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Polian fails to make the case for not trying to win on Sunday

When it comes to the question of whether the Colts should have pulled Peyton Manning and other starters from Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Colts have asked their fans to let it go.

Maybe the Colts should consider doing the same.

On Tuesday, Colts president Bill Polian appeared with Rich Eisen of NFL Network, and Polian spoke at length about one of the most controversial decisions ever made by a team in position to win a Super Bowl.

Since Polian said a lot in seven minutes on the air, we need to make several specific points in response to Polian’s remarks.

1.  The Colts have a warped sense of history.

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy said on Sunday night that the Colts have an obligation to win the Super Bowl, but no obligation to go undefeated.  We assume that Coach Dungy would agree, then, that the Colts also have no obligation to set the record for consecutive regular-season wins, or to try to win the most games in the decade.

Polian feels differently. 

“16-0 we did not feel was a historic achievement,” Polian told Eisen.  “What was important to us, and what we tried very hard to do on a short week against Jacksonville after we had wrapped up the home-field advantage was to set two records.  One, for the most consecutive regular-season games won.  We were tied with New England prior to that, and we now hold that record ourselves.  And secondly, for the most games won in this decade.  And I don’t believe that anybody can catch us now, no matter what happens this week.  We felt those were both extremely historical milestones that were worth going out there and risking everything for.”

So Polian would have us believe that the Colts, who had locked up the top seed in the AFC only four days earlier, opted to go all out against the Jaguars (in a game televised by NFL Network) because the Colts thought that securing the record for consecutive regular-season wins and nailing down the most wins during the decade justified putting Peyton Manning and other starters at risk.

But who cares about a regular-season winning streak?  And if the regular-season winning streak was so important, why didn’t the Colts care about matching New England’s actual 21-game winning streak from 2003-04, which takes into account the most important wins of all — the ones that come in the postseason? 

Then there’s the incredibly meaningless notion of winning the most games in the decade.  We can’t recall the concept ever being mentioned to cap the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. 

Maybe Polian thinks that this distinction somehow makes the Colts the “team of the decade,” even though the Colts won only one Super Bowl.

Then again, the Colts really haven’t won the most games of the decade, if the postseason is included.  Sure, they’ve won 115 regular-season games, three more than the Patriots.  But with playoff games included, the Pats have won 126 games, and the Colts have won 122.

Ironically, the Colts had a chance to catch the Patriots for most total wins in the decade by winning the last two games of the regular season and three playoff games, assuming the Pats lose in Week 17 and make a one-game exit from the playoffs.  But, apparently, winning the most regular-season games from 2000 through 2009 was sufficiently important to put Peyton Manning at risk, but securing the more accurate barometer of total wins in a ten-year period wasn’t.

2.  The Colts clinched both records the same day they secured home-field advantage.

The biggest flaw in Polian’s logic regarding the two records that the franchise deemed to be sufficiently compelling to risk Peyton Manning’s ACLs comes from the simple fact that, when they lined up to play the Jaguars on December 17, the Colts already had set both marks.

The record for consecutive regular-season wins was 21.  With nine straight wins to end the 2008 season and 13 to launch 2009, the Colts set the mark on December 13, when they beat the Broncos.

Technically, they broke the record four days later, by pushing it from 22 to 23.  But if the desire to break their own record had been a factor in going all out against the Jaguars, it should have compelled them to try to extend the string to 24 against the Jets.

The Colts also nailed down the record for the most regular-season wins in the decade on December 13, when they racked up their 114th regular-season victory for 2000 through 2009.  That same day, the Patriots won their 110th regular-season game during that same stretch.  So even if the Colts tanked the final three games — starting with Jacksonville — the Patriots couldn’t have caught them.  

3.  The Colts weren’t clear about their goals.

Polian also tried to blame the media and the fans for not realizing before Sunday’s game that the Colts had planned in Week 16 to take the pedal off the metal.

“I thought we had made it clear that 16-0 was not a goal for us,” Polian said.

