On Thursday March 2nd, Indy Star beat writer Greg Doyle wrote an article asking if Colts management was lowering the expectations of the 2017 season. Throughout his interviews new Colts GM Chris Ballard has said that he wants to build through the draft. Rarely has he said anything about using free agency as an additional option for adding more pieces to the puzzle. We've been hearing things from the front office and staff about the team's need to get "younger and faster" while making reference to the success of the Atlanta Falcons' approach of using rookies right out of the gate and letting them learn on the fly. That approach was formula worked for the Falcons and I agree that it could work for the Colts as well. I like Ballard a lot and think he will be an excellent GM. However, if there's one thing about him that concerns me, it's the impression I get from him that he may be a little too gun shy when it comes to utilizing free agency. Now, I haven't forgotten how horribly wrong that FA has gone for us over the past 3 years under Grigson, but we can all accredit those failures to the now former GM due to his lack of both people skills and talent evaluation. This team doesn't need to be afraid to dip into free agency because of past failures made by the former regime.
Free agency is still a good way to build a winning team as long as you know how to use it properly. Throughout the history of the league we've all seen teams that made the right kind of splashes by plucking difference makers off the open market. Some who went on to win SBs. I remember when the Dallas Cowboys signed DE Charles Haley and many around the league were saying: "That move put them over the top." They were right. The Cowboys went on to win 3 SBs with Haley on the team. The Broncos did the same thing with moves that propelled them to win back to back SBs after they signed guys like Bill Romanowski in 97-98. That formula still rings true for today's game and you can see it in team's like the Giants. The G-Men signed multiple big names on the defensive side of the ball via free-agency. If it weren't for a declining Eli Manning the Giants probably go a lot further in the post-season than they did because they definitely had a championship caliber defense led by the all-pro CB tandem of Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Cromartie. The Addition of CB Leon Hall helped solidify one of the best secondaries in the league while the addition of Free-agent DE Oliver Vernon, DT Damon Harrison, and LB Kelvin Sheppard all drastically improved the front seven. In fact, the Giants were able to do something that no other team could do all year, and that was beat a Cowboys team that many had dubbed the best in the NFC if not the league. I totally get that Ballard wants to build a locker room that will grow together, but I hope that doesn't mean that he will pass on good players who can help them simply due to his belief that he thinks that a certain player won't be "liked by everyone." Players aren't paid to "like each other and be friends." They're paid to win. I am saying all of this because contrary to popular belief I don't think the Colts are as far off from being a very good team as most think. This is still a team that won 8 games with half the firepower as everybody else they faced and did so under a front office that was about as dysfunctional as a Rubix Cube. This team needs a whole new front seven. I get that. I also believe it has the money and enough picks via the draft to get 90% of that front seven this year and don't need a "down year or two" in order to get it.
I've heard a number of sports analysts talk about what Phil Jackson said recently regarding LeBron James reaction to the use of the word "Posse" & whether or not the use of that word in relation to LeBron's business friends in his inner circle means that Jackson is now a racist in this 3 time NBA Champion's eyes. To me, posse has no negative, derogatory connotation to it historically speaking. It's not the equivalent of saying using the N word at all. Let's examine how the term is defined in the dictionary shall we...
Posse: 1. A group of people who were gathered together by a local sheriff in the wild west to help search for a criminal or somebody on the run. 2. A search party. 3. A select group of friends, associates, or a traveling entourage that has your back no matter what regardless of the situation at hand. A posse according to these definitions makes no distinctions for race or even gender correct?
Did you ever see the Clint Eastwood movie "Pale Rider" released by Warner Brothers Studios in 1985? That to me is what a posse more closely represents in the context of human history. A rich business tycoon who pays a gang of mercenaries to murder legal settlers for their property so that the wealthy man can steal their gold & line his own pockets accumulating greater personal fortune at the expense of any man's bloodshed without having to get his own hands dirty. Technically, this version of a posse that sells their services to the highest bidder speaks more to corruption than in your face discrimination.
