Despite the ups and downs, the highs and lows over the years, we Colts fans love our team. Even though they sometimes often make us want to pull our hair out, and lead us to social media to vent our frustrations, going as far as to exclaim we're done with them and will never watch another game again. A statement that always rings hollow, because we know full well we'll be right back in front of the TV the following week trying to cheer them on to another victory, or cursing them again for making a boneheaded play. We're loyal to a fault, and as it turns out when it comes to the other teams in the NFL, that loyalty is some of the best in the league.

I often argue that being a Colts fan may be worse than being a fan of a consistently bad team like the Jaguars, Jets, or Lions. With those teams, I assume fans go into a season with low expectations. I also assume those teams, and others like them, have lost a number of fans over the years because of their consistently terrible play. While longtime Colts fans also suffered through many, many terrible seasons after the team moved from Baltimore to Indy in 1984, the arrival of Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and a host of others ushered in a new era of Colts football. One that actually won — a lot. Year after year from roughly 1999 until 2010, the team was considered a Super Bowl contender. They had one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, built a strong supporting cast around him (offensively, anyway), and made annual appearances in the playoffs. They'd post 12, 13, and 14 wins seasons in the regular season and go into the playoffs looking unstoppable. That is until they were stopped by a team that, on paper, shouldn't have stopped them in the first round of the playoffs. Or worse yet, they'd make it to the AFC Championship game, one win away from a Super Bowl appearance, only to be shut down by someone like the %@&*^ New England Patriots.

After Manning left in 2012, the team drafted Andrew Luck who many analysts argued was the best quarterback prospect since Manning. Without missing much of a beat, the team went to the playoffs in Luck's first three seasons, advancing one game closer to another Super Bowl appearance each year, and giving fans hope that more Lombardi Trophies were on the way. Of course, that never happened as Luck decided to retire just before the start of the 2019 season.

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My point is because the team was so good for so long, and both team and fan expectations were high, the fact they would either get so close to a Super Bowl berth and miss or get bounced from the playoffs early when they shouldn't have, is more heartwrenching that being a fan of a team that always sucks.

However, here we are, you and me, following the team in the offseason, getting excited about players they draft or free agents they sign, putting on our team gear on Sundays (or Thursdays or Mondays, or even the occasional Saturday late in the season), sitting in front of the TV, and thinking "this is the year." Are we dumb? Are we gluttons for punishment? Do we enjoy disappointment? No, no, and no. We do it because we're loyal. At some point, whether it was pre-Manning, post-Manning, or somewhere in between, we hitched our wagons to this team and committed to riding with them through thick and thin. And, we're one of the best in the league at it, according to the numbers.

Bookies.com recently looked at home game attendance from ESPN for every team in the NFL over a 10-year span (2010-2019). After crunching the numbers, the results show the Colts fanbase (you and I), are the second most loyal in the entire league over that time period with an average attendance percentage of 102.2%. Who's the only team with a more loyal fanbase? The Dallas Cowboys at 103.2%.

How can a stadium have over 100% capacity? According to Bookies the number is, "attributed to additional fans in hospitality or standing-room-only sections."

So, while our team may not always make us proud with the way they play, it hasn't been enough to drive us away. Personally, I don't see them doing anything that would make me re-think my fandom. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, are all part of the experience. And I'll be there for all of it.

Visit Bookies.com to see where other teams landed on the list.

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