By Brian Skaggs
With all the excitement surrounding the NFL playoffs, I don’t think we’ve fully addressed the dire straits that potentially face the Indianapolis Colts. Three of the four teams still playing would add to the team’s misery by winning the Super Bowl this year, which is being played in Indianapolis, by the way.
We are all aware of the horrible season the Colts had without Peyton Manning. And it’s safe to say that if you have a cursory knowledge of professional football, you know about the fierce competition for Andrew Luck as the Number One draft pick. But let’s take a big step back and look had how shitty the past two years have been for Colts fans.
- February 2010: Leading 10-6 at halftime, the Colts are surprised by an onside kick to begin the second half of Super Bowl 44. The Saints recover the kick and score on that possession. The game remains close until the Fourth quarter. The Saints end up winning 31-17, in part due to a late Manning interception. A victory would have brought Manning his second Super Bowl championship, second Super Bowl MVP and would have cemented his legacy as the greatest NFL quarterback of his generation.
- January 2011: The Colts lose to the Jets 17-16 in the wild card round of the playoffs, forcing Manning to wait another year to make a second run at a Super Bowl.
- September 7, 2011: Just days before the season begins, Colts fans learn that Manning’s recovery from an offseason neck surgery has not gone as well as planned. He will have another neck surgery and he’ll be sidelined for the entire season.
- January 1, 2012: The Colts complete a dismal season, ending with a 2-14 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
- January 2, 2012: Colts owner Jim Irsay fires Bill and Chris Polian, the Colts Vice Chairman and VP, respectively.
- January 17, 2012: Irsay fires coach Jim Caldwell.
- January 18, 2012: Actor Rob Lowe announces the retirement of Peyton Manning. Pending a last minute Pro Bowl appearance, Manning may not play another down in the NFL.
As if it couldn’t get any worse for Colts fans, three out of the four possible winners of Super Bowl 46 would serve to rub salt in the still fresh wounds of a fan base that watched their entire franchise collapse with the loss of just one player. Here’s why they should be rooting for the San Francisco 49ers.
The New York Giants – If the Giants are able to complete their late season surge and win a Super Bowl title, little brother Eli Manning will officially surpass Peyton and become the greatest Manning to ever play in the NFL. Owning twice as many Super Bowl rings as his older brother, Eli, who was once regarded as a struggling player who would not last in the NFL, let alone endure the harsh New York fan base, will be remembered as one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the NFL and eclipse the storied career of his brother. Success is measured in Super Bowls, above anything else.
The New England Patriots – What’s worse than watching a pretty boy quarterback and bitter conference rival win its fourth Super Bowl title in the last 11 years? Watching them do it in your house when you’re not a participant in the game. Tom Brady will leave no doubt that he was a superior quarterback to Peyton and will most likely go down in history as the greatest quarterback of all time.
The Baltimore Ravens – In 1984 the city of Baltimore was dealt a crushing blow when its beloved NFL franchise was relocated to Indianapolis. The void left by the departure of the Colts was eventually filled by the Ravens, though bitter feelings toward Colts owner Jim Irsay would still linger. 27 years after Irsay robbed a city of it’s team, the Ravens would undoubtedly love nothing more than to kick Irsay and Indianapolis while they are down by winning a Super Bowl title in the Colts home stadium.
The San Francisco 49ers – With no direct ties, story lines or particularly bitter feelings between the Colts and 49ers, this would be the best possible outcome for the Colts. Coach Harbaugh was a quarterback for the Colts, but there aren’t any particularly negative feelings at play in that relationship. A 49ers victory would do nothing to pile onto an already horrific series of events for Colts fans. If anything, the meteoric rise of the 49ers would just provide evidence that with a few simple tweaks, a downtrodden franchise can be turned around, and on any given Sunday blah blah blah…