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If there is one thing about me that people know, it is that I am a die-hard Colts fan. It is no secret. I don’t want it to be. I want it to be known. End of story. I must say that last year was one of the toughest seasons to watch. I watched every single game as my team went 2-14. My favorite player Peyton Manning watched in agony on the sidelines. He could do nothing to help. Fans, such as myself had the hope that one day #18 would suit up in Colts blue again and bring us back to a respectable team like he’d always done. Except that never happened. Peyton never put on a Colts jersey again.
To add insult to injury, the off-season banter between Manning and Irsay fueled rumors that Peyton would not return…or wait, he may…he has to right?? Manning had to retire as a Colt, it was only right. It was the only way. But it never happened. On Mar. 7th we all watched Manning cry like a baby (as did I) as he announced that he would be parting ways with the Indianapolis Colts. It was a team that he had carried on his back for so many years. He had broken many a record and also led the Colts to become one of the most winningest team in a decade. But then came Andrew Luck…
When the Colts drafted Andrew Luck, coltsnation was excited, but expectations weren’t very high. I myself thought they would be a .500 team at best. Even still, I wasn’t holding my breath. We all knew what Andrew Luck could be. Yet and still, I figured it would take some time for him to become acclimated to our offense along with many other changes that took place in the off-season. So many veteran players were cut and the Colts staff was almost completely gutted. Season ticket sales were down and there were reports of possible blackouts of some of their games because of the latter. GM Ryan Grigson hired Chuck Pagano, former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. To me, it was an odd hire. I for one didn’t see it coming. Yet the Colts new GM Ryan Grigson saw something in him and it seems as if his intuition was right on point. Chuck only coached 3 games for his team before he was diagnosed with leukemia in September of 2012. Many were blindsided by this news. The Colts had gone 1-2 in those three games and now this?! Pagano would immediately undergo treatment and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians would take the reigns. The rest is almost unfathomable. It had seemed as if once the team got the news of Chuck’s illness, something clicked. Since Chuck’s diagnosis, the Colts have shocked the world and have gone 7-2 under Arians coaching. But one has to believe that Chuck’s illness gave them even more to play for. Coming into the season the Colts had a chip on their shoulder to begin with and now their coach was fighting the battle of his life. They were ‘playing’ football, but their coach was ‘battling’ life or death. In the grand scheme of things, this was just football. But the symbolism behind it was so much more.
Coining the phrase “CHUCKSTRONG”, the Colts have laid it all out on the field and have played hard for their city, their team, and most of all their coach. Watch out for a team that has something to believe in. A team that is fighting a battle with their coach except their battle is on the field and Chuck’s is in body.
Colts veteran WR Reggie Wayne is having a record-breaking career and rookie QB Andrew Luck is running the Colts offense with just as much efficiency as #18. Of course with some minor rookie mistakes here and there. The defense is looking better and we have established somewhat of a running game. Also, Luck is doing the intangibles and he is setting records while doing so. He is strong, he knows how to win a game under pressure, and he doesn’t back down. The Colts are a team on fire, the Cinderella team of the NFL, a team to be reckoned with, a team with something to play for.
They have combined just the right amount of ‘Luck’, belief, and faith. Get well Chuck #CHUCKSTRONG