Faking Your Way Through The Colts’ Pandemic Season

In case you forgot what month this is—or forgot that football still exists—the Colts kick off their 2020-21 season this Sunday in Jacksonville. In the Before Times, this was cause for great excitement. We would stand around the office water cooler discussing the upcoming schedule, or which rookies we thought showed promise, or that time Chuck Pagano ran a fake punt that had a negative-LOL% chance of success, the one where he started a group of stray Labradoodles on the offensive line. That never got old.  

But that was then. This is now. The office is your cluttered dining room table at home, the water cooler is a pile of face masks and homework assignments, and time has proven to be a lousy construct of the human mind. It is March 219th in America today. The humid, muggy angst of summer is almost behind us, and the refreshingly crisp autumn dread is on its way. Just because our hearts and minds are filled with near-constant anxiety and sleep deprivation, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be up-to-speed on the Colts’ new nickel package. And just because a worrisome percentage of this country has seemingly joined a science-denying death cult doesn’t mean we should deny ourselves familiarity with the team’s depth at right tackle. Life goes on … sort of. But only until, like, the middle of November or so. Then we’re back in Shutdownville. Or we’ll all be dead.  

So get off that parent-teacher Zoom meeting where you’re explaining how your kid is getting dumber and more socially repressed BY THE MINUTE, and get on a Zoom cocktail hour with your friends where everyone is pretending to care about normal stuff, like the Colts! The Dadball Era is here to fill you in on the basics for when that happens, lest you appear foolish and/or not a #HorseshoeGuy (or, you know, a girl #HorseshoeGuy). Don’t worry: The horrendous racial injustice and wretched economy will still be here when you get back. 

A NEW QUARTERBACK FOR THE COLTS. This offseason the Colts signed the nearly 70-year-old Dan Fouts, who was understandably a free agent—although he goes by Philip Rivers now, and he has nine children. He throws weird. By “weird” I mean “downfield,” which Jacoby Brissett never did. So that’ll be fun! In fact, it may briefly numb the rage of America having more coronavirus deaths than Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, and the rest of the European Union COMBINED, despite them having 118 million more people than we do. Go, Philip, go!   

OTHER NEW PLAYERS. The Colts acquired defensive lineman/human cement truck DeForest Buckner in a trade with the 49ers earlier this year. A trade, like how we recently learned that Russia trades money to Taliban-linked militants in exchange for dead United States soldiers, but less murder-y. Local football-knowers say that Buckner rules. There are other new veterans as well, I’m guessing. But we are all too tired to care. So, so tired.

PRESEASON RECORD. There were no preseason games this year! They went the way of Old Pro’s Table, Brugge, North End BBQ, Black Market, Rook, and the many other beloved restaurants, bars, and small businesses which perished in recent months, leaving large swaths of people unemployed. Nobody loved the preseason, though. Good riddance!

THE ROOKIES. All eyes will be on WR Michael Pittman, Jr. and RB Jonathan Taylor, both of whom the Colts drafted in the second round. Pittman Jr. in particular is just what the Colts need: a supersized burner at receiver, not unlike our sixth “once in a generation” wildfire since last year currently torching California. That is probably a coincidence, I hope, and clearly all the more reason to keep doing what we’re doing environmentally. Taylor, meanwhile, should complement Marlon Mack nicely.

IS ADAM VINATIERI STILL HERE? Nope! He’s gone. Vinatieri arrived in 1775 during the Second Continental Congress and became a beloved and mostly reliable institution, before earlier this year having his parts disassembled and left in the parking lot to rot in the sun and just kidding, that was the United States Postal Service (amid an election year and deadly pandemic). Nothing to see here! Anyway, Vinatieri was cut too. A new kicking era begins Sunday with Rodrigo Blankenship, who is a rookie, apparently. Whatever. He looks like the lead singer of Weezer.

BREAKOUT PLAYER. WOW your friends with this little Colts prediction: second-year defensive player Rock Ya-Sin is about to become the new Bob Sanders—assuming, of course, that Bob Sanders had a neck and never got hurt. He’s THAT good, I’m told; a cult hero in the making. But can he become an unexpected cult hero like that evil sack of mayonnaise who casually waltzed into a Wisconsin protest with an assault rifle and killed two people, then drove home untouched? MAYBE! He needs to improve his footwork, though.

And there you have it. You’re somewhat caught up on the 2020 Colts. We may not have an NFL season beyond Week 10, nor a functioning democracy. But we never thought we’d be invaded by armies of “murder hornets,” either. Anything (bad) is possible these days! So we’ll just keep banging that anvil until the season or our republic ends, whichever comes first. #ForTheShoe