Rocky Mountain Colts fans: “Go horse!”

Peyton Manning Takes the Field in Denver (NY Daily News)

Peyton Manning Takes the Field in Denver (NY Daily News)

When Peyton Manning trots onto the field for his first playoff game as quarterback of the Denver Broncos, he’ll have a legion of fans cheering him on at Mile High Stadium in Denver. He’ll also have a huge fan base in Indianapolis. They are the “Rocky Mountain Colts” fans. And they’ll be cheering him on as well.

A lot has changed for Colts fans since that tearful March breakup with their beloved quarterback. That was the beginning of a complete makeover of their team, from top to bottom. Owner Jim Irsay brought in new management and new coaches. They dismissed veteran talent for talented rookies, including the top draft pick…Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

No one expected much from the Colts this season, even their most faithful fans. The season started as many predicted, with a bad loss to the Bears in Chicago. But then, there was a comeback win over the Vikings, followed by a loss to the Jaguars. And the bye week produced another loss, Head Coach Chuck Pagano, to leukemia. The team united and the fans with them. They made #ChuckStrong their mantra, and they won…a total of eleven games. And they made the playoffs.

Colts fans rallied around their new team and sick coach. They provided the energy…for their team to win and their coach to heal. And in the process, they healed themselves.

Make no mistake, Colts fans still love Peyton Manning. Colts fans will always love Peyton Manning. They will never forget what he did for their team and their city. The relationship has changed, but the love remains.

With their team out of the playoffs, Colts fans are just happy to have a horse in the race. They will cheer for Peyton, as if he was still their quarterback, as far as the playoff road takes him. Because call him a Bronco, a Colt, or a Rocky Mountain Colt, the cheer is still the same…

Go horse!



It Was Still the Right Decision…

My Fellow Colts Fans,

The first Sunday of the NFL season was an up and down day for us.  More down than up.  We watched as our rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, was baptized into the NFL by the Chicago Bears defense with Julius Peppers performing the rites.  Thanks to the Colts offensive line, Luck now has the number 90 tattooed on his chest, something he didn’t ask for or pay for.  Hopefully the Colts will pay to have it removed.  Luck took it like a man though, and now we fans need to do the same.

At the same time Luck was making his debut with the Colts, Robert Griffin III had his own rookie debut with the Washington Redskins.  Only his was more of a debutante ball.  RG III’s coming out party came complete with protection, two touchdowns, a passing record for a rookie start, and the grand finale…a victory over the New Orleans Saints and their Superbowl MVP Quarterback, Drew Brees.  The Heisman Trophy winner looked every bit the part.  And the twitterverse was quick to remind us that RGIII was the second quarterback taken in the NFL draft.

And then, the day ended with our ex-quarterback, who we’re still in love with, playing on Sunday Night Football with his new team, which is admittedly better than ours.  Peyton was…the quarterback that we used to know.  He passed, got sacked and bounced up like a weeble wobble (if you don’t know what that is, stop reading this immediately), and in the process hit a milestone…his 400th touchdown pass.  The 400 Club puts Peyton Manning in the exclusive company of Dan Marino and Brett Favre.  And he did it in a Broncos uniform.  Yes, 399 of those touchdowns came as a Colt.  But Peyton Manning is not a Colt anymore.

Naturally, the talk this week revolves around the Colts and the decisions they made in the offseason.  Yes, Peyton Manning looks healthy.  Yes, he will probably lead the Broncos to the playoffs.  And yes, he could possibly win a Superbowl for the Broncos, perhaps even this year.  But all that being said, Jim Irsay still made the right decision when he parted ways with Peyton Manning.  Because…the Colts are not the Broncos.

It still makes sense that with a 36-year-old quarterback with three neck surgeries, it was time to move on.  It still makes sense that with an aging offense and often injured players, it was time to move on.  It still makes sense that after two seasons of uninspired coaching, it was time to move on.  And it still makes sense that after having no backup for Manning and a few blown drafts by the general manager, it was time to move on.  And the opportunity to draft a promising young quarterback like Andrew Luck made it even more so.

Yes.  Peyton Manning looked great on Sunday night.  So?  Cheer for him!  He may not be our quarterback, but we can always be his fans.  I choose to respect Peyton Manning and his history with the Colts.  And to keep a special place for him in my heart.  But I can do that while embracing our new team and our new quarterback and moving forward with them into this next era of Colts football.

Time stops for no one and marches in one direction.  This week Peyton Manning officially moved on.  And now it’s time for Colts fans to do the same.


Bold Predictions for 2012 NFL Season: Cutler Cracks a Smile, Brady Attempts the Impossible, and Eli Loses Some Weight…

Here we are…the preseason is behind us.  The regular season is before us.  And I have a few bold predictions (ten to be exact) for the 2012 NFL season:

10.  Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler will be more likable as a dad.  I didn’t say he’d be a better quarterback, but I do think fatherhood will soften his edges and make him a little more personable, or at least a little more human.  Hey, that commercial he did for The NFL Store was almost funny.  See?  It’s already working.

9.  On the other hand, fatherhood WILL make Tony Romo a better quarterback for the Cowboys.  He put a lot of pressure on himself (some deservedly) the last few seasons, but now seems happy and settled.  That will translate to the field in confidence, that he has someone to come home to…and it’s not Jessica Simpson.