On one hand, the Colts were clear that they didn’t care about going undefeated.  On the other hand, they never said a single thing about risking player health in order to set the all-time regular-season consecutive winning streak or to win the most games in the decade, excluding playoffs and Super Bowls (since those games apparently don’t count).

Indeed, during a live appearance on the December 13 edition of NBC’s Football Night in America, Polian told Dan Patrick that the goal is to “get players who are playing hurt as healthy as they can be for the playoffs.”

That’s our number one priority,” Polian said.  “Be healthy in January when the money’s on the line.”

If that’s the case, the Colts wouldn’t have gone all out four nights later against the Jaguars.

And maybe they wouldn’t have done so, if the game wasn’t scheduled to be televised on the network owned by the NFL.

4.  Why wouldn’t going undefeated be a goal?

The Colts have consistently said that they didn’t want to win every game. 

Why?  Because the ’72 Dolphins already had done it.

“The Dolphins are known as the only undefeated team because they went — I believe it was 17-0,” Polian said.  “Since it had been done before it wasn’t as historic a milestone as that which I stated previously, which was the most games won in the decade and the consecutive victory mark.”

Of course, 19-0 is better than 17-0.  And we like how Polian pretended not to realize that the ’72 Dolphins won 17 games, as if the total number isn’t widely known and thus isn’t significant.

But if we accept that it was important to the Colts to win 22 regular-season games in a row, then it surely should have been important to win 19 games in one season, especially since no one has ever done that.

Polian characterized the team’s position in this regard as “an honest difference of opinion.” 

He’s essentially saying, “Both views are reasonable, so please respect ours.”

And that’s a cop out.  The Colts are being unreasonable, and their obsession with making their position seem reasonable is only making the unreasonableness of their beliefs more obvious.

5.  The owner signed off on it.

Polian was careful to point out that the decision not to push for a 15th win
(and thus, not to pursue per
fection) came with the involvement, and presumably the blessing, of owner Jim Irsay.

In other words, to the extent that Polian is getting heat, he wants folks to realize that the guy who writes the checks approved of the approach.

So don’t blame Polian.  Blame Irsay.

6.  The coach made the decision to pull the starters.

Polian also was careful to point out that, even though he was involved in the crafting of the plan to stop trying, coach Jim Caldwell was the one who made the specific decision to yank Peyton Manning and others with a five-point lead early in the third quarter.

“The timing was entirely up to [Caldwell],” Polian said.  “It was his decision to make as to when we took the players out.”

So don’t blame Polian.  Blame Caldwell.

7.  Polian has misread the source of his team’s frustration.

At one point, Eisen asked Polian if he is concerned about the psyche of the team, given body language suggesting that the players who had been removed from a winnable game weren’t pleased with the move.

“Not at all,” Polian said.  “As a matter of fact, I’m very proud of them because what they’re upset about is losing the game, not the ability to play in the game.  They all wanted to win the game because we want to win every game we play.”

Somewhere, there’s a dog chasing his tail.  And even he thinks that none of this makes a lick of sense.   

8.  The Colts might have been hiding injuries. 

Lastly, Polian’s attempt to justify pulling apparently healthy players has created possible evidence that the team has been hiding a couple of injuries.

Polian said that receiver Reggie Wayne had been battling a sore toe and a sore groin.  The injury report for Week 16, however, makes no mention of a groin injury to Wayne.

Also, Polian said that tight end Dallas Clark had a thigh contusion.  Though it’s possible Clark suffered the thigh contusion during the portion of the game in which he played, he did not appear on a Week 16 injury report containing 25 names.

So, basically, Polian’s effort to make the situation better only makes it worse.  The far better move would have been to take the heat, and move on.

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103 Responses to “Polian fails to make the case for not trying to win on Sunday”
  1. stefanovich says: Dec 30, 2009 1:21 AM

    The Colts don’t know how to deal with criticism. They need to take a page from the Pats. Issue some ambiguous statement that doesn’t really say anything, and then ignore the criticism for the remainder of the season.
    Polian is a weeny, arrogant jerk. At least Belichick has balls.