Here is a clip I saw on "Undisputed" yesterday discussing this controversy...
From my vantage point, all Phil Jackson was really saying is that LeBron can't surround himself with friends who handle all your daily duties for you because part of growing up is dealing with your own obligations entirely on your own & a fleet of yes men around you tends to keep superstar athletes in a bubble, which isn't always a good thing in the long run. I'm not referring to a personal assistant or 2 here. I just mean that a bunch of childhood friends now handsomely paid to solve problems for you at every turn can be a hinderance down the road. Phil Jackson never attacked LeBron's skills on the court, his intelligence, or claimed that his business partners were up to no good.
I like what Joy, the moderator on Undisputed said in reference to this discussion...
The term posse is not a racist term at all & LeBron needs to lighten up & realize that in the grand scheme of things his friction with Jackson is a complete waste of his time & energy moving forward. I was born with a disability called Cerebral Palsy & I am not fond of the word crippled when describing my condition. Now, if somebody uses that term in my presence do I ridicule them loudly for using that word? No, I take into account how old they are, when they grew up, & I politely encourage them not to use crippled when describing people in wheelchairs or individuals using forearm crutches or prosthetic limbs. I don't blow up at them or assume they are being viciously cruel on purpose. LeBron James is way off base claiming Phil Jackson is a racist in my opinion simply because he referred to his business partners as a posse.
Posse usually refers to a group of friends who hang out together & enjoy each other's company. How in the word is that a racist phenomenon? Okay, it can refer to a security detail that protects a celebrity from harm in the public sure. But again LeBron, how is that racist? It's not. Have you ever seen the 1993 film 'Posse' directed by a black man named Mario Van Peebles? Is he racially insensitive too? Just curious.
The up coming game will reveal if the wily OLD Colt defense can stymie green rookie Denver signal caller Trevor Siemian .....WHO YOU SAY IS HE ? Hopefully we will still be saying that after the game. EXPECT THE BRONCO DEFENSE TO TEE OFF ON LUCK & THE NO RUN ALL PASS COLT OFFENSE .
It's been a while since I updated my blog.. You see my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he would live for a maximum of 2 weeks.. That was several months ago.. Sadly my family lost him, December 18th. He fought as hard as he could.. In fact it reminded me of when Chuck got cancer.. I shaved my head for the guy.. You see my family bleeds blue... Dad, was such an awesome man and a die-hard Colts fan.. I feel blessed to have gotten to celebrate multiple Superbowl appearances with him.. He was the most gentle spirit I think i will ever come in contact with. You will be missed Randy Gantt. PS He insisted we bury him in his Colts gear, Ski cap included.. What a fun guy, the world is smaller without you.
just wanted to say thank you to Colts for signing on Charlie Whitehurst. I have been a fan since his Clemson Days, Followed him at chargers,seattle,titans, I always thought he was a top 30 quarterback and even today he is just 33 years old--and again a back-up to Matt. Oh yes he will never be a top dog but if Matt is hurt as in play-offs he could (and did ) step-in. He is a great student of the game and still one of top quarterbacks but not quite a rivers, wilson or luck. He is a pro and will not disappoint given a chance although we all hope he does not have to be used. Go Charlie--work hard keep the faith contribute and if called upon show them what we all know you are a winner
Grigson must be fired. If Luck's ribs are broken it is mostly because he is operating behind an inferior O-linedespite the obvious need to upgrade it in the draft or free agency. Instead we got another wide receiver in the draft and Herreman in free agency, neither of whom addresses that need. To compound matters, Luck is playing
hurt, ? Because Grigson knows his name is all over this team, and he is trying to save his neck. In one year,
he transformed this team into the OLDEST team in the NFL. With the possible exception of Gore, his free agent
signings will be out of football in a year or two, so much for building for the future. And then of course the most bizarre first round draft picks T-RIch & Bjorn Werner??????
