Your favorite reality show is back, Indianapolis Colts fans, featuring new characters, new plotlines and Reggie Wayne's Weekly Words of Wisdom.
(Spoiler alert: Contrary to rumors, Peyton Manning will not return in a dream sequence where Dwight Freeney wakes up and says, “They want me to do what!?!”)
It's time to meet the characters of “Colts.”
Let's look at the stars of this 16-episode NFL reality show that will entertain, delight and possibly frustrate you until 2013.
The Boss Man
Jim Irsay made the boldest move of any NFL executive since ever when he brought Manning back to Indy, gave him a gold watch for service and hugged him goodbye. It was a ratings extravaganza. This season, Irsay will sit in his luxury suite, Bob Dylan lyrics swirling through his head, his smart phone tapped into Twitter, and ponder his unbelievable Luck. Andrew Luck, that is.
The Day (and Night) Trader
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is a lock for the league's award for “GM Most Likely to Bench-Press Offensive Linemen.” More importantly, Grigson will keep investigating ways to make the Colts better without simply trading rosters with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Rookie Coach
Chuck Pagano boasts a name that sounds like a football coach, gruff and aggressive. In the show, Pagano appears to have a little more wide-ranging makeup. He brings an enthusiasm and extroverted approach that contrasts greatly with Jim “The Mannequin” Caldwell. The fact Pagano has only coached defense prior to this year shouldn't be too problematic. “Let's let Andrew wing it,” sounds like solid coaching strategy.
There's no pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck, other than the fact he has to at least look like one of the Manning brothers, preferably in a playoff game rather than a credit-card commercial. Luck will face plenty of adversity this season, starting with the episode where the Chicago Bears try to rip off his head and throw it onto Lake Shore Drive. Another highlight will be Episode 10, when he duels the evil Lord Belichick.
The Rock Star
The live “Colts” audience loves to chant wide receiver Reggie Wayne's name. He's the one beloved offensive star back from the Manning glory seasons. Wayne may not be as fast as he once was, but his character's role has expanded to include lining up everywhere, going in motion and dispensing advice. His favorite piece of veteran guidance: “Hey, Andrew, throw it to me.”
The Tight End Twins
Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen play back-to-back highly drafted tight ends. They're big, fast, easily available targets for Luck when the pressure's on. They could establish a healthy intrasquad rivalry. Who'll catch the most passes this season? Fleener played with Luck at Stanford, but Allen's a shiny new target with a personality that never met a camera he didn't like.
The Sack Artist
Robert Mathis spent his entire career as a defensive end. This season, he'll line up at outside linebacker, pacing back and forth, eyeballing and scaring the living daylights out of quarterbacks who'll see him coming but won't know if they can get out of the way. He's the proverbial quarterback killer with the heart of gold.
Dwight Freeney wants to be called a Rushman, instead of a defensive end or outside linebacker. Rushman. As the highest-paid player in the NFL this season (salary +bonuses), he's under weekly pressure to produce. If he doesn't nail some sacks early, show reviewers will start logging “millions per sack” stats. No one wants that.
Smurf 1 and Smurf 2
T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill have almost everything a quarterback wants in a receiver. They have good hands. They have speed. They have intelligence. They're just a little tiny. Good thing Luck is tall enough to see them. They'll also regularly open episodes this season with a performance called “The Kick Return Extravaganza.”
The Adopted Son
Vontae Davis served as a coaches' foil when he starred on another show, “Hard Knocks.” But now that the cornerback has joined the cast of “Colts,” he'll try to be like Antoine Bethea and Jerraud Powers, who add some quality supporting-cast flavor, but never try to steal the show.
Tom Zbikowski moved in from Baltimore and portrays a character based on every slightly unpredictable role inhabited by Nicolas Cage. Zibby will hit hard, and also be in danger of knocking an opponent, and himself, out of the game.
It's short for Redding, as in Cory Redding. His character is the savvy dispenser of NFL knowledge. He's Yoda, if Yoda were 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and could dispense "the Force" with his bare hands.
Vinny and Pat
Vinny's the kicker (Adam Vinatieri) and Pat's the punter (Pat McAfee). The Colts don't plan on having too many episodes revolve around them, although Pat provides comic relief via @PatMcAfeeShow on Twitter.
Those are the main characters of “Colts.” Enjoy. And remember, if this show fails to delight, you can always switch to an episode of “Two-And-A-Half Mannings.”