  2. Finsfan says: Dec 30, 2009 1:27 AM

    This guy is and always has been a complete jackass. The colts organization should be ashamed of themselves for not attempting perfection when any good coach demands it. This will bite them in the ass and they will fold in the playoffs 100%.

  3. TheBigOldDog says: Dec 30, 2009 1:29 AM

    Outstanding job exposing the idiocy of that interview Florio.
    When I heard it, I nearly fell off my chair. I can’t believe he made those arguments. He came off as being completely out to lunch and on the defensive. If it were anybody else, I’d say their job was in jeopardy after that performance.
    Something really weird is going on here and I’m not sure what it is. Why do this interview at all? Then settling on doing it, why try to elevate meaningless accomplishments as historically significant while trying to make the truly historically significant accomplishment insignificant? Why then blame the owner and the coach? Is it possible he’s in trouble in Indy? What else is going on here? Did he just want to knock the Steelers out and not want to admit it? Did he make those ridiculous “historical” arguments to offest the criticism that what he did was a crime against NFL history?
    Nothing adds up. The more I think about it the more strange it all seems.

  4. PatricktheDookie says: Dec 30, 2009 1:34 AM

    If they were so worried about their starters, they shouldn’t have played them, period. Taking them out with 25 minutes left to play was pretty pointless.

  5. rockotica says: Dec 30, 2009 1:38 AM

    another lying nfl slave who thinks the fans are stupid and thus does not respect them, the truth, or the integrity of the game. polian has zero respect from me….and oh yeah he practices nepotism too. the whole package.

  6. Mean D says: Dec 30, 2009 1:39 AM

    Somebody throw him a gram.

  7. gweetarman says: Dec 30, 2009 1:39 AM

    Seriously? I think that the NFL should put the hammer down on the colts. They didn’t compete in a game that affects the standings. That’s against the rules. They should be ashamed.

  8. HughJassPhD says: Dec 30, 2009 1:39 AM

    This is very amusing. I hope Polian never figures out that he should just STFU.

  9. 2brauneyz says: Dec 30, 2009 1:39 AM

    Gutless douchebags all …

  10. 12+81=7 says: Dec 30, 2009 1:42 AM

    Pats are team of the decade. More overall wins, superbowl wins, and longest overall winning streak.
    Why does every team compete each year? To win the Super Bowl. The goal isn’t to have the greatest regular season winning streak or most regular seasons wins in the decade. Sure, those are nice additions, but whoever has the most Super Bowl wins, the point of competing, is the team of the decade.

  11. Stetson wears panties says: Dec 30, 2009 1:42 AM

    He’s full of shit.
    He robbed the greatest quarterback this game has ever seen a chance of perfection.
    Now he’s just spinning lies because he knows he mad a mistake.

  12. TheBeave says: Dec 30, 2009 1:42 AM

    Florio, at least half a dozen entries on this topic and you’ve yet to ask the real question… Why else would they lay down like that? Then the answer becomes clear… Because by giving the Jets a cheap win they allow them to back into the playoffs, and all but assure that there’s no way Houston or Pittsburgh will get in. Even in a down year Pittsburgh and Houston have to scare Indy more than a Jets team led by a rookie QB. Yes I realize they have a bye in the first week, but this was about assuring themselves the easiest matchups possible they think they can win.

  13. VonClausewitz says: Dec 30, 2009 1:42 AM

    I can guarantee you they thought it all through before they decided to kibosh the run. Whatever the external perspective is I am quite certain they made the decision most amenable to their goal of winning the Superbowl. We just don’t know what those facts are. As a guess I’d say that it’s a combination of injuries and trying to get the seeds in the order they want.

  14. indygordito says: Dec 30, 2009 1:59 AM

    Polian’s revealing of Wayne and Clark’s injuries is a pile of horse turds……
    He’s just covering his tracks from his monday nite radio show whenPolian was making his point to the last caller (just before it was cut off) that he does not “rest” players but only sits them out when they have injuries….
    The caller quickly stated that he nor anyone else thought that Manning, Wayne and Clark were injured and was therefore not the real reason that they were pulled from the game……
    it’s definitely no coincidence to me that it was that exact moment that the station went to ten torturous minutes worth of commercials and country music……and I still don’t know what the heck a “honkey tonk” is…….

