"It's such an intimate experience," said Nick Lowery, a Patriots fan who drove from Columbia, Mo. "This is really cool."
Unlike the NFL draft, when rowdy New Yorkers waste no opportunity to heckle picks and boo players, the fans were on their best behavior. Most in the crowd of 7,300 were Colts fans, with many sporting Peyton Manning's No. 18 jersey. But the fans greeted both teams with applause when they came in, and cheered when Eli Manning, Brady and Welker talked about how much they were enjoying Indianapolis and praised Colts fans.
They even set aside their hatred for the Patriots, the Colts' biggest rival.
"Our philosophy has been 'Fans first.' It's all about Hoosier hospitality," said Toni Meyer of Indianapolis.
Added Bill Burns, "The Patriots, we really don't like 'em here. But there hasn't been any animosity."
The only complaint was that fans wanted more. Though they could hear interviews with the head coach and four players on the headset, they were restricted to the stands. No autographs, no photographs with their favorite players.
"I kind of wish we'd been on the field, but I understand," said Burns, who wore a hat with a "Press" card on the side and carried a toy purple microphone. "It probably would have been a bit of a madhouse."
Too late. It passed that threshold years ago.
Follow Nancy Armour at http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour
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