye on more than just this year. That’s encouraging.
Some Colts fans may be upset with how the Luck situation was handled. I’m not. When the franchise noticed Luck wouldn’t be back without pain, they put him on IR to protect him from himself.
Additionally, a former GM might have forced players he brought in to play despite their obvious lack of talent. That same former GM might have kept his own players and cut someone else to prove “he was right.” Ballard hasn’t done that. When Zach Banner wasn’t producing, Ballard cut him. When beloved CB Vontae Davis wasn’t producing, Ballard cut him.
Ballard has said from the beginning he wants competition and if some lesser known player outworks a veteran, the young guy gets the spot. That’s encouraging and refreshing. It means the Colts will truly have a competitive roster void of the stench of nepotism. That is something Colts fans should be thankful for.
Fans should be thankful for a certain local Indianapolis radio host with little to no football experience and who had an awkwardly close bromance with a certain notorious former GM. When Ballard was interviewed on the same former softball question asking show, Ballard came across as cool under a barrage of questions from unreliable internet “sourcez” related to whatever cockamamie agenda this local radio host had to try to discredit Ballard. The interrogation Ballard underwent proved to Colts fans that Ballard is cool under pressure even when an irrational host spouts off like a geyser, just losing his cool and blowing his top. So yes, Colts fans should be thankful Ballard doesn’t fold when put on the hot seat.
Aside from Ballard and this might seem counter-intuitive, Colts fans should be thankful for this season. This season, without Luck, has shown just how tough it is to win in the NFL without a top tier QB. I believe the franchise when they say Luck will come back and play again. Nothing credible I’ve researched or read makes me question that.
Because of this season, Colts fans should be thankful for the overwhelming likelihood of having a new coach next season. This season has proven that without Luck, Pagano can’t coach. I could say more but it’s already been said so I’ll move on.
Colts fans should be thankful for how the team has played this season because they’ll likely be getting a top 10 draft pick, potentially even a top 5 pick. The team needs more top end talent, especially at pass rusher and offensive line. A top 5-10 pick would allow the Colts to secure a top OLB prospect or trade back and lock up a top OG/OT prospect. On the off chance Saquon Barkley is available, I wouldn’t be against grabbing someone who could be the next Barry Sanders at RB.
So yes, Colts fans should be thankful the team is losing this season when they don’t have a realistic shot to win the Super Bowl.
Lastly, Colts fans should be thankful for our community. When I first started out writing at Stampede Blue several years ago, our community was active but not nearly what it is today. The contributors Brett brought into the fold are top notch and give Colts fans a constant stream of content on a variety of platforms. From written articles to podcasts, everything this staff puts out is informative and interesting. Other sites are more cheerleader-esque or boring, thankfully that’s not who we are.
I think I can speak for the entire Stampede Blue staff, we’re thankful for all of you. Without you, Stampede Blue is not what it is today. We’re thankful for your participation. Your participation really does make this entire community one of the best places for Colts fans to interact with one another.
Thank you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving.