The Patriots and Colts have had some epic clashes in the past. Do you feel the rivalry renewed with this Andrew Luck-led team, or was the Patriots/Colts rivalry really more about Brady vs. Manning?
Rick: The historic rivalry between the Patriots and the Colts was solely centered around Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. You could make the case that Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy were major figures in that rivalry as well, but we always talked about the epic quarterback duels surrounding these two teams. There always seemed to be a score to settle not between the two quarterbacks, but fans of both teams that has now carried over to the Broncos’ rivalry. That being said, it doesn’t diminish the respect I have for Andrew Luck as a quarterback. When I watch him play especially last week, he reminds me a lot of Tom Brady. He has I believe 23 comebacks in his career, 11 of them in the 4th quarter and OT in just his second season. In December, Luck had 8 touchdowns to just 2 INT’s with mainly T.Y Hilton and Coby Fleener. He is making the other players around him better with a lack of a run game. Is it the passing of the torch? Probably not, but I expect Luck to be a top-five quarterback in the NFL within the next five years. However, the game will not reach Brady-Manning hype.
Jason: That Colts-Pats rivalry is dead and gone in my mind. It grew from the fact that those two teams were not only the best in the conference, but also the best in the NFL. With the parity in the league and the relative strength of the NFC today, it's hard to see how these two teams can ever recreate that kind of magic.
Raj: It was more Brady vs. Manning..and his receivers. This Colts team is nothing like the one from previous years. It's completely different and there's no rivalry in my opinion. It might get there soon if the new Colts are scheduled to play the Patriots more in the future. But for now, I don't feel as though the rivalry has been renewed since Manning was let out of Indianapolis.
Derek: When the Bengals went down in flames and locked in the Colts as the Patriots' opponent, it took me a few minutes to remember how much we're supposed to hate these guys. With Manning moving on to Denver, the Colts bottoming out in 2011 then reloading with a likeable Andrew Luck, and last year's highly inspirational "Chuck Strong" campaign, Indianapolis has been a hard team to dislike over the past three seasons. The team heading to Foxboro this week has almost nothing in common with the players who clashed with Bruschi, Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison in those epic battles of the early 2000's.
Still, before we all go soft and doughy about the NFL's next great QB and a coach who battled cancer, let's not forget the following. The Colts fans are the same delusional people who argued that Peyton Manning was superior to Tom Brady for the better part of a decade. Adam Vinatieri is still our legendary ex-kicker who decided to leave town and shack up with our bitter rivals, and has one more ring than Tom Brady to show for it. And no matter how likeable this Colts team may be, they're still the ones standing between the Lombardi trophy and the New England Patriots and looking to put an end to this team's incredible season.
So is this rivalry anywhere near as huge as it used to be? No. But if you can't get up for this game with everything that's on the line and all the history between these two franchises, then you don't love New England Patriots football.