Paying for ten games when all you get is eight.
Having your team's franchise player tossed aside in favor of a new guy.
Watching all your favorite players uncerimoniously cut late on a Friday afternoon.
Watching your team bed down with the Indy Star to the detriment of other media sources.
Maybe fans are just sick of it.
In light of the Colts disasterously stupid decision to announce they were going to voluntarily black out games (Greg Cowan did a nice job breaking down the blackout issue, and I'm not going to rehash his fine points), Bob Kravitz wrote the following defense of the team:
And I don’t buy the idea the Colts have abandoned their fans. If anything, the fans abandoned the Colts. I’m talking about the fair-weather fans who bailed the minute Peyton Manning walked out the door. The Colts have given them more than a decade of excellence, but the minute the team fell, a lot of fans scattered.
Bob continues to miss the point as he has for months.
Many, many people don't agree with him that cutting Peyton Manning was the "only" move.
There is a huge segment of Colts fans that are just sour on the team. We all get "why" the team did what it did. Smart move or dumb move is besides the point.
A lot of people love Peyton BECAUSE of what he did for the Colts. When they tossed him aside and callously talked about building a new culture, unconsiously pissing on a decade of brilliance in exchange for "building a monster", they alienated a lot fans.
Being angry about the way the Colts franchise has behaved over the past six months doesn't make someone a fairweather fan.
It makes them a real, passionate one.
Some danced on the grave of Bill Polian, and were all too happy to see the past wiped away. They now have the termity to question the loyalty of those who are mad as hell and aren't going to take it any more.
Some of the biggest Colts fans I know are the angriest right now.
Many of us love the Colts. That doesn't mean we have to blindly support the way the club has behaved. For the record, I still have my season tickets. I'd say you'd have to pry them from my cold dead hands, but by that time my son will have them and will beat your ass if you try and take them.
That aside, I understand the anger and the antipathy of those who are just sick of hearing how freaking wonderful everything is now that Peyton is gone and how we'll have a real team and how awesome Andrew Luck is.
Kravitz, for his part, just needs to accept that a lot of people flat disagree with him. They aren't dispassionate. They are angry. It has nothing to do with what's smart or prudent or what will set the team up for 15 years.
It has to do with Peyton F. Manning.
He was way more than laundry to us.
Someone correct me if I am wrong; The Colts did what made economic sense but aren't some past season ticket holders doing the same? It makes sense to buy season tickets even though you pay for the preseason if the fear is that if you don't you won't be able to get tickets in the regular season. Once there is no wait list, people that had season tickets start to think, "Why don't I get rid of my season tickets and buy tickets for individual games and pocket the difference?" This is compounded by the tough economic times.
It has been stated that the Colts FO has little respect for "nonpaying" customers, but in addition to the stadium, the nice, fat TV deal the NFL gets is our contribution.
I'm sorry, but I disagree. A lot of Colts fans are complicit in the delusion that 1) this team would have competed for a Superbowl even with Manning, and 2) that Manning would be able to play forever and that the Colts would never have to rebuild. This is why there are plenty of fans that *don't* understand why the team did what it did. You might, Nate, but a lot of people don't.
Letting Manning go to move on to the next guy is no more callous than what the Packers did with Favre or the Niners with Montana. At a certain point you have to move on. It's best for business - and for that fans - that the transition period is as short as possible. When a #1 pick falls in your lap in conjunction with the best QB prospect in decades, you HAVE to take that shot. No question. Anyone thinking more than 3 years down the road should recognize that.
I'm an out-of-state Colts season ticket holder the drives three plus hours to and from each home game. Firstly, I don't see this as "pissing" on anything. They didn't disrespect Manning at all, in my opinion. Also, talking about building a new culture is something that is *necessary* during a rebuild. The longer you sit around pining for the past, the less time you have to focus on the future. What's done is done. Manning built his legacy and served Indy to his fullest and nothing will change that. But it's over. It happened and all we have now is the present and the future. I fail to see how acknowledging that disrespects anything.
