The Game

Lacey and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the AFC Championship Game between the Colts and the Jets yesterday.  Here is our story.

I’ve been to a decent amount of Colts’ games over the years.  When you have as many family connections to a sports team as I do, that is bound to happen.  It definitely helps matters when you have possibly the greatest QB in NFL history, and a decade of success like we’ve had.  The Colts have been the definition of excellence year in and year out the past decade, and it has been incredible watching them, through thick and thin.  Unfortunately, though, it seemed as though Lacey and I were cursed whenever we would attend a live game.  Last year, we saw a game against Jacksonville where we had a lead and lost on a last-second field goal.  Several pre-season games I have gone to have all ended in defeat.  And then the game against the Patriots this year happened.  It looked like the curse was going to continue, but cue Manning taking over in the fourth quarter, and we win in one of the most incredible come-backs in NFL history.  That seemed to reverse things.  It was most definitely the Greatest Game I’ve ever witnessed in my life.  I can’t remember going as crazy as I went that Sunday night, and I can’t ever remember that many people in an absolute manic state.  But yesterday was close…

The day started out wonderfully at church.  It was a great worship service and an excellent sermon.  After church, we rushed to Sheridan to drop off the kids, change, and head downtown for the game.  I drove with Lacey, Jessica, Damien and Joel.  We were going to meet my Aunt, and her daughter and son at the stadium.  We got a quick bite to eat on the way, and quickly found parking downtown in plenty of time.  We had bought a bottle of the really good Patron Tequila, and in the parking lot did one of our “traditional” celebratory shots.  So smooth.  Then we headed to a brewery downtown called the Ram, for a more traditional shot in a bar – a Washington Apple.  So yummy.  Finally, we headed to the stadium.  As if on cue, the sun started to peek out of the rain clouds, and gave us a very nice walk.  Once we got there, we headed to our seats and got to see the player introductions and national anthem.  And then it was game time…

I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for a game.  I was confident, but totally freaked out, and literally almost sick.  We were one game from Another Super Bowl!!  Unfortunately for my nerves, the game did not start as planned.  We played worse than we had all year, giving up blown coverages/big plays, not converting touchdowns inside the 10 yard line, blocking poorly, fumbling, you name it.  The doubts started to creep in, and the dozen or so Jets fans sitting behind us were getting even more obnoxious than they already had been.  But finally, in the last two minutes of the first half, Peyton started to take over.  A quick TD drive.  We stop them to begin the second half.  Another TD drive.  Manning was on FIRE, and showed why he deserved his record FOURTH MVP.  Play slowed a little late in the 3rd, but in the early parts of the fourth quarter, after yet ANOTHER crucial defensive stop, we got a game-sealing, beautiful drive, capped off by a TD pass to Lacey’s favorite player (since he’s “so dreamy”, and he signed her jersey), Dallas Clark.  Right then, up 27-17 and having scored 21 unanswered points, I knew it was over.  The last 8 minutes of the fourth quarter were kind of a blur.  More great defense, more critical plays on offense, and just an incredible job on both sides of the ball by our guys.  It was a sight to behold.  And while my voice was basically shot in the first quarter, I was still able to scream my head off.  After the final whistle, the confetti flew, Indy rejoiced, and the party was on…

My Uncle and Aunt, and their 2 kids were able to get on the field with the players to celebrate!!  We watched from the stands while the trophy was handed to Jim Caldwell, Peyton Manning, etc. and they were very gracious winners.  We stayed long past the end of the game, just soaking it in.  It was magnificent.  Will Smith’s “Miami” was blaring from the speakers and people were dancing in their seats.  I’ve never given so many hi-5’s to total strangers in my life.  Once we decided to leave, we weren’t ready to stop partying, so we walked to Buffalo Wild Wings for some great food and adult beverages.  The five of us got there and waited for the rest of our party, while we drank, recounted The Game, and watched the Saints/Vikes.  Once everyone else joined us, we pigged out on wings, celebrated for an hour or so, and finally headed home with our bellies and hearts filled to the brim. 

It was another fantastic day of football, family, and fantastic-ness.  Way to go Colts!  On to another Super Bowl Victory!!!  As a football fan, it certainly doesn’t get any better than this, and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

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