If the Colts want to have any shot of ever winning a super bowl they need to fire Pagano and Grigson. The Colts for the last three years have almost exclusively relied on Luck to win games by making big plays down field. My case for firing Grigson is described below. The ciolts for the last three years have had no running game, a bad offensive line, an average receiving core, a defensive line that brings no pressure and a very mediocre to poor defensive secondary. Grigson traded away a first round pick for Trent Richardson who is now out of the game. Grigson has failed to put together a good offensive line to protect Luck or run the ball. Grignson has ignored the Bellechick rule by bringing in payers like Gore and Johnson who are much closer to the end of their career than the beginning. Grigson has an undersized and overpaid receiver in Ty Hilton on the payroll.Grigson does not know how to build through the draft. The Colts need to hire someone in the front toffice from Green Bay, the Seahawks, the Panthers, or the Bengals. They need to find a gm who knows how to pick third and fifth round gems. The recipe for winning when you have a good quarterback is to not make him carry the team on his back every game. A GM needs to build a defense that can win games on their own and needs to create a running game that takes the pressure off the quarterback by building a great offensive line. The reason the Colts are losing this year is because they are asking Luck to do too much. Luck is pressing and trying to do too much, It is very easy to beat the Colts because all you have to do is stop big pass plays down field. Now the reason Pagano has to be fired is because he has consistently failed to prepare his team. Since Pagano has been the coach the Colts have routinely come out flat and they have routinely fallen behind by big numbers. Then they ask Luck to bail them out by launching these huge comebacks. Pagano is not a great coach. Luck has made Pagano look like a better coach than he really is. I dont know who the Colts should hire right now but they might need a smart tough coach. The problem is that there is not a great pool of available great coaches out there. Harbaugh went to Michigan. Bowles went to the Jets. They need to bring in a smart tough coach if they want to compete for Super Bowls. So in closing get rid of Ryan Grigson and Pagano. If the Colts dont do that Luck should try to leave the Colts because the Colts are a sinking ship as currently configured. Maybe a young Josh Mcdaniels along with a very good defensive coordinator might do the trick. Maybe they should also ask Bill Polian for his advice on hiring.
I've been quiet all season... Well, with the exception of tweeting with @TheBlueMare every game day. I've decided it's time to make my voice heard, on this site and hopefully will be heard on other media around the area. And maybe even by the Colts.
After today's game against the New Orleans Saints, I've got to say this is not the same Colts team that has had me cheering and yelling so loud that I startle my sister and nephew, and make my mother proud. I've actually gone hoarse, sitting in my mother's living room, as if my voice can be heard downtown. I know it can't, and if I could attend games, I know that I would make myself heard.
Today's game was proof once again, as each game this season has shown, that there is something way out of sync with our Horseshoe Warriors. All three phases have been affected, by what I'm not certain, but it seems to be deeply rooted and while we hold a lead in our own division, it's not what our team is only known for, and I must say it's also not what we need to make past the first game in the playoffs.
On defense, blown coverages, soft coverage, and complete lack of follow through, to not being able to set a real edge consistently, our defense has been allowing other teams to run all over them. They're allowing an average of 24.5 ppg, 401.8ypg, and a total of 59 penalties for the season so far. These are stats we expect to see at the end of the season, not only 7 weeks in. And there is seemingly no improvement in sight, as they are really running out of "Next Men Up" players. If they can't get healthy, stay healthy and show consistent play, I don't see it getting any better before the postseason.
On Offense, averaging 21ppg is usually not a bad thing, but with 13 out of 16 other AFC offenses scoring higher up to 3.66 points more per game, and the team being 3-4 after today, it's not looking good. Dropping passes, fumbling catches, and just not being where the pass is being thrown, or the QB not putting the ball in reach of the target, this is not the way to score points. Our offensive line has been through changes, and even mix-and-match shakeups, they're getting stronger and more consistent, but not on par with the expectations for the season, and today allowed our Franchise QB to get sacked four times. And speaking of our Franchise Quarterback, Andrew Luck has been a leader, and unshakable force until this season. After a less than stellar start, then having a shoulder injury and missing two games, his form has not been what it once was in the past two games back. His throws have not been the lasers we've come to expect, and all season his time to throw has been longer than normal. It's amazing what one second can do to a developing play, never mind 2 to 4. I'm not sure what's happening with Luck, but he's got to figure it out, because Clyde Christensen and Pep Hamilton don't seem to be helping him figure it out.
