A Final Failure Farewell

AnvilSCHULTZ: Goodbyes are admittedly tough for me. Whether it’s standing in a fellow Midwesterner’s kitchen repeating, “Welp, better be heading out …” for the millionth time or getting swept up in a nationwide layoff as a beloved, middle-market AM radio co-host, I’ve always had trouble with things ending. This Colts season ending, however, isn’t one I should’ve struggled with! Yesterday’s loss to the Texans may have finally closed the casket, but the Colts’ corpse had been lying in that wooden box for over two months. It was actually a fun game to watch (rare for this season) and a good game to lose—as much as behind double digits and losing to a two-win division foe can be considered “good”—because it secured the Colts’ place in the top five of the NFL Draft. However, while saying goodbye to the 2022 Colts is a relief, now we’re left to face where this franchise is right now. And there’s something extremely depressing about that reality.MILLER: Twenty-five years after painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo came back to drop another all-time banger to complete his vision, Vatican-style—this time on the massive wall behind the altar. It’s The Last Judgment, of course, and it ain’t your grandpappy’s 16th-century fresco. It’s a dark, chaotic, goth-metal video depicting some shit going down FOR REAL, with trumpets trumpeting and Charon threatening to oar-bash the heads of the doomed souls he’s ferrying over to Hades. Also, most everyone’s naked and looking to party—or, alternatively, get dragged into the Underworld by grabby serpent warriors. But I digress. The point is this: The Colts have gone all Michelangelo and bookended their season-opening masterpiece of incompetence against the Texans with yesterday’s even darker masterpiece of incompetence against the Texans, and I am just awed by the stunning beauty of it all. I’m taken aback by the sheer size and scope of the grift, its ruthless symmetry over time and space, and also those two 4th-and-forever completions on the final drive. Some projects really do seemed touched by God.To lose that game in that fashion—on that sequence of plays, in that situation, against that team, with that much on the line—is the single most hilariously profound Colts achievement of my lifetime not involving Mayflower trucks that I still can’t believe it happened. That the stupid Texans have to be history’s Sistine Chapel here is unfortunate. They’re the Tuesday-night “Tilted Kilt” of the NFL, a dreadful archaeologic site for future GMs studying the most divinely inspired tank job in sports history. Takes some of the gravitas away.SCHULTZ: Dark is right! Yesterday’s finish was indeed beautiful, at least in a macabre sort of way. Those two 4th-and-long conversions on the final drive, including a jump ball/Hail Mary that inexplicably ended up as a Texans touchdown, especially summed up the Colts’ worst season this century. If you’re going to be bad, be BAD, but I feel like Indy took that to the absolute extreme this season. I think you can root for the best when it comes to your favorite team, and it was unquestionably better for the Colts to tank out this year, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to watch them continually struggle and fail.MILLER: It was easier than watching them continually struggle and win—that would have been entirely unacceptable. That would have been Michelangelo returning after 25 years to airbrush a “Big Johnson” T-shirt scene or whatever on the altar wall, something wildly unconnected to the overall vision. At least the Colts stayed committed to the con. At least they lost magnificently. (“Losing Magnificently” sounds like the title of the 30 for 30 nobody will make about our strange dealings here, these “recaps” nobody ever “asked for” or “reads.” It will not be great television.)SCHULTZ: Fourth pick, here we come! Sadly, this brings us to another goodbye. So long to these Colts’ recaps, at least for the 2022 season. Hell, they’re sure to kick us out of here after three years, aren’t they? If you enjoyed these even 1/50,000th as much as Nate and I have enjoyed writing them, then we’ve done our job(s)! Hopefully, we served as designated “venters” for you, because we vented our asses off through the embarrassment in Jacksonville, another sweep at the hands of Tennessee, and the historic collapse in Minneapolis. There isn’t anything worth remembering about the 2022 Colts, but dammit, we’ll rememberthese recaps* (*as long as there are no negative memory after-effects from Nate chugging antifreeze after Week 2). Let’s hope this team gets a new coach, quarterback, and general manager who can turn this ship around and the owner goes back to handpicking ticket winners on Twitter instead of head coaches. Snarking on a shitty team can be fun, but having lived through and covered the mid-2000s Colts, trust me, the alternative is soooo much better.