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Now that the Manning era is over, I've been pinching myself over how lucky we were to watch this dude every year. And yes, I took it for granted. I think most people probably did. Every year, you went into the season knowing that the Colts would get a bunch of prime time games and national focus. Every year, you knew that you would win the division and at least contend for the championship. Every year, you got to watch this guy carve up a bunch of inferior teams who looked like they didn't belong on the same field at times. Every year, you knew that the star of your team would be in a bunch of goofy commercials that were broadcast for the entire country.
Sure there were some disappointments and I think most fans will always feel that we should have achieved a little bit more. But for that one moment, in early 2007, we were at the top of the sports world. That second half against the Patriots in the AFC championship game was without question the best moment of my entire life as a sports fan and I don't think anything could ever top it. We at least know what it is like to be a fan of an NFL team that won a Super Bowl, and there are a lot of fans who cannot say that.
The horseshoe will always come first to me, but I am definitely going to be watching Peyton closely this year. I wish him all the best and will be rooting for him every game. I hope he plays until he's 40.
I stopped taking it for granted back in '03 or '04, I think it was. The Bucs game where the Colts came back from 21 down with 5 minutes to go after Peyton's pick 6. I didn't get to see it happen because I was angry and turned off the tv to get some sleep. One of the few things in my life that I truly regret. I've never given up on a Manning since.