I've never really understood the proverb, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." I feel like whoever came up with that never had someone break up with them or ever worked in the service industry. I'm a words guy. Words are extremely important to me. They are the most powerful symbols on the planet. I would never claim that I am a master wordsmith, but I know that words are super powerful! Words can Sustain a relationship or wreck it beyond help. Words can end a war. Words can take a group of very different individuals and unite them under a single purpose and goal. That convergence something that the Colts organization has been very intentional about fostering and what we are going to talk about in this edition of What Does It Mean To Build A Monster.
Getting a large group of people to unite behind a single vision is no easy task. If you disagree watch the evening news or visit this wonderful site's forums. There are so many variables that come into play. There are varying personalities, emotional states, and even levels of intelligence. One must take into account people's backgrounds; where people come from affect them tremendously. Each individual has their own selfish ambitions; where people want to go in life also has a tremendous effect on them. Now a football team may have a little bit of control over these factors because they have direct control over the players and employees that they bring into their organization. General Manager Ryan Grigson has on occasion spoken about "Horseshoe" type players. That sort of gatekeeping control can help but it only goes so far. You have to have something to unite around that helps explain the vision.
Symbolic Convergence Theory is a communication theory developed by Ernest Bormann. Without getting super technical it tries to explain how groups of people use symbols and dramatizations as a sort of rallying point based upon shared experiences. Translation: The Colts organization is put through a massive overhaul at the end of the Peyton Era and the beginning of the new era. The Monster being created is the symbolic translation of this process. The Monster itself embodies the attitude, demeanor, and philosophy that the Colts want to possess from the front office to the gridiron. In a process of building a dynasty, something Ryan Grigson has spoken about before (and the topic of another future edition), there are so many decisions that have to be made. There are so many complexities and moving parts that it makes it hard for people who play a specific role in the process (scout, player, position coach, photographer, fan, etc.) to always see the full picture. The symbol of the monster and its ongoing construction helps dramatize it in a way that is easier to digest and support.
The Colts organization have used this tendency for humans to gather around the symbolic brilliantly. Not only do they talk about building the monster, players having horseshoe characteristics, and COLTSTRONG but they took the symbolism level to new heights with the Robert Mathis armor! They have taken something that humans do everyday, sometimes automatically and used it to rally anyone and everyone connected to the team around these symbols that everyone can relate to. The theory behind all this stuff is pretty complex, but if one wishes to understand what "Build The Monster," means then it is important to understand the purpose that it serves. Not only is it important as a Colts fan, but it is important to everyday life. One should be aware of the symbols that people are trying to use to appeal to one's emotions. It can be easy to associate yourself with a group or individual because they present themselves as a symbol that you can relate to even though it may be disingenuous. So that's my soap box moment. I'll try to make those few and far between. Honestly I just hope that I didn't bring too much shame upon my former communication professors. Citing wikipedia probably didn't help much...
Let me know what you think in the comments section!