After losing to the San Diego Chargers in overtime last night, the Indianapolis Colts' season has come to an end. It is usually around this time of the year that Colts fans can get swallowed up in the disappointment of not advancing in the post season but I instead am shifting my focus to appreciating another amazing season of football.
Anytime you lose (especially in dramatic fashion) it can become very easy to allow the disappointment of the loss to overshadow the brilliance of an entire season.
So I've decided to write this article as a tribute to the 2008 Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts came into the 2008 season with high expectations. This is usually the case as we are often viewed to be a championship contender year after year.
When we began the season by losing to the Chicago Bears in Week One, everyone got worried.
We could tell that our star quarterback was not 100 percent and we Colts fans did not know how to stomach a loss so early in the season.
We have grown quite accustomed to our traditional 13-0, 9-0, or 7-0 starts so losing as early as September was new ground for us.
Things didn't get much easier as we finished with a 3-4 record through the end of October. A time when we usually remained undefeated, we sat smack dab in the middle of the NFL's mediocrity.
I always had faith in my Colts. I knew we were better than our 3-4 record had suggested. Our team was plagued with injuries and we could all tell that Peyton Manning was still not 100 percent.
To make matters worse, we had to get ready to face the New England Patriots on prime time television the following week.
Funny how after the Tennessee game (when Peyton no longer had to do extensive rehab on his knee) that we went from 3-4 to 12-4.
A victory over the Patriots kicked off an amazing nine game winning streak.
The Colts went on to defeat the likes of the Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, and Titans. Always managing to put enough points on the board late in the game to escape with the "W".
During the month of December, Peyton Manning completed over 81 percent of his passes. That is a higher completion percentage than any quarterback has had in any month in NFL history!
During the course of the winning-streak, Manning threw 17 touchdowns to only three interceptions. The efforts of Manning to lead us back from 21, 17, and 14 points behind helped earn him league MVP honors.
During the 2008 season, the Colts managed to come through with seven fourth quarter comebacks and a season that could have easily been 4-12 became 12-4.
Over the course of the season, the Colts set so many milestones that it is impossible to not recognize them.
1. We became the only team in NFL history to win 12 games or more in six consecutive seasons.
2. Peyton Manning became the only quarterback in NFL history to win ten games or more in seven consecutive seasons.
3. Tony Dungy became the only coach in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in ten consecutive seasons (seven with Indianapolis).
4. The Colts seventh consecutive post season appearance is the longest current streak in the NFL.
5. Peyton Manning was selected to the ninth Pro Bowl of his 11 year career (also his seventh consecutive).
6. Reggie Wayne was selected to his third Pro Bowl in a row.
7. Dwight Freeney was selected to the fourth Pro Bowl of his career.
8. Robert Mathis was selected to his first ever Pro Bowl.
9. Marvin Harrison became the league's second All-Time leading receiver with a total of 1,102 career receptions.
10. Peyton Manning eclipsed the 4,000 yard passing mark for the ninth time in his career, further extending his ever-growing NFL record.
So as you can see, there has been plenty to be happy about this season. The Colts played a great year of football and I'm very excited to see what is to come next year.
Thank you Colts, thank you.