  15. sportsjustice says: Dec 30, 2009 2:08 AM

    Florio,
    I often don’t like you, but you really made me proud of you with this article. My conspiracy theory is that ESPN was hoping that the Colts would finish the regular season undefeated so that they could generate a plethora of stories about the battle for team of the decade between the Patriots and Colts. That’s why ESPN has been boasting about the consecutive regular season wins record and the regular seasons wins record this decade, so that in coming month they would be able to revisit those achievements as merit to contribute to the argument that the Colts are the team of the 2000’s with the possibility of going 19-0 with a SB championship making up for one more ring and two more appearances by the Patriots.
    Also, while you mentioned that the Patriots won 21 games in a row this decade, you failed to mention that they did it twice.
    In closing and just for Bill Poll-lying:
    Wins: Patriots 126 > Colts 122
    Consecutive Wins: Patriots 21 > Colts 14
    Playoff Victories: Patriots 14 > Colts 7
    Super Bowl Wins: Patriots 3 > Colts 1
    Super Bowl Apps: Patriots 4 > Colts 1
    AFC Champ. Wins: Patriots 4 > Colts 1
    AFC Champ. Apps: Patriots 5 > Colts 2
    TD Passes: Brady 50 > Manning 49

  16. East Bay Ray says: Dec 30, 2009 2:31 AM

    The Colts have painted themselves into a corner. If they don’t win the Super Bowl, everyone will point back to this game where they folded their tents and said “forget it”, and say this is where they lost their momentum. If they do win it, people will say, “but they could have had a perfect season had they only chosen to do so.” In essence, they have taken a potential no-loss season and turned it into a no-win situation. And their explanations do appear lame.
    But, what I like about it as a neutral observer is that they have cheapened the Dolphins perfect season by stating that a perfect season isn’t important to them. Few, if any, really believe that the 72 Dolphins were the best team ever. Winning all of their games is a statistical anomaly and novelty more than it is an indication of greatness. In baseball terms, it’s like a pitcher pitching a perfect game or a hitter hitting for the cycle. Wow, cool, but a freak occurrence more than an achievement indicating greatness. Another team could have surpassed what the Dolphins did, but didn’t even care to. What can convicted cocaine trafficker and obvious assclown Mercury Morris say about that?

  17. Xpensive Wino says: Dec 30, 2009 2:45 AM

    Didn’t take very long for the Colts to go from being a model organization and the barometer by which successful teams should be measured to a bunch of douche bags.
    Can you imagine how f***ing pissed off, disgusted and embarrassed Peyton Manning must be. The guy has the heart of a lion and gives everything he has on every play and the company he works for quit on him. And even though it wasn’t his call, I think Caldwell’s credibility has been damaged.
    This will all make for an interesting chapter in Manning’s book somewhere down the road.

  18. mustbechris says: Dec 30, 2009 2:46 AM

    wow, this is a legit great article. i wish we had more articles like this and less articles like the ones we usually have.
    someone needs to ask polian how his ass feels after this. he just got dismantled.

  19. heysharpshooter says: Dec 30, 2009 3:12 AM

    Am I the only one sick of this story, and the Colts? We all know they are a one and done in the play-0ffs anyway.
    And if here is debate of Manning vs. Brady, there shouldn’t be. Its Brady.

  20. Bob S. says: Dec 30, 2009 3:12 AM

    In horseracing if a trainer or jockey was proved to or admitted NOT trying his hardest to win a race (“giving a horse an easy race”) he would be ruled off in a New York minute.
    This has gone on unpunished by Goodell the last few years and media completely ignores the integrity of the league that has been ruined.
    I guess horseracing now is a whole lot more legit than NFL football has become!

  21. SteelHammer92 says: Dec 30, 2009 3:24 AM

    Polian forgot to mention that his team accomplished something else this decade that no other team has. They have been awarded “Pussiest Team of the Decade.” And it’s a complete runaway.

