If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was football season.
There were Colts players and Colts cheerleaders and Colts mascot, Blue. There were Colts fans and superfans and members of the media too.
“It actually kind of feels like a home game right now – everybody’s excited, it’s pretty loud. It’s definitely a home game feeling right now,” said Colts running back Marlon Mack.
But it wasn’t week one.
It wasn’t even the preseason.
It was draft night.
On Thursday night, the Colts held their day one draft party at Scotty’s Brewhouse downtown. And it was like a family reunion for fans.
“We brought our whole crew here today because obviously, we’re the Blue Crew. We feel like we’re the premier tailgating club for the Colts. So, we wanted to come here to support the Colts in the draft,” said Brent Vogel.
Not only did they bring out the fans, they brought out their big, blue rig.
“It was very fitting to have it out in front of this establishment,” Vogel said. “Chelsea and Joe did a very good job of setting that up for us and having a spot to place a big rig, which is fitting because we have a fireman’s convention going on at the same time.”
Chuck Smith, one of the original members of the Blue Crew, underwent a double lung transplant in September. He spent all of last season on IR and hardly left the house. One of his first big outings was the Colts draft party on Thursday night.
“He’s been through some very physically intimidating times, he’s been a Blue Crew member all along, and to see him out here today seeing all his friends and supporting his team was an accomplishment on his part, but awesome for us as his friends,” said Vogel.
A Colts season ticket member for the past 25 years, Smith has been officially cleared for football season.
“I’ve been giving the tickets out for the last two years, so I’m looking forward to getting back,” he said.
Linebacker John Simon was grateful to see Smith and all the Colts fans that came out to support them.
“Last season obviously didn’t go the way we wanted it to go and to see the support that we have here today and this upcoming season, it’s inspiring,” he said.
And watching the draft brought back memories of his own draft experience – which was decidedly low key.
“I might have been at Perkins with my girlfriend at the time, my wife now,” he laughed. “I was a third day guy and you just get tired of sitting on the couch so long.”
Still, he was incredibly grateful.
“I was blessed and got drafted in the fourth round to Baltimore and loved my time there. I don’t think it hit me until I got in the building.”
Mack enjoyed watching the draft on TV this year.
“It’s definitely different, not as much stress right now,” he laughed. “Last year, there was a bunch of stress about where I was going to go. You never know where you’re going to go – but once you get that call, it all goes away.”
With the sixth pick in the NFL Draft, the Colts selected Quenton Nelson, guard from Notre Dame.
“Goosebumps – you saw, ‘The pick is in’ and all the hair stood up!” said Colt cheerleader, Vanessa.
NFL Network cut live to Scotty’s Brewhouse, and she made her debut on NFL Network.
“Oh my gosh, dream come true,” she said. “Immediate responses from my family. ‘We saw you on TV!’ Lots of blue hearts and horse emojis.”
Rose was happy to welcome someone from her Notre Dame family to her NFL family.
"I’m so excited! Double excited because obviously, we’re thrilled to have a new member join our Colts family – but knowing that he’s also a former Irish makes it even better."
And just like that, Mack went from rookie to veteran.
“I heard he’s a great guy, a great hardworking o-lineman. It’ll be great for the Colts,” he said.
The second player from Notre Dame to land on the Colts roster, Simon said he’s looking forward to working with Nelson every day.
“If he’s anything like Matthias, we’re in good shape.”
Colts fans are invited to another draft party on Saturday from noon to 4:00. The team will make its fourth and fifth round picks live from the Sports Legends Experience at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and players Adam Vinatieri and Quincy Wilson will be in attendance along with Colts cheerleaders and Colt mascot, Blue.
Admission to the Children’s Museum is required. For tickets, click here: https://www.childrensmuseum.org.