Lucas Oil Stadium and Indianapolis Colts logo

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos

When one thinks of intimidating sporting atmospheres, you tend to think of the "yellow wall" in Dortmund, the tunnel at Red Star's Rajko Mitić Stadium, the Seattle Seahawks's twelfth man, the raucous crowd inside the home of the New Orleans Saints, or the people who get the words to "Molly Malone" wrong (the streets are broad and narrow, not wide for Pete's sake) at the Madejski Stadium. Spine tingling stuff, especially that last one.

Outside Lucas Oil Stadium before the Colts vs. Broncos game
A lonely lamppost illuminates fans outside Lucas Oil Stadium so that the sun doesn't have to.

Presumably inspired by the "yellow wall", there has been a growing trend for teams to insist on their fans all committing a fashion faux pas by turning up to games dressed in the same outfit. Penn State's "White Out" soon evolved into "black outs" at other stadiums, or, in the case of the Los Angeles Rams, "red outs" where the fans are encouraged to come disguised as seats.

It does seem a strange idea that camouflaging one's self to the stadium's dominant seat colour would intimidate visiting teams of highly paid professional athletes, but maybe it's designed to lure them into a false sense of security of thinking the stadium is empty and filled with obnoxious, drunk ghosts.

Indianapolis Colts flags outside Lucas Oil Stadium
With its brick façade and horse paraphernalia, one could be forgiven for thinking they were outside Ascot Racecourse.

In what would be great news for fans of Dr. Tobias Fünke and/or the Blue Man Group, it just so happened to be the turn of the Indianapolis Colts to join in this single colour fun. They were hosting their annual 'Blue Out' against the Denver Broncos, in what I can only assume is referred to in the media as the equine derby.

It probably wasn't helped by the fact that many Colts fans, perhaps feeling cocky because their team shut down two of the best and brightest stars in the NFL (Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Houston's Deshaun Watson) in consecutive weeks, seemed to have given up their tickets to Broncos fans. Did they really not want to see former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco?

A band playing on the stage inside Lucas Oil Stadium
Nothing like a literal stage to set the stage for the afternoon's entertainment.

This resulted in a large orange splattering scattered around a sea of blue, like discarded traffic cones floating in the ocean. But here I was dressed in a Colts t-shirt, and blue jeans to really add that intimidation factor. I blue myself for the cause.

It remains to be seen what effect this had on the visiting team, especially one led by someone as cool, calm and collected as Joe Flacco. But it was intimidating enough to knock this delicate little foal out for the rest of the season. Mission accomplished everyone.

Indianapolis Colts players running onto the field before their game against the Denver Broncos
Stallions burst out of the starting gate.

Lucas Oil Stadium was a far different beast this time when compared to my last visit. For starters, the place was full (mostly) and most importantly of all, the bucket drummers in the tunnels leading to the stadium were out in full force, signifying this was an occasion of great importance.

Fans were gathered in their thousands outside, taking part in a proper tailgate (and not the 'definitely not a tailgate' tailgate that the London Games put on), drinking excessively, and/or engaging in all the weird and wonderful activities that you have the space to put on when your 60,000+ capacity stadium isn't crammed into a residential street.

Inside Lucas Oil Stadium
And we're off!

Once inside, gone were the hastily painted yellow lines on the field, all the stands were open, the concourses were a hive of activity (all the concession stands were open), the smell of hot dogs filled the air and everyone was being handed an anti-drugs flyer at every conceivable step.

The noise inside the stadium for a domestic game on the gridiron is light years away from the flat atmosphere of the London Games, plagued by Mexican waves and all the teams seemingly being represented by fans apart from the two who were actually forced to make the trip over. But hey, we got free flags here too. And these flags can be fixed to your car!

The half time bottle race at Lucas Oil Stadium
Arguably greater than any horse race.

The arrival of unwanted visiting fans, who I'd imagine definitely made the 1,083 mile journey from Empower Field at Mile High to Lucas Oil Stadium in a supporters' coach (that happens, right?), in my section provided some further intrigue to the experience as well as proof that it's not just English football fans who are insufferable.

Of course, they're not completely like English football fans since they are deemed to be responsible adults who can drink alcohol in their seats, and they are able to wear their team's jersey and mingle with fans of the home team without fear of having their heads kicked in because they're not complete morons.

Banners hung in the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium
The stadium's rafters come in handy, allowing the team to air-dry their commemorative tea towels.

But they did spend the entire game exuding smugness. So it was a delight to see the grown man who had spent the whole game ribbing the home fans around him (and had made the conscious decision to go out in public in a bright orange wig) slump dejectedly down in his seat when the Colts took their first lead of the game, with just 22 seconds to spare. From blue out, to blew it.

Speaking of blowing it, this game winning feat was made more astonishing by the fact it came straight from the boot of the ageless wonder, Adam Vinatieri, who is widely accepted to be the GOAT 🐐 (that revolting acronym for the impossible to measure title of greatest of all time that seems to have entered sports lexicon in recent years) in his position.

Indianapolis Colts taking prepare to take an offensive snap against the Denver Broncos
The new prize steed gets ready to carry his team to success (after the old one pulled up lame and had to be put down).

Unfortunately, Vinatieri, who has been playing since before the sport was even invented and probably kicked the very first field goal in American football history*, has been significantly less effective than an actual goat so far this season.

Despite playing in perhaps the most volatile position in any sport, where you can lose your job based off a single mistake in one game, Vinatieri has managed to extend his illustrious career with kicks displaying all the accuracy of a rocket fired by Abu Hajaar, without the Colts doing anything about it.

Adam Vinatieri kicking a game winning field goal for the Indianapolis Colts
An old goat makes a last second kick for a team of horses against another team of horses.

So when he stepped forward with time expiring (having predictably missed one field goal and one extra point attempt already), there was a sense of dread amongst the people dressed in blue who had bothered to stay to the end of this tight, but drab affair. Incredibly his 51-yard field goal attempt floated through the uprights to give the Colts the win, and this blog the most detailed description of any on-field action in a sporting event I've attended so far. Don't get used to it.

A lucky escape this time, but it won't be long before he costs the Colts another game. Maybe it's time to put this old horse (or goat) out to pasture, just like the remains of those free flags that were found strewn across the shoulder on I-465 on the drive home.

*Citation needed.

Useless information about Lucas Oil Stadium

Address: 500 South Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46225
Capacity: 67,000
Pitch Type: Artificial
Ticket Price: $148
Program(me): Free (why is there a $6 price on it?), 130 pages

Indianapolis Colts 2019 season ticket

Indianapolis Colts 2019 season program