I remember a time when we were living in Okinawa, I was at Shaky's Pizza with my family enjoying some great corn and tuna pizza (the Japanese have some strange pizza flavors). My family had decided to move back to California. I had recently really gotten into football and ask my parents if there were any football leagues for kids in the U.S. To my excitement my dad told me there was and I told him I wanted to play. For the next several months, I was so excited. I couldn't wait to start playing this sport that I had started to love.
When the NFL season started that year, back in 1996, the first game I watched was an Indianapolis Colts game. I don't remember who they were playing, but what I do remember is being captivated by then rookie running back Marshall Faulk's amazing moves, being in awe of Marvin Harrison's acrobatic catches and Jim Harbaugh's insane passes. I decided that day that the Colts were my favorite team. I still have my Marshall Faulk jersey that I will break out from time to time. The one thing I didn't know that day when I chose my favorite football team is, the Indianapolis Colts actually weren't all that great. In fact the next season the sucked so bad that they got the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft, but that pick would change the perennial doormat of an NFL franchise into a Superbowl contender year after year for the next 14 years of my life.
Since 1998, the first pick in that year's draft, Peyton Manning has go on to set numerous records. He has won four MVP awards. He has taken the Colts to two Superbowls and won one. It has been fun to watch and I have become a huge Peyton Manning fan. Even Koby has become a Colts fan (his blanket on his bed is a Colts one that Megan made, and one of his favorite toys is a Peyton Manning action figure).
Last season Peyton Manning was injured and sat out the entire year. I watched every game of the Manning-less colts season. Without Peyton, the Colts again slipped to being the doormat and laughing stock of the NFL. It was pretty depressing, but at least there's always next year right? Peyton will be back and the Colts will be Superbowl contenders again right? Wrong.
Today the Colts will announce that they are releasing. Even though this been speculated by all the sports writers and seemed inevitable, now that it is really happening, it makes me a little depressed. It would have been nice to see Peyton Manning finish his career with the Colts, but I guess that's life. So, from this one little Colts fan to arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, thanks for the good times and good luck where ever you land. I am sure I will find myself rooting for the team that picks you up.
If it ends up being a team out here is the west, I am sure I will find an excuse to road trip to a game :)