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Does Peyton Manning's presence alter your thoughts about the Colts?

At the end of an interview I had earlier this week with Cal Ripken Jr., for a story that will appear on Sunday, I asked the Hall of Famer about his thoughts on the Super Bowl.

Ripken will be in attendance, and as a Baltimore-area native and young professional athlete when the Colts moved away in 1984, I wanted to know who he would be rooting for: After all, Peyton Manning is Ripken’s kind of athlete and he’s been to a Ripken charity event in the past.

But it is the Colts.

Ripken, in perfect Ripken form, laughed and dodged giving a straight answer. Mr. Aberdeen, Mr. Oriole is too smart to bite on that one.

He said he really isn’t sure what he’ll do. He said he had the same thought when he watched the New York Giants and the undefeated New England Patriots play a couple years ago. He was there and was asked all week which team he was rooting for. He said he didn’t know until the Giants got a first down in the fourth quarter and Ripken heard himself say, “Yeah.” That’s when he realized he was rooting for the Giants.

So he figures that moment of realization will come Sunday. Boy, is that guy good.

And I get his point. In a way.

I am a bit torn about Sunday. It’s impossible not to have respect for Peyton Manning; he really is among the best ever. And he’s so gracious when talking about Johnny Unitas, that even the bitterest Baltimore Colts fan has to begrudgingly like the guy. And he had absolutely nothing to do with the Mayflower vans – neither did any of his teammates.

That said, he’s a Colt and we all know that history and that ownership. I realize it has been 25-plus years, but it is tough to completely let go. Listen, I’m no longer 14, I don’t hate Indianapolis anymore. But hatred versus not wanting them to win another Super Bowl are separate things, right?

The good news for the Bitter Baltimorons is that the New Orleans Saints provide a worthy team to cheer for. They have never won it. And that city sure could use the positive vibes. So you can mask your hatred with a soft heart for the Saints.

Several Baltimore-native friends of mine this week have debated what to do on Sunday: Do you root against the best quarterback of a generation simply because of the uniform on his back?

My answer is probably. I can’t wait for yours.

Daily Think Special: Does Peyton Manning’s presence alter your feelings about the Colts?

Comments

I root against the Colts in every way, no ifs ands or butts. All it would have taken was the for Name and colors to be left in Baltimore and I would probably be rooting for Manning. But when you play for Satan's Team you do not get my support, or even well wish. It's all about the laundry on his back and the horseshoe on his helmet, he is the enemy. I wish them nothing but the worst.

Get real!

Did Mike Mussina's move to New York alter my feelings about the Yankees.

No. The Kolts will always leave a bitter taste when mentioned. That's mainly a Irrsay thing. As far as Manning goes, he's one hell of a football player. A real general. He loved and admired our great Johnny U. That rises him above the Kolt thing. He wore high tops in respect of John right after his death. Of course the league fined him. So I wish Peyton well and hold no ill will against such a quality guy, and a player in the mold of the grest Johnny U.

It changes nothing. Peyton seems like a good guy, but I hope he never wins another championship in that uniform. The way that city and organization exploits the names and legacies of the old BALTIMORE Colts greats is shameful. I hope the Saints blow them out.

Is this a trick question? The most irritating thing that has happened with the Colts since they left is that they became a good team, mostly due to Manning. So why should we possibly like him? I wanted them to go 0-16 every year untll forever, and when Manning leaves they very well may.

Additionally, I'm tired of hearing how Jim Irsay is nothing like his father. He is an exact clone of his father, only sober. He could have helped make things up to us in a million ways and chose to do absolutely nothing.

I guess I may be drinking alone in the bar this weekend, but I am rooting for the Colts in this game. My moment of realization came in the AFC championship game when I realized that I hated the Jets more than the Colts. Since Robert Irsay, may he not rest in peace, is rotting in the ground it's easier for me to start to let go of the past. Having our own team now for all these years, and a pretty good one at that, also helps.

And the fact that Peyton recognizes Unitas for his greatness also helps. If Manning was a jerk, then I'd probably dislike him, but I really do like the guy.

