I admit it; I am spoiled. I am readily expecting the Colts to go 13-3, 12-4, and to make a trip to the playoffs.
Actually, I am counting on more than that this season.
I think that this will be a disappointing season if this football team does not get to the Super Bowl. They don't have to win it, but at least get there this year. The time has come.
Wow. "The time has come." How soon we forget. How soon I have forgotten.
If I think hard enough, if I try and go back a few years ago in my mind, I do realize that I have become spoiled by the success of this football team. I can barely remember the days when I used to think to myself how great it must be to root for an NFL team that makes it to the post-season. They don't have to win, just get there. Play an extra week. The regular season is over AND YOUR TEAM IS STILL PLAYING!!! That's all I wanted.
If I go further back to my days in New Jersey, I can still remember how excited I was to see this team play the Jets at the Meadowlands. No matter that they were coming in with something like a 2-9 record, it was like Christmas for me. I was going to see my team play. That was all I wanted. That was all that I needed. Nothing more.
It was just the magic of seeing those perfect blue and white uniforms. The thrill of sitting there in my Johnnie Cooks jersey, willing this team to victory. Who needed anything else?
Of course, this was before satellite television and the NFL Ticket. Back when this team was playing so poorly that Monday Night Football scoffed at them. So I saw them play twice a year against the Jets. It was a big deal to me.
Times sure have changed. Expectations have risen dramatically. Making the playoffs, winning the AFC South is a given for most Colts fans. And why shouldn't it be? This team has won consistently over the past few years and has put a lot of pieces in place -- pieces that make you think not only playoffs, but championships.
You have to be good, you have to be lucky, you have to stay healthy. That's my abbreviated formula for having a successful NFL season. But what will it take to get to the next step? What will it take for this team to be one of only two teams left standing on Sunday February 5th, 2006?
For starters, how about home field advantage throughout the playoffs?
It couldn't hurt, could it? I am firmly convinced that during the regular season game against the Patriots in 2003, if the Colts could have gotten that one yard and scored at the end of the game, they would not have been stopped throughout the AFC playoffs. I strongly believe that. But that doesn't really matter now, does it?
I see an opportunity this year when I look at the schedule. Realizing that in a 16 game season each game is important, I can't help but place quite a bit more emphasis on two specific November dates -- the 7th and the 28th. The team travels to New England on the 7th, hosts Pittsburgh on the 28th.
All things being equal, both the Patriots and Steelers will be fighting for home field once again this year. Here is the opportunity, the chance for this ball club to direct its own fate. Take care of business during the season and win the games that you should, and take advantage of this year's schedule and secure home field throughout the playoffs.
I realize that this is a tall order, but my expectations require that it gets done. I don't want to be writing this same column once again next year. I am a spoiled Colts fan!!!
Send me an email with your thoughts, questions, and concerns. I always welcome your comments.
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