Colts Kick Off Celebration Of 35 Seasons In Indianapolis

Posted Apr 10, 2018

As the Colts players returned to work, their team kicked off a season-long celebration. And they brought in some of their most loyal fans to help them do it.

On Monday morning, the Colts players went back to work in preparation for the 2018 season.

And on Monday afternoon, the team kicked off a season-long celebration of a milestone.

“When the Mayflower trucks rolled into Indianapolis in 1984, we really couldn’t have imagined how the league would grow, how our team would grow, or the bonds that we would create with our fans and our community,” said Colts Vice Chair and Owner Carlie Irsay-Gordon.

Now raising the fourth generation of Irsays in Indianapolis, Irsay-Gordon said she and her sisters couldn’t imagine calling any other place home.

“So today, we’d like to end the phrase calling Indy our adopted home because the truth is, we’ve actually been in Indianapolis longer than we’ve been in Baltimore now. So it’s not our adopted home anymore, Indianapolis is just our plain home.”

Gathered in front of her were members of the media and season ticket members who go back to the 1984 season.

“We just wanted to create a special opportunity for them, since they’ve been here from the beginning,” said Stephanie Pemberton, Senior Director of Marketing for the Colts. “To be some of the first individuals to see the unveiling of the new logo and the patch on the jersey and the video – just another opportunity for us to give back to these fans who have invested so much in us over the past 35 seasons.”


Duane Hostetler remembers that first season well.

“They had 60,000 seats and they had 180,000 to 200,000 requests. I worked with people and there were 15 of us that all put our applications in and I was the only one that got drawn.”

He started going to the games with his girlfriend, who eventually became his wife. Now, his three sons take turns going to the games with him.

His favorite memory is watching the Colts win the Super Bowl in Miami with his son, Jonathan.

“It was a lottery system to get picked for that and we got it. When I was coming out of the ticket room after picking them up, I had scalpers offering me 6,000 to 8,000 dollars for the tickets and we turned it down. The commercial where you talk about priceless – attending a Super Bowl with my son was priceless.”

Bill Bane and his wife, Denise, got tickets with his mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law.

“We mailed our deposit in right away. My dad goes, ‘We’re never going to get tickets.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s cross our fingers.’ It’s the only lottery we’ve ever won, but it’s been a good one.”

Greg Padgett and his family got lucky too.

“My dad was the guy who put the order in,” he said. “I remember him saying the team actually got three orders for every single season ticket that was available.”

And when they got picked?

“It was just a huge deal for us,” he said. “It was the perfect kind of team for this city. It was a great fit."

And being able to share it with his son, Josh, made it even sweeter.

“When he was growing up and we were winning 12 games every season with Manning at the helm, I’d be like, ‘I want you to know this is not normal. This is not what football fans normally get, so enjoy it while you’ve got it because it doesn’t last forever.’”

Self described football freaks, Walter and Willia Taylor did a lot of traveling before the Colts came to town – they went to games in Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh – wherever they had to go to get their fix.

But, said Walter, all that changed in 1984.

“After the Colts came in, I said, ‘We’re going to be dedicated.’ When you’ve got a team in your hometown, you represent them 100 percent. And that’s what we try to do.”

And they have – for 35 seasons now.

Marion Tinsley always enjoyed football. Juanita? Not so much.

But when they got Colts tickets that first season, she went to the games with him anyway.

“That’s how we spend our time together. We enjoy each other, we enjoy the people that we sit around,” she said. “We send Christmas cards, we’re on Facebook – I mean, we’re just like family.”

And along the way, something unexpected happened.

“I became a football fan,” she said. “I didn’t care anything about football – but now, I think it’s the most awesome sport out there.”

Ken Puller and his sister, Kendra Schultz, were teenagers when the Colts came to town. Puller grew up a Bears fan in Indiana. But when their mom got Colts season tickets, Ken got a new favorite team.

Through the trials and triumphs, they stayed loyal.

“We were here when some of the fans had paper sacks on their heads and half the stadium was empty,” he said. “And then, when they had the playoff games in the RCA Dome and the place just erupted.”

It made it all worthwhile.

“Sitting there during the losing seasons and fans were getting up and leaving – when they won, that just made it that much better for us.”

Thirty-five seasons of memories, moments, and meaning.


“Thirty-five is a true milestone,” said Roger VanDerSnick, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for the Colts. “It’s important for this franchise, for the Irsay family, for the city, and for the state.”

And most of all – for the fans.

Thank you, Colts Nation.

We look forward to celebrating with you this season!

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