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Colts' Luck a Little Better

by Robb Reel

It's not that I didn't care who won.

I certainly didn't care about all the off-field drama.  I didn't care what Jim Irsay had to say, good or bad, about Peyton Manning or Bill Polian or anyone else.  I definitely didn't care for the avalanche of nonsense that occurred during the week leading up to the game, nor for how the game itself seemed inconsequential to the coverage.

Despite living in various spots in Indiana more than anywhere else, I am not necessarily a Colts fan.  I enjoy seeing the local team succeed, but that was the case for me in St. Louis, Kansas City, San Diego, Washington, et al.  I grew up a Saints fan and, even though I lived and worked in Indy at the time and had previous worked behind the scenes on the Colts broadcasts, I had no compunction about rooting for New Orleans when the two teams met in Super Bowl XLIV.  Don't get me wrong; Blue Horseshoe has been fun to watch and I am thrilled for what the team's presence alone has meant to the Circle City over the past three decades.  I just don't bleed Blue.

One of the weird things of the week was noting how many Hoosiers were wearing orange Manning jerseys -- not Tennessee Volunteer orange, but Denver Bronco orange.  That has not been a strange or uncommon phenomenon over the past season and a half.  The Midwest is usually just as polite as portrayed in the movies and people here can understand rooting for a player who has moved on... unless that player is facing the local team.  The backlash got brutal at times.  There were uncharacteristic cries of "Traitor!" and worse.  Every argument boiled down to "Support your team."  The problem with that argument is assuming that just because you live somewhere doesn't mean the local team is your team [see above].

The other thing for me is that I have spent most of my life, in one way or another, as a journalist.  The bulk of my journalistic pursuits has been in the arena of sport.  I am, therefore, conditioned not to root for any player or team, in the interest of so-called impartial integrity.  I find that whole concept to be a crock, by the way.  Ultimately, I root for a good game and a good story.

That's what we got at Lucas Oil Stadium last night.  Two very good teams with very good QBs gave it their all.  Luck demonstrated abilities that Manning never had, even at Luck's age, like rushing for yards and touchdowns.  Peyton showed once again that virtually no lead is safe, nearly pulling off yet another great 4th-quarter comeback.  The sack to stall that final drive was a perfect period on a riveting contest.  The game itself was more than fascinating enough without all the extraneous hoopla.

By the way, the final score 39-33.

OK, I didn't care who won.