On Special Teams, well, there's been some good days, some really good days, and some really really bad days. I know the blown fake punt just isn't going to go away anytime soon, as commentators are just having too much fun laughing at it. And today's volleyball-like onside kick didn't help, but mainly our Special Teams group seem to be just beginning to hit their stride. They are called the 4th Down Army for a reason, and whil Adam Vinatieri's reliable PAT and FG percentage is low for this point in the season (he's currently 28th in the league?), there's no reason to believe he will be anything but "Mr. Reliable" for the remainder of the season. Pat MacAfee is called "Boomstick" for a reason, and he proves that nickname is spot on week after week. Griff Whalen has finally started to become more aggressive in his kickoff and punt returns, garnering him some well deserved attention this season. The group as a whole seem to be coming together with the "One Team One Focus" mentality that the remainder of the team don't seem to have a handle on quite yet.
I understand Coach Pagano is taking the brunt of the flack for the lack his team has been exhibiting, as a good leader should. But there are other leadership problems in the coaching staff, and they need to step up and take their fair share of the responsibility for not getting their squads truly prepared to face each team each week. Making certain your group is prepared for the team they're facing each week is the task, and it's not showing in the errors that are being made on the field week after week. So while Pagano is taking his fair share of the responsibility for his team, there is certainly enough to go around.
There may be a fundamental chemistry issue with this team as well. It seems to me that there were some personnel changes early on that were a bit surprising to me personally. And usually, you hear about the players that come to Indianapolis to play for the Colts being referred to as "Horseshoe Guys". I'm not hearing that this season. I'm not seeing players grouping together to discuss plays, or sitting/standing together when not on the field. I see a lot of guys walking off by themselves, sitting by themselves. This is what the camera guys show so much of, and it's just not "normal" Colts behavior.
All that being said, I'll stand by this team no matter what. I watched the Mayflower trucks roll into town and cheered. I watch and or listen to every game and cheer. Some day I hope to be able to attend games and cheer. I am a "Horseshoe" kind of gal, and really, truly, fervently hope that the Colts can pull it together, and quickly, as this season is not going to get any easier, and it's not as long as they think.
In the next week or so, we expect to upgrade our site. You'll still have all the functionality you like, there will be improvements.
We'll all be learning this together and I think it will be just a matter of learning the new functionality, which we can do over time.
The one thing I wanted to flag for you is this. We will not longer have separate login and display names. If you have changed your display name over time, this will affect you.
When we change, log in with your current display name. If you've forgotten it, you can request it be emailed to you. So be sure your email address is current (you have access to it)
I cannot tell you how many times people have lost access to their account because they cannot remember what email address they used.
That's it. Let me know if you have any questions.
Browns DL Billy Winn now an Indianapolis Colt. Hopefully, a successful Grigson trade... we'll know soon enough!
Hello Colts Faithful!
I just wanted to send out a quick poem to thank Reggie for his years of faithful service to the Blue Horseshoe:
Here is a shout to RW87,
When you played the game as a Colt your fans were in pure heaven.
From the time you were a rookie you learned the game and studied under Marvin, who was the best
After 14 seasons as a veteran Colt, you gradually became the ultimate barometer for the receiver test.
You showed up at training camp with smiles, waves, in race cars and sometimes wearing even camouflage
But when it was time to play you would play through pain and bruises as long as there was no hemorrhage.
You battled on the field like a true blue warrior and kept it real off the field as well,
You are the very definition of inspiring and I bet Reggie Wayne gear will always sell.
