The Herald Bulletin

January 8, 2014

Editorial: Get ready to roll out the blue carpet

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Buried under a foot of ice and snow, we’re all longing for warmer days when fewer clothes will be required and green grass will be beneath our feet.

And while we’re daydreaming, we can’t help but think about one of our favorite things about the summer – the return of the Indianapolis Colts to Anderson University.

Last week, as the Colts prepared for their opening playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, owner Jim Irsay casually announced via his infamous Twitter account that the franchise would be returning to Anderson for a fifth straight year to get ready for the 2014 season. Head coach Chuck Pagano has repeatedly said he wants to go away for training camp, going against the trend of more NFL teams spending those valuable weeks at their own practice facilities.

We’re extremely lucky to have the team back for what will be its 20th preseason spent in Anderson. Not only is the Colts’ presence good for the local economy – estimates put the annual influx during their stay at $6 million – but it’s a chance to show the some 40,000 people who visit how the city is re-inventing itself. Just think the impression a shiny new car dealership and the Ivy Tech construction project will make as fans take Exit 226 instead of two abandoned hotels.

Last year, the announcement of the Colts’ return didn’t come until May 6, giving AU, local businesses and residents a very small window to prepare for their arrival. With Irsay’s tweet on the last day of 2013, we now have seven-plus months to get ready to roll out the blue carpet.

It would be fantastic for the team and arriving visitors to see just how much we value their presence. Painted store windows, signs in yards, special activities at venues around the city … whatever we can do to make those three weeks in late July/early August a real event.

So when you sit down to watch Andrew Luck and the Colts take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Saturday at 8:15 p.m, think about what you can do to welcome the team back … hopefully as Super Bowl champs.

In summary Now is the time to start thinking about the Colts' return to Anderson University for training camp.