Indianapolis hands out trophies at the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400, at an NCAA Final Four every few years and at scads of world championships and Olympic trials it hosts. It's a big-time sports town in almost every sense of the word - except, maybe, in the way that counts most.
It is not a titletown.
The Colts haven't won a Super Bowl since they moved to Indy 23 years ago. Haven't even been to the big game, in fact. The last championship to be celebrated by a big-league team inside the city limits came in 1973, when the Pacers won the ABA.
“It's a city with a major inferiority complex,” said Bob Kravitz, sports columnist for The Indianapolis Star. “It's a city that's still looking for an identity, a sports identity. ... We have a really nice identity as hosts. We're very good at handing out other people's championships. Now, the town wants one of its own.”
Once again, Friday will be called “Blue Friday” in Indy, and fans throughout this metro area of about 1.6 million will be wearing Colts colors, hoping a bit of Colts pride might spark Peyton Manning and the home team to their first trip to the big time.
The New England Patriots - with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and those three Super Bowl rings - will provide the perfect foil in Sunday's AFC championship game. In many ways, it had to be them.
For us, they're always the team that's in the way of what we're trying to do,” running back Dominic Rhodes said.