Naturally, being a Tennessean and all, I'll be rooting for the Colts. See, Peyton Manning is something of an icon around here due to him doing such a fantastic job for the Volunteers when he was at UT, so now it's state law that when the Titans aren't playing, you must automatically cheer for Peyton. (Failure to do so results in a $25,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment). I think he actually has a bigger fan base here than he does in Indianapolis. He may be gone, but he is our beloved native son, and we do not forget. For example:
- Our wal-mart has Colts shirts, Colts cupcakes, Colts foam fingers, and Colts Mardi Gras beads (which you would think would be for the Saints, but you'd be wrong) all over the front of the store, available at any given time throughout the football season.
- We're still carrying a grudge about not getting the Heisman trophy 13 years later (a conspiracy, I tell you. He was robbed).
- The number of children (male and female) named Peyton over the last 10 years has skyrocketed. You can't throw a rock without hitting a Peyton (which, coincidentally, is also a $25,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment).
- A Peyton jersey is acceptable church attire.
- We all refer to Peyton by his first name only, because 1) everyone considers themselves one of his close personal friends, and 2) everyone automatically knows who you are talking about when you say Peyton anyway.
- Manning commercials are the only ones we will rewind the DVR to watch a second time. (Yes, even that one where he's eating Oreos with Donald Trump).
- We will cheer for Eli Manning (assuming that he is not playing the Colts or the Titans) just because he shares some of the same genetic makeup as his older brother. (Although we are still trying to get over the sting that he went to Ole Miss instead of here like Peyton).
- My mother is still upset that Peyton and I missed being at UT together by one year. Had I gotten there one year earlier, or he stay one year later, she is sure he would have no doubt discovered me and fallen madly in love. She still considers him "the one that got away".