INDIANAPOLIS – Shane Stanley hardly got any sleep Monday night, but you could not tell by his excitement on Tuesday morning.
As Stanley and his brother, Ross, took pictures on the Colts' indoor practice field on Tuesday, Shane talked about the early morning, four-hour trek they made from Evansville to attend a luncheon at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for 100 chosen season ticketholders.
"I worked all night and I drove after that. We are definitely serious fans," Stanley said.
The passion could be seen easily on all the guests' faces on Tuesday with fans walking around the indoor facility before heading into the Colts' Pavilion for a luncheon catered by Abuelos.
In attending the event, the season ticketholders also listened to General Manager Ryan Grigson addressing the crowd, along with a question-and-answer session led by "Voice of the Colts" Bob Lamey and running back Vick Ballard, inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman and cornerback Jerraud Powers.
Grigson led off the event explaining the foundation that he, along with Owner and CEO Jim Irsay, was trying to create back when he was hired in January. He talked about Coach Chuck Pagano's visit to the complex on Monday and the continued importance of preaching trust, loyalty and respect.
One story that fans found particularly interesting on Monday was when Grigson recalled the fans' appreciation for wide receiver Reggie Wayne and his eventual re-signing over the offseason.
It was late December last season, and Grigson found himself watching postgame coverage of the Colts beating the Houston Texans, 19-16.
Wayne had caught the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left and many wondered whether or not that would be his last game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I remember watching the NFL Network long before I became a Colt and just by chance it was the last home game of the year against the Texans," Grigson said to the crowd. "While Reggie was talking about the uncertainty (of his future) the fans in the background, I could hear you guys yelling, 'Reggie' 'Reggie.' I just thought, 'Wow,' they love this guy. That played a part in that whole thing because I know how much the fan base loves him."
A native of Highland, Ind., Grigson wanted to thank the fans for the passion they have shown this season and is witnessing first-hand why the "12th Man" finds itself on the Colts' Ring of Honor.
"It's so good to see the '12th Man' here," Grigson said. "Without you guys, I don't think we'd have four wins right now. You see that '12th Man' gets thrown around the league and people put it on their stadium and they talk about that '12th Man,' but from my vantage point now I see it here more than ever."
After Grigson finished, Lamey took the microphone and introduced the trio of players.
While Ballard and Freeman are experiencing their first-ever NFL regular season, Powers knows how important a raucous Colts home crowd can be for his unit.
"When we go into that stadium we depend on you to cause a lot of havoc for the opponent," Powers said. "That '12th Man,' we take that very serious. When we are out on the field, we are trying to get you louder, and louder and louder. I know you all might be horse the next day but trust me, it'll be worth it once we get that victory."
The season ticketholders also had a chance to win one of five vacations from RCI and a drawing to win autographed memorabilia from Coby Fleener, Dwight Freeney, Andrew Luck and Wayne.
People of all ages and from across the state headed to West 56th Street on Tuesday. For many, it was their first time at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Greenwood resident Denny White has been a season ticketholder since 1984, but his trip to the complex on Tuesday was the first he has made in at least a decade.
White's memories of Colts victories are endless, but the victory over Green Bay earlier this month ranks near the top. Joined by his wife on Tuesday, they both have enjoyed watching the development of Luck.
"I'm so impressed with (Luck)," White said. "Just his manner, his personality and the thing that really stuck with me was one time after a game he said, 'I'm so privileged to be a part of this organization.' I just thought, 'You don't hear that from a professional athlete.' "
For Stanley, the Packers game also ranks high on the list, and it was something he saw on the way out of Lucas Oil Stadium on that Sunday afternoon that he will not forget very soon.
"When we were walking down West Street we saw Mr. Irsay with the police escort taking the ball to coach. That was awesome," Stanley said.
Tuesday's luncheon is an expansion from an event the Colts host once a month at the Colts Grille where Larry Hall, vice president of ticket operations/guest services, and three customer relationship representatives invite three season ticketholders downtown for lunch.
"In an on-going basis, we look for ways to thank our fans and frankly to get feedback on how we can improve," Hall said. "Once a month we've been taking fans to the Colts Grille to thank them for being season ticket holders, engage with them and reminisce a bit about special memories that we've had over the years at games."
As the players exited the stage on Tuesday and headed back to work, the fans stood in appreciation for a team that has dealt with so much adversity early in the 2012 season.
But it was the fans that Lamey especially wanted to show his gratitude toward for what they do at every home game.
"You are the reason why we play this game, why we have so much fun on Sunday," Lamey said. "You folks are the best. Keep doing what you do, and you'll be rewarded in the end."