I remember it well, the day I proclaimed the Indianapolis Colts were simply an average football team and predicted they’d go 8-8 and in the process miss the playoffs.
My email inbox became full with comments ranging from people saying I was insane (maybe) and that I knew nothing about the NFL.
Now here we are at the halfway point of the regular season, and while they are a game up on the .500 mark, to yours truly they still look like a rather pedestrian bunch with the exception of a few moments.
First and foremost, take a look at their schedule. Now, before you say they have no control over the slate of opponents the league assigns, think about that. A team’s previous season performance weighs heavily into their strength of schedule the following year, and while the NFL likes to point to preserving parity, I prefer to say it’s the award for mediocrity.
That aside, the guys with horseshoes on their helmet and a warm place in the hearts of many in Central Indiana have benefited greatly from seeing the likes of the Jets, Bengals and the Bears all before the mid-season point, not to mention the Jaguars and the Browns, who just happen to represent two of their three losses to date this season.
That alone dispels the statistical theory that the Colts are the third-best defensive team in the league, as we all know your stats are based on who you’ve played without taking into account the balance of the teams you haven’t faced. Up until last Sunday the Colts hadn’t played a legit Super Bowl contender, and it showed in the second half at home against Baltimore.
When you combine that with an aging quarterback, no legitimate deep threat at wide receiver and the inability to consistently run the ball, it looks to be a tough row to hoe with opponents of the likes of Tennessee (twice), Green Bay and Pittsburgh on the horizon.
Sure, there’s generally only a half-dozen or so teams every year who can win the Super Bowl, and while that trend remains intact this season, the Colts are not in that category.
Yes, they’ve had some injuries and some players, shall we say, define the term underachieving, but in the words of the late NFL coach Dennis Green, they are who we (OK, me anyway) thought they are. With some winnable games left it’s still mathematically possible they could sneak into the playoffs, but I haven’t seen anything so far to make me change my opinion and apologize for my prediction. Regardless, I respect you Colts fans, and I want you to be happy with your team that’s largely driven by our tax dollars and your hard-earned money on game day.
Perhaps my expectations aren’t as high as yours, and that’s fine too, as I readily admit I’m spoiled in the sense that I don’t pay for a ticket.
This season is like none other when you take COVID-19 into consideration, but your team will forge ahead. Just don’t be upset if my prediction comes to pass. It’s nothing personal.
Danny Bridges, who thinks the Colts are lucky to have the rabid fans who infiltrate his email with less than complimentary remarks, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.