The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for Fanhouse.com

What's wrong with Indy?

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There are a lot of reasons to root for the Saints in the Super Bowl. New Orleans is a wonderful city, one with character, color, food, music and even distinctive taxis that contrasts with the homogenization of much of the rest of our country. And it's coming back from one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit this country in the last century.

The team? It's a natural underdog, a franchise that went more than two decades before it had a winning season and one whose ever-loyal fans originated the custom of putting bags over their heads.

But that certainly doesn't mean we have to hate the Colts. Or even root against them in the Super Bowl -- even if we don't come from Indiana. I don't root. Not when I'm working and I'll be working at this Super Bowl. Sometimes my gut tells me during a game that I'm favoring one team over another -- as it did with me and most of my colleagues as we watched the Patriots lose to the Giants. (Guts have a way of disliking a certain coach who wears a hoodie and specializes in arrogance.)

In any case, I can understand President Obama rooting for the Saints, for reasons stated above. I can understand the residents of Baltimore and nearby cities (read that Washington) because of what happened in 1982, when Bob Irsay packed up the vans at midnight and transported a team with deep roots to the Midwest.

But there really is nothing to hate about these Colts.

I've spent more time with them than I've spent with most NFL teams, primarily because of their success but also because of the lack of it -- I was at their training camp the day Peyton Manning arrived after signing his rookie contract in 1998. He had been the first pick in the draft, which tells you what kind of year 1997 had been. On a personal basis, I've had good experiences with Manning and also with Dwight Freeney and Jeff Saturday and Gary Brackett. Even with Bill Polian, the team president-- a lot of people in the NFL don't especially him but I've known him for more than two decades and gotten along well with him. (In journalism that means he's returned almost all my calls or called back to say why he couldn't chat just then.)

And finally Jim Irsay, the owner and the son of the man who selfishly took away Baltimore's team. He's a decent guy. And he acknowledges when asked that his father did a bad thing. Will I be rooting for them? As I said, I try not to root at games I'm covering although sometimes I get this gut feeling. If it tells me "Saints,'' it won't be because I hate the Colts.

By Dave Goldberg  |  January 27, 2010; 1:41 PM ET  | Category:  Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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