On the day you wiped the tears from your eye and television caught you weeping for the game
We as fans knew you were a player by blood and would leave it all out on the field so we felt no shame.
This ode is to you Reggie and I will support you regardless of whether you stop or chose to seek play
Just promise us when it is all over you will come home to retire as an Indianapolis Colt one day.
When things all play out you will come home to applause and cheers from Colts fans standing on their feet
All of them realizing that when it came to you playing the game, you were a hard receiver to actually beat.
So as the days draw closer and football season kicks off, keep your game and your head intact,
Do not forget that no matter what you do or where you go we still will always consider you a class act.
I have often shared stories of my involvement with the Special Needs Community. Today I have another one to share.
Yesterday was a day to celebrate one of these individuals we've come to know and love over the years. Amy is a very sweet handicapped young lady who has been employed with Papa Johns for 20 years now. Her job is to fold pizza boxes and she has folded over 1 million boxes in this time frame.
Her family, and Papa Johns felt this was an accomplishment worth celebrating. They invited a large number of family, friends and people from the community to celebrate this special day.
Papa Johns Headquarters sent her some special gifts, and she was given a 20 year lapel pin.
They asked Ron and I to provide the music and entertainment for the day, and we were more than happy to oblige.
Lots of food, music, and dancing made for a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
Of course, amongst other items on the buffet, Papa Johns Pizza was served. ;)
I am so privleged to be a part of such a great group of Special Needs people and a community that supports them.
Is it just me, or does the rest of Colts Nation see only ONE potential cold-weather game on the 2015 schedule? Check it out. As far as I can see, the ONLY cold-weather game occurs on Dec. 6 at Pittsburgh! How cool is that? I like what I see. Maybe I missed something, so let me know if you see it too! Wow, I'm psyched for the upcoming season! Go Colts!
Where do people get this idea we are deep at receiver, besides the obvious, that being TY and Andre what proven commodity do we have at the position? Moncrief did the utmost with his time on the field but flashes are not guarantees. As for Duron he is a mystery inside an enigma wrapped inside a puzzle that is also inside a Jack in the Box, I'm still not sure about that place; some may say "he produce in the CFL"... ok, "well his dad is Cris Carter" your point being? All I'm trying to get at is this: there seems to be a blind faith in these young unproven receivers. I'll be the first to admit I was surprised by the pick who the hell wasn't? I did know one thing though, I loved it as well as the rest of the draft. I've learned one thing about this city of mine, Fickle and Pessimistic. Greg Doyel says he doesn't understand, good because if a sportswriter understood what our GM, or our team was thinking: then, yes then I would truly be worried. It is not you're job to understand Gregory what the team is thinking; your occupation consists of typing what you see don't think too much baby, it gives you wrinkles. To sum this up I hope everyone does their thing this year but I will really be pulling for Dorsett and Robinson.
Go Indy. Go Colts.
I have been following the SB Nation Stampede Blue undrafted free agents for this year and there are a couple really cool prospects. Here is the link to that page and you can refresh for the most recent updates:
The few players that stand out to me are:
Ezell Ruffin, WR, S.D. State
Junior Sylvestre, LB, Toledo
Terrell Hartsfield, DE/DT, OLB, Cincinnati
Hartsfield stands out the most, this kid is a beast. Very strong bull rush and surprisingly fast off the edge. Doesn't overrun plays too much and has a knack for where the balls at. Check out this 9 minute prospect video. I am surprised this guy didnt get drafted... And they are not playing against weak opponents. Not the SEC, but some tough games including East Carolina and Ohio State.
NOTE: I wrote this prior to the Colts vs. Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs. Thought I'd share with you all!
It was December of 2010. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck had just put the finishing touches on a remarkable collegiate season that catapulted him into the NFL’s top draft position. He was crowned as the greatest quarterback coming of the collegiate ranks since Peyton Manning and John Elway. Luck was the unanimous number 1 choice, barring of course that he would declare for the draft. He had many factors to consider. He wanted to finish his education and enjoy his senior year but saw the allure of the NFL right before his eyes. So, like many college athletes making this kind of decision, Luck consulted with his confidants. He spoke with his father and mother. He talked with his uncle, who would later go on to be his agent in the NFL. But there was one person that Luck spoke to that may have had the biggest influence on his decision.
