Colts' plane lands in Florida - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Colts' plane lands in Florida

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Colts fans dance around during a Blue Friday event at Circle Centre Mall. Colts fans dance around during a Blue Friday event at Circle Centre Mall.
A pipe band was part of the big send-off. A pipe band was part of the big send-off.

Indianapolis - Eager to get to Miami, it was wheels up for the Indianapolis Colts who departed for Super Bowl country a half-hour ahead of schedule.

The team arrived in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport at about 4:40 pm in the pouring rain and boarded the buses for the 15-minute ride to the hotel.

Media day, scheduled for Tuesday at Sun Life Stadium, has been moved inside to keep everyone off the turf.

Security has been very tight, with the NFL spending $6 million towards security efforts.

"We are working hand in hand to ensure that Super Bowl XLIV goes off smoothly, safely and to make sure we are doing everything we can proactively in preparation for the Super Bowl," said Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security.

Long before they left, the city was preparing for a super send-off.

Mayor Greg Ballard helped the Colts Tom Zupancic dye the canal Colts blue. It was a first for the canal, which also goes green on St. Patrick's Day. The Colts paid the $735 cost. It will last three to four days.

It was colorful start to Blue Monday which continued with a noon rally at the Artsgarden. Even the Gordon Pipers made a special appearance in their Colts plaid.

"It's nothing but Colts this week! I'm totally dedicating the week to the Colts. The partying is starting now!" said one fan.

Whether going to Miami or cheering from home, fans are counting the hours until kick-off.

"We knew it was always our goal," said another fan.

Mayor Ballard also got caught up in the pre-game excitement at the rally, but he drew the line at facepaint.

"I have a couple of other things to do today," he laughed. Still, he wore his Colts pride.

"It really bring out the civic-mindedness of people. It brings everyone together no matter what the differences are. I think it's important as a city we all pull behind the Colts," said Ballard.

Mayor Greg Ballard says win or lose, the players always represent Indianapolis with class and hard work, and so they deserve all our support.

"I want them to get behind the Colts all the way because it's not only that they win, which is great and we love our team, but it's the way they do it I think is important. From the top down, Jim Irsay, Bill Polian, on down, they way they do it is strong work ethic, using brain power which is important, being aggressive. All of that represents our city really well and that's why I want people to really get behind them," he said.

While the team leaves Monday, the Mayor heads to Miami Thursday.

Originally his plan was to go down and learn how to host a Super Bowl for 2012, but now that the Colts are in the game, the plan has changed for the better. His visit will include a lot of media, appearances and helping to sell the city.

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