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INDIANAPOLIS – The message is pretty clear from Jim Irsay.
When talking about a specific goal for the 2019 season, Irsay has gone out of his way to let the public know:
We need to get one of the top two seeds in the AFC, and play with some homefield in the playoffs.
“We are talking about wanting to be two games away from the Super Bowl and staying at home (for those two games),” Irsay says. “That’s what we want to do. That’s not easy. If you do that, it really sets you for a tremendous opportunity for greatness. Every game matters, because you can’t have many losses if you want to be one of the two top seeds…
“Everyone here understands how hard it is just to win, or just to be a playoff team, or be an elite playoff team, who does get homefield advantage and is two home games away from a Super Bowl. That’s where we are trying to get.”
Earning one of the top seeds in the AFC, which would guarantee a bye into the Divisional Round and at least one home playoff game, will be no easy task for the Colts.
The last time they had a bye was a decade ago. In the Andrew Luck era, the Colts have never been higher than the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
In 2019, the Colts will embark on a difficult slate of games, while which will not ease their pursuit of playing inside of Lucas Oil Stadium during the month of January.
Last year, Irsay and the Colts saw firsthand in the playoffs of what life can be like trying to win road game after road game.
Things in Arrowhead did not go according to plan at all in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs.
The Colts Owner is adamant that the Colts need to remember that feeling and learn from it.
“We knew going into KC how tough it was going to be to play,” Irsay says. “It was, but at the same time I think we can do some things better. The offensive line just really got to a point where it was trending upward. It seemed to kind of plateau in KC. In those weather conditions, you expect those guys up front (to win).
“We want to be a physical team and fight in the mud and snow on the road. We are not a finesse team. We are a physical team. We are a tough, physical team.”
Perhaps more so than any NFL owner, Irsay is never afraid to publicly state his goals and aspirations for his franchise.
Sustained success, with multiple Super Bowl victories, remains on the forefront of Irsay’s mind.
“Obviously, we have to learn to play with expectations now because that wasn’t the case for a few years,” the Owner says. “I just have a certainty in my heart that this organization is going to bring a parade and that Lombardi Trophy is going to be risen again down Main Street. It will happen. I promise it will. I have never felt so certain about something in my life.
“At the same time, when I’ve said, ‘Three (Super Bowl victories) in a row.’ How can you get up and go to work without wanting to be the absolute best? No other thinking makes any sense to me…that’s the vision I have. I have the vision that the Indianapolis Colts are going to be known as one of the greatest franchises that ever existed. For us to do that, we have to be generationally successful and we are onto the new generation. There’s no secret on that. It’s still hard. It’s still hard to win in this league.”
The short-term goal here in 2019?
Go get that bye and earn some homefield in January.
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