Next season could be amazing.
Indianapolis Colts fans can legitimately utter that declaration today. Last spring, not even the most optimistic Indy backers could have imagined their 2012 NFL season would produce hopes of an AFC South Division title, a Super Bowl berth, or — dare we suggest it — another Lombardi Trophy in the coming 2013 campaign. Such aspirations are now quite valid.
For those needing reminders of the adversities overcome by the Colts in the past 10 months, we’ll briefly recap the high points.
n The club chose to release Peyton Manning, the franchise cornerstone and maybe the best NFL quarterback ever, rather than pay a $28 million signing bonus to a 36-year-old healing from a career-threatening neck injury. (Manning, of course, recovered superbly and has led the Denver Broncos to the top seed in the conference playoffs, but that is now beside the point for the Colts.)
n The Colts also turned loose numerous well-known, standout veterans, and unloaded front-office mastermind Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell following a disastrous 2-14 season in 2011.
n After retooling virtually the entire operation, from the offensive and defensive lineups to the coaching staff, the Colts lost their new head coach — Chuck Pagano — less than a month into the 2012 season. Diagnosed with leukemia, the 52-year-old Pagano was hospitalized and began rigorous treatments to save his life. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians stepped in as interim head coach.
Any one of those obstacles would be burdensome enough to unravel the toughest of teams. After all, just one season earlier, the loss of Manning to his neck injury turned Indianapolis from a Super Bowl threat into the least effective team in the league. And yet, the “renovated” 2012 Colts, as Pagano always put it, found success and played with inspiration. They finished the regular season with a sterling 11-5 record. When Indy lost at Baltimore in the AFC playoffs on Sunday, 28 of the 53 players on their active roster had never played a postseason NFL game, and 14 were rookies, including Manning’s replacement, Andrew Luck. With his treatments completed just weeks earlier, Pagano was back on the sidelines Sunday, pushing to the brink his doctors’ orders to take it easy, and strengthening the spirits of millions of Americans who’ve admired his courage.
More personnel changes will come in the offseason. The loss to the Ravens revealed some shortcomings, as Baltimore pass rushers swarmed Luck all afternoon, and the Indianapolis defense got stung by several big-yardage pass plays. Still, the core is solid.
Pagano painted the picture this way …
“The foundation is set, and we said we were going to build one on rock and not on sand,” he said. “You weather storms like this and you learn from times like this. This disappointment and the feelings they all have right now, that’s what’s going to propel us to 2013 and motivate us to come back and work even harder.”
We agree. Well done, coaches Pagano and Arians, staff and players.
Colts provide a real Hoosier inspiration
Next season could be amazing.
EDITORIAL: Renewing a local library commitment
The patient, persistent entreaties from library fans in West Terre Haute have paid off.
MS TAKES: We’re not only ones ready for springtime
During the most recent of our numerous descents into polar temperatures, I was astounded to see a dozen or more robins up to their ankles in snow. They were fluffed out to about twice their normal size. I suppose that was an effort to provide a bit of feathered insulation against the cold.
Readers’ Forum: March 11, 2014
• Meat-free path to the fountain of youth
• Faulty point?
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts on cool days (Part I of III)
Something good’s brewing
Y we can’t take it for granted
FLASHPOINT: Where Congress falls short, and where it doesn’t
At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.
READERS' FORUM: March 10, 2014
• Our government’s heart and soul
• A plea for more give and take
MARK BENNETT: New public-access point begins quest to create more spots to experience river
Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
EDITORIAL: Ads on the sides of school buses? What have we come to?
Ads on the sides of school buses do not constitute a sign of the apocalypse. Western civilization will survive.
Flashpoint: President should stop Medicare Advantage cuts
Virtually all elected officials — Republicans and Democrats — share the goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance and helping families receive the best coverage to meet their specific needs.
Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014
Mardi Gras great event for Swope
EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar
Please pray for Ukraine innocents
Sinful thinking on road to hell
Liberty — or licentiousness
People will not always agree
Botched chance at leadership
RONN MOTT: Radio now a long lost love
I fell in love with radio when I was 16, just a few short weeks before my 17th birthday. The man who did the deed and hired me was Adlai Ferguson.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Welcome to girls teams, fans
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
EDITORIAL: What do Sony cutbacks mean?
It is easy to understand why shivers run down local people’s spines whenever rumors hit the streets about Sony DADC’s plant on Terre Haute’s east side. With more than 1,400 people currently employed in Sony’s production and distribution facilities, the community has grown somewhat dependent on the economic stability Sony provides.
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
RONN MOTT: Knicks
The big noise in the NBA is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay with the New York Knicks or go elsewhere.
If my memory serves, and it doesn’t always, Carmelo left the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him, to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple. It was loudly proclaimed at the time that Carmelo wanted to play for a championship team. The Knicks’ ownership bought a bunch of players and spent a whole bunch of money to aid Carmelo in helping the Knicks to get to a championship.
EDITORIAL: More ill will against gays
If you’re a feral cat wandering freely through a trailer park in Indiana, the General Assembly has taken action to make your life better.
Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014
Utilities do need tighter regulation
Great work by TV sports staff
Editorial: A good place for persistence
The topic of Gov. Mike Pence’s effectiveness as the state’s top governmental leader during this year’s General Assembly will be hashed and rehashed after the session closes down in the next couple of weeks. At best, the first-term governor will get mixed marks.
- Readers’ Forum: March 5, 2014
RONN MOTT: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington
I remember when by edict the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were lumped into a single celebration called “Presidents Day.” I thought it was stupid then, and I still do.
LIZ CIANCONE: Antiques show better than any modern programs
I’m not a big fan of television.
Readers’ Forum: March 4, 2014
Lunatic ravings of the far right
Let IRS take the bullying pledge
EDITORIAL: New attention on sex assaults
Youth sexual assault in Indiana is a troubling issue that has not received the attention it deserves.
KELLY HAWES: It’s time to take politics out of redistricting
A bill to form a bipartisan redistricting commission apparently died in the Indiana Senate last week.
Readers’ Forum: March 3, 2014
Social workers honor profession
FLASHPOINT: Restoring trust, respect in schools rests in fundamentals
A recent Harris poll of 2,250 adults reveals a troubling educational trend.
EDITORIAL: Voters don’t have to stand for entrenched partisanship
Realistic Hoosiers understand members of Congress will typically follow their political party line.
MARK BENNETT: People spaces
Demolition machinery chipped away at the buildings on the 500 block of Wabash Avenue. I stood and watched awhile, last week. By July 2015, a new $18.7-million structure will replace those relics.
THOMAS L. STEIGER: Creativity requires freedom from the risks of failure
Last week I wrote about the themes that emerged from the panel discussion by five Wabash Valley members of the “creative class.”
Flashpoint: Everyone would benefit from responsibly expanding health coverage for Hoosiers
A medical epidemic is one of the worst scenarios a hospital can face — when a significant portion of the population is suddenly struck with a life-threatening illness.
- More Opinion Headlines
- EDITORIAL: Renewing a local library commitment