Some people are fans of the Indianapolis Colts. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Indianapolis Colts. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Indianapolis Colts.
Your 2021 record: 9-8. At Christmastime last year, The Colts were one of the hottest teams in football. They were 9-6 after having gone 6-1 in their prior seven games, including a 26-point win against the Bills in Buffalo. They had a 98 percent chance to make the playoffs, and a less quantifiable but no less realistic shot at scaring the piss out of the eventual AFC field. They had the best rushing attack in the league. They had burgeoning superstars littering their front seven. All the Colts had to do was win one of their final two games, both of which were against teams that had already fired their respective head coaches. Here’s how the first of those two games went:
Tough loss, but I can’t rip you for getting edged out by a Raiders club that would themselves go on to make the playoffs. And besides, the Colts could still salvage their playoff hopes in the final game by beating a Jacksonville team that was wrapping up one of the most disgraceful seasons in league history. A fucking layup of a game. Purdue could have won this game. Any team could have won this game. The Colts did not.
This organization is lucky that “28-3” is the preferred score meme of the greater football internet, because lord knows that “26-11” could otherwise make an earnest run for the crown. The Colts put up a whopping 238 yards of offense against Jacksonville on that day. They turned the ball over twice. They missed three fourth-down conversions. The game was over by the third quarter. Afterward, everyone in the organization reacted as if they had just lost their parents to a car bombing.
“How do we expect to win or want to get in if we can’t even beat the team we were supposed to beat?”
“Never expected to be sitting here at this moment right now, not like this”
“It’s a bad feeling”
Speak for yourselves, my friends, because I thought it was hilarious. Without that loss, I wouldn’t have gotten to watch this:
Why does every rich guy think they can be heard clearly when they’re standing next to a running jet engine? Also that jacket and those pants don’t match whatsoever. Horrible fit. You know you fucked up as a team when your freakshow owner chews out his braintrust after a late-season collapse and all parties involved are like, Yeah we kind of deserved that.
But the Colts’ braintrust absolutely did. They’re the ones who presided over a team that missed the playoffs despite finishing the season with a +86 net point differential (good for seventh-best in the NFL). They’re the ones whose team opened the season with three straight losses, and gave up 442 yards passing to Lamar Jackson, and got swept by the Titans, and couldn’t convince their offensive line to get vaccinated, and lost to Tom Brady for the 87,000th time in franchise history. Worst of all, they’re the ones who ponied up a first and third for the privilege of watching this hayseed bury their title hopes under his gun shed:
That’s Carson Wentz, who spent all of 2021 cementing his place as the most widely despised quarterback in football. From Zak Keefer at The Athletic:
Over the course of the year, some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year… The fact that the Colts were willing to move on from him without a viable Plan B in place — not to mention a thin free-agent class and no first-round draft choice — is especially telling.
Almost as telling as this!
The quarterback, who learned he was on shaky ground with the organization over the last month, reached out to Irsay in hopes of setting up a meeting to “clear the air,” a source said. Irsay declined the meeting because he was out of town.
Jim Irsay is the kind of a lonely old man who will hold up a supermarket line for 20 minutes making small talk about Boz Scaggs with the clerk. And yet, when presented with a chance to yak it up with Carson Wentz, even he was like EW OH MY GOD NO. The average American, Irsay included, would rather have a beer with the corpse of Osama bin Laden than with Carson Wentz. At least dead bin Laden wouldn’t give you COVID-19.
Watching Wentz play football was somehow an even more unappealing proposition. In their second loss to the Titans, Wentz threw a pick on his own side of the field twice at the end of the game. He was responsible for those two turnovers in that fateful loss to the Jags. He cost Indy a conditional second rounder because he didn’t have the common courtesy to suffer his usual nagging injury. And he looks like a fart. Horrible player and even worse person. Whose bright idea was it to trade for this pile of shit?
Your coach: Ah yes.
That’s Frank Reich, who lobbied for the Colts to bring in Wentz, presumably because he believed that he alone could fix what was wrong that snapped table leg of a QB. Reich was wrong. No pun intended, although it felt good to type that last sentence for some reason. The Dad Joke generator inside of me is clapping like a seal over it.
Anyway, to the credit of Reich and to the entire Colts’ operation, right after the Jags loss they said Fuck this asshole and traded Wentz (and his entire salary!) to the only team stupid enough to make them an offer: Washington. But that trade still left the Colts without a viable QB for a roster that is, at every other position, ready to win immediately. What other quarterback out there would not only be available, but would come with a big red placard that says PANIC TRADE affixed to the front of his jersey?
