SPORTS Count your blessings, depressed Colts fans:

February 6, 2006

OK, as you read this, the Super Bowl is about to occur, or has just taken place, depending on when you get your IBJ.

And you are, perhaps, gloomy. Depressed. Still nursing that emotional hangover.

You're blue ... Colts blue in hue and psyche.

The Horseshoes didn't make it, and that brings to mind another expression beginning with "horse".

So, as a public service to all those still suffering an extended case of dejection and despair-to be compounded by hours of pre-Super Bowl hype, the game itself and the sight of 60-something rockers performing at halftime-I offer the following reasons to feel good about the fact that the Colts did not make it to the Big Game.

One word: Detroit.

Three words: Detroit in February.

No need to worry about how many times you'll hear this familiar expression: "False start, No. 78, Indianapolis" (which, by the way, is becoming pretty much like "Mario is slowing down" at the Speedway).

Seriously, you would be sick of all the "Drive To Detroit" and "Super Season" local television hullabaloo by now. Up-close-andpersonals with everyone from the Colts custodians to the chaplain. Andrea Morehead breaking down the "Cover 2." Debby Knox's nostalgic look back at her days as Michigan's Apple Blossom queen. Countless interviews with psychologists, accountants, politicians, travel agents, hoteliers and ticket brokers. Angela Buchman doing the Detroit weather all week (come to think of it, that's not so bad).

Until he plays in it, it's not a big game Peyton Manning can't win.

Think of the money you're saving ...

Room: $900 per night, minimum.

Ticket: $500 for a bad seat, if you're lucky enough to find one.

Bail and attorney's fees after a bad night in Windsor: at least $2,000. Booze and food: Max the credit card. Didn't feel compelled to purchase Colts/AFC Championship merchandise. Didn't feel compelled to purchase Colts/Super Bowl merchandise. Not having the Colts in action means we can enjoy basketball and the Pacers' drive to the playoffs, IU's excellence on the road and Purdue's Cinderella season. Uh, never mind. Can turn our full attention to outstanding legislative work of General Assembly. Uh, never mind again. Sure, it's been the second-warmest January on record, but Indianapolis deserves a trip to a warm-weather Super Bowl. There's no chance of getting ripped off buying tickets from Mike Tyce. No need to worry about pre-game player-wife relationships going south. Idiot kicker can go ahead and get liquored up. Idiot kicker's ego was big enough already. Idiot kicker won't have to go on "Late Night With David Letterman" to make light of how he missed winning Super Bowl kick by mile-and-a-half. Dwight Freeney can spend the entire weekend without being held. Did I mention Detroit in February? Did I mention Detroit, period? Deposit on next year's season tickets already made. Steep discounts at the Colts' Pro Shop. Can ease back on blood pressure medicine. Next year is already three weeks closer. Victory parade would have clogged traffic. As Colts hype would have run amok, don't have to read cynical newspaper columns about misplaced priorities. No silly wagers between governors and mayors, although rumor had it Mitch Daniels was going to bet Pat Bauer's toupee against a muskrat pelt from the state of Washington.

Other than the pools, you've grown accustomed to stress-free Super Bowl parties.

Isn't it better to imagine the view from the mountaintop than to actually see it?

Unless you're anti-coffee or antitree-huggers, it's difficult to work up a real dislike for Seattle.

Don't have to pay close attention to Terry Bradshaw.

Better still, don't have to pay any attention to Terry Bradshaw.

No reason to become angry with corporate fat cats and celebrities who have no rooting interest whatsoever occupying all the good seats. Would have had to forever surrender our small-market Indy-feriority complex. No distraction from focus on start of NASCAR season. Heartburn will clearly be chili-related. Will be that much sweeter when Peyton finally wins it in his 15th season. Did I mention Detroit? In February?

Benner is associate director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and a former sports columnist for The Indianapolis Star. His column appears weekly. To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.comor send e-mail to bbenner@ibj.com.
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