With all due respect, questioning someone's fandom because they aren't angry about some perceived disrespect is more than silly. Some of us understand that things change, and in the NFL, they change faster than a lot of other places. We all loved Manning. But he wasn't going to play forever. I would have been delighted for him to finish out his career in Indy and never imagined that he'd wear another uniform. But the situation called for a Manning-like audible. It became glaringly obvious that the Colts needed to rebuild, and quite frankly, Manning would be better off somewhere else -for his own sake. And that's where we are. It's okay to be upset or mad. But turning on the franchise for making a practical, logical decision doesn't benefit anyone.
Where did I question anyone's fandom?
This is response to those who question the fandom of the people who are angry.
I've always said I understand the "Manning must go" position. I don't judge anyone for holding it. No where can you show where I did.
People disagree your position and they are real fans too.
That's the whole point of the article.
@Nate Dunlevy Also, I understand that rock solid, die hards could certainly be angry with the way things went down. I never meant to imply otherwise. But you also have to conceed that there are plenty of fairweathers out there and plenty of people who were *legitimately* only Manning fans or will only support the team when it's successful. I understand that you might be offended that someone questioned *your* fandom, but there are plenty out there that fit right in to Kravitz's description.
I guess I figured I had written enough in the past to establish that I believe that the Colts plan of action was defensible.
I never implied that holding that position made someone less of a fan. That wouldn't even make sense.
I was merely standing up for those who feel the team has let them down quite a bit lately.
The other "Real and passionate" fans have their voice. They get all the press right now.
I was trying to give a voice to those who haven't been heard.
@Nate Dunlevy It wasn't so much a question as a contradiction:
"Being angry about the way the Colts franchise has behaved over the past six months doesn't make someone a fairweather fan.
It makes them a real, passionate one."
Sure, you didn't say that fans who *aren't* angry are not "real" or "passionate" but the implication is that "real" and "passionate" fans should be angry. Either way, that wasn't really what I intended to highlight, as I didn't particularly take offense to that. I understand what you're trying to illustrate, I was just saying there's an entirely different "real" and "passionate" fan angle to look at.
I don't think that Nate meant that the people that didn't agree with him, that didn't feel alienated by Irsay and Co., that were fine and accepting of the moves made were any less a fan than those that get upset.
The point is that whether you get mad and angry at the way the Colts have handled the last year, or you find it fine and just standard operating procedure for a team in transition, you are still a fan. No more and no less than anyone else.
There are certain things that you mention that I disagree with. I don't think it was glaringly obvious that the Colts needed to rebuild (and it definitely wasn't glaringly obvious that that rebuild needed to happen at QB), and I don't think that you have to take Luck just becuase you get the opportunity. But whatever, we've all debated those points ad nauseum.
Obviously, you seem a passionate fan. You have the opposite opinion of me and Nate (and others). That's fine. Nate's point, if I'm reading right, is not that a true fan would feel the way Nate does, but that some true fans do, that some people are still hard-core fans even if they aren't showering the Irsay Co. with praise for their actions over the past year.
Jeez everyone's trippin - I mean so "passionate". The Colts sold out last year, with 2-14, and no manning. The Colts will sell out this year too.
Who is running the friggin' Colts PR, the same marketing geniuses that brought the world New Coke. (Obviously as I have suspected for weeks, this has to fall elsewhere besides at the feet of the departed BP.)
How do the Colts not understand the most unusal situation they are in? They are not the Redskins who have not seen competent QB play in decades. Colts fans are not looking for a savior. We have had exlusive rights to Coke Classic, for well over a decade.
The Colts situation is totally unique and it would be a severe challenge for even the most competent PR team to handle. (And with the Colts PR, this isn't even showing up to a gunfight with a knife, this is trying to wage a nuclear war with a slingshot.)
If at near the end of Michael Jordan's career, the Bulls cut him and brought in Lebron James... that is what the Colts are facing.
It is not worth rehashing, the decisions that were made to get the Colts to this point. What is unfathomable is that apparantly the Colts thought we would accept it with the enthusiasm of a teenager getting a brand new Smart Phone.
