Indianapolis gives right tone for America’s major game
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
With a major interest shown in the sport, Indianapolis proves to be the right place for hosting this weekend’s Super Bowl.The National Football League (NFL) relishes associating the Super Bowl with celebrity and glamour, but the choice of Indianapolis as host for this year’s game has struck a more authentic tone.
It could be felt already on Tuesday, five days out from the clash between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, as fans of all ages, decked out in the local Indianapolis Colts’ blue and white colors, bustle around the compact city centre.
That didn’t happen last year in freezing Dallas nor in past years have Floridian fans turned out in Tampa and Miami days before the game in local team jerseys. The air of anticipation could also be felt among the 7,300 fans who bought tickets to attend Media Day activities at the Lucas Oil Stadium, deep in downtown, listening in to interviews on headsets while sat in the stands.
The capital of Indiana, “The Crossroads of America” is home to the Indianapolis 500 motor race, has frequently hosted the hugely popular NCAA college basketball tournament and is home to an NBA team the Indiana Pacers as well as a century-old minor league baseball team - who like the Colts, live right in the centre of town.
The warm response that former Colts head coach Tony Dungy received on Jan. 31 from volunteers was a reminder of the status of his team.
Dungy’s Colts won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2006 season, beating the Chicago Bears with quarterback Peyton Manning named the Most Valuable Player.
“At its core, Indianapolis is still a basketball city, always has been and always will be. But since Peyton Manning showed up in ‘98, there’s been a major transformation,” Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz told Reuters. “Once upon a time, the Colts would play Miami and there would be as many aqua jerseys as there were Colts blue jerseys. But as the team got better and started winning big, this town fell in love with the Colts.”
Peyton Manning is in the headlines this week as he fights to get back to fitness after missing the entire season with a neck injury and his brother Eli, the Giants quarterback, who will be center stage.
“It’s been great. Indianapolis has done a great job - the people, the town, the city has really welcomed the Giants and our organization,” said Eli.