Your quarterback: Did I mention 28-3?
This will be the third straight season in which the Colts attempt to win a Super Bowl by using Other People’s Quarterbacks. This is because history has proven that their own QBs are not safe playing for them.
The problem is that Matt Ryan is a dead end. He posted the worst QBR of his career just a season ago. The Falcons openly tried to convince Deshaun Watson to replace him and didn’t care if that made him angry. OH NOES MATT RYAN IS MAD AT US! HE MIGHT TRY TO BEHEAD US USING A MACH 3 RAZOR! WHATEVER WILL WE DO? When the Falcons sent Ryan packing to Indy, not a single Atlantan was sad about it. Not even the white ones. To this day, “Matty Ice” remains one of most amusingly unearned sobriquets in NFL history. It’s like nicknaming Carson Wentz “Professor Clutch.” Can the Colts do with Ryan what the Rams did with Matthew Stafford a season ago? I think we all know the answer. Fitting that the same dudes who thought Wentz was the fabled missing piece do not.
Your backup is Nick Foles, who has now absorbed the soul of Ryan Fitzpatrick into his body.
What’s new that sucks: It’s never a good thing when you remodel your roster at the demand of an owner who has all the impulse control of a fucking puppy, but orders are orders, and Jim Irsay has made those orders clear:
“I promise you one thing: anyone walking into the 56th Street complex this year will be walking in with all chips in, period.”
He then punctuated that order by wriggling his whammy bar back and forth right in front of his amp stack WROWWWW WROWWWW! After that, GM Chris Ballard traded corner Rock Ya-Sin to the Raiders for Yannick Ngakoue, the best pass rusher no team ever wants. Ngakoue is good for double-digit sacks every year; he just has to abdicate all of his other on-field duties to amass them. To replace Ya-Sin, the Colts gave a “we’ll see” deal to former DPOY Stephon Gilmore, who himself was traded by the Patriots just last year. When Bill Belichick doesn’t think you’re worth the money anymore, he’s rarely mistaken.
Jack Doyle retired. Ty Hilton is on the street now. Matt Pryor is the new left tackle and will probably make Colts fans blind with anger at least four times a game. Their best defensive player had back surgery in June. Once you’ve had one back surgery as an NFL player, back surgeries become a lifelong habit.
What has always sucked: I know he’s an easy target, but what do you expect me to do with Jim Irsay when he loves to spend every offseason painting a bullseye on his own dick? Ignore it? I’m not that strong.
It gets better. Irsay, a guy who has many bulging veins and can find good use for all of them, spent this past calendar year staging a tour for his rock collectibles, because who wouldn’t pay good money to go stare at a bunch of shit that you could find in any still-open Hard Rock Cafe? Irsay’ll even sing for you!
Jim Irsay puffed on an American Spirit cigarette onstage and belted out covers of Neil Young and the Rolling Stones — and it was actually much cooler than it sounds.
I’ll take your word for that, New York Post. Kinda shocked the byline didn’t say “Dave McKenna” for this one. I would rather drink a beer with Carson Wentz than watch Jim Irsay drag poor Ann Wilson, Buddy Guy, and Mike Mills out on stage with him to live out his shittiest daydreams from when he was 14.
Jonathan Taylor is overused and will fall apart sooner rather than later. I still hate Dallas Clark.
Ratto says: Has enough time really passed that a documentary about Andrew Luck is considered top grade historical sporting entertainment? Apparently so, because Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan will make nostalgics out of nearly anyone. Once Ryan’s contract is up, the Rivers documentary, Yeah, My Face Does All These Different Things, will debut on the Rampant Family Channel.
Jim Irsay is big on collectibles, which means that by rights he should be nine years old.
What might not suck: Darius Leonard announced this offseason that he’d like to be called by his middle name of Shaquille. Call him Charo for all I care, he’s still a beast. COOCHIE COOCHIE!
HEAR IT FROM COLTS FANS!
It seems that after killing Andrew Luck, the Colts decided to make “where white QBs go to die” their whole brand.
Watching Jim Irsay mercilessly and continually degrade Carson Wentz’s football abilities—along with his intelligence and leadership skills—throughout the offseason has been the high point of Colts fandom of the past five years. The low point? The rest of the past five years.
The Colts haven’t beaten Jacksonville in Jacksonville since 2014.
