CE Pro Cover Jinx: How We Broke Up Peyton Manning, Colts

Did our CEDIA Expo issue cover, which profiled, Indianapolis-based integrator Tri-Phase Technologies, spark the Colts' demise and departure of Peyton Manning?

Tri-Phase Technologies' owners Robert and Shanna Haecker, inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Joseph Hilliard

Dear Indianapolis Colts fans: Sorry, our bad.

Here at CE Pro we would never want to be accused of a Sports Illustrated-like cover jinx by which a company we profile hits a rough patch soon thereafter. But we’re all sports nuts at the office, and jinxing a team rather than an integrator is fair game.

However, we can’t help but feel sorry for Indianapolis Colts fans after we jinxed them into a near-winless season and now the departure of the franchise’s savior, Peyton Manning.

It started out innocently enough. The CEDIA Expo was returning to Indianapolis last September after a five-year absence and we wanted to mark its return by profiling a local integrator for our September issue cover.

For those who may not know, we put together our editorial coverage a month to six weeks ahead of an issue’s printing. That’s just how it works so there’s enough time to have magazines print and ship … and obviously things can happen in the interim.

Like Manning injuring his neck and sitting out the 2011-12 season for the Colts (and we are glad to see him throwing the ball again).

How could I have predicted that when I wrote about consistently successful integration firm Tri-Phase Technologies of suburban Carmel, Ind., and kicked off the article with the analogy to the Colts’ run of success.

Both “franchises” started taking off around the same time in the late 1990s (when Manning was fresh out of Tennessee and Tri-Phase owner Robert Haecker fresh out of Ball State); both seemed to operate so smoothly that it wouldn’t seem to matter who was running the ship for that to keep going (like Jim Caldwell taking over for Tony Dungy and the Colts reaching another Super Bowl); and both were actually connected, due to Tri-Phase’s high-tech work on Colts football facilities as well as personal projects for team owner Jim Irsay and many players over the years.

Plus, there was another football tie-in: Indianapolis was also getting ready to host its first Super Bowl. 

It was all good when I bumped into Haecker during the CEDIA Expo, though it had come to light that Manning’s status was up in the air as the NFL season was set to kick off that Sunday following the tradeshow.

Well, we all know now what happened. Manning didn’t play, and the Colts immediately became a hot mess. As CEDIA attendees were flying home, the Houston Texans were sending Indianapolis to a 34-7 season-opening shellacking that the Colts would follow with 12 more losses before finally winning.

And not only did Peyton Manning miss trying to lead the hometown team to a Super Bowl victory in its own building, his brother Eli wound up winning it there instead when the Giants beat the Patriots last month. (For us Pats fans here in Massachusetts, somehow we delivered an anti-jinx to Eli when we put him on the cover.)

Caldwell is gone, and with today’s press conference so too is the quarterback who built the Colts into a model winner after years as the league’s laughingstock.

As for Tri-Phase, we’re hoping to see them again as part of this year’s CE Pro 100 after checking in at No. 26 on last year’s list. Fortunately, Haecker says, Tri-Phase avoided any curse. “Overall our business is solid; it may not have been a banner year, but it was still a very good one considering what’s going on our there,” he says, adding that although his firm has outfitted plenty of Colts’ homes with A/V systems, Manning’s was not among them.

“I don’t think the CE Pro article had anything to do with the Colts’ season. Obviously, you always thought Peyton would retire as a Colt,” says the good-natured integrator, “but we’ll look forward to some new blood around here with somebody like [impending top draft pick] Andrew Luck ... and maybe even the possibility of putting in a system for him.”

To Colts fans, though, CE Pro apologizes for our cover jinx. Better “Luck” this year.


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