Peyton Manning at the University of Tennessee.
In 1997, University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning had just completed his junior season. Manning had a phenomenal season and was the consensus number 1 pick in the upcoming draft. He was being touted as the best quarterback coming out of college since John Elway. Yet, Manning was wavering on whether to declare for the draft or not. Finally though, Manning decided to forgo the NFL for one more year and instead opted to finish his senior year. He would win the Maxwell Award that year and would finish 2nd in the Heisman Trophy voting. The Indianapolis Colts would be number 1 on the clock in that upcoming draft.
With Andrew Luck pondering his return to Stanford, his father advised that he should speak to Peyton Manning. The Luck and Manning family have had a uniquely tied history that spans over 30 years. Oliver Luck, Andrew’s father, had played in the NFL for the Houston Oilers and played on the same roster as Peyton’s father, Archie Manning. The two shared a good friendship during their time in Houston. Archie would have Oliver pick up his two sons and occupy them by taking them for milkshakes and burgers while Archie would finish errands and the like before the boys arrived. “It was my job to pick them up and occupy them with ice cream or hamburgers so Arch could get treatment or run errands or just get a few things done before the boys arrived,” said Luck.
Archie Manning and Oliver Luck in 1982.
“But the RX-7 was a hatchback and it only had two seats. So we had to squeeze both kids in or, sometimes, one went back into the hatchback. I’m guessing it was Peyton since he was younger. He would have been 6 at the time, I think. Looking back now, 30 years later, I realize how valuable the cargo was that I was carrying back there.”
Fast-forward to 2010 and we find Oliver Luck’s son talking to one of those Manning boys that Oliver was driving around in the 1980’s.
“Before he made his decision he had a couple of long conversations with Peyton,” Oliver Luck said. “Archie and I played together way back when with the old Houston Oilers, so we’ve known the family, and Peyton’s kind of acted like a mentor to Andrew. So he got advice not just from his old man and his mom, but some people like Peyton Manning, Eli and others who have gone through it.” Even before this conversation however, Peyton had mentored Andrew at his annual passing academy camp. “Andrew got a chance to go to the Manning Passing Academy in high school, and maybe twice as a college kid,” Oliver Luck said. “While in high school, you don’t just get to see the college and pro guys, but you get to test yourself against kids from around the country, to see where you stack up. As a counselor, you get to spend time with Peyton and Eli, and you get to ask questions and get straight answers and begin to understand what sort of an attitude and approach you need as a professional.”
Andrew Luck at Stanford University.
Luck decided to stay and finish his senior year at Stanford. He would finish 2nd in Heisman Trophy voting and win the Maxwell award, in similar fashion to the quarterback and mentor he would soon succeed. How much did those conversations with Peyton influence him to stay? One is lead to believe that it’d be more than people think. That upcoming NFL season would be one that would change the NFL landscape for years to come. Peyton Manning had 4 neck surgeries and missed the entire season. The Colts finished 2-14 without Manning in the lineup. Once again, the Indianapolis Colts were in position to take another once-in-a-generation quarterback.
Andrew Luck declared for the draft and was once again the consensus number 1 pick. The NFL combine was quickly approaching with Andrew Luck and other top prospects in attendance. At the combine, Luck was asked about whom was his hero growing up. His answer wasn’t too surprising.
“Peyton was my hero growing up,” Luck said. “He was my football hero. That’s who I modeled myself after in high school, middle school, whatever it was. You never truly replace a guy like that.” I admit bias here and believe that in large part because of Peyton and his influence, Andrew stayed and finished out his senior year. It’s not because I am a Peyton Manning or Colts fan, but because I know what its like to look up to someone in that same way that Andrew did.
