It is important to make clear that much like writing this column, the NFL is for entertainment purposes only. So don’t waste time tweeting to me not to use the word “hate,” because in this context, there isn’t a better word.
Below are a few simple thoughts on how we can become a better NFL city. It is regrettably not endorsed by the Indianapolis Colts organization or the NFL. At least not yet.
Having made that clear, here we go:
1. Hate everything you can with everything you’ve got related to the New England Patriots. The organization’s mere existence is detrimental to the game. They are cheaters. They are cry babies. Tom Brady is guilty. Bill Bellichick is guilty (for a second time). Trying to add Reggie Wayne to their team never made football sense for their team and was clearly an attempt to poke us in the eye. They are despicable people and should be treated accordingly.
2. Just because the marketing department for the Colts is humorless, doesn’t mean the fans have to be. This “One Family” campaign the team is using this year is embarrassing. I wonder if any of them ever heard of the “We Are Family” theme of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Colts have a reputation around the league of being soft. Let’s face that challenge by committing to stop being that. Let’s change the theme to “One Bad Family.”
3. Just keep the roof closed. With the roof open, we are still an indoor team. Opening it just reminds us that football is an outdoor game and that’s where we should be at that very moment, playing outside with all the other cool kids. It’s the equivalent of driving a car with the sunroof open, so let’s stop pretending that it is a convertible. It isn’t. Oh, and the RCA Dome was the loudest stadium in the league those last year’s we were in there. The open roof just reduces stadium fan noise. I’m sorry it cost so much and that we were duped into thinking it was something that it’s not, but using it doesn’t make it less of a waste of money. Now that debris is falling on people when it is being opened, let’s mothball it.
4. Let’s collect all of the pink Colts jerseys, pile them up in the south lot of Lucas Oil Stadium, and burn them. I’m as against breast cancer as anyone, but our weak royal blue and white color scheme did not need a weaker alternative. I love that die hard women fans are at least half the crowd on Sunday’s, but those pink jerseys are awful. Please stop wearing them. Maybe then the Colts will stop making them. The only color we need added to our scheme is black.
5. The cheerleaders’ show needs to be cancelled forever. The objectification of women in front of a crowd that has become demographically balanced is awkward at best. Besides, they aren’t cheerleaders, they are dancers. And nothing makes me think less about dancing than a football game. It doesn’t add to the experience, it doesn’t engage the fans in the game more, and it isn’t notably different than it was when the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders exploded onto the scene in the 70s. Don’t be afraid to walk away from it. Be bold and be the first eliminate it.
I have been to other cities for NFL games and the league has worked very hard at making the fan experience very similar throughout the league. As hard as it is to argue with them while they sit atop the entertainment hierarchy, mid sized and small market teams should do their cities a favor and work extra hard at creating an experience unique to their city. We don’t do that here.
We don’t have a unique food item at the stadium. We haven’t updated our jerseys, other than face mask colors, since the team came to town. We have way too many visiting fans wearing opposing team’s colors at our stadium without a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, I want those people to come to our games, I just want them to feel unwelcome once they do, and visiting jerseys are crying out to have something accidentally spilled on them.
A golden opportunity exists for us the weekend of October 18. That is the weekend the Deflatriots come to town. Those enemies of the game need to be greeted at the airport by an angry group of Colts fans, and they need to be made miserable until they leave. They should get stuck in traffic jams while in the team bus. No hot water in the locker rooms. Only local television in the hotel, featuring only local news reports of our New England Hate-riots contest. You get the point.
I am a football fan. I love watching NFL all the way down to CYO football games. It’s a tough game. We need to toughen up as fans to match. But more importantly, we need to take a more active role in making this team and this game ours. Let’s think about how we can do that.
Reggie Wayne should not have been able to even fathom playing for New England. There were 30 other teams, and if none of them wanted him, retirement was his only choice. Tom Brady is guilty and the judge’s ruling on the NFL disciplinary process does not change that. This run of success during the Brady/Bellichick era has been marred by conduct that has earned them a gigantic asterisk.
In closing, our first Super Bowl is on October 18. We have to win that game. The “One Damn Goal, One Bad Family” thing should be pointed right there. If they roll us again, heads should roll.
Now let’s get out there and do this our way, and make our rivals hate us the way we hate them. And most importantly, let’s enjoy the best time of the year.