The Indianapolis Colts clinched a division title and a playoff spot three weeks ago. Since then, fans have been apathetic about this team and generally don’t seem to care about the playoffs.
There are a number of reasons for this, and fans have have pointed out specific problems they have.
The biggest factor is the Peyton Manning-hangover. For nine years, it was Super Bowl or bust for the Colts. It was expected that they would win the division and make a run at a title.
The road to the Super Bowl often involved a fight with the Colts. In that stretch the only other teams to represent the AFC in the world championship were the Steelers and Patriots.
Now, the Colts are a second-tier team in the AFC behind the Patriots and Broncos. Andrew Luck is clearly one of the next great quarterbacks in the NFL (and should be considered in that upper tier considering what he has to work with). They have a tough road to make some noise in the playoffs, but that shouldn’t be enough to discourage fans.
The Colts haven’t beaten any top tier opponents this season. The Colts have come up short every time they have faced a quality opponent. But at the same time, they beat two of the AFC team’s who made the playoffs.
In reality, a lot of teams haven’t played anyone. Look at the three playoff teams from the AFC North. They faced the the illustrious AFC South and the NFC South, a division that was won by a team with a 7-8-1 record. Everyone in that division faced three of the worst team’s in the NFL (the Steelers even gave Tampa Bay one of their two wins).
Even the two team’s with a bye week had some bad losses this season. The Patriots dropped games to the Dolphins and Chiefs while the Broncos lost to the Rams and Bengals.
Its the NFL, everyone has had frustrating losses and perplexing wins.
Colts fans are jaded towards the success of this team. Its almost a birthright that they should win the AFC South, and thankfully the rest of the teams in the division are more than happy to oblige them by doing nothing to get any better.
The AFC South is so bad that the Colts have the second best QB in the division sitting on the bench. What sort of management thinks going into the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good decision? Especially when you had a chance to take a talented quarterback with the first pick in last years draft.
Colts fans should be thankful that the rest of the division is so inept. Anyone of those franchises would switch places with Indy in a heartbeat.
Making the playoffs in the NFL should never be taken for granted. Aside from the MLB, it is the hardest league to make the postseason in. 37-percent of NFL teams are in the playoffs, in the NBA and NHL 53-percent of the teams make it.
The Colts are making their 12th playoff appearance in the past 13 seasons (and 14th in the past 16 years going back to the Jim Mora era). That is an unbelievable accomplishment.
They have also posted an 11-5 record for the third straight year. Since 1999, they Colts have only missed the 10 win mark twice. They are the model of consistency in the NFL.
Luck is continuing the legacy of Manning in Indianapolis. There is no doubt that Luck could go on a Joe Flacco-esq hot streak that propels this team to the Super Bowl.
Appreciate this run of greatness from the Colts, and never take the playoffs for granted.