8.  We will discover that Rex Ryan is a better coach when he’s overweight.  Maybe it’s the diet.  It’s possible he’s a little light-headed these days.  I mean, claiming this is the best Jets team he’s ever coached?  That may be more bold than his pre-preseason Superbowl predictions.  He must be seeing something in practice that we’re not.  Namely…touchdowns.

7.  We will learn why no one wants to coach (or play) in Miami.  If you watched Hard Knocks, you’re already half way there.

6.  We will discover that there was indeed something magical about Peyton Manning’s hands under Jeff Saturday’s butt.  Both will have decent seasons, but neither will be able to replicate what they had together in Indianapolis.  Seeing as they’re both playing in outside stadiums now, that’s mostly warm hands and a warm butt.

5.  Tim Tebow will become the starter for the New York Jets.  I don’t know when, but it will happen.  And when it does, the skies will part, the angels will sing, and Skip Bayless will crown him MVP…all before he completes his first pass (just before halftime).

4.  With the Patriots light on receivers, Tom Brady, upon suffering two Superbowl defeats to Eli Manning, will attempt to do the very thing wife Gisele Bundchen claimed he could not…throw the ball and catch it himself.

3.  Eli Manning will finally prove that he is an elite quarterback after all, and is undoubtedly the best quarterback in the Manning family.  Wait, didn’t he do that last season?  Forget it then.  Eli will find new joy playing for the Giants, without carrying a 230-pound monkey on his back named Peyton.

2.  After two weeks of fumbled calls, Father Goodell will finally open his checkbook and sign the NFL officials to a new contract, just in time for week three.  The replacement refs will miss the call, report to work, and flag the league for too many men on the field.  They will try to reverse the call, but won’t remember what it was.

1.  And for my last bold prediction of the season…Terrell Owens and Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson will fall in love (no, not with each other) and ride off into sunset, never to be heard from again.  I know.  I pushed it too far with that one.  Damn, it was a nice thought though…wasn’t it?

Here’s to the 2012 NFL season.  The clock is down to hours…and they’re ticking away.


Coffee Cup Quarterback (Monday Edition) | Preseason Week 3: The One With the Starters

Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason.  When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season.  For some teams, that was good news.  For others…not so much.

The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers.  Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form.  He ran, he threw, he impressed.  And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12.  No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet.  That was four field goals for them.  They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow.  Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do.  And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do.  There were visions of hope.  After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time.  Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team.  At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down.  The timing was nothing short of divine.  This is what Tebow can do.  A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther.  This is also what Tebow can do.

Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft.  Tebow was eventually booed as well.  Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason.  Tough crowd.

And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this.  For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:

Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played.  When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.”  When they count.  Good plan.

And then we had the battle of the draft picks.  Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field.  There was hype.  There was a t-shirt…

In the end, it was just another preseason game.  Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths.  Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot.  Both had moments of brilliance.  Both had rookie mistakes.  The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17.  The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman.  Yes, Wrecks Grossman.  The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant.  Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.  Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!

Other highlights for week three of the preseason:

We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.

We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.

Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”

One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs.  There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call.  The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes.  Plenty of them.  But it is the preseason.  And the games don’t count.  Yet.  The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far.  That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record.  We need better than this for the regular season.  And really, by the start of it.

So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.

And…a Jets touchdown.


Some QB That I Used to Know

We knew it was coming.  They’ve been talking about it all week.  We’ve been thinking about it all week.  Still, it didn’t make it any easier.  Peyton Manning took the field in Chicago last night in his first preseason game…as a Bronco.  I admit it, I felt a little sick.  That commanding presence, the familiar mannerisms, the same gestures, that intense look.  But this time, it was all for someone else.  Like seeing your ex for the first time.  No matter how prepared you are, no matter how happy you are, no matter how far you’ve come…it’s still weird.

And it was weird.

Peyton went 4-7, had some good passes and ended his first and only possession on an interception (that really wasn’t his fault).  Yes, I’m still making excuses for Peyton Manning.  But the ball made it into Brandon Stokley’s hands.  What more do you want?

It’s been a long offseason for Colts fans.  We had the gut wrenching goodbye, the weeklong Peyton Watch, the Broncos signing, the offseason coverage, and just when I thought I was over it, Humordy did that stupid (genius) parody, Some QB that I Used to Know.  All summer long, every time I heard the Gotye song (which was a lot), I was forced to think about Peyton Manning.  And then came the commercial.  Peyton calling out audibles on voice command in a Buick I assume he borrowed from Curtis Painter.  It aired every commercial break during every golf tournament I watched this summer.

And now, finally…the season starts.  And we face the cold hard reality, that Peyton Manning is no longer our quarterback.  He belongs to Denver now.  He bought a house there.  He’s laying roots in the community.  He’s moved on.

What are we supposed to do?  What any other broken-hearted woman would do.  We will
emerge on Sunday, looking our best, with our younger, stronger, better looking quarterback.  The one we just know we’re going to fall head over heels in love with.  The one we know will definitely be “The One.”

Even if The One is always the one who came after Peyton.


(Via The Blue Mare)