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Mike Beas: Colts are a model franchise

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Certain followers of professional sports steadfastly believe two world championships in a five-year window constitutes a dynasty. Meanwhile, others covet more, say three or four locker room champagne soakings for the same group of players over a similar time span.

Utterly clueless are those who hear 'dynasty' and think prime-time soap opera guilty of peaking around 1985. Sorry, but until John Forsythe or Joan Collins starts slinging spirals, scooping grounders or draining 22-footers, they fail to meet the requirements.

A victory Sunday over New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV and the Indianapolis Colts have their second view from the National Football League's mountaintop in four seasons. Qualifications suitable for serious D-word consideration, one would think.

Yet when you think about it, this franchise, the one that averaged five wins during its first three seasons in our capital city and bottomed out in 1991 with a 1-15 record, has reached up and touched the stars these past 11 years with or without the dynasty tag.

Since 1999, Indianapolis has won 72-percent of its regular-season matchups (126 of 174), qualified for the postseason 10 times and used its professional, good-guy quality to pull in thousands, if not millions, of new supporters. And that's just outside of Indiana.

It would be interesting to know how many newborns, particularly in the Midwest, have left the hospital with the name Peyton over the last decade. That's boys and girls. And, really, don't most of us have at least one friend whose dog or cat is named Peyton? Imagine if Indy's quarterback was making residual income off his first name.

To a lesser extent, the same goes for Dallas, Marvin, Dwight, Reggie, Bob, Dominic, Joseph, Adam, Pierre and Anthony. The Dallas Cowboys might still promote themselves as America's Team, but I have to believe Indianapolis, small market and all, has shoved the Big 'D' aside.

Peyton Manning's rock-chiseled likeness accompanies those of Kobe, LeBron, and Tiger on the Mount Rushmore of professional sports; under the watchful eyes of owner Jim Irsay and team president Bill Polian, the Colts win and lose with class because, frankly, that's what they draft and pull off the waiver wire.

Sounds simple, huh? Apparently it's not judging by the way some organizations struggle year after year. Funny thing is, it's been going on so long that Colts fans are beginning to take it for granted. Twelve-win season . . . no problem. Playoff berth . . . no problem. All-Pro quarterback who makes amusing commercials and still finds time to shred defenses designed to stop him . . . no problem.

Sunday's game against New Orleans is the golden opportunity Indianapolis has been waiting for to prove it's not some one-hit wonder. Win or lose, the Colts long ago made themselves the model franchise not only in professional football, but all of sports.

In other words, here it is, hours from the opening kickoff, and we've already won.

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