Blue or Orange?
That was the question many fans grappled with as former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning returned to Lucas Oil Stadium — “the house that he built” — Sunday night for the Colts-Broncos football game.
Thousands of Hoosiers — including many football fans from the Wabash Valley — flooded the stadium in Indianapolis to watch Manning, now the Denver quarterback, play against his Colts replacement, Andrew Luck.
The sea of blue showed that the audience was primarily Colts supporters, but some were found wearing orange Broncos jerseys, which stuck out of the crowd.
But others, like Terre Haute resident Jonathan Wright, wore a half-Colts, half-Broncos jersey.
“In honor of Peyton,” the Colts fan said Sunday.
Wright and his group of seven friends arrived at the stadium in an RV ahead of the game to tailgate. Other groups from Terre Haute — including one group of about 30 people — also joined in the pre-game festivities.
While wearing the half-and-half jersey is a way for Wright to show “a little respect for Peyton,” he did not lose sight of “who we’re cheering for,” he said.
“I’m a Colts fan,” Wright said. “He’s [Manning] one of the best quarterbacks ever, but I’m not going to lose sight of the team I support 100 percent.”
Manning, the NFL’s only four-time MVP, joined the Broncos in 2012 after being released by the Colts, who drafted Luck, the team’s current quarterback. The previous season, Manning suffered from a neck injury that caused him to miss the entire 2011 campaign with the Colts.
Manning joined the Colts in 1998 and led the team to a Super Bowl championship.
Because of Manning’s return to Lucas Oil, there was a lot more hype surrounding Sunday night’s game compared to an average home game, said Wright, a season-ticket holder.
“It’s very exciting to see it and just be able to experience it,” he said. “I can’t wait for the game.”
Another Terre Haute fan, Allen Keegan — who went to the game with his friend and fellow firefighter, Ray Mulvihill — could hardly contain his excitement, being at the game.
“I’ve been a Colts fan ever since I was a kid,” Keegan said, who added that his dad and brother may be “upset” because “I’m going to be able to watch Peyton Manning return [live], and they have to sit at home.”
He just couldn’t believe that he was able to go to the much-anticipated game.
“For me to be able to be here to watch him [Manning] play against the team he’s been playing for since he got in the NFL is pretty cool,” he said.
But there is no doubt which team to cheer for.
“I’m going to have to stick with my Colts team,” he said.
Mulvihill and Keegan tailgated with other firefighters from the Terre Haute area present at the pre-game festivities.
“It’s kind of a last-minute deal. I didn’t know they were up here,” Mulvihill said.
But to be able to “hang out with people that I know” made the experience much better, Mulvihill added.
Mulvihill, a Manning fan and a loyal Colts fan, said that part of the excitement was watching the game unfold “with your own eyes,” instead of watching it on TV.
“He’s [Manning] always been one of my favorite players. It’s weird seeing him not in Colts blue,” he said.
Mulvihill said the tickets were expensive. He paid $147 for seats in the 600 section, the highest in the stadium.
“Just seeing the tribute for Peyton and just the magnitude of the game will be worth it,” he said.
Although he likes Manning and considers him one of the best players around, “he’s still an opponent,” and Mulvihill wanted the Colts to win, he said.
Mulvihill also thinks highly of Luck.
“It’s a good thing we drafted him. He’s been awesome. He knows how to play the game. It was a good pick up for the Colts,” he said.
Another Terre Haute Colts fan, Troy Jackson, visibly supported Luck.
Jackson, who wore Luck’s No. 12 jersey to the game, said he likes Manning but is rooting for the Colts.
“I wish him the best. I like Peyton. He’s always a great player [and] a great man. It’s hard not to be a fan of someone like him,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tough dynamic. I’m a true Colts fan, and yet I still want to see Peyton succeed,” said Jackson, who has been a Colts fan for more than 15 years.
“But I’m a true Colts fan first,” he confirmed.
He was looking forward to the football experience with his wife, Lana, who was also at the game.
“We just want to take in as much as we can,” Jackson said.
He called the atmosphere “festive” and the weather “football weather.”
And a good opportunity for the fans to thank Manning.
“The way he left … the fans really didn’t get to give him a farewell,” Jackson said.
It was a unique experience.
“I’m so excited. You’ll never be able to experience something like this [again],” Jackson said before the game. “It’s once in a lifetime.”
Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or email@example.com.
Fans juggle Manning’s return, love for Indianapolis Colts
Blue or Orange?
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts take another look at Shakir Bell