Not gonna lie: This list is a lot easier to write than the “best” moments list. It was a rough year in Indiana sports. Plenty to choose from this year! Let’s get down to it! Prepare to want to pop a Zoloft afterwards!
5. IU Basketball Suspends Five For Breaking Curfew
This was an odd way to start 2022. Five IU basketball players, Xavier Johnson, Parker Stewart, Tamar Bates, Khristian Lander and Michael Durr were all suspended by Mike Woodson after they broke curfew when the Hoosiers were in Chicago to take on Northwestern. The suspensions came ahead of their game against the Wildcats and resulted in the short-handed Hoosiers losing to NU 59-51. While it5’s unfair to say the suspensions had long-lasting effects, as they were only suspended the one game, it did seem to at least effect the mojo of the team. They would rack up three more losses after Northwestern, giving them a season-high five-game losing streak and wrapping the regular season losing seven of nine. IU was part of the First Four and had to defeat Wyoming in order to take on Saint Mary’s, only to get routed by the Gaels 82-53.
4. The Press Conference From Hell
November 7th, 2022 may end up being one of the wilder days in Colts history books when we’re all dead and gone. That was something. The day started with word that Frank Reich had been fired as head coach of the Colts, just mere hours after the team lost to the New England Patriots in a one-sided effort, knocking them to 3-5-1. The real shock came later in the day when the Colts announced that Jeff Saturday, who had been regularly featured on ESPN programming (as well as Kevin & Query) was named the interim head coach despite not having any head coaching experience above the high school level.
The truly bizarre cherry on top was the late night press conference featuring Saturday, owner Jim Irsay and a visibly uncomfortable Chris Ballard. Irsay did most of the talking from defending his out of the box decision to hire Saturday, fiercely defending Ballard’s resume and Ballard retorting that local media was on him about wide receivers and now the offensive line was playing poorly. Jeff Saturday played third fiddle at his own introductory press conference and it gave the whole organization a national black eye and sound bytes for years to come. Sadly, this is not the last time the Colts make the list.
3. The Colts Do Little To Address Huge Needs
The Colts were fresh off of shipping Carson Wentz off to the Washington Commanders and the hope was that the team was going to use their draft capital to potentially draft a QB and add some weapons offensively. Instead, the Colts went veteran Band-Aid approach again when they traded for Matt Ryan. Was it a great draft class for quarterback? It isn’t looking that way. But the Colts also believed they were only a quarterback away from contending, which clearly was not the case.
On top of that, the lack of additions at wide receiver/tight end/offensive line would prove to be major errors in the 2022 season. The team was confident in Matt Pryor being the starting left tackle. They spoke almost defiantly when it came to their young, inexperienced wide receiver group and they put a ton of stock in their highly compensated offensive line. Those decisions all ended up having major impacts on the season, none of them for the positive.
2. The Shine Is Off Tom Allen
Tom Allen was the cream of the crop in the minds of Hoosiers fans in 2021, coming off a 6-2 season and Outback Bowl appearance it seemed like IU found their man. 2021 was an utter disaster, going 2-10 and 0-9 in Big Ten conference play. Surely, just a bump in the road before the return to greatness, right? Wrong. The Hoosiers had another poor season, going 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten. They lost seven straight games at one point and they rounded out their season with an embarrassing 30-16 loss to arch rival Purdue in the Old Oaken Bucket game.
Cameras caught Tom Allen’s speech ahead of the game where he screamed “RELENTLESS!” while players rolled their eyes and looked like they’d rather be anywhere else at that point. It appears 2020 was truly an outlier for Tom Allen’s tenure at Indiana but unfortunately he’s under contract through the 2027 season and has one of the richest contracts in all of college football. Unless boosters are ready to pony up, this could be Tom Allen’s show for the foreseeable future and it looks like it’s one that should have been cancelled a couple of seasons ago.
1. The 2022 Colts Season
What else could possibly have been #1? It wasn’t one game. It wasn’t one moment. It’s been a whole slew of moments and embarrassment after embarrassment in a truly awful season for the Indianapolis Colts. Coming off a season where they lost their final two games and missed the playoffs it seemed unthinkable that they would get off to yet another slow start. Well, they opened the season by having to rally from a 17-point deficit just to tie the lowly the Houston Texans. They followed that up by getting completely embarrassed once again by the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-0. A miracle came in Week 3 when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs but that fluke win brought no sustained success.
They immediately followed it up with a loss to the Titans, won the most boring game of the 2022 season against the Broncos and beat the Jaguars before losing three straight to the Titans, a Carson Wentz-less Commanders and the Patriots. In that stretch the Colts fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, averaged a league-worst 14.1 points per game, benched Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger, fired Frank Reich and hired Jeff Saturday away from ESPN before going back to Matt Ryan. Saturday’s arrival was good for one win against the Raiders before dropping five straight games and being losers of eight of their last nine games, including humiliating nationally televised games against the Cowboys (54-19) and blowing the largest lead (33-0 at one point) in NFL history to lose to the Minnesota Vikings (39-36).
There are still somehow two games left in this season, which seems like it’s lasted three years. The Colts are now on to Nick Foles at quarterback. They’ve been without Jonathan Taylor and Shaq Leonard the majority of the season. The offensive line and all three quarterbacks have been atrocious. The young, inexperienced wide receivers are just that as well as inconsistent and once this season ends there will be nothing fans can hang their hat on to be optimistic for 2023.
By all accounts, Chris Ballard will be back as GM. He’ll be in charge of using the Colts top-10 draft pick to find the team’s next quarterback and fix the offensive line he assembled and paid handsomely. The Colts will also be searching for a new head coach. Is that man Jeff Saturday? And how appealing is the organization after a season of being the NFL’s punchline? Time will tell when we flip the calendar to 2023 but 2022 has been a year to absolutely forget for the Indianapolis Colts. Let’s never do a season like this ever again.