They did their research.
“I’ve gone to the combine,” said Scott Thompson. “I pay attention to little diamonds in the rough. I like to watch a lot of the preseason games and watch certain guys that look like they might have some potential and I’ll keep them in my back pocket waiting for the opportunity to pick them up.”
They made their picks.
“I had a lot of Falcons on the team, so Devonta Freeman was a big one for me,” said Adam Miller. “They got me through the fantasy season.”
They managed their rosters.
“I had a lot of injuries on my team, so I had to keep picking up players and I just happened to pick up some good ones,” said Vicki Smith.
They’re all Colts season ticket members.
On Thursday night, the league winners were invited to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to have dinner and claim their prizes.
“Colts season ticket members that win their fantasy football leagues get an individual trophy that is specifically tailored to what they want to put on it. It can be their team name or just a catch phrase. In addition to that, they get a $50 gift card,” said Larry Hall, vice president of ticket operations and guest services for the Colts. “And the overall champion, the champion of all champions – there’s a very sophisticated way the league determines who that is – they get a pre-game sideline visit to a game this fall.”
And the guy who handed out the trophies was a guy who’s put together an actual football team, Colts general manager Chris Ballard.
“Congratulations to all of you,” he said. “Lord knows, from all my friends who play fantasy football, I don’t think I’d be very good at it.”
Even though he does the job in real life, Ballard said he tries to stay away from giving fantasy football advice to friends and family.
“They always ask me for advice and I mess their weeks up,” he laughed. “I’ve given them guys that end up on IR week two.”
As a fantasy football manager, you expect to get some good-natured ribbing from your buddies. But as a general manager of an NFL team, you’ve got to have some pretty thick skin.
“We get ribbings from everybody,” Ballard said, “including my own household.”
Afterwards, Ballard spent time taking pictures and chatting with fans.
They may be fantasy football owners, but he said Colts season ticket members are a real part of the organization and play a key role in the team’s success.
“We can’t do anything without their help and their support and we need them all,” he said. “We need every Colts fan in the state of Indiana to get on board and come with us and help support us.”
And that’s why the Colts do a fantasy football league specifically for season ticket members.
“The season ticket members are the foundation of our fan base and lifeblood of our organization,” said Hall. “Without them, we’re not who we are today. We know going forward that they’re the people who are going to see us through rough times and help celebrate with us when things are going well.”
The fans in attendance were excited about the coming season. They like what see so far and can’t wait to watch it come together on the field.
“We’ve still got a ways to go. This is just a part of the process and a part of the step,” said Ballard. “Each step of the way, we don’t ever look forward. We want to be the best that we can today and that will help our future.”
You better your team – one step at a time, one player at a time, one day at a time – in fantasy and in real life. In hopes that one day, you’ll hoist that trophy.
For the Colts season ticket member fantasy league champions, Thursday was that day.
“We are definitely in the memory making business,” said Hall. “And for these folks, tonight was another one of those positive memories.”
For information on becoming a Colts season ticket member, go to: http://www.colts.com/tickets/season-tickets/index.html.