As I roamed the streets of downtown Indianapolis, three guys in blue capes adorned with facepaint and horse-head hats walked past me. On any other given weekday, I would think I was seeing things, but not yesterday: as the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Indianapolis Colts were set to face the New Orleans Saints.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen: It must be Football season.
The city of Indianapolis put on a party like none other yesterday, closing off the greater part of Monument Circle for last night’s kick off concert featuring acts by Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, and Hinder. Sprint Mobile had a great interactive area including a “play-calling booth” where fans could call their own football games. Needless to say, I doubt I will ever do play-by-play, as my rendition sounded more Jessica Simpson than Chris Berman. Other venders like Coors Brewing Company had venues set up, including the “Love Train” from their television ads. The Fan Zone set up outside the RCA Dome was more geared toward the kids, with inflatable games and such, but it didn’t stop a good majority of intoxicated adults from giving them their best shots either. This was particularly entertaining, as guys tested their skills in front of friends, girlfriends, and random people-watchers such as myself, only to public embarrass themselves. Let’s just say that they won’t be taking Peyton’s job anytime soon. I tried my hand at the running back game where they tied me to a giant inflatable harness thing. My competition: a 6 yr old girl. Needless to say, I sent her home crying. My parents would be proud.
As for the game itself, the RCA Dome was rocking as usual with fans still reveling in last February’s Super Bowl victory. They had a bit of a scare on the first play of the game when running back Joseph Addai went down, but he returned during the next series and was fine. Apparently he just had the wind knocked out of him. In the first half, the Colts and Saints really played tit-for-tat, ending in a 10-10 tie. Both teams’ performances were pretty lackluster and sloppy to say the least. In the second half however, New Orleans wouldn’t be so lucky.
Manning absolutely lit up the Saints in the second half, their defense seeming discombobulated. Former Colt and now Saint cornerback Jason David was used and abused by his former team. Something to the tune of around 10 passes caught against him for over 150 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brees and his normally lethal offense were out of sync all game long as well with 2 interceptions (one returned for a TD near the end of the game) and a fumble.
So: what does last night mean for the rest of the season?… Well, little to nothing really. If anything maybe the Saints needed a reality check. After all, when every media outlet in the world is predicting you to be a powerhouse, and the Colts to not live up to last years performance – you go in with a little too much confidence and you believe your own hype. Besides, sometimes it takes a good ass-kicking to get a fire going.
As for the Colts, last nights game demonstrated that despite losing six players that started in last years Super Bowl, they’ve still got the magic. So take note Chargers and Patriots, come later this fall: you may need them.