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Colts fans at Tempe sports bar run out of luck

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TEMPE – As New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount bulldozed his way into the end zone for his third touchdown of the AFC Championship game Sunday night, the sprinkling of Indianapolis Colts fans at Zipps Sports Grill looked as if they had been bulldozed over as well.

Not only was their favorite NFL team in the midst of a devastating 45-7 defeat that left the Colts one win short of traveling to Arizona to play in Super Bowl XLIX, but the Tempe restaurant and bar was overrun with Patriots fans not sympathetic to the Colts fans’ suffering.

“It hurts a little every time I hear the cheers of the Patriots fans,” said Maribeth Hoyle, one of the few Colts fans watching the game at Zipps. “It would help a little bit to be around Colts fans right now.”

For Hoyle and other Indianapolis fans, there was no guarantee any bar in the area would have a greater number of Colts supporters. Unlike the Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, there is no designated Colts bar in the metro Phoenix area.

“Colts fans are known to be really respectful,’’ said Colts fan Christopher Ryan Savoie, who usually watches Colts games from home. “They’re not really loud, boisterous people, so that might be partly why there’s not a Colts bar.”

If the turnout at Zipps was any indication, there might not be enough fan support in Phoenix to sustain a Colts bar. Not only did the number of Patriots fans at Zipps dwarf the amount of Colts supporters, but there were more Packers and Seahawks fans in attendance as well.

Savoie, who sported an Andrew Luck jersey, was the only customer at Zipps wearing Colts paraphernalia when the game kicked off.  A few other Colt fans came and left during the game, but there was never more than five Colts fans present at one time.

For fans who have lived in Indiana all their life, cheering on the Colts in a mainly hostile environment was an adjustment.

“There’s a rivalry here (at Zipps) with the Patriot’s fans,” said first-time Zipps customer and lifelong Colts fan Leonard Scott. “It’s a friendly rivalry, though.”

Scott, who moved to Arizona from Portage, Indiana last year, said some of his friends from his home state might have come down for a Colts Super Bowl, but would not travel for a Patriots-Seahawks matchup.

Scott came to Zipps to watch the game with his brother in-law, who is also a Colts fan, but both Hoyle and Savoie watched the game with fans of other teams.

Although Hoyle said she did not personally know of another Colts fan in the Phoenix area, she was optimistic the recent success of the team will drum up support for a Colts bar to open soon.

“The Colts are going to be relevant for the next few years with Andrew Luck,” Hoyle said.  “Having a bar would be great for Colts fans in this area so they’ll feel like part of that success.”