And so it began this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts’ long road to ... well, where?
Another AFC South slam dunk? The inevitable moment of truth with the New England Deflatriots? And do they know the way to San Jose, which is just next door to Santa Clara, home come next February to Super Bowl (Don’t call me L) 50?
All will be answered in due time. But it has to start somewhere, and that is on the campus of Anderson University, where they’ll be banging pads in training camp across the parking lot from the dance studio. We’ll mark the occasion by painting the Colts by the numbers, with one certain team from the East a common theme.
77: Days from the first practice on Aug. 2 to the invasion of the infidels from Foxborough on Oct. 18. Now that Roger Goodell has banged his gavel and overruled Tom Brady’s suspension objection—partly because Brady apparently ordered a hit on his own cell phone—that could also be the return date of New England’s quarterback. And presumably his new iPhone.
634.9: Average season yardage production of the Colts’ leading rusher the past seven years.
1,095.4: Average season yardage production by Frank Gore the past seven years. In other words, welcome to Indianapolis.
6: Players on the Colts roster who have had 100 yards of receiving in an NFL game. If you count Duron Carter in the CFL, it’s seven.
19.5: Sacks by Robert Mathis two seasons ago.
6.5: Sacks by team leader Jonathan Newsome last season. Do you think they missed Mathis?
$33 million: Contract signed by defensive tackle Art Jones before 2014.
14: Solo tackles by Jones all of last injury-plagued regular season.
11: Different offensive line combinations used last season. Never a good sign.
56: Consecutive games started by Anthony Castonzo, the beacon of stability on the line. He played 1,090 snaps last season, most in the NFL.
959: As of Aug. 2, days since the Colts last lost a game inside their division—29-17 at Houston in December 2012.
2,086: As of Aug. 2, days since the Colts last beat New England—35-34 at home in November 2009, and Bill Belichick’s nationally panned fourth-down gamble.
5: NFL quarterbacks who had more interceptions than Andrew Luck’s 16 last season.
28.6: Scoring average for the 2014 Colts.
40.2: Scoring average by the opponents in the six losses for the 2014 Colts.
6: Andrew Luck’s age when Adam Vinatieri kicked his first NFL field goal, for New England in 1996.
201: Field-goal attempts Vinatieri has taken inside of the 30 in the regular and postseason in his career.
5: Field-goal attempts inside the 30 he has missed.
1: Misses by Vinatieri in 31 regular-season attempts last season.
3: Onside kicks by Pat McAfee in 2014.
0: Onside kicks the other team recovered in 2014.
6: Luck touchdown passes against New England in four meetings.
10: Luck interceptions against New England in four meetings.
657: Rushing yards for the Patriots their last three games against the Colts.
171: Rushing yards for the Colts their last three games against the Patriots.
7-0: Colts all-time regular-season record with the roof open and the window closed in Lucas Oil Stadium.
27-9: Colts record with both closed.
19-4: Chuck Pagano’s record in one-possession (eight points or less) games.
14-1: Pagano’s record the next game after a regular-season loss.
16-2: Pagano’s record against the AFC South.
0-4: Pagano’s record against the Patriots.
47.3: Average score by the Patriots in those four games.
8: Players on the Indianapolis roster 32 or older, including all three most significant free-agent signees: Gore, Andre Johnson and Trent Cole.
56: Quarterbacks sacked by Mathis in his career.
5: Mathis sacks of Tom Brady.
13: Colts victories in a row against the AFC South.
6: Colts losses in a row to the Patriots.
8:26: Total minutes the Colts have led the Patriots in those six games, all in the first half in 2012.
814: Rushing yards by Vick Ballard his rookie season in 2012, to lead the team.
13: Carries by Ballard the past two seasons, because of injury.
9-5: Colts record against playoff teams the past two seasons not named the New England Patriots, by a margin of 367-340.
0-3: Colts record against the Patriots the past two seasons, by a margin of 130-49.
86-43: Regular-season touchdown pass-to-interception ratio in Luck’s first three seasons.
85-58: Regular-season touchdown pass-to-interception ratio in Peyton Manning’s first three seasons.
3-3: Luck’s postseason record after three years.
0-2: Manning’s postseason record after three years. It would take him six seasons to win his first playoff game.
56: Manning sacks his first three seasons.
100: Luck sacks his first three seasons.
L: The Roman numeral for 50, but NFL officials have decided Super Bowl L doesn’t look right, so they’ve ditched that style for a year and gone to Super Bowl 50. If the Colts get there, maybe it’ll still be Super Bowl L. As in Luck.
12.5: The minimum psi inflation measurement for an NFL football. On the off-chance it ever comes up.•
Lopresti is a lifelong resident of Richmond and a graduate of Ball State University. He was a columnist for USA Today and Gannett newspapers for 31 years; he covered 34 Final Fours, 30 Super Bowls, 32 World Series and 16 Olympics. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.