David Hoppe

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:: Go Colts (really)!

by David Hoppe

Blown out, clobbered, whipped. Humiliated.

No, this is not a description of the Democrats’ performance in the 2014 midterm elections.

I’m talking about the Indianapolis Colts — YOUR Indianapolis Colts.

By now, of course — unless, that is, you take the “nap” in Naptown a tad too literally  — you know what happened out there in New England: the Patriots demolished (yet another way of saying it) our local football team.

Did anyone really think the outcome would be otherwise?

Kind of? Sort of?

After beating the Bengals and, of all teams, the Broncos, sending our patron saint, Peyton Manning, into a paroxysm of speculation over whether or not  the bell was finally tolling for the end of his storied career, it seemed the Colts might just have it in them to give the trolls in Foxboro a game.

Our boys appeared to have rediscovered their defense. They seemed, for the first time, to have found an offensive line.

Just kidding!

None of this mattered against the Patriots. The Colts were not only unable to defeat their so-called rivals, they were made to look irrelevant.

The beating was so bad, so complete, it is difficult imagining anyone in Indy being broken-hearted about it. To break your heart, a team has to play at the outer limit of its capacity for weeks on end. It has to do seemingly impossible stuff over and over again. Most of all, it has to play, not just with efficiency or even swagger, but joy.

When a team like that takes it on the chin, it hurts. It hurts because that kind of team stands for everybody. It has the ability to amaze. I can still remember going out to the garden to dig in the dirt when it seemed like the Pacers were going to lose to the Knicks during the NBA play-offs in 1995. Suddenly I could hear cheering coming from inside houses all up and down my block. Reggie Miller had just done the impossible, scored eight points in less than 9 seconds to win Game 1. I didn’t even see him do it, but I’ll never forget what Reggie did that day.

I hate to say it, but I doubt anybody’s going to find much worth remembering about the 2014 Colts.

They managed to win an awful division during a year when the overall level of play in the National Football League was pretty uninspired. Lately, “parity” in the NFL doesn’t mean that all the teams are good so much as that most of them are mediocre.

New England, on the other hand…

Well, New England’s coach, Bill Bellichik, knows how to get his teams ready to play big games.

It is tempting after a drubbing like this to reach for a larger meaning. For all our big-time aspirations, Indianapolis is still a medium-size Midwestern town. Could our inability to come to terms with New England mean we’re still just pretending?

But wait: what about that time Peyton brought us back to nip the Pats in 2006?

The city still owes Manning a statue for that one.