With the first preseason game not so far away, now, there are many important things to take care of. Getting in good team practices is at a premium and there’s so little time to figure out what needs improved and where. This is true several times over for a rebuilding team like the Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is long gone and new quarterback Andrew Luck looks to have the potential to be the next quarterback to lead the Colts to the promised land.
On Monday, July 30th, a man wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey into Colts training camp. After safety Tom Zbikowski (formerly with the Baltimore Ravens) noticed this, he asked head coach Chuck Pagano to take care of the situation. Pagano responded by issuing an ultimatum to this individual. The ultimatum called for the man to put on a provided Luck jersey or to be escorted off the premises. Now, when I first heard about this, I had a couple of reactions. The first of which was, indeed, reactionary.
“Why do these guys care what fans wear to their training camps? It’s not like Zbikowski is a Raven anymore.” And it’s true, it’s not like this guy came in wearing a Houston Texans jersey or something. Guys like Zbikowski should probably be a little more focused on getting ready for an arduous upcoming season, rather than junk like this. Should the guy who wore the Steelers jersey to camp, because he’s a fan of Colts (and former Steelers) offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, have his head examined? Yeah, probably so. It seemed like an open-and-shut case of a guy getting made fun of. That is, until I looked a little closer.
Why give the guy a Luck jersey? There are, perhaps, a dozen different jerseys Pagano could have gone with, and yet, he chose that one. On the surface, it may not seem like anything to inquire about, but that said something about the Colts, in my opinion.
I contend Pagano gave the guy a Luck jersey because it symbolizes the new era of the Colts. Not only does it stand for a new direction, but it symbolizes the hardship they must now endure. The head coach doing that says to me that he understands that the imminent hard times are going to be difficult for people to endure, and further, it says that he’s asking the fans to believe in the team’s new beginning.
Organizational overhaul isn’t always a neat and tidy process. Not all of the players, staff, and fans, are likely mentally ready to move on from the Manning era when the Colts got to experience the playoffs way more often than not. With Luck and the new Colts just starting out, it could be a few years, at the least, before the team is relevant again. So while this little incident was all in good fun, (and it could just be over-analysis on my part) to me it said, “let’s cut the antics and distractions, and focus on working our way back to prominence.” I’m David Abeyta and that’s my opinion.