Besides, my wife wanted to bet on the Super Bowl so we each had to pick a team. She went with the Who Dats since we had such a fun time in N'awlins last fall, and I went with the Colts. I'll pretend that they still represent Baltimore and the State of Maryland from their roots, rather than Hoosierville.

I have total respect for Peyton Manning and I am truly impressed with his talent. Similarly, while I recognize the talent of a group like Pearl Jam, I don't particularly like that style of music. So while I can appreciate the talent and skill that Peyton has, it does not change my desire to see the Colts lose the AFC championship game every year, never see the Super Bowl and maximize that teams heartbreak.

I hear it said often that we should just get over the Colts move. If we are expected to forget the bad feelings, we will have to let go of all the great memories of the BALTIMORE Colts. Sorry, can't do it! Yes, I respect Manning. There have been Yankees I've respected. I certainly respect Baby Ruth. I still hate the Yankees, and I still hate the Indianapolis Colts.

I grew up on the Eastern Shore and became a huge Colts fan the same time Johnny U joined the Colts. When playing touch football I was always Johnny U and my best freind was Raymond Berry. I lived in Baltimore for a couple of years and had season tickets to the Colts during what I believe was Untias' last year with the Colts. After that year I moved to Tidewater (Redskins country) and while I became a Skins fan the Colts were always my most favorite team.

I hated Robert Irsay and was angered when he took the Colts to Indy. But, I just couldn't stop rooting for the Colts. My affection was greater than the owner and greater than the City they were in. I always felt Johnny U when I watched the Colts. I rooted for them during the many years they were horrible and I've rooted for them these last ten very good years.

Each person has to live his/her life but what I've found in mine is that hatred, anger and resentment hurts the person feeling those feelings much, much more than the person(s) one feels the hatred, anger and resentment toward. I refuse to let those feelings control even a small part of who I am.

I love Baltimore, I am a life long Orioles fan and will never forget the absolute joy of being a Baltimore Colts fan. Indy is an OK city. Jim Irsay is not his father, thank God. Peyton Manning is a worthy succesor to the greatest OB of all time- Johnny Unitas. I'll root hard for the Colts on Sunday but frankly, if they lose to the Saints I won't be too diappointed. After all, it's not like they lost to the Patriots or the Cowboys!

It's time to get over ourselves..espicially the ones collecting in the basement over in brooklyn at 4100 club. Peyton Manning is a class act and has taken away quite a bit of the sting from that fatefull march night in 84. So has Art Modell (and *@#$ you writers who haven't put him the hall where he belongs).By the way the sports illustrated article about Jim Irsay helped a deep healing wound as well. Peytons attempt to pay hommage to the best ever when he passed away on 9/11/02 was a true class act and one that this baltimore colts fan will never forget. I had to face the dilema yesterday when deceiding what t-shirt i would wear for my superbowl party (I live in florida now) I chose one that said colts vs saints with the superbowl logo on it. My In-laws hate the colts cause they are part of that 4100 club hate train. I would like to see the saints win Sunday just because they haven't done it before and yes New orleans needs it but I will say that should peyton be hoisting the vince lombardi trophy Im ok with that to. how about another great superbowl and may the best team win.

Dan Colly

We are Baltimorians. Not baltimorons. We are not morons

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Barkeep's Reply: I am from Baltimore. I can say it. You've gotta know that rule. You are allowed to rip your own heritage.

Believe it or not, Manning only intensifies my dislike for the team from Indy. You can argue whether or not talent-wise he is the best ever, but watching him play drives me absolutely bananas. All the gesturing, pointing, motioning, getting under center, moving back in the shotgun, etc. ad nauseam makes me scream "just hike the ball already!" at the television. It is the most annoying thing in the world to watch. He may have all the talent in the world, but if I never have to see him play another game or see another highlight of him, I'll be a happy camper. If he never wins another game, I'm OK with that, too.

Peyton is a good guy but as I've pontificated in this fine establishment before, I'll stop hating the colts the second they pronounce me dead. Like Peyton, loved Dungy, respect Caldwell but I loathe the city of Indiahapless and former Mayor Hudnuts. And I concur with earlier sentiments....Jimmy Irsay is only a sober version of his old man....although I'm not sure his pill popping days are truly over. Is that enough venom...enough hate?

I still feel pain every time I see the logo.

