Peyton Manning. Tony Dungy. Marvin Harrison. Dwight Freeney. A 12-4 season. And, to top it off, a Super Bowl championship.
That was quite a season for fans of the Indianapolis Colts.
According to Las Vegas, odds are it won’t happen again this year for the Colts. Odds-makers have the team at 80-1 to win the Super Bowl. Twenty-one of the National Football League’s 32 teams have better odds.
But these Colts just might have what it takes to defy the experts. And they shape up as a team well worth rooting for.
General Manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich are both people of integrity, building the team based on a long-term approach and adding talent to a deep roster.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, taking over for the retired Andrew Luck, is just the sort of player that Hoosiers can get behind. He’s a tough guy, a blue-collar guy, a real leader by example.
Brissett is inexperienced and will make some mistakes, particularly early in the season. But with the guidance of Reich, who played quarterback in the NFL, Brissett could be transformed into a better-than-just-good quarterback by the time the playoffs roll around.
The Colts also have exciting playmakers, the sort who bring you out of your seat with their athleticism and skill.
Blue-and-White faithful know all about the big-play ability of veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. He leads a receiving corps that promises to be the team’s best since the Manning-Harrison days.
And the defense is apt to raise goosebumps, as well. Second-year linebacker Darius Leonard and veteran free agent Justin Houston will lead a fast and furious group bent on not only stopping the opponent but taking the ball away, too.
It all begins Sunday for the Colts with a game in Los Angeles, where the Chargers go into the season at 14-1 odds, tied for the sixth-best chance of winning the Super Bowl.
The Colts will start this game and this season as underdogs.
That’s OK. It would make a trip to Super Bowl LIV in February all the sweeter.