Sports franchises are often the face of the city, which is why it is so important that Indianapolis teams have quality character guys on their teams (memo to the Pacers). A lot of a city’s self-esteem is wrapped up in its sports franchises. We look good on Monday night television, but the Colts need to make it to the Super Bowl.

Do you know what you don’t come to my blog to read? Cogent sports analysis.

Yet here I am, thinking about the Colts and their chances of finally making it to the Promised Land. Do the Colts have a chance to win a Super Bowl this season? Nope, not unless they get some defense. You can make the playoffs with an over-powering offense, but it’s not consistently potent enough to overcome the defense deficiencies come play-off time. Defense wins championships. However, the Super Bowl is the only stage left, big enough, for them. Getting to the Super Bowl certainly matters to Peyton Manning. He needs the big game, not only that, but to play well in that game. Ghosts of Dan Marino will haunt him until he does.

A Super Bowl appearance should certainly matter to Indianapolis. Sports franchises are the public face of a city. It’s one reason why New Orleans is America’s second favorite team right now. We’re rooting for New Orleans vicariously through their team. Some folks make the argument that the teams take on the personalities of the cities, I don’t know if I would go that far. Whether we want them to be or not, they do tend to represent us. They are ambassadors of what we value and how we compete.

This speaks to the importance of having character guys on our teams. Yes, we want to win, but we don’t want to win at all costs. Haywood Hale Broun is noted for saying, “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” While sports should be teaching lessons about stronger teamwork or greater self-discipline, instead we get a “me, me, me” attitude, a culture of accommodation, and win at all costs mentality – all driven by money. Rarely is there anything to be appreciated as a “role model” among the athletes.

We want attention for the right reasons as we try to escape the “what the hell were you doing out at 3 a.m at a strip club anyway?” shadow of the Pacers. The Pacers had a preseason publicity campaign because they knew they were facing a disenfranchised fan base (and worse, possible empty seats). Why? Because we want character guys as well as quality product. So we should appreciate good character guys when we have them, like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, when we see them. Especially when watching them is watching sports history unfold before us as they are among the best of all time.

I’m strictly a casual sports fan. I don’t live and die by a team (or else the Pacers and Colts would have caused me to slit my wrists years ago). We have a good team, an exciting team to watch. Will it be good enough to make it to the Super Bowl? Nope. Though I’d love to be wrong.

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