I've always thought the blackout rule was pretty stupid because it generates too much ill will for the limited impact on ticket sales. But if it was dumb for the league to do it, it is ten times worse for an individual team to do it. If the Colts got blacked out because of a league rule, people would blame the NFL for having a dumb rule that keeps them from watching their favorite team. But now that it is the Colts themselves doing it, the anger will get directed at the team and probably have a negative impact on the fan base. I doubt it will be an issue this year - 2,000 tickets should be pretty easy to sell individually. But if the Colts ever do black out a game, I think Mr. Irsay will come to regret this decision.
@ECB If Kravitz is correct, the NFL's "concession" on the blackout rule is designed to make teams reject it. But I agree with what Nate has said, that the Colts could have set their blackout number at 98% while doing a better job of explaining why and reassuring fans that blackouts won't happen.
Then again, if you try to game the system to ensure no blackouts and a blackout happens anyway, you look doubly stupid. The NFL has brilliantly given the smaller market teams enough rope to hang themselves while the Jerry Joneses continue to sell out as usual. Probably no owner has been as mightily screwed by the league as Jim Irsay over the past few years. I'm surprised he keeps taking it with a smile.
And yet, we all assumed that the Colts' tone-deaf dealings with the public and media were entirely the fault of Bill Polian. Now it's starting to seem that Jim may be more like his father than we realized. Another reason to be mad at the short-sighted idiots who ran Polian out of town on a rail.
That kind of went all over the place. So... yeah, blackouts bad.
I have read a lot post,stories, and what have you about "fair weather fans". Is there some of that going on yes, but it is much larger and more complex issue. It lazy journalism (if it's journalism at all) to use stereotypes or to over blow an issue. A case can be made that much of the negative sentiment goes back to decision to pull the starter against the Jets. Maybe it was the right decision but the team seemed to go on a downward spiral since then. The front office seemed to be spitting at the fans any chance it had, the coach seemed like a nice guy but way over his head, and the personnel especially drafted the last several years seemed to be busts or chronically hurt. Add in the most beloved sports figure in years being shown the door (right or wrong) you have a perfect recipe for fan base that is skeptical of the "Shoe". The owner makes all sorts of promises/statements on national television, yeah, I get it! Yes we have lost some Peyton Manning fans, but more importantly the team has lost the confidence of many fans, now it must show or earn back their support. It has nothing to do with a 2-14 team losing, but rather how that team acquired that record but mismanagement.
I am excited about the future, but have had enough of this "fair weather fan" label that doesn't apply to most of those who support the colts. One last note, the Colts may be "Small Market" team, but they have one of the best deals of any team in the NFL, that is a fact!
@BrianNorth I've given Irsay and the FO a lot of slack because I think they had a pretty serious run of crappy luck over the last few years. No, I'm not one of those entitled fans who expects to win the Super Bowl every year. But the guys in charge have made football decisions that were more good than bad and with the talent they had on the field it was not unrealistic to think they would have had a second ring by now.
That said, they've consistently made unbelievably bad non-football decisions. It's stunning how blind Irsay is to the PR fallout. It didn't matter so much when they were winning and Peyton was still an unstoppable football machine but things are going to get ugly around here if Andrew Luck isn't the second coming.
@squirrel @BrianNorth From the reaction to Week 16 (which I put on Polian more than Irsay), to their bumbling of Manning's health last fall, to what went on during the season and their bizarre offseason (having Caldwell sit in during the interview with Spag only to fire him the next day?) the Colts have come across as something of fair-weather, in the sense that they have not been able to react and handle situations that aren't perfect, planned or fortunate. No one (or at least most) didn't care about Polian's arrogance, the Colts injury secrecy and all that other stuff back in 2003-2010. It was all going on then. Irsay and Co. never improved because they didn't have to. Now they do.
I really think that Irsay assumed many more fans would immediately buy into the "New Era." Coupled with that he probably believed that Manning was too hurt to play in 2012. That would've bought him everything he needed. He promised not to cut a healthy Manning. There is a good chance he did. Either way, Irsay probably felt that the fans would mostly all buy into the new era, that they would continue to root for the laundry, even if the wardrobe completely changed, with the old trusted shirts and pants traded in for next season's model. Underestimating the ferocity of this fanbase was a critical error.