A team that was one win away from the playoffs last year couldn’t finish the job against the then 2-14 Jaguars team that started the season with maybe the worst head coach in NFL history. They didn’t even come close to beating them.
I did not watch the last game of the season. I didn’t need to watch it, because I knew what was going to happen. So instead, I insulated a rabbit hutch for my daughter’s 4H project bunnies.
The best player on the team is a guard.
I support the Colts because, growing up in the UK, I thought that the city of Indianapolis sounded exotic. I had no idea what Indianapolis looked like. Took me five years to Google it and fuck me. I’ve seen pictures of post-Blitz London Blitz that had more charm than that place.
We lost the most important game of the season to fucking Clowntown. Fuck Ryan Grigson with the pointy end of every guitar in the Jim Irsay Collection. And fuck Hank Baskett.
I live around Philly. The last time my Colts were in town I snatched up some tickets, put on my waste-of-money Luck jersey, and steeled myself for the home fans’ inevitable verbal and physical abuse. Walking to the Linc, nobody seemed to really care enough to say anything. I settled into my seat, had some pleasant conversations, and at the end of a forgettable Colts loss, all the drunk Eagles fans shook my hand.
My boring-ass team turned Philly into Augusta National.
After Marmalard retired, a friend of mine mentioned that the Colts should go get Wentz so that they could have a talented QB, and not waste the championship window their defense could give them. My friend is a diehard Broncos fan, if that gives you any context.
This is the price for wasting Peyton Manning’s prime and destroying Andrew Luck’s soul. This team cannot be trusted with generational talent at QB and God would be wise to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I look forward to future years with Baker Mayfield, Kirk Cousins, Jarred Goff, Zach Wilson and the like. The Colts deserve this.
Wentz’s skill set perfectly matched Indiana’s political climate.
All that said, I now have some begrudging admiration for Carson: while he’s still an antivax, theocratic dumdum, he’s no Aaron Rodgers. He shut the fuck up, wore his mask, obeyed the rules, and finally earned the opportunity to fail purely on his deficits as a football player rather than his deficits as a human being.
Fuck Pat McAfee.
The Colts are a lackluster, uninspiring franchise that fits a lackluster, uninspiring city. More people attend the Indiana State Fair (830,000 in 2021) each year than will waddle into Lucas Oil Field to pay for our owner’s opioids and bedazzled jeans, and to watch a washed-up QB underthrow TY Hilton 15 times a game before losing to the Jags 13-3. All of these people are coming from outside of I-465 in terrible exurbs like Carmel and Noblesville.
Rodrigo Blankenship is the most interesting part of our team. Stop by the White Castle a block from the stadium and you’ll see Manning and McAfee jerseys, 3XL and up, grabbing a crave case after the game. There’s nothing right around Lucas Oil. Across the street is a steel supplier and an auto parts store.
All Colts fans still view the Patriots as their rivals because of Brady and Manning, even though that rival has clearly and decisively been won for a long time now.
Khari Willis retired after three seasons of playing for this moribund franchise, because ruining an entire career path for their players is kind of what they do now.
Fuck the Colts, fuck Jim Irsay, superfuck Mitch Daniels, and ultra-fuck Dan Dakich.
After Carson Wentz went down in the Rams game, I managed to talk myself into Jacob Eason for precisely five minutes. Jalen Ramsey giggled at him on his first NFL snap, and then picked him off with a toe-tapping catch on his second.
After Watson went to Cleveland, I was disappointed that he didn’t come to Indy, and that I was disappointed that I was disappointed about it.
After pissing away an easy win at home against Vegas, my Raiders fan buddy told me there’s no way we can recover from this to beat the Jags. I responded, “If we can’t beat the worst team in the NFL to make the playoffs, I will burn a jersey of your choosing.”
In March, we gathered around a fire pit as I eulogized Bob Sanders while my friends chanted, “His name was Robert Sanders.” We’ll lose our eighth straight road Jags game this year.
Fuck Carson Wentz with a spike protein.
I became a Colts fan because my best friend would hog our shared TV every Sunday in university to watch the game. This was the start of the Luck era, and I had a great time learning about the sport and the team by watching it with him.
Seven years later, I texted that same friend after the Jacksonville game that it was all his fault that I became a fan. He said that it wasn’t his fault because he only supplied the product, and that if I got addicted to it that was entirely on me. So if he happens to read this: Fuck you, Louis, for making me a fan of this godforsaken team.
Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: Los Angeles Chargers.