Commentary

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 14

Indianapolis Colts

Updated: July 1, 2009, 11:34 AM ET
By Eddie Matz | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 1
Title Track: 10
Ownership: 16
Coaching: 61
Players: 6
Fan Relations: 16
Affordability: 61
Stadium Experience: 19
Bang for the Buck: 17

Don't be fooled by the top-20 ranking. For a franchise that hasn't charted lower than fourth since 2004, this year's rank represents a comedown. To understand Naptown's relative nosedive, take a peek under the headset (Coaching: down 52), where former assistant Jim Caldwell replaces Tony Dungy, who reached double-digit W's in each of his seven seasons in the 317. Failing to reach the divisional playoff round for the first time since 2002 didn't sit well with fans, especially since they had to endure a 14% spike at the turnstiles of Lucas Oil Stadium. But we're nitpicking: The Colts are still the Colts. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. And Indy's new stadium -- the main concourse features an homage to the Hoosier State's NFL history (Muncie Flyers, Hammond Pros, Evansville Crimson Giants), plus 26 Big Ass Fans (seriously, that's the name of the company that makes the 24-foot, $6,000 rotating cooling panels) -- is a huge upgrade (up 47 spots from last year) over the old one. No fooling.