Who would ever think a punter would become a fan favorite—let alone the Colts punter, who sees more work in kickoff and place-holding duties than he does punting. But sure enough, the young, scraggly haired Pat McAfee has become quite the popular fellow in Indianapolis.
While his play on-field immediately drew fans from his first preseason game, where he boomed a punt over 50 yards, it's been McAfee's tweets that have drawn him even closer to the fans.
McAfee vowed to have a contest on Twitter for two tickets to the Colts preseason game against Washington. He announced a start time when he would tweet his trivia question, but one follower replied saying he'd be watching the Sugarland benefit concert for the victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy. McAfee retweeted that, and moved the start time. He went through on his word, and also said he plans to have a similar contest for every home game this season.
They say numbers don't lie. Well, McAfee has over 24,000 followers on Twitter; the only Colts players with more are Pierre Garcon, with over 50,000 (but Garcon got lots of attention during the Colts Super Bowl run—give Pat Mac some time to catch up) and Dwight Freeney with 25,000.
Though many guys have thousands of followers, what separates McAfee is how he actually replies to fans. He'll open himself up for questions and will respond to everything fans send him for a certain period of time. It makes him real to the fans. It's like he's a guy who would actually talk to you.
He's not afraid to make fun of himself either. Everyone knows McAfee likes to have a good time. If nothing else, you could figure that out from the speedo he dons in his Twitter profile picture. And everyone knows about the time he had a little too much fun and took to the canal after having a few drinks. Now, McAfee is able to look back on the situation with some laughs, as he filmed this video depicting him working out in the canal. What else can you say? He's flat out—plain and simple—a funny dude.
Despite the fact that McAfee has several viral videos of him hitting 75-yard field goals, McAfee remains humble. After going through the Colts Pro Shop, he found his jersey placed directly next to Peyton Manning's and tweeted, "This is the only time we have ever been on the same level... Ever haha."
It's uncensored conversations with his fans, or as he calls them "all my beautiful people," and it's that I'm-silly-enough-to-do-just-about-anything attitude that has earned No. 1 the top spot in fans' hearts.
Nonetheless, a few 75-yard field goals this year certainly couldn't hurt anything either.