Frak Peyton Manning. I hope he gets sacked 11 times and loses 4 fumbles.

Peyton Manning is the reason I no longer hate the Colts. If the Ravens aren't playing I root for Manning next. First class all the way!

Barkeep, Manning to some extent alters my opinion of Indy, but not a great deal. I'm probably one of the few native Marylanders who doesn't hate the Mayflower Colts, and here's why.

As a boy I moved with my family to Ohio years before the dreaded midnight betrayal. ( I was born in Owings Millls, so there's another irony.)

I remained a Colts fan in Ohio and while I wasn't happy when Irsay backed up the moving vans, much of the emotional sting was gone because I wasn't one of the fans who now faced and empty Memorial Stadium every fall.

Since I never adopted a new team to wholeheartedly root for and since it would take some time for the Ravens to fill the void in Baltimore, I continued my allegiance to the transplanted Colts, including through some real downer stretches, not unlike what the Orioles have been suffering through.

Peyton Manning is as close to Johnny Unitas (RIP) as anyone playing right now and arguably since Johnny U. hung up his cleats for the last time. I think a case could be made that Unitas brought quarterbacking into the modern era and Manning has perfected those advances.

When Manning won the Johnny Unitas Award while at Tennessee, the old master met him and was impressed with his character; Manning, for his part, held (and still holds) Unitas in very high regard. So much so that when Unitas died, Manning wanted to play in high tops to honor him, but the NFL prohibited it.

I understand why some Colt fans in the Baltimore area are still peeved and I don't blame them, but I do wish they'd reconsider, at least to an extent. Consider, when the Colts win on Sunday it's not just an accomplishment for Indy, but for the Colts' franchise. When Manning breaks all the records, it's a Colt quarterback who will have it. Same blue and white, same horseshoe on the side of the helmet. And he'll one day go into the Hall of Fame as a Colt.

Also, look at how the Colts handle themselves. These aren't a bunch of trash talkers ever trying to "diss" the opponent. They didn't publicly lash out at their coach when he decided to sit starters for the last two games, much as they wanted to go for the perfect record.

This is a very disciplined, professional team that's all about putting team before self, much like the Baltimore Colts in their glory days. They let their play on the field do all their talking for them. Very impressive and refreshing change from all of the arrogant types ( such as, to recall the old Colts' nemesis, big mouth Joe Namath or new Colts' nemesis, Rex Ryan--both Jets, by the way).

And interestingly, the on the field leaders of the old and new Colts also lead by example in this area, because a trait shared by Unitas and Manning is humility. It's always about the team first, and about not them.

But I've saved the clincher for last, a great article, "The legacies of Colts greats Unitas and Manning are intertwined," by Indy Star reporter Phil Richards (see link at the end of this post), not only showing the many similarities between Unitas and Manning, but how Johnny U's teammates, such as the great Gino Marchetti and Unitas' widow Sandy have come around to being Manning and Indy Colt rooters. (Marchetti, in particular, tells how watching Manning play and noticing how very alike Peyton is to Unitas, changed him from being an Indy hater to someone who enjoys watching them.

Peyton is so much like Johnny U that I urge people to give the Colts another chance. Whose the greatest quarterback of all time? For me, it's Unitas and Manning, 1a and 1b. A Connolly's toast to both of them!

Now that the Ravens are done for the season, the Colts are a worthy replacement to root for in the Super Bowl.

http://www.indy.com/posts/the-legacies-of-colts-greats-unitas-and-manning-are-intertwined

Can't cheer for the Colts. I hope they get destroyed.

It was harder for me to be an active Colts' hater when Dungy was the coach. He always struck me as a very classy, decent, and humble man, a rarity for NFL coaches (see, e.g., Brian Billick). With Dungy gone there's no more conflict for me. 1984 will never be forgotten or forgiven. I hope the Saints win by 50.

I had season tickets for a few years when Irshole packed up the Colts and departed. As you say, it's been 25+ years. I say it's only been 25 years and while I realize the Colts are good, I certainly hoped they lost and was happy they did lose. It's a shame the Mayor Shaeffer didn't sue for the rights to name like the Browns did. It's interesting that both teams in Baltimore were called the Browns in their former city.

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