Buy a Damned T-Shirt!
Volume 3, Number 9
September, 1998

Fun & Games
All the Way With the Colts!

By Dean Shutt

Ah fall, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing and the holidays are just around the corner. You can have your other seasons, I'll take autumn any ol' time. To top it all off, this is far and away the best season for a sports fan. Baseball means something after a hundred-odd games of the regular season. Hockey and basketball will be gearing up soon and the King of them all, the NFL, returns after a long off-season.

Forget about Spring, this is season when hope springs eternal. This will be the year that my beloved Colts (or your Bengals, or Seahawks, or Cowboys, or whoever) return to the promised land of the NFL elite. With that thought in mind I will now precede to explain to you why my beloved Colts will return to prominence this year. I have read a few of the Football Publications out there and they all seem to think that my beloved Colts will wind up at the bottom of the AFC East. I disagree and here are a few reasons why:
  1. Peyton Manning - Yes, I know that he is a rookie quarterback and I know that the NFL is a different game than he is used to. But folks, Peyton has the tools and he puts in the work to bring those tools to bear. Just look at the difference between his first preseason game and his second. He gets exponentially better every week.
  2. Marshall Faulk - He is healthy, he is focused and he is finally in an offense that will feature him. Marshall is going on a tear this year, kids.
  3. The Offensive Line - Everyone talks about how bad the O-line was last year. What they tend to forget is that in the final 4 to 5 games the Colts had one of the best O-lines in the game. They return 4 out of 5 starters and are entering their second solid year as a unit. Let's not forget that they also boast 3 first rounders.
  4. The Receiving Corps - Marvin Harrison and Ken Dilger are proven young receivers that will only get better. Throw in Torrance Small, E.G. Green and Jerome Pathon and you have one of the best young set of receivers playing today. Lest we forget, the Colts also have Marcus Pollard and Aaron Bailey, who are both ready to make some noise.
  5. The Defensive Secondary - For the first time in this fan's memory, the Colts will be starting to of the best corners in the league in Carlton Gray, Jeff Burris or Tyrone Poole. Robert Blackmon and Jason Belser are two very underrated safeties. The secondary as whole should be able to give the pass rushers time to reach the QB, something the Colts did not do enough of last year.
  6. Jeff Herrod - The middle linebacker returns in '98 after a one year stint with the Eagles. Herrod is the heart of this defense and you will see a marked improvement in the Colts' ability to stop the run with him in the middle.
  7. A Soft Schedule - The Colts' out of division opponents this year include the Ravens, the Bengals, the Falcons, the Saints, the Panthers, the Seahawks and the Niners. Exactly one of which had a winning campaign last year. Sometimes it pays to suck. Add that to reason number eight.
  8. A Weak Division - Miami does not have the talent, The Patriots do not have a running game, the Jets do not have a quarterback and the Bills are too old on defense. Looking strictly at talent, the AFC East is one of the weaker divisions in the NFL and the Colts have more talent position by position than any other team in the East.
  9. Bill Polian - The finest GM in all of football. He built the Panthers and the late- eighties Bills and now it's the Colts' turn. The last vestiges of Robert Irsay's incompetence are gone.

    And finally...

  10. Jim Mora - I know, I know, Mora cracked in New Orleans a few years back, but before he did he had one of the best records of all NFL coaches in a ten year span and this was the talent in New Orleans for God's sake.

Well there you have it folks, the ten reasons why I predict that this is the year that my beloved Colts make that final leap to NFL respectability after years in the wasteland. As for their record this year, I think that 10 and 6 is eminently reachable for the boys in blue. With a couple of breaks, a playoff spot and possibly the division title is not out of the question. Regardless, the Colts are a young team (Jeff Herrod is the only player on the roster with more than ten years experience) and they will only get better as the season wears to a close. They may start out slow, but look for them to tear it up in the second half.

Dean's Favorite Teams
SJ Rhinos
Indianapolis Colts
Red Sox
NY Rangers
[an error occurred while processing this directive]