Yesterday, in the Sunday edition of The Indianapolis Star, Bob Kravitz put forth his early predictions for who the participants will be in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in February 2012. These types of exercises are always an open invitation for readers to take potshots at the author, but I really have no beef with Kravitz’s picks of the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Aside from the band-wagon nature of those choices, the Pats and Eagles look to be solid, maybe even dominant, teams heading into the season. Kravitz tabbed the Colts as the fifth most likely Super Bowl participant from the AFC, and I do think that’s a tad low, even though the pick is in large part bluster, a typically contrarian Kravitz jab at the locals. Woven throughout the piece, though, and almost stated explicitly in the overview of the Colts’ chances, is the sentiment that we should really be rooting for an East Coast team or a Colts nemesis to represent the AFC in the big game here in Indy, because that would be the best for the local economy. That is, frankly, a load of Colt manure.
Indianapolis is a great city, and Hoosier leaders have done an outstanding job of revitalizing the downtown and completely remaking Naptown’s image over the last two decades, but we are, and will remain, a fairly small market. No amount of success is going to turn us into Chicago or Boston, and no matter how sparkly the Super Bowl turns out to be, Indy won’t be hosting the Olympics anytime soon. Most of us have no interest in living in a BIG city anyway, or we’d be somewhere else. Who CARES about the nuances in the Big Game fan bases that come about from the various potential participants? No matter who plays here, there will be plenty of interest and plenty of money coming into the area.
Besides, what’s more compelling than an aging Peyton Manning playing in a Super Bowl in his own stadium, the one that he made possible? That alone would draw fans from all over the world, both for a visit to Indianapolis and as part of the at-home television audience. Don’t forget, either, that the AFC is just half of the equation, because there are plenty of interesting storylines that will be available from the NFC participants, as well. How about Vick v. Manning? Or Manning v. Rodgers, as Green Bay tries to go back-to-back? Or a rematch of Brees v. Manning? Or of Bears v. Colts? No matter how you slice it, the Super Bowl in Indianapolis will be the biggest event to ever hit this city, and having the Colts play for the title would make it a true fairy tale.
Enjoy this season for the awesome football that’s about to play out in front of our eyes. Relish the beginning of the home stretch for Peyton Manning, because we aren’t likely to see his kind again for a long time. Revel in the fact that our hometown, Indianapolis, will be hosting the SUPER BOWL in 2012. And, for goodness sake, root with everything you’ve got for the Colts to play all the way to February and make history by snagging the Lombardi Trophy at home. We may never have this chance again.