The NFL preseason is generally lamented as a waste of time that serves little purpose other than exposing high-profile players to potential injuries while lining the pockets of team owners. I pretty much agree with this line of thinking, at least in most cases. There is very little that is ordinary or usual about the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, though, so I'm looking forward to this preseason as much as I dreaded last, when Peyton Manning began his fade from the Indiana firmament. For other Colts fans who are starting to get excited about the looming new season, the Blue and White unhitched some good news when they announced that a limited number of single-game tickets are available for this year's preseason slate. Are there any games worth shelling out for? I think there are, but with a couple of caveats.
The Colts open their exhibition season at home against the St. Louis Rams on August 12, and while the Rams were nothing special last year, they sport a young quarterback in Sam Bradford who made a fast start to his NFL career a couple of seasons ago. This could be a good opportunity to compare first-round draft pick Andrew Luck to Bradford and see how the future of the Colts stacks up to the Rams' superstar. And, in case you didn't pick up on it, this will be Luck's first official start for the Colts, assuming he can win the quarterback battle in training camp (start laughing now) and that he actually has a signed contract by then (start sweating now).
Of course, the most intriguing preseason match-up will be on August 25, when the Colts suit up against the Washington Redskins and their hotshot first-round quarterback, Robert Griffin III. This will give us a chance to directly compare Luck and Griffin at an absurdly early juncture of their careers. Fair or not, if Luck struggles in this game and Griffin shines, there will be howls about how the the Colts missed the boat and should have drafted RG3 over Andrew. Either way, it will be great fun to see two young stars twinkling on the same NFL field. The problem for Colts fans is that this game is in Washington, so TV is probably our best bet.
The other home preseason game for the Colts is the traditional exhibition wrap-up against the Cincinnati Bengals. These teams always tee off on each other as they enter the regular season, and this years cats provide a model of sorts for the young Colts, as Cincy rode the arm of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to the playoffs in 2011. If luck can do the same in the Circle City this season, he will absolutely own the town.
There is plenty to like about the NFL preseason this year if you're a Colts fan, especially if you like to watch young quarterbacks air it out. And, if nothing else, it breaks the pigskin fast we've been forced into since February.
Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana. He has been a Colts fans since the team arrived in Indianapolis on a snowy morning in 1984. The Blue and White eventually replaced the Chicago Bears as his #1 team, and Super Bowl XLI was a dream come true.