I started to understand just what the Colts mean to Indianapolis six years ago, when I started dating my now wife, Betsy. She had a rule: If you want to see me on Sundays in the fall, you're going to have to watch the Colts with me.
And then I saw the basement of the home in which she grew up in Indianapolis.
From one end of a gigantic wall to another was nothing but Colts stuff. A signed Joseph Addai jersey. A life-size Peyton Manning Fathead. A signed football, a bunch of Reggie Wayne stuff, framed pictures of Lucas Oil Stadium — if there was a piece of Colts memorabilia, chances are it's in that basement.
But my favorite — and apologies to my Mother-In-Law, Julie, for mentioning this — is a silver Christmas tree adorned with nothing but blue Colts ornaments tucked away in a corner. It was put up before the Colts won Super Bowl XLI. And, so I'm told, it won't come down until the Colts win another Super Bowl.
So while I'm a born and bred Chicagoan who puts giardiniera on everything and has strong opinions about pizza, Indianapolis and the Colts mean an awful lot to my family and me.
And that's the starting point of why I'm so excited to introduce myself as the new staff writer for Colts.com.
I spent the last decade with NBC Sports Chicago, where I covered Notre Dame football — including a bulldozing guard named Quenton Nelson — and the Chicago Bears. I had some amazing experiences in my old job, whether it was getting to chip in on covering the 2016 World Series or dancing to "Apache" while on live TV at Lincoln Financial Field.
But I've admired the Colts from three hours away up I-65 and can't wait to tell this franchise's stories to such a dedicated, passionate fanbase. And I'm fortunate to join such an incredibly talented, creative team here. I couldn't ask for a better career opportunity and for a better fanbase for which to write.
So let's get going — and hope that silver Christmas tree comes down soon.