Window, Roof Open Shortly Before First Preseason Game at Lucas Oil Stadium
INDIANAPOLIS – The steel shifted, the windows and roof moved, and the crowd gasped.
Then the crowd that came to be a part of history cheered.
And as it did, it at last was official:
After 24 years in the RCA Dome, the Colts had a new home.
With a sold-out crowd of 65,333 and Colts players and coaches looking on, Colts Owner Jim Irsay appeared at midfield Sunday night shortly before kickoff of the team's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. He counted down and when he reached zero, the moveable window wall and retractable roof at new, state-of-the-art Lucas Oil Stadium opened.
"Just to be able to be part of that – it was electric," Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. "It was real fun. It was real good for the fans and for the players."
Said Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson, "It was great – the fans and the excitement they displayed for the new stadium was great. We've been on the road in the first three preseason games and now we're at home. To be in front of our fans adds a lot of excitement."
After the opening of the roof and window wall, Colts players and coaches – who remained on the field a few minutes longer than usual to see the ceremony – retreated to their locker room.
What they saw was worth the wait.
"It was electric," Colts defensive captain and middle linebacker Gary Brackett said. "Obviously, the stadium is state of the art and a great place to play."
The first quarter marked the first time in the team's 25 seasons in Indianapolis it played a home game in Indianapolis outdoors.
The team played home games in the RCA Dome from 1984 through last season.
"It was fun," Colts safety Bob Sanders said. "It was a preseason game and it was packed in there. It's exciting to see the fans and they're definitely excited about it. We're looking forward to an excellent year. Hopefully, we can build upon the RCA Dome and keep things going."
The roof and window were then closed in the third quarter, something that the Colts were able to do because it was a preseason game. In a regular season game, the roof must remain closed if it is closed when the game begins. If the roof is open at the start of a regular-season game it can only be closed if the referee decides it should be closed for safety reasons.
PEYTON'S PRESENCE: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning didn't miss the first game at Lucas Oil Stadium after all.
Manning, who hasn't missed a regular-season start in 10 seasons with the Colts, did not play on Sunday night, the fourth consecutive game he has not played this preseason. But Manning was present at a Colts preseason game for the first time this season.
Dressed in khakis and a blue collared shirt, he was with the Colts while offensive players and defensive reserves lined the field as the Colts' defensive starters were announced.
HAYDEN, BROCK OUT: Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden and defensive end Raheem Brock were among several players missing Sunday night's game with injuries.
Other Colts players missing Sunday's game were:
Manning, tight end Tom Santi, linebacker Tyjuan Hagler, offensive guard Ryan Lilja, rookie guard Mike Pollak, wide receiver Roy Hall, linebacker Philip Wheeler, linebacker Freddy Keiaho, defensive end Curtis Johnson, defensive end Marcus Howard, defensive end Robert Mathis, quarterback Jim Sorgi and defensive tackle Ed Johnson.
SATURDAY, RUSHING LEAVE: Center Jeff Saturday left the game with an injured right knee in the third quarter, and cornerback T.J. Rushing also left the game with a knee injury, Dungy said.
Dungy said the full extent of neither injury was immediately known and that each player likely will undergo MRIs Monday.
HOW THEY SCORED
BILLS 03 14 00 03 – 20
COLTS 00 00 07 00 – 07
BILLS 3, COLTS 0
Rian Lindell 36 FG, 2:31 remaining first quarter. Drive: 13 plays, 38 yards, 7:24. Key play: Josh Reed 15 pass from JP Losman on 3rd-and-14 from Bills 40.
BILLS 10, COLTS 0
Xavier Omom 1 run (Lindell kick), 5:00 remaining second quarter. Drive: 18 plays, 93 yards, 10:00. Key play: Losman 10 run on 3rd-and-7 from Bills 10.
BILLS 17, COLTS 0
Terrence McGee 68 fumble return, 1:43 remaining second quarter.
BILLS 17, COLTS 7
Devin Aromashodu 94 pass from Quinn Gray (Adam Crossett kick), 2:54 remaining third quarter. Drive: Two plays, 94 yards, :49.
BILLS 20, COLTS 7
Lindell 44 FG, 9:19 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Seven plays, 15 yards, 4:33. Key play: Bruce Hall 17 pass from Gibran Hamdan on 3rd-and-12 from Colts 43.