Indianapolis - Colts fans have a chance to win a piece of the team's Super Bowl victory - a Super Bowl ring - through a charity raffle team owner Jim Irsay announced Tuesday during a pep rally for Sunday's game against New England.
Irsay wore a giant blue top hat, large round blue sunglasses and a white showman's suit as he told hundreds of fans about the "Quest for the Ring" raffle during the Monument Circle rally.
"I look like Willie Wonka Elton - a combination of Willie Wonka and Elton John," Irsay joked before throwing open a gold treasure chest containing a small box with five shiny rings.
Although some fans clearly hoped Irsay would toss the rings into the crowd, Irsay explained that the rings would instead be given away in a raffle contest he hopes raises up to $1 million for Indiana charities.
Raffle tickets cost $5 each and will be sold through Nov. 20 for the three-stage contest Irsay said would earn five people "a once-in-a-lifetime prize."
Twenty-five finalists will first be chosen from up to 200,000 tickets the team hopes to sell. Ten finalists will then be chosen to move onto the contest's final stage during a Nov. 30-Dec. 1 treasure hunt for Colts-related items hidden around Indianapolis.
Those finalist will gather on the RCA Dome's field at halftime of the Colts' Dec. 2 game against Jacksonville and select one locked box and key. Five of those boxes will hold one Super Bowl XLI ring.
Friends Mike Lasiter and Chris Daymude, who used their lunch hour to attend Tuesday's rally, both said they'll buy at least one raffle ticket and would love to win a treasured memento of the Colts' February Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears.
"It would be great to get one of those rings," Daymude said.
Fans dressed in blue Colts jerseys and sweaters filled the south side of Monument Circle for the rally, listening to bands perform and watching highlights from January's 38-34 AFC title game victory over the Patriots that were shown on two giant screen TVs.
Chip Cooper, who joined friends at the rally, lamented that he nearly caught one of several footballs Irsay threw into the crowd after announcing the raffle contest.
Cooper predicted that the Colts will win Sunday's home game against the Patriots by at least a touchdown. He said Colts, the second in league history to open three consecutive seasons at 7-0, is on a roll.
"The Patriots are just another team in the NFL," he said. "They play well but we're better than they are."
To enter Stage One, fans must purchase one or more $5 tickets. Up to 200,000 tickets will be sold from noon (EDT) on Oct. 30, 2007 to noon (EST) on Nov. 20, 2007.
Fans can purchase tickets at the RCA Dome in the box office during normal business hours and in the guest relations kiosks during the Nov. 4 and Nov. 18 Colts home games; at participating Indiana Ticketmaster Ticket Centers; and through the local Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone service.
The numbers for Indiana are: Anderson/Muncie (765) 644-3131; Bloomington (812) 333-9955; Evansville (812) 423-7222; Ft. Wayne (260) 424-1811; Indianapolis (317) 239-5151; Lafayette (765) 743-5151; South Bend (574) 272-7979; and Terre Haute (812) 234-2424. Tickets cannot be purchased online.
On Nov. 21, 2007, 25 winning numbers and 20 alternates will be randomly selected. Those numbers will be posted on the Colts Web site that evening. Winners who provide proper notification by 5 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 27, 2007 will be deemed Stage One winners and will advance to Stage Two. In the event that proper notification is not received by winning ticket holders, alternate ticket holders will be contacted.
In Stage Two, the 25 Stage One winners-and up to three "helpers" of their choice-will participate in a treasure hunt for Colts-related items around the city of Indianapolis from Nov. 30 - Dec. 1, 2007. The top 10 performers, as determined by the sole discretion of the Ravenchase Adventures LLC judges, will advance to the third and final stage.
During halftime of the Colts home game on Dec. 2, 2007, the 10 Stage Two winners will gather on the field and select one locked box and key to open upon command. Five of the finalists will find an authentic Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLI ring inside.
For a complete list of contest details and rules, visit colts.com/ring.