The following is a true depiction of these events as I remember them:
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. January of 2006. The Colts had their most talented team. Peyton Manning was at the top of his game, Bob Sanders was healthy and living up to his nickname (Superman), and Edgerrin James was running strong. This was it. We were unstoppable. This was the year the Colts were going to the Superbowl, no doubt about it. Granted, it was in Detroit…but I didn’t care. In fact, I had already purchased a faux fur Juicy Couture coat to wear for the occasion. All we had to do was get there. What I didn’t know, was that one person was standing in our way. No, not Big Ben Roethlisberger. Danielle Harper. That name may not ring a bell to you, but it’s etched in my mind as a Colts fan forever.
I was feeling good that morning, optimistic. It was the second round of the playoffs. The Colts had won the division, had home field advantage and were coming off a first round bye. I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee, picked up the paper and settled in before I had to get ready to go downtown. And there it was in black and white, on the front of the Indianapolis Star sports page. “Danielle Harper, wife of Cornerback Nick Harper, Arrested”…for stabbing him in the knee with a steak knife! Oh, #@%*! I screamed for my husband. When I read him the story, he had the same reaction I did…bad feeling about this game.
We headed down to the RCA Dome with an ominous feeling and went through our usual routine, which was a bit superstitious. Tailgating (at Palomino), all four of us in our correct seats in the stadium, waiting. Just waiting. And then, it happened. There was a minute and a half left in the game. The Colts were behind 21-18 and had to turn the ball back over to the Steelers at their goal line. It looked hopeless. Then, for the first time that season, (and almost his entire career) Jerome (The Bus) Bettis fumbled the ball. And who was there to grab it? Yep, you guessed it. Nick Harper. The one guy we had who was literally playing on one good leg. Harper was able to scoop up the ball and started to make a run for the Colts end zone, when Roethlisberger, the biggest (and possibly slowest) quarterback in the league caught up to him. Just like that our Superbowl dreams went up in smoke and the Steelers went on to win the Superbowl.
I don’t know whatever became of the Harpers. For the record, Danielle claims she stabbed her husband in the knee by accident. All I know is that as painful as that loss was for us Colts fans, it wasn’t half as bad as it was for Nick Harper. He still has the scar to prove it.