Like Andrew Luck, my childhood hero was Peyton Manning. I remember begging my mom to let me stay up late on Monday night games to watch the Colts. When my friends and me would play pickup football games, I would imitate Peyton and his pre-snap gyrations and mannerisms. I grew up watching Peyton lead countless comebacks and win game after game, season after season. Growing up in Indianapolis in the 2000’s, it was inescapable. I had always pondered if there would ever one day be a quarterback to come in the NFL that would be from my generation and be influenced by Peyton in the way that I and so many other kids had.
In the late 2000’s, I started to see the beginning of the end of the Manning era. The Colts were no longer that 12 win-a-year juggernaut and Peyton Manning was approaching his mid thirty’s. It was 2010 and I had just graduated high school with a new era in my life about to begin. I started college in the spring of 2011 but did not have much of an idea of what I really wanted to do with my life. Around that time, my cousin was getting married with family and friends coming in from all across the country for it. My dad had talked about my cousin George and the success he had out in Colorado and suggested that I should talk to him at the wedding. I knew of George growing up but didn’t really know him too well.
So at the wedding, I approached George and struck up a conversation with him. We talked about the Colts and how much of a fan he was too. He had moved to Denver from Indianapolis in 1998, the same year the Colts had drafted Peyton Manning. He had many friends and family still here in the city he once called home. He became a Broncos season-ticket holder and would cheer on the Broncos every Sunday. Until of course the Colts would come to Denver. He would show up to those select few games in a Colts jersey, much to the lighthearted dismay of friends that would see him at the other 7 games of the year in a Broncos jersey. He was there for that 2002 snow game where Mike Vanderjagt kicked those 2 50+ yard field goals to both tie and win the game. He was older than me, around the same age as Peyton Manning. In talking to him, I felt like I knew him the entire time I was growing up. We shared a lot in common. We talked about my plans for college and career and I believe he could sense that I wasn’t too sure of what I wanted to do. He invited me to come to Denver that summer to spend time with him and his family.
That trip to Denver changed me in the most positive of ways. I remember spending nights talking with George about his experiences and how he had worked to get where he was today. It would be the first of many trips I would take over the next 3 years to Colorado. I started to see him in a lot of ways that I saw Peyton Manning. Although I have never met Peyton, ask any boy that grew up watching and idolizing him and they’ll tell you they know him. George became that mentor and older brother that I had never had. He offered advice and words of encouragement that would help me become the person I am today. I found parallels and ambitions in my life that mirrored his own. While I was on that first trip, I remember I talked to him about the upcoming 2011 Colts season and how they would likely once again win the division and get back to the post-season. Little did we know how much the season would make the parallels we shared grow.
When Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos, I knew that George would likely relinquish the Colts as his number 1 team. Peyton was his favorite player and by the time 2012 rolled around, he had lived longer in Denver than he had in Indianapolis. He knew that the Broncos were getting something special. He shared a common bond with Peyton Manning and now that player would be playing for the team he cheered for on Sunday afternoons. Fate could not have written a more unique script. The picture was now coming full circle. He would always have love for the Colts and cheer for them but the Broncos were now number 1.
On the other hand, I had found parallels in my own life to Andrew Luck, who was on his way to becoming the next star in the NFL. Like Andrew, I too grew up watching and idolizing Peyton Manning and came from the same generation as he did. He was that quarterback that I thought would one day enter the league that grew up idolizing
Peyton Manning the way that I had. The only player in the last 10 years to be compared to Peyton Manning is the only rightful one to succeed him in Indianapolis. The picture was now becoming fully complete. The pupil was destined to succeed the mentor in the same city, for the same team.
The Colts will travel to Denver this weekend to play the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoffs with the stakes being as high as they’ve ever been. I still watch Peyton and cheer him on the same way you would cheer for your older brother. Until of course, he play’s your team. It’ll be pupil vs. mentor. king vs. heir apparent. Luck vs. Manning. Or as I like to see it, Rick vs. George.