In the 1980s, Indianapolis wooed the Colts from Baltimore with a new stadium, tax benefits, and other perquisites. The idea here was that the expenditure of taxpayers’ money was a good investment. The Colts would bring jobs to Indy. The city would gain prestige as home to two teams in the four major sports. Games would attract visitors to Indy and leave behind dollars spent at local businesses.
Indianapolis has spent a lot of money on the Colts. Our residents have paid more in taxes. We still pay for the Hoosier Dome, gone for some time now.
There are important issues we confront as a society and in this city. The failure or success of a football team is a matter of entertainment. The taxpayers were brought into the matter, though, when tax breaks and new taxes were added to the circumstances of the Colts. The Pacers feed at a similar public trough, the economic justification (to the taxpayers) of which is just as precarious as that of the Colts. Here is why the Colts come to mind this morning.
Yesterday, the Colts won their first game of the season, in mid-December. It is possible that, by winning two more games, they will blow the first pick in the NFL draft. Tax dollars will not shower upon Indy with the right draft picks. At least, however, as we eat our bread, the circus provided by the leaders of our community will be more entertaining and satisfying if we have the first picks. That is plural. Indy would have the first pick in each of the rounds.
Why this sudden burst of energy? Why did the Colts have to win? Tennessee is not so bad of a team. They should have beaten the Colts. In 2009 the Colts, undefeated, lay down before the New York Jets to save Colts players for the playoffs. So, to tank a game is not outside the concepts of management here.
The Colts face Houston at home and Jacksonville on the road. Houston has reasons to win. They are the division champions. The Colts "control their own destiny." How many times in recent years have we heard that refrain, only in regard to home-field advantage? Let the Colts play their butts off against Houston. The Texans are a bit miffed at having lost to Carolina yesterday. They might want to take it out on Indy. And Houston’s a good team.
We are not making the tax dollars or gaining the jobs that were touted in the early 1980s. At least we should enjoys the prestige of a championship team. So root for the Colts—to lost this Sunday. Hope for some miscues—a fumble here, an interception there, a slip-and-fall on a pass route. Because that’s all they’re playing for. We’ve paid the price through taxes and incentives. We have a right to see them lose—until the NFL goes to pat-per-view for all games. No, that couldn’t happen. NFL owners are not so crass and heartless as to seek profit at such a cost to fans.