I can’t think of a better time to release The Jersey Effect.
I understand that a book about the Colts may not seem like it would be the hottest thing on the shelves right now. After all, if you’re a Colts fan, this season hasn’t exactly been, well, ideal. Peyton injured. Worst record in 20 years. The firings. The change. The fact that the New England Patriots will be stomping around in our locker room, our practice facility and attempting to win a Super Bowl in our stadium. (Even three years removed from the Colts organization, it makes me cringe just thinking about it.)
But perhaps that’s what makes the timing of this book appropriate. The 2011-12 season marks the five-year anniversary of bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis. In this book, we reflect on that improbable Super Bowl run.
The last couple weeks have also marked the denouement of the Dungy Era, as Colts management has fired much of its coaching staff that had Tony’s fingerprints all over it. In this book, we remember that record-setting era that brought so much joy to Hoosier households.
But more than that, the Colts’ recent struggles remind me of one of the core themes in this book…
You see, it would’ve been perfect for the Colts to make the Super Bowl this year. With so many injuries last year, so many free agents this year, and the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in 2012, another attempt at capturing the Lombardi Trophy would’ve been a storybook ending. Heck, anything would’ve been better than Bah-stonians taking over the Indy streets with Brady jerseys. But instead, we get the worst-case scenario.
Peyton down. Season drowned. Rival in town. UnLucky.
But that’s life. After all, Tony Dungy’s last game was when the 8-8 Chargers upset us in the playoffs—a year everyone expected to end with another parade in downtown Indy. Jim Caldwell’s last season with the Colts was this one—a year where the Colts finished 2-14, only two seasons after advancing to the Super Bowl. And my last play of my 12-year NFL career was a dropped snap that got me cut and lost us the game.
In life, you’re going to lose some times. (I’ll stop there before I give away all of Chapter 12 and torque off my publisher…again.) The point is this: We all taste defeat. We’ve all had to swallow our pride. We’ve all seen our nemesis take something that we wanted.
But how do you react when you lose? Do you persevere? Do you allow that moment of weakness and humility to strengthen your character? Or do you let it destroy you? Romans 5:3-5 says this: “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
(Picturing Bill Belichick walking the same halls in the Colts Complex as Tony Dungy…Wes Welker running on our turf…Tom Brady—gulp—using our lockers with—double gulp—Chad Ochocinco, too.)
At least there’s one good thing about Super Bowl XLVI…
According to Romans, this week’s gonna build a heck of a lot of character.