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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fans of the Indianapolis Colts have only a few hours to wait until their team takes on the Los Angeles Chargers for Monday Night Football on WISH-TV.

Being in the “fighting spirit” is one way to describe Colts fans who are ready to see the team’s matchup against the Chargers.

One of those fans is Rick Stevens, better known by his social media handle, “Colts Caveman.”

Stevens is known for dressing up in Colts gear at games, and at home, he has a room decked out in wall-to-wall Colts swag to show his support.

Stevens tells News 8 that despite a rough season, he’s committed for the long haul. He says that dedicated fans like himself are proud to cheer on the Colts and that Monday Night Football games are some of the best games all year.

“As a Colts fan, I love the primetime games. I love that we’re the only show in town. I love that we get highlighted and the spotlight is on the Colts and the Colts organization. I’m still a Colts fan. I still want them to win. I still want them to be that team,” Stevens said.

Stevens also says Monday Night Football is a chance for fans to support initiatives like the Irsay family’s “Kicking the Stigma” initiative, which helps bring support and awareness to mental health issues.

Join WISH-TV for Monday Night Football

WISH-TV is proud to be your home for live and exclusive coverage of the Monday Night Football matchup between the Colts and the Chargers. Pregame coverage begins at 4 p.m. and kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Stay tuned to WISH-TV after the action for postgame coverage with News 8 sports director Anthony Calhoun and his team.

Colts fans will have several chances to join WISH-TV for some Monday Night Football fun:

Be part of the excitement and show your support

Colts fans are encouraged to be part of a “Blue Out” by wearing blue. Fans will receive a free blue Colts flag and the players will wear their all-blue “Color Rush” uniforms.

The “Colts Light Show,” presented by Coca-Cola, will happen during pregame player introductions and for a halftime performance featuring the Colts Cheerleaders and Colts Drumline.

Fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium can join the show by downloading the latest version of the Colts app and using it to sync their smartphone’s flashlight to the music.

Colts light show graphic. (Provided Photo/Indianapolis Colts)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just steps away from the Colts field, you can get up close and personal with monster racecars and monster engines.

“This is just raw power, and you kind of get a look at how raw they really are,” Morgan Lucas, who raced top fuel dragsters professionally for over a decade, said. “You never get used to the adrenaline rush.”

His face lights up when talking about the dragster he raced.

“It’s a 500 cubic inch engine,” Lucas said. “Each cylinder having a bomb go off each time the motor turns a revolution.”

That dragster is now prominently displayed in the north end zone entrance to Lucas Oil Stadium for anyone coming to enjoy a Colts game.

“For people to be able to come up, and touch, and feel, and see this it’s really a sense of pride,” Lucas said.

The Lucas family is also proud of the other things displayed around the north end zone entrance.

“Every one of the cars, and boats, and airplanes in here have all been actual vehicles that have been on the track at some point in time,” Lucas said.

He wants people to be inspired when they walk through this area of the stadium.

“Hopefully this excites some young kids to understand cars and engines and, you know, maybe continue some of that generational aspect of where we came from from a racing standpoint. But, also, how these things have really been the evolution of gas powered engines to these giant monsters that are doing things that really shouldn’t be done,” Lucas said.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Eight weeks after being demoted to the Colts third string quarterback, veteran Nick Foles finds himself in the driver’s seat in Indianapolis.

On Wednesday afternoon, Colts Interim Head Coach Jeff Saturday announced the demotion of Matt Ryan in favor for Foles ahead of the Monday Night Football meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers on WISH-TV.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for Matt, the way he’s handled it, he’s a true pro,” Saturday said Wednesday. “His leadership since I’ve been here is second to none. His demand on others and what he asks of himself, and it’s just unfortunate when you aren’t playing to the level you want to play to. But again, the guy busts his butt man, he is here, he works, he is doing everything he can and unfortunately it hasn’t worked out this season. But, as far of what I think of him as a person, I couldn’t think more highly of him. Even in our discussion, when I told him, he has been great. He understands. Obviously, he isn’t happy with the decision, but who would be?”  

Ryan, who leads the NFL in interceptions, total fumbles, and turnovers this season, now heads to the bench for the second time this season after being demoted ahead of Week 8 in favor of second-year Quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

Ehlinger and the Colts went 0-2 against Washington and New England. Following the dismissal of Head Coach Frank Reich, Ryan was promoted back into the starting role following the arrival of Jeff Saturday.

Ryan led a game-winning drive to hand Saturday a victory in his interim coaching debut Week 10 at Las Vegas. But following four straight losses, including the historic 33-point collapse this past weekend at Minnesota, forced Saturday to make a change.

“It’s obviously not the season he (Matt Ryan) expected nor the Colts as a whole, so I feel bad for Matt, but ultimately I feel like Nick gives us the best chance to win,” Saturday said Wednesday afternoon. “

As of Wednesday, there is no clear plan publicly on Matt Ryan’s role the rest of the season.

Jeff Saturday will wait until later this week to announce his backup quarterback against the Chargers. As for Foles, Saturday “hopes” the 11-year-pro is the guy the rest of the season, citing that it will hinge on his play.

“I just didn’t feel like me made enough plays offensively, it is no secret,” Saturday said. “We haven’t converted in the red zone and ultimately you have to make plays in the NFL. We aren’t making nearly enough explosive plays… and I’ve said this before, this is not all on Matt. This is on us and the entirety of an offensive perspective. But, ultimately that leads into it. So, I feel like Nick can give us a better chance to go and win these last three games.”

