Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Mack: If Not "Classless," Booing Luck Certainly Foolish

Colts Fans Can't See Past Themselves

Chris Mack
August 26, 2019 - 3:16 pm

There's no quicker way to show the world what you're really all about as a human than to irrationally overreact to something in the world of sports. Whether it's running out into the street to dance on top of a bus like you just won the big game, or screaming and cursing someone who had a hand in your favorite team's most recent soul-crushing loss, the reminder that we're all somewhat illogical when it comes to fandom is never more than one game away.

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Illogical doesn't really describe the reaction of those Indianapolis Colts fans that chose to boo Andrew Luck out of Lukas Oil Stadium in his final walk off the field Saturday night.

Foolish is more like it.

Only a fool would feel justified or righteous in booing a man who'd done everything right as a representative of his team and his city. 

Only a fool would take their one, final opportunity to praise Luck for battling through injuries over the course of his career to keep a team afloat that very easily could have sunk to the bottom of the NFL ocean upon Peyton Manning's departure, and use it instead to shower with him disdain for finally choosing to put his own health first.

Don't get me wrong; I understand the distress of Colts fans who feel discouraged at the prospect of going from a Super Bowl contender to a borderline playoff team at best. I can sympathize with those suffering sticker shock at their season ticket bill when they laid out cash for the Comeback Player of the Year at quarterback and instead will get Jacoby Brissett, who went 4-11 as a starter when Luck missed the 2017 season.

Only a fool, though, would feel so personally slighted by this to shower Luck with boos during his final few moments as the Colts' quarterback.

What wildly foolish behavior to throw the kind of tantrum I don't remember throwing since I heckled Chipper Jones from the third base line at Three Rivers Stadium as a teenager.

Maybe I'm the one who's out of touch.

Maybe I'm the fool for not interpreting another grown man's decision as a personal affront. 

Trying to put yourself in those fans' shoes in Indy on Saturday night doesn't help much, though.

I try to imagine Ben Roethlisberger or Sidney Crosby deciding to hang 'em up today, right before the start of their respective seasons. Sure, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison because each is in their 30s with a decade-plus of experience and multiple championships while Luck was 29, just seven years into his career, and ring-less.

Imagine it, though. You're sitting at Heinz Field or PPG Paints Arena, and you hear the crowd murmuring some nonsense about retirement. So you ask around, hear the rumor, go to social media, and see that it's true.

Would you boo either one of those guys back to the locker room in their final appearance in the home building?

If you'd boo or jeer one of your hometown's sporting legends simply because he didn't go out on your terms rather than his terms, then I think you have bigger issues that require some exploring on your own, away from organized sports of any kind. 

Again, maybe I'm the fool. Maybe that's just society today, where everything is binary and gray area is not allowed to exist in any discussion. Every decision or comment needs to be celebrated as if it's the grandest of gestures or derided as if it's the most galling of appalling indignities.

Andrew Luck did something that disappointed and frustrated Colts fans. I can get being upset. But maybe he did something for himself and his health rather than those fans. If those fans can't see past themselves, and detach Luck the Football Player from Luck the Person though, then they're the fools.