Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay has had the great fortune of owning a team who has had quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck spanning two decades of football. During the former quarterback’s time in Indianapolis, the Colts went to two Super Bowls and won one — SPOILER they should have won them both. Since Luck joined the team, Indianapolis has been to the playoffs three times and has gone as far as the AFC Championship.
There should be no doubt that the string of 10+ win seasons under Peyton Manning and the early success of Andrew Luck is astonishing. Any organization and fan base should be proud that their team has proven consistently able to post double-digit win seasons and has dominated its division.
However, it has been repeated numerous times by Irsay that the goal for this team is not division titles and runner-up trophies but multiple Lombardis. Frankly, that should be the goal for a team with one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the NFL.
Still, one can’t help to feel like allowing the Lucas Oil Stadium rafters to be littered with “almost” banners cheapens that goal. Players should look up and see “2006 World Champions,” maybe the AFC Champion banner, and if you feel super compelled to decorate the rafter — keep some of division champion banners but that’s it.
The message should be, we EXPECT to own our division and won’t stop until we earn the opportunity to win another championship.
There is no reason to be embarrassed when the team falls short of taking home a Lombardi. The team should be proud of its playoff berths and accomplishments. But the team should see those playoff runs as as unfinished business and as something that makes them want to push harder.
If you want to hang these tertiary banners, put them in the practice facilities at West 56th Street. Not the championship banner the team must play under when they are at home with their fans behind them — making it clear that this is the kind of effort the people cheering for them expect and it is the kind of effort they should expect of themselves.
They should look at these runner-up and participation trophies in weight rooms and on practice fields as a constant reminder that if they want to earn another banner worth hanging in Lucas Oil Stadium, they will have to work harder, push harder, and want it more than their opponents.
The Detroit Lions got it right when they tore down their participation banners and left up only those that truly reflect the same goals that everyone one of their teams should aspire to, including the one taking the field 2017.
It is time for the Indianapolis Colts to do the same.