INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s be honest, the Colts haven’t come close to doing their part in holding up the ‘rivalry’ with the Patriots.
The Colts have lost 8 straight games to the Patriots, with their last win coming 12 years ago (in the ‘4th-and-2’ game in 2009).
Venom for the Patriots is still alive and well in Indianapolis.
How Josh McDaniels treated Chris Ballard and the Colts back in January 2018 made sure to keep the hatred for the NFL franchise in New England simmering.
On the field though, it couldn’t be further from a rivalry. And those in New England aren’t circling this game on the schedule like Colts fans are.
In this drought against the Brady/Patriots, the Colts have given up the following points: 38, 34, 45, 42, 43, 59, 31, 31.
They’ve lost by more than 30 points in 2 of those games, by 20 points in 2 others.
For a ‘rivalry’ to truly fit such a label, the Colts have to start putting out a more competitive effort.
Saturday will be the first time the Colts have faced the Patriots without Brady since the 2008 season.
But with McDaniels, and especially Bill Belichick, on the visiting sideline this Saturday, the greeting will be anything but ‘Hoosier hospitality’ on Saturday.
Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in NFL history and his presence continues to strike fear in opposing teams.
“He’s earned the reputation for being able to take away what you do best,” Frank Reich says about Belichick. “He’s done that for a lot of years. He’s very good at – each game plan is specifically designed for what the team does. He has the flexibility to use his players and his schemes in order to take away what you do best. That’s how he’s made the reputation for being one of the greatest coaches of all time.
“I think we all are trying to do it, but we’re just all not as good as Bill Belichick. I think he’s the best ever or one of the best ever in fairness to some other really great coaches. He’s one of the best ever doing that. He’s got a great football mind. He’s done a great job of getting his guys ready. I think we all aspire to get our teams ready in that way. It’s a combination of doing what you do and then it’s also a combination of understanding what your opponent is trying to do, and making those two sync up together.”
Not thanks to the opponent, nor what the AFC standings look like right now for the Colts (7-6, 6th place in the AFC), when combining fandom towards an opponent and magnitude of the game itself, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that Saturday is the most anticipated regular season game at Lucas Oil Stadium in more than a decade.
If you were to throw the records out the window, Reich knows that this one means a little bit more to the thousands inside of Lucas Oil on Saturday.
“There’s no doubt you feel that,” Reich says about Colts’ fans hatred for the Patriots. “Obviously, I don’t get out a whole lot in the community, especially in the season when fans are most passionate about it. But having been here before as an assistant coach you really feel how important that is to this organization and to our fans that the history of this rivalry with New England is real, it’s palpable.
“I don’t want our players to get too caught up in the past, (but) I do want them to understand that it is a big deal here.”