Personally, this issue doesn't effect me, and I am pretty sure come September, all the games will be aired adn the tickets will be sold, but for Kravitz, or anyone, to assert that this is proof of how teh Colts have a bunch of fair-weather fans is baloney. First of all there are few teams (especially in football, where the cost of going to a game is more) that really sell out all of their games in bad times. Other than Cleveland, most of those (Washington, New York, Dallas) are in larger markets, adn richer markets. Heck, the 49ers, after 20 years of epic dominance, struggled to avoid blackouts in the 00's. That said, the fans have a right to have their say. They have a right to be angry. The fans don't owe the Colts anything. The Colts owe the fans. We (or more exactly, teh people of Indiana) gave them a stadium, and gave them money in terms of tickets, concessions, merchandise. The Colts have to repay the fans. And that means listening to them. Mostly, it means fielding a winning team, but when that is not guaranteed, then making sure to not alienate fans is the most important thing a franchise can do.
Cutting Manning wasn't that. But fine, it happened. There are legitimate reasons to cut him even if he was assured 100% healthy (not good ones, but the argument could be made). Cutting Addai, Brackett, etc. in pure 'midnight judge' wasn't that. Acting like the expectation, and not the goal, is that every fan will buy into what the pr machine is selling blindly and pony up loads of money is not that. The Colts have not handled adversity well. They didn't in 2011, and they haven't even in this "new era". If anything, the Colts organization is fair weather, having shown the ability to operate smoothly when 12+ wins is guaranteed.
/sorry if that was long. I haven't been posting here for a while. Needed to get some stuff off my chest.
Like others have said I agree 100%. it is funny how I wasn't fair weather last year when I watched every minute of every game - no matter how ugly it got. The minute you question something or don't agree with something you are fair weather or band wagon. Beside the pint of some of the (I feel) stupid decisions they have made there is also the issue of class and loyalty. At 1st I didn't think I would watch any of the games this year. I knew I would eventually come back - I just thought I would need a year off. The closer the season gets the more I doubt I will be able to not watch them - BUT - I will never respect Jim Irsay or that organization as classy again. Plus I am still rooting for the Broncos if it comes to a head to head.
I watched every minute as well, even that New Orleans atrocity, which was really more of a human rights violation than a football game.
@kc6624 That is what makes it so crazy people would be throwing around the "fair weather" crap. It has nothing to do with the weather. I don't mind dancing in the rain - just don't expect me to dance when you are pissing on me and pretending it is rain. I think most people tolerated the losing pretty well. Then Polian, then Manning, then cutting several players, then the blackout. I am sure I am missing a couple things also. Like others have said it is going to get ugly Luck does not turn out GREAT. It is also going to get ugly if Manning still looks stellar. I think there will also be a significant backlash even if Luck is very good but RG3 is better. The bad thing is I think one of those 3 options is almost a certainty (Hint - it involves Manning).
Thanks for this Nate. I'm not actually impacted by the blackout rule (I'm a season ticket holder who lives outside of the local market), but I think it is irresponsible for anyone to call fans fair weather for questioning a management team that has been trying to sell tin as gold for months.
Why in the world would I be happy that they replaced a HOF FO with a rookie GM? Why should I be happy that they hired a rookie head coach from a program proven to not translate to success? Why should I be happy that they ruthlessly cut players who gave their all on and off the field for the team and the fans? Why should I be happy about replacing the best QB of all time with a college kid?
Choosing to renew my season tickets was a hard decision for me, for the simple reason that their real world value has dropped like a condo in Las Vegas. That doesn't make me fair weather, it makes me realistic. And to witness the gall that Kravitz had in chastising fans like me, while he doesn't have to pay for tickets, makes all of this worse. If I had any respect for him before, it would have been lost after this showing. Now at least we know that the only thing it takes to get loyalty from Bob is a nice dinner out with the GM.
At a time when the Colts should be going out of their way to repay the loyalty of the fans, they keep making bone head decisions like this that do the opposite. My confidence in them is shot, and if I'm not alone that could translate to even worse ticket numbers next year.
Agree completely on the state of the fans. Some are ecstatic, some are mad. I don't think any of it points to them being fairweather. Same as I don't think fans that disliked the moves Polian made were fairweather either.
@Kyle Rodriguez true.
And you can hardly call their ringleader a fair-weather fan when he's not a fan of the team in the first place.