For the past decade or so, the state of Indiana has basically been a football dominant place. After Reggie Miller was getting older, the Indiana Pacers started to decline. Once he finally left in 2004, Indiana hasn’t been much of the same since.
Their last good season was in 2005, when they finished 41-41 under a fully-led Jermaine O’Neal squad. It was an okay season to watch, but I knew their good days were past them now, and it looked like there was going to be time to rebuild now near into the future. Indiana struggled in the first round of the playoffs, falling in six games to the New Jersey Nets. O’Neal would have his last big stand with Indy with his big 37-point, eleven-rebound outburst to push the Pacers up 2-1 against the Nets. After that, it was all over.
The next few years didn’t look good at all for them after that. The next year, they finished 35-47, missing the playoffs. They would miss it again the next year, only just improving slightly with a 36-46 record. 2008 came, however, and things started to look much better. Danny Granger emerged as the franchise leader, leading the team with 25 points per game. However, Indy was just a few games away from making the playoffs, finishing 36-46. After a solid season like that, it looked as if Indy was in for a playoff-season come next year.
It didn’t happen. Indiana was just horrible. Things didn’t go right anywhere, and Granger missed about a month of the season, which led to the ton of losses that came. Towards the end of the season, though, Indiana finished off strong with a big win-streak to finish 32-50. However, it was still just an awful season of Pacers’ basketball.
Things had to be done right next year, and it did. Jim O’Brien helped Indiana build off to an amazing start, knocking off teams like the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. But when December rolled by, Indiana plummeted and fell as much as bout 17-27 as I remember. That’s when O’Brien was fired and the organization went with assistant head coach, Frank Vogel, to lead the team. Indiana went off to a strong start and had the eighth seed spot by the All-Star break. They didn’t look back and locked up a playoff-berth for the first time in five years. They looked good against the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs, despite losing in five games. They could have easily won the series if it weren’t for collapses at the end of the game.
Since that time, though, the Indianapolis Colts have built their way to the top of the sports chain in Indiana. The year after Reggie Miller left, Indy finished a league-best 14-2 record. The year after that, they went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl. Then they fell short next year in divisional round, but managed to finish 13-3, second in the AFC. The next year, the Colts struggled, starting off the season 3-4 in 2008. But they quickly went on a win-streak to finish 12-4, but fell once again to the Chargers. The next year, Indiana almost finished perfect, but the starters were placed to rest for the final two games of the season, which led to the 14-2 record. However, they still managed to make it to the Super Bowl, but lost to the Saints.
The next year is when things look liked there would be a change. The Colts struggled at the start while the Pacers played great. However, the Pacers would go on to a losing-streak while Indianapolis built their way back up at 6-3. However, after that, the Colts went 6-6 after a streak of horrid games played by Peyton Manning, as he kept throwing interceptions after interceptions. They managed to finish 10-6, but lost to the Jets in the first round of the playoffs. As for the Pacers, like I mentioned earlier, they went on a roll under Vogel and managed to make the playoffs.
It was the first time in a while when both teams made the playoffs. This year, things are starting to look different. Very different. The Colts now currently sit at 0-11 with Manning still suffering from his neck injury. As for the Pacers, their season starts in late December after the NBA Lockout occurred. But I bet you anything, the Pacers will probably finish much better than Indy. However, it looks there will be change now for both teams in the next coming years.
As a Colts fan, I hope Peyton Manning still sticks around for a few more years. But after, Indianapolis will have to rebuild. The Pacers have gone through that stage, and it wasn’t pretty. But now they got a group of guys hopefully for the future in Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, and Darren Collison. Let’s also not forget Tyler Hansbrough, who is coming off a monster season; and Paul George, who’s high-flying dunks continue to wow Pacers’ fans in Conseco Fieldhouse. Frank Vogel is showing he’s a solid coach and the Pacers also got a solid assistant to help him in Brian Shaw. Plus, we got Larry Bird.
In about the next five years, though (or maybe less), it looks as if the Pacers will be the dominant team once again in Indiana. Football has been the dominant sport. Don’t get me wrong: Indiana is a basketball state; but the Colts have so far been the team to watch as an Indy sports fan. But I think the Pacers are making a comeback. Their playoff hopes look high for this year, and I’m looking for a solid season of Indiana basketball.
But it’s up to the Pacers to start this destiny. I think they can do it.
Face it, guys, the future is coming. Manning will be gone, and the Pacers will rise. Not a bad thing, but I’m surely gonna miss the good days of Colts’ football. It was a good run.
Now it’s time for Pacers to start one once again with the new decade that has approached.