Colts vs. Patriots Has Been Anything But a Rivalry
By Rob Voigt
Special to Pro Football Guru
Gilbert F. Johnson, Jr. stood 5’0” and a half. He weighed in around a buck and a quarter soaking wet. Both measurements were only met if the chip on his shoulder was included. I first met Gil at the now world-famous Toms River East (NJ) Little League complex. (Thanks, Todd Frazier.)
We both played second base. He was a New York sports’ fan. I was primarily a Philadelphia fan. Our entire lives, we were never on the same team in any organized sport. One could be compelled to say that we had a rivalry. However, simply stating something is a rivalry does not make it so. Gil and I remain close friends 40 years and an 800-mile relocation later.
Earlier this year, Indianapolis Colts’ current general manager Chris Ballard declared “the rivalry is back on.” Ballard made that comment to close out a press conference. The press conference confirming New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels did indeed change his mind on becoming the Colts’ new head coach.
Colts fans loved Ballard’s statement. Some created t-shirts to capitalize on the fan fervor. Does a Colts-Pats rivalry really exist? The Patriots have won the last seven meetings. This does include two playoff games. First was a 43-22 Patriots’ win in the 2013 divisional round that wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest. A 45-7 New England beat down in the '14 AFC title game that should have completely deflated any rivalry talk.
But the Colts decided to raise a banner to celebrate and remember the second loss with their fans. It still hangs from the Lucas Oil Stadium rafters. Colts' fans will cheer any in-game updates of the Patriots losing, even if they are playing a division rival. Colts' fans repeatedly state their “hatred” of the Patriots, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. There must be something to all this rivalry talk.
The records by decade of this “rivalry” (including playoffs):
1970s: Colts won 11, Patriots won 9. Hey, we may have something here…
1980s: Patriots won 13, Colts won 6. Well…
1990s: Patriots won 14, Colts won 6. Umm…
2000s: Patriots won 8, Colts won 6. Maybe…
2010s: Patriots won 7, Colts won 0. Not.
The 2000s Colts teams were the only ones to have a rivalry with the Patriots. Even then it took five wins in six games from 2005-09 for the Colts to make the record respectable. The great Peyton Manning had quarterbacked the Colts to 10 losses in 12 meetings prior to that.
I know Colts’ fans will not like this, but there is no Colts/Patriots rivalry. Any resemblance of a rivalry was released along with Manning. It is time to move on. It is okay to be jealous of the Patriots’ accomplishments under Belichick with Brady at quarterback.
It is okay for the Colts and their fans to want to have a “rivalry” with THE dominant AFC team.
A rivalry, however, cannot be declared here…
It just can’t.
Rob Voigt is a freelance football writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ColtsFnSnceBert.