I havent attended many NFL Colts football games in my life, actually only 5 in total. One long ago in Baltimore(as the Colts) vs the Bengals, one in Baltimore vs the Ravens, two in Washington vs the Skins and one in Indy vs the Bears. But that doesnt tell the whole story. I watch this team on a daily basis grow, make changes, adapt, work hard,grinding it out all with the purpose of winning a championship. And they do it with integrity, high energy fun loving spirit. But it hasnt always been this way. After watching the "Elway to Marino" 30 on 30 show, it reminded me how far these Colts have come in my life. The Colts were looked high upon in their early years, a team to reckon with. They had stars on offense and defense..Unitas,Berry,Moore,Mackey,Donovan and Smith to name a few. Those teams were all before my time but I`ve paid attention enough to realize they were very,very good. My timeline of rememberance starts somewhere around a playoff game vs the Raiders with players named Jones,Mitchell,Carr,McCauley,and Laird. Those were my heros growing up, along with Evil Kneivel of course! We lived in southern MD and there were no sattelite dishes or cable TV`s. It was rare to be able to see the Colts on TV, Baltimore channel 11 was usually filled with static , guess the wind had to be just right it seems. But somehow I learned to hear these names and know them like family, amazing how youths do that. I even had a #7 Bert Jones jersey, with the shoulder pads,helmet and pants. I lived in that thing in the front yard. Id drop back to pass,just like Bert, lob that ball in the air and then turn into Roger Carr as it spiraled down into my hands, getting both feet in bounds as I slid the toes across that imaginary line.1st down!! Very fond memories indeed.
But what happened in the late 70`s and early 80`s that tarnished all that for me in that era? The Colts became the laughing stock of the NFL, that some writers still resonate in their views today 30 years later. Art Schlichter the gambler, John Elway refusing to play for the Colts and then the Colts "moving in the middle of the night" ( which is a 2 sided story). That was tough on a 13-14 year old teenager to take. My family life was very turbulent during those years, looking back it runs parallel with Colts history in some ways. And I was 700 miles away still trying to follow my team. The faces had changed but the one constant remained.The blue horseshoes on the white helmets. The COLTS!
The Peyton Manning years I absolutely treasure. They SO righted the ship, got the Colts back on solid ground, brought this team Full Circle back to their rightful place as a team to reckon with. Those years passed by way too fast for my liking, but minus the 2011 debacle, they changed the culture around Colts camp back to a winning franchise. This new version of the Colts is very exciting and follows the footprints layed out by Peyton and the boys, different but very good in their own way.GO COLTS!