This season, Foles has exclusively run the scout team offense, with zero reps leading the first team offense. His first reps with the starters came at practice Wednesday.
For Foles Monday night will mark exactly one year since his most recent NFL start when he led Chicago to a victory in Seattle. Before that start, the last time Foles started a game was Week 11 of the 2002 season.

“It’s been a crazy year for this organization and everyone involved,” Foles said Wednesday. “I mean it’s tough, as a QB room we are really close with two great quarterbacks with Matt and Sam. The biggest thing that we always talk about is having a good group to care for each other, and that’s the most important part. We’ve really been put through the test this year with all of the different changes and once again, we are in a different change. That is what I will remember from this year is the QB room and how we always stuck together.”

When asked about this season, Foles called it a quote, “complete 180” from what he expected and reiterated that Frank Reich was “one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around.”

Foles said he still talks to Reich on a regular basis, and it appears it is likely he gets a message from his former head coach ahead of his Colts debut on Monday night.

We are the home of Monday Night Football.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jason Hammer still remembers the Monday Night Miracle.

Hammer was at a casino in Las Vegas with his wife, watching the Indianapolis Colts trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter.

“I’ve got quite a bit of cash on this game, almost to the point where my wife was going to have some serious conversations with me,” he said. “The Colts rallied, the Colts won, the biggest comeback in the history of Monday Night Football. She got a diamond ring, I got more money to play with. Great moment in gambling history.”

Now a popular radio personality on WIBC and the host of WISH-TV’s “All INdiana Bets,” Hammer said the proliferation of sports betting apps means anyone can experience that rush right here in Indiana. Gamblers can place all kinds of bets, such as how much yardage a player will get or who will score the first touchdown. He said this adds to the fan experience and can lead to a winning night even if your team loses the game.

“The in-stadium experience is like being in one of those big Las Vegas halls, right? Because you’re going to have crowd reaction,” he said. “Somebody’s probably got action on every play. And listening to the crowd’s reaction to a random handoff in the fourth quarter when your team is down by 35 lets you know who’s got action in the game, and it’s kind of fun.”

The data analytics firm GeoComply, which provides gaming app geolocation data to regulators, told News 8 it logged more than 18,400 geolocation checks from 5,200 registered users at Lucas Oil Stadium during the Colts’ last Monday night home game on Nov. 28. Russell Rhoads, a finance professor at the IU Kelley School of Business, said not all of those checks automatically mean someone is placing a bet but it’s a good measure of fan interest. Moreover, he said the in-stadium betting experience often turns into a social one, with fans trading advice and comparing notes on bets.

“It’s not one person staring at their phone like a teenager. It’s usually one person showing the odds and having a discussion around it with the people around them,” he said. “So it’s really integrated into the whole experience when you’re attending the game.”

Indiana legalized sports gambling in 2019. Data from the Indiana Gaming Commission show last year, casinos reported more than $288 million in after-tax gross receipts from online bets, accounting for 88 percent of all sports betting receipts. For comparison, traditional in-casino sports wagering returned roughly $40 million. Those two figures contributed to $31 million in gaming revenue.

Rhoads said the legalization and regulation of sports betting has made it more difficult to cheat. Just as the financial world has ways to uncover insider trading, he said legal and regulated betting apps make it easy to spot unusual activity because there is a record of every single transaction. Rhoads said the possibility of an athlete agreeing to fix a game, such as happened during the 1919 World Series, is low today. He said modern athletes’ multimillion-dollar contracts mean they have far more to lose than to gain.

Hammer said the best advice he has for gamblers is to never bet more than you’re willing to lose. He said it’s also a good idea to stay away from parlay bets, which require a whole set of games to break your way to avoid losing money.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A young student helped create a design that former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning wore on his cleats.

It was all part of the NFL initiative called My Cause My Cleats.

Meet Leanor Formo, a third-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary School and a former patient at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, who expresses herself through art.

The cleats she designed are being auctioned to raise money for the St. Vincent Foundation. The bidding by 9:20 p.m. Monday had hit $2,510.

WISH-TV will air the Colts game against the Los Angeles Chargers at 8 p.m. Dec. 26.

(Provided Photo/NFL My Cause My Cleats)

INDIANAPOLIS – July 27, 2022 – DuJuan McCoy, Owner, President, and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting (parent company of WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23) today announced that WISH-TV will air two NFL Monday Night Football games this season. In the first game, the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, November 28. The second home game will be between the Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday, December 26.

“WISH-TV is proud and honored to be the home of the Colts on Monday Night Football for a second straight season,” McCoy said. “We will bring live coverage of two of the biggest games of the year to homes throughout the Central Indiana community. As a locally owned-and-operated television station, this agreement demonstrates just how committed we are to being focused on family and the community.”

The primetime NFL games will both take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during week 12 and week 16, respectively. WISH-TV is planning extensive, exclusive coverage leading up to the game and immediately after with Emmy award-winning Sports Director Anthony Calhoun leading the broadcasts. Our commitment to Colts fans includes the weekly pregame show Countdown to Kickoff and the GEMCO Post Game Show.

WISH-TV’s sister station MyINDY-TV 23 broadcasts over 100 highly rated, locally produced sports games every year and is the home of the Indianapolis Indians, Indy Eleven, and IHSAA athletics. Both WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23 are locally owned and operated by Circle City Broadcasting.