Speed Read: Colts vs. Patriots

Can this weekend’s showdown live up to the hype?

Blimps, Bob Costas, and bloodthirst descend upon the Circle City on October 18, when the Colts host the loathed New England Patriots for the most highly charged sporting event the city has seen since the Super Bowl. Pretty boy Tom Brady served no time for the Deflategate crime, and there’s a sense that justice has not been served—yet.

1. Alone, Colts vs. Patriots on Sunday Night Football would be enough to rile up any fan. But this year has added intrigue, to put it mildly, because the Colts have a score to settle with the Patriots, one that can be addressed on the field, not in the courts. The scandal was especially bitter for New Englanders because WTHR’s own Bob Kravitz broke the news of the investigation. In your face, Belicheat!

2. When Brady’s now-lifted suspension was first announced in May, local ticket brokers raised their prices for the game by more than 25 percent, and some saw demand triple.

3. The only people more disgusted by the bevy of deflated-ball jokes than Brady and his chowdaheads are the Colts players, who just hear a reminder of a 45-7 embarrassment. “For the past six months, Deflategate has just overshadowed everything,” says Colts long-snapper Matt Overton. “We’re sick and tired of hearing about it.” All the more reason, he says, why the Colts need to win: “It’s a game we’ve got circled on our calendars.”

4. An Indy victory would also go a long way toward legitimizing the hype surrounding this rivalry. During the Manning vs. Brady era of the 2000s, the good guys won six of the 14 encounters, one of three in the playoffs. In the 2010s, however, Indy is 0-6 against the Brady Bunch. Um, lucky number seven—right, guys? Karma?

Vardagen Patriots tshirtBefore last year’s  playoff game, Brady trolled Facebook with a Photoshopped image of him riding a colt. Later, Fishers boutique Vardagen hit back with this T-shirt design.

5. Andrew Luck is especially snake-bitten, winless in four outings versus the Pats, twice eliminated from the postseason by them, and outscored a total of 189-73.

6. No matter the score, Indy wins. Chris Gahl, vice president of marketing at Visit Indy, says that as of July, downtown hotel bookings were pacing 10 percent ahead of reservations made the last time the Patriots came to town. All told, Gahl expects that Pats fans will help inflate the local economy by spending “a healthy seven figures” over the weekend.

7. We’ll take Boston greenbacks. But when the hordes of red-white-and-navy jerseys flood downtown streets and businesses, they’ll be awash in a sea of Colts blue. “I know Colts Nation will show up,” says Overton, who just opened The Blockhouse tailgating lounge near the stadium. Like all area business owners, he’s ready for the invasion. “I don’t know if Patriots fans are invited,” he says. “But if a few trickle into The Blockhouse after we win, I’m sure Colts fans will give them a warm welcome.”