At this time last year, everyone started giving the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl expectations. Now, one year and a brutal 8-8 season later, the Colts is flying under the radar, and they are fine with that.
After their disappointing 2015 season, the Colts entered the 2016 offseason out of the media spotlight for the most part. The only reason why people are watching the Colts is because quarterback Andrew Luck is set to make a lot of money soon. Other than that storyline, the national media has been rather uninterested in the Colts.
Flying under the radar is something relatively new for the Colts given their history over the past decade. Since NFL realignment in 2002, the Colts have won the AFC South nine times and finished with a record below .500 once. As a result, they always entered seasons with high expectations. This year is a completely different story.
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This offseason, the Indianapolis Colts have heard all the negatives about their team. They have heard people say they are too old, they have an unproven offensive line, and they miss the playoff again.
At the same time, they have been told the AFC South has gotten better than them. Their division rivals all made big free agent and draft moves this offseason, while the Colts only made a few moves. The Colts have heard it all, but they seem ready to relish the underdog role.
"“I love it. Just me personally, I’ve always played the underdog role. Right now, it looks like the Colts are the underdog, no one is talking about us and that’s a good thing. There’s no pressure. We aren’t worrying about what anyone else is saying, we just to have handle what we have to handle and our goal is to end up in Houston.”"
The Indianapolis Colts have entered a season as an underdog once before. After a terrible 2-14 season in 2011, people had low expectations for them entering the 2012 season. The Colts ended up surprising people by making the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Although this is only one experience, the Colts can draw confidence from it.
In the grand scheme of things, expectations do not mean a whole lot. It is just talk to defensive end Robert Mathis, so he just focuses on his play over investing too much time in outside noise.
“Talking will get you nowhere,” Mathis said. “It’s about what you do on Sundays in September through February.”
The Indianapolis Colts have address a lot of concerns this fall. However, adjusting to being an underdog will not be one. With leaders like Adams and Mathis focusing on their play, it is likely their mindsets are rubbing off on their teammates. The Colts’ journey to exceed expectations continues August 1 when everyone reports to Training Camp at Anderson University.