Colts punter Pat McAfee is walking up a wooded driveway northeast of Indianapolis on a warm and muggy Wednesday afternoon.
The homeowner is not expecting him.
“PAUL,” he yells.
The landscapers look up.
“Hey, you guys are the best,” he tells them.
“No, you’re the best, man,” they respond.
After greeting his wife at the door, he’s directed down to the shop where Paul Romine is working. And by the time he arrives, he’s standing outside to greet him.
“My wife called me on the phone. She’s screaming, ‘Pat McAfee!’ And I go, ‘Pat McAfee, what are you talking about?’ I thought maybe someone was breaking in the house or something. So, I went out there and sure enough, there you guys are.”
A season ticket member from the very first season, Romine and his wife, Barbara, have been loyal fans of the Indianapolis Colts ever since.
“I wasn’t an Indianapolis Colts historian, but from what I’ve heard, before the days of The Sheriff from Tennessee showing up here, the days weren’t always bright,” says McAfee. “For the loyal fans that ever since 1984, for the people that just came in and accepted and embraced the Colts and they still have to this day, that’s a true test of the fanhood of what Indianapolis is.”
Dropping in randomly on eight season ticket members in the area, McAfee was met with a few no answers.
“Probably because they’re working,” he says. “They have to afford these tickets too, I respect that. But it’s fun to meet the fan base, meet Colts Nation. And that’s really what it’s all about.”
A few minutes later, he makes a pit stop at lemonade stand on the side of the road.
“I respect the entrepreneurial spirit here,” he tells the kids. “It is 150 degrees and you are out here hustling. I like it. I like the hustle. I respect the work ethic.”
And the lemonade wasn’t bad either.
“How much are they, 50 cents? This is all I’ve got. You guys are robbing me here. Here’s $46. Don’t spend it all in one spot. Save your money.”
On the way back to the car, he finds another bill in his other pocket. He returns and drops it in their bin. The kids look up at him in astonishment, then look at each other and giggle.
“What are you going to tell your parents?” I ask them.
“I don’t think they’ll believe us,” one of the girls says.
As he walks up to the next house, McAfee utters, “This is my realtor.”
His realtor isn’t home. But McAfee calls him and he’s on his way. When Jeff Kucic pulls into his driveway, McAfee is sitting on his front steps.
“I can’t wait to give you what I’m about to give you,” he tells him. “As a respected season ticket member, it is my honor to show up at a house I partially paid for and give you your season tickets.”
Kucic says he and his wife have been season ticket members for many years.
“Pat wasn’t even thought of when we got our first season tickets.”
After making a delivery across the street, McAfee walks up to a home a few blocks away and rings the doorbell. He’s looking into the front door, through the house, and into the backyard.
“There’s somebody by the pool. It’s a girl. She’s in a bikini.”
When she eventually comes to the door, McAfee hands her the tickets and thanks her.
“I’m Mary. I’m actually not part of the French family, but I’m at their house laying out,” she says.
— Christian French (@c_french12) July 20, 2016
Mary not only got a nice tan, but a good story to go with it.
“Is this the Bigelow Family?” McAfee asks the woman who answers the door at the next house.
“Yes, it is,” she says.
“These are your season tickets for this year. We wanted to thank you so much for your loyal season ticket membership and just tell you how much we appreciate you,” he says. “We think your air conditioning is really fantastic.”
After inviting us in, Kristen Bigelow is a little surprised and a little overwhelmed.
“I can’t believe you’re at my house right now. My husband passed away seven years ago from pancreatic cancer and the Colts every year donate a package of tickets and VIP stuff. So, we appreciate the Colts, we really do,” she says. “We have a golf outing this weekend. It’s called the Bigelow Open and that’s what all this stuff is for.”
“You want this jersey signed?” McAfee says. And then does so without hesitation.
Just days away from the start of training camp, Pat McAfee is out delivering season tickets to Colts fans. A show of appreciation, he calls it, and preparation for next week.
“Getting our here, sweating, and meeting Colts Nation is exactly what it’s going to be like at training camp next week in Anderson. So, it’s not that bad at all.
It’s also a great reminder of why they do it.
“We are obviously in the entertainment business, the football business, but we’re really in the memory making business,” says Larry Hall, Colts Vice President of Ticket Operations and Guest Services. “And today, we definitely made some memories.”
To get on the wait list to become a Colts season ticket member, visit: http://www.colts.com/tickets/season-tickets/waitinglist.html.