Colts superfan adjusts to watching season amid pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS – Colts fans are behind the team, whether they’re watching games from home this season or among the few in-person at Lucas Oil Stadium. One fan who’s been there since day one said the pandemic won’t get him down.

“It was great to be back doing something that I love so much and cheering for my team and watching them win,”

John Bratton may be the Colts biggest superfan. He was one of the 2,500 to attend the first home game this season.

“’The Colts were amazing at how they tried to make people feel welcome,” Bratton said. “Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis greets us at the door, which is great.”

He admits the 2020 season is different, but the team has had his unwavering support since 1984, from the minute they arrived in Indy.

“I was excited, and my mom said, ‘Let’s go down to [L. S.] Ayers, I think they have shirts,’” Bratton recalled. “We ran to Ayres Department Store downtown, and we bought Colts shirts before they ever played a game.”

Over the years, as Bratton’s collection of Colts shirts grew so did his love for the team. Until this year, he’s only missed about six games ever.

“It’s just grown to a passion over that long period of time,” he said.

Bratton may be familiar to other Colts fans. Anyone with a ticket for Peyton Manning’s return to Indy with the Broncos in 2013 likely saw Bratton.

“Tickets came in the mail one day, and there I was on the ticket,” Bratton said. “It just wasn’t any ticket, it was the ticket which was the Peyton Manning comeback game.”

Now fast forward to 2020 and this season being played amid a pandemic. Bratton will see more games at home than ever before, but his team continues to have his support.

“The organization and the NFL have done an amazing job of keeping COVID out of their facilities so that the players can play,” Bratton said. “I guess that’s my message, thank you for doing the right stuff to make it so we can watch.”

Bratton is a physical education teacher at Hamilton Southeastern Schools. When he retires, he said his dream job is to work in a Colts museum and tell other fans Colts stories from over the years.

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