INDIANAPOLIS – It is a season of change for the Indianapolis Colts. With a new head coach, several new faces on the coaching staff and an infusion of new blood on the roster, fans are anxious to see how it will all play out.
However, it always is a season of change in the National Football League, according to Colts President Bill Polian.
"You either get better or worse – there is no in between," announced Polian to the 100-plus tables of sponsors at the 2009 Colts Kickoff Luncheon. Both Polian and Colts' Owner and CEO Jim Irsay touched on the topic at the forefront of everyone's mind: Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell.
"I, my family, our whole team – we're ready to rally behind Coach Caldwell," said Irsay. "Bill Polian has said it before – you listen to one voice."
That voice for the Colts is Coach Caldwell.
"He's earned it through his years of integrity and hard work. I know that he's earned that, without question. We bid farewell to a legend. We will miss Tony, but now the baton has been handed to a new leader," added Polian.
"We've seen in a few short months him put his stamp on this team. We look forward to many more successful seasons with Jim at the helm."
Everyone is focused on preparing for success in the new season.
"I look back and remember those few yards in San Diego," said Irsay. "There wasn't anything I could do about it then. But I know I can do something about it every day since then."
"It comes down to that much distance between getting there and not," he added. "Now is the time that we get ready 24 hours a day. How you conduct yourself off the field as well as on. I know that starts with me."
Peter King's address to the crowd echoed Irsay's words.
Last year King went overseas with three NFL players on the USO tour. There they met service men who are rabid NFL fans. Thinking and caring about football plays an important part in bringing normalcy to their lives.
"What you do is important, on and off the field," King told the Colts' players. "Remember there are people halfway across the world watching. They care deeply, desperately, fanatically about what you do. You're vastly, vastly important."
After King's speech, he interviewed a few players from both sides of the ball, including Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Peyton Manning, Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea and Marlin Jackson about their thoughts on the upcoming season.
King himself was impressed with the Colts' recent track record and wanted to remind the audience just how lucky they are.
"Just realize that every August for the past decade you've has a really good chance. You've known you had a legitimate chance for the Super Bowl. There are about 29 other fandoms that would trade with you in a second. I just wanted you to know you've got it pretty good."