Colts vs. Patriots: There is no love lost
Southsider Voice correspondent
Remember when it wasn’t fashionable to cheer for the Indianapolis Colts or wear their apparel on the Southside?
Southside business owner Kwang Casey does.
“It was all different 20 years ago,” said Casey, owner of the Oaken Barrel in Greenwood. “The young fans of today don’t even know about all those years when the Colts could win only one, two or three games.”
The Colts had won a woeful 74 of 191 games since their arrival of equipment in Mayflower moving vans in Indianapolis through the 1994 season. Pro football fans in the area wore more Bears, Steelers, Packers and Dolphins apparel than Colts blue.
All Colts fans now revere the 2006 Super Bowl season, but older fans recall that the 1995-96 team turned attitudes around by reaching the American Football Conference championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Colts wound up just one Hail Mary pass completion from reaching the Super Bowl. The image remains of “Captain Comeback,” Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh, hurling a deep pass that was tipped around in the air before coming down, landing on and rolling off receiver Aaron Bailey in the end zone.
“Everyone raves about ’06, but I believe this year’s team is more like that team that played the Steelers,” Casey said. “That team had a lot of no names, just like this year’s team.”
The 1995-96 team was the one that took a giant step forward for pro football in Indianapolis.
Harbaugh came from the Chicago Bears for the 1994 season; running back Marshall Faulk and little-known Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts were among the eight Colts drafted.
One year later, “no names” Kirk Lowdermilk, Will Wolford, Ray Buchanan, Tony Bennett, Quentin Coryatt, Tony McCoy, Tony Siragusa, Chris Gardocki, Ken Dilger, Sean Dawkins and Roosevelt Potts would help lead the Colts.
Since then the Colts have had 15 winning seasons, setting the stage for the AFC championship against New England at 6:40 p.m. Sunday in Foxborough, Mass., and more excitement for Colts fans in pubs, restaurants or wherever they gather.
Looking for no names? Look no further than this year’s Colts with Boom Herron, Ricky Jean Francois, Jonathon Newsom, Mike Adams, Coby Fleener, Donte Moncrief, Erik Walden, Zurlon Tipton and a who-are-they offensive line of Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Khaled Holmes, Lance Lewis and Joe Reitz.
Throw them in with Andrew Luck, Cory Redding, Reggie Wayne and Adam Vinatieri, and they stand tall on a 13-5 team won the AFC’s South Division and stunned the Denver Broncos 24-13 on Sunday.
New England, with stoic coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, is next for the Colts, whose fans despise the Patriots. No love is lost on the players from Crabtown. Emotions around here are truly reflected on “The original New England sucks!” towel that hangs inside Jake’s Pub at Southport and Bluff roads.
Pub owner Jon Stamm is a longtime season-ticket holder who goes to Colts home games with family and friends.
The pub, like so many restaurants and bars on the Southside, draws more patrons on Colts game days, whether at home or away.
Jake’s Pub manager Katy Stamm says more Colts fans come to the pub to watch them on TV when they are on the road than during home games. She says it’s not unusual for groups of six to 10 patrons to view home games.
Stamm and Casey also said their establishments attract patrons who are going to or returning from home games at Lucas Oil Stadium. Each business has a decorated Colts bus that it takes Downtown for tailgate parties during home games.
“The Colts definitely mean more business for us on game days,” Stamm said. “Patrons usually drink more than they eat.”
Come Sunday, the Colts will have the full attention of the Southside.
“Success has spoiled a lot of fans,” Casey said. “All we want is two more games and another Super Bowl trophy.”
The double-header to decide Super Bowl combatants begins at 3:05 p.m. Sunday p.m. with Seattle hosting Green Bay, followed by the Colts and Patriots. The Super Bowl is Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in Glendale, Ariz.
Although Brady and Luck are getting most of the media attention, the outcome of the Colts-Patriots collision will be decided by no-name players.