INDIANAPOLIS – Super Bowl XLVI, played last Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium, attracted 68,658 spectators.
Many were out-of-towners supporting the competing teams. Others were dignitaries and football followers who wanted to attend America's top sporting event.
A handful of those in attendance were there through the generosity of Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay. Channeling his inner Eddie Money, Irsay wanted to accommodate some loyal followers with two complimentary tickets to football paradise.
Jim Miner and/or his father have owned season tickets since 1984. The entire families have been Colts fans from day one. They had the exact same two seats in the Hoosier/RCA Dome from the day it was built until the day it was imploded. Jim and his wife, Karen, have generally the same two seats in the Lucas Oil Stadium. The seats are the only things that have stayed the same of the last 27 years.
The Miner's have enjoyed watching the franchise develop, improve, and cement itself as an integral part of Indianapolis and Indiana over the last several decades. Jim's parents are both Butler graduates. Jim is a 1987 Wabash College alumnus, and Karen graduated from Ball State. With deep Indiana roots, Jim has friends all over the country, and he enjoys seeing Colts fans everywhere.
What did you think when you were contacted and what can you say about the offer?
"Megan Oldham called Tuesday morning and reached my wife, who promptly called me twice at work to tell me I needed to call the Colts' Complex. My wife and I really did not think we had a chance at the Monday drawings, but we took up the offer for a chance at three Monday drawings. Patience paid off as we were the lucky draw on the last Monday drawing (January 30). I picked up the tickets that afternoon! As soon as we had the tickets in hand we started planning our Super Bowl game plan."
Did you go to either of two Super Bowls (XLI or XLIV) when the Colts played?
"Unfortunately we were not able to attend either game."
How did you feel about seeing a Super Bowl being held in Indianapolis and in Lucas Oil Stadium?
"I personally think that it was absolutely deserved. Indianapolis has successfully hosted some of the country's biggest conventions and pro/amateur athletic events and, of course, the Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis and Lucas Oil stadium are top of the class! I know our Hoosier Hospitality would come through, my only concern was the weather. Karen broke one wrist and sprained the other during the ice storm of 2011 (just one year ago). It was obvious this year, 2012, the weather was perfect for football."
Did it seem like the same stadium to you, or was the experience different?
"It was different, but it was also the same. Our seats were in the area of many other Colts fans as well as many Giant fans. Our "crowd" was all cheering against the Patriots so it felt very similar to many of the big-time Colts' home games against the Pats. I will admit seeing their name in our end zone, and all of the Colts' banners and Ring of Honor removed was a bit disconcerting, but it was worth it. Everyone we bumped into and had a chance to talk to raved about Lucas Oil Stadium."
Do you think Indianapolis is a major league city and a football town?
"Absolutely. The close proximity of all the events pulled the experience off with top notch honors! Indy is the "right" size for this huge event."
What do you think about the Colts in 2012?
"I think Jim Irsay has had some tough decisions and some even tougher decisions to come, but right now I give him an 'A.' Unfortunately, people come and go as part of simply playing in the NFL. What is consistent are the fans and the franchise. I believe he is making the right choices to create and continue a culture of excellence for the Indianapolis Colts. I have no expectations for 2012. Until the boys in blue suit up and start playing will we ultimately see the beginnings of the next chapter and where this team will go in the next decade. By the way, did I tell you how absolutely great the last decade was? Watching the Colts play and draw national success and attention year after year is what all fans of football dream of."
Does attending the Super Bowl rank up there with your greatest Colts memories, or is it in its own category?
"Watching the Colts win the Super Bowl in Miami against Chicago is still my greatest memory. Seeing Indianapolis step up and knock it out of the park, plus a fantastic Super Bowl game, is a stand-alone memory."
What can you say about Jim Irsay as an owner?
"The Indianapolis Colts are not one of the most respected and emulated franchises in the NFL with out Jim Irsay at the helm."