Last weekend wasn’t a good one for football in Indiana. Indiana University came back to take the lead from Virginia, only to give up 11 points in the final 96 seconds of the game and lose 34-31. Purdue lost to Rice 24-22, after Rice blocked a Purdue field goal the last few seconds of the game. Notre Dame was handedly beating Michigan, so I went to bed, only to wake up and discover that Michigan had scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to win 35-31. Then there was the Colts, playing without Peyton Manning (for the first time in 208 consecutive regular season games). Oh, man.
Normally, I cheer on my daughters during their youth soccer games, despite inwardly cursing whomever schedules them on football Sundays. Last Sunday, I didn’t feel like I was missing much, though. I kept track of the Colts game via cell phone. It was so bad that after the first quarter I uttered words I never thought I’d say, “Maybe we should put Painter in.”
Could it be Reggie Wayne was right when he tweeted his displeasure in the media for assuming Kerry Collins, and not Curtis Painter, would be starting for Manning? Does he know something I don’t? Probably, but there were also a lot of issues defensively, so I’m not convinced starting Painter will fix what’s broken. Even the Purdue fans I know aren’t keen on the idea of the Colts starting their former QB.
Coach Caldwell believes Sunday’s mistakes are fixable. That may be true, and I hope the Colts win enough games to make the playoffs. I’d love to see Manning come back at the end of the season and lead us to a Super Bowl championship on Indy’s home field. Howver, Manning should not come back too early and risk further, maybe permanent, damage. Being both realistic and optimistic, I’m looking at positive outcomes in the event the season doesn’t go well. For one, it’s better for the local economy if more people come into town from out of state for the Super Bowl and leave their money here rather than having a hometown crowd. Plus, there could be a good draft pick in it for the Colts if the season doesn’t go well.
Of course I want the Colts to win. I’ve been cheering them on since that Mayflower truck pulled into town (sorry, Baltimore), through awful seasons and amazing ones, and I will continue to do so long after Manning is gone. No matter what happens, I’ll be wearing my blue jersey and cheering for whomever is under center — even Curtis Painter. Go Colts!