By Danny Cox
The Indianapolis Colts just finished their second straight season with an 11-5 record and are in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. In 2011, Peyton Manning suffered an injury so serious that some thought he may never play again. That year, the Colts finished 2-14 and owned the number one pick in the NFL Draft.
A whole lot has happened in the last two years.
When Manning got injured, the fans in Indy collectively gasped and really didn’t exhale for an entire year. They finally took a breath when the Colts released Manning and saw him sign with the Denver Broncos, an AFC opponent.
Earlier in 2012, the Colts had drafted a talented quarterback out of Stanford by the name of Andrew Luck.
Everyone knew he was really good in college, but that has fooled people before. Simply take Ryan Leaf for example. Or maybe look at Charlie Ward, who won the Heisman Trophy in college, and then never even went to the NFL, but had a long career in the NBA instead.
With that, Colts fans were prepared for the rebuilding era to arrive because the Peyton Manning era ended on such a sour note. It is quite amazing how wrong they were.
Sure, the end of Manning’s storied time in Indianapolis wasn’t ideal, but now he is successful with the Denver Broncos. No-one wanted to see him go down in flames or do poorly for the rest of his career. Football fans around the world were simply hoping he’d heal enough to play again at all.
Luck came in, led the Colts to an 11-5 record during his rookie season, and got them into the Wild Card round of the playoffs. They would eventually lose to the future Super Bowl champion Baltimore Colts, but you’ve got to admit that was an impressive season by the rookie quarterback.
Some may say it was beginner’s luck.
Well, that’s where the 2013 season comes in and Andrew Luck has shown that his rookie season wasn’t a fluke. The Colts finished the year at 11-5 for a second consecutive season and they won the AFC South title.
Now, they’re back in the Wild Card round of the playoffs and going up against a very strong Kansas City Chiefs team that can hold their own with anyone in the NFL. But, Luck had an even better second NFL season and he is ready for whatever may come his way.
About a week ago, the Colts demolished the Chiefs 23-7, but that holds no ground for this playoff match-up. The Colts are not going to take the Chiefs lightly and they intend on putting everything on the line and getting past Kansas City into the divisional round.
Andrew Luck is focused on the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Colts defense are focused on stopping Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ offense.
The Colts coaching staff is thinking about new ways to surprise the Chiefs and not show them the same things they did a week ago.
Indianapolis’ fans are thinking about how loud they can possibly be to help their team.
No-one is thinking, “I wish Peyton Manning were still here.”
For more Colts news and updates, visit Colts Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.