The only thing I hate about modern sports is the media. I hate that 31 teams are made to feel like failures. I hate that for the second time in three years a quarterback was "the greatest of all time" right up until the last three minutes of the Super Bowl. Apparently that title is so fragile and worthless that one play makes all the difference. It's sort of the way Kobe Bryant was a choker after the 2008 finals, but now that he won again, he's back to being one of the all time greats. The media has the attention span of a gnat, which cheapens all their proclamations.
No matter what anyone out there says, I loved the 2009 Colts. They were a great team, and I'm not the least bit embarrassed by them.
I love that they posted 7 come from behind victories. The only time they didn't come back was against a team that was clearly better than the rest of the league. They played the Super Bowl about like they played every other game this year. The Saints were just too good to be felled by that kind of effort.
I love that Dwight Freeney played. I love that he got the only sack.
I loved beating the Pats and Jets, oh and the Jags. I loved beating the Jags.
I love that we got beat by things which were real problems. We got beat by conservative coaching, a lack of a kicker, a young wideout with drop problems, no return game, and injuries (which let's face it, are part of our identity now). If I go down, I don't want it to be for the thing I never saw coming (like 2003-2005). I want it to be because of the real flaws our team has had all year.
I loved that coaches are so scared of Manning that they do things that no one would DREAM of to try and stop him. Onside kicks in the third quarter? Going for it on fourth and two? They never did that for Montana. I've never seen them do that for anyone.
I love that even though Matt Stover missed a big field goal, no one holds him responsible. More was asked of him than he could be expected to deliver. It wasn't his fault. He'll be remembered fondly, and not as a goat. That's cool when you think about it.
I love that Manning and Wayne aren't talking about the pick six pass. Something happened on that play, and it will be years before we ever know what...if we ever find out.
I love that there is another season next year. I hate that there is a long boring off-season full of people talking nonsense, but I do love that football will be back eventually.
I love being the favorites already for next year.
I love Bill Polian in the draft. I hate the draft...but I love Polian doing the picking.
I love that as bad as the loss was on Sunday, it's only barely in the top five worst losses we've had. I'll put it up there because of the magnitude of the game, but the way we lost and who we lost to...I can live with that.
I love making the playoffs every year. The whole Atlanta Braves comparison bugs me, only because I don't understand what is wrong with that. The playoffs are a crap shoot. Making them is about skill. Winning them is about luck. The ball bounced the wrong way all night Sunday night. Hell, if the Colts cover the onside kick (which they did at first), they probably win that game. Pencil us in for the post season next year. I'll take my chances. It beats staying home in January. Everyone is searching for the some kind of meta-narrative to sum up the Colts this decade. There isn't one. There is no common thread. There is no big picture. The losses don't have much of anything in common other than the pain they've caused it. Let it go, world. Stuff just happens. We don't always get to know why. Inventing reasons is foolish.
I love that we won 16 games this season. We won 12 in our first three years in Indianapolis. In fact, you can cobble 5 seasons together (1984, 1986, 1991, 1997, 1998) and only get 14 wins combined out of them. This was a great year.
Most of all, I love that even though I'm 12,000 miles from home, I shared this season with my dad and my brother. I love that we talked every day about it. I love that I can share in a common experience with them. I love that it makes my life accessible to them and theirs to me. I love that all year all of us have commiserated around this virtual water cooler, and felt the highs and lows together. I love that.
I hate that it is over.
I love that it is coming back.