  22. LanMan says: Dec 30, 2009 3:46 AM

    Best article ever posted on this site.
    It’s about time the Colts organization got exposed for the douchebags they are. It goes way back to when they slithered out of Baltimore, robbing a great football city of their football heritage. They were truly a pitiful team for a couple decades till they got lucky with Manning. They pump crowd noise into the stadium at critical junctures, and now they are faking injury reports! What else are they doing? If you watch closely you will see their DB’s spearing with their helmets every chance they get (Dungy taught them that). People think the Colts are saints because their former coach is a believer. St. Dungy! What a load of manure. He has really taken some shots at Belichick, especially now that he’s in the studio. Like the poster above said: “At least Belichick has balls!!!”
    The league loves the Colts. When they have come from behind this season (7 times), it always starts with the phantom interference calls that put them in position to score points quick and get back in the game. It’s like the NFL shoves this team down our throats. Manning is in every commercial pimping every product imaginable. I can’t get him off my TV set. He’s like a Poltergeist.
    Bill Polian has ALWAYS been an Ultra-Douche. Isn’t he the same guy that attacked a fan or stadium employee because he wouldn’t move a sound system speaker or something like that? I think it was a Jets employee in 2006?
    Why in the world would you not try and stay undefeated? It’s not like the pressure was that bad. In 2007, the national media HOUNDED the Patriots from week 6 all the way to the Superbowl. The Pats were the only team undefeated so there was no sharing that glaring spotlight. At least the Colts had the Saints to share the load. Plus the media laid off the undefeated stuff this time around. Heck, I hadn’t heard a peep from that bonehead Mercury Morris until about a week ago. Why would the Colts feel like this gives them a better chance to win the Superbowl? Why are they so arrogant to assume they are going to be IN the Superbowl? Personally, I just think that deep down inside, they knew the spotlight was now on them alone, and they didn’t think they could carry the weight in the playoffs. GUTLESS WONDERS!!!!
    Losing to make sure the Steelers don’t get in because if they do you might wet your pants is one of the reasons delusional Cots fans cite for validating this tank job. That’s pussy ball.
    Remember the Giants/Pats game in week 17 of 2007? I don’t think either team HAD to play their starters, but they did, and it was a whale of a game. The Patriots were down 12 in the 3rd quarter. They could have packed it in and said “we just wanted to rest our starters and heal some injuries.” But they didn’t. They had balls. And that is not what cost them the Superbowl, as Polian implies with his excuses. The Giants just played out of their skulls in that game It happens. The Patriots did it to the Rams in 02.
    The one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is this: The largest TV market the NFL has is in NY, and the Jets, even with the blowhard Cryin’ Ryan mouthing off, and the pimping of Dirty Sanchez, they can’t sell the expensive seat licenses in the new stadium. Perhaps the NFL has gone WWF on us and has rigged this so the Jets make the playoffs, sell the seat licenses, stay financially viable, and avoid a season of blackouts on NY TV in 2010 and the lost ad revenue. It could be….
    I’m just sayin.
    I just heard the Colts were considering shutting down the team message board to blunt criticism. I recommend everyone go there and post their opinion.
    STAMPEDEBLUE.COM

  23. The Centurion says: Dec 30, 2009 3:50 AM

    If one of these key players were talking about here were to get injured. You would all be complaining that they shouldnt have been in a meaningless game, and that the real goal should be to win the Super Bowl. Your a bandwagon rider on this one Florio.

  24. Furious George says: Dec 30, 2009 4:00 AM

    dont the Lolts also hold the record this decade for being eliminated in their first round of the playoffs? i believe 6 times?

  25. Bob S. says: Dec 30, 2009 4:01 AM

    Polian from Massena, New York where he was based(real football country), worked for Marv Levy and the Montreal Alouettes, then Levy when he got the Bills job he brought Polian along with him to Buffalo.

  26. piemaster says: Dec 30, 2009 4:03 AM

    “When it comes to the question of whether the Colts should have pulled Peyton Manning and other starters from Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Colts have asked their fans to let it go.
    Maybe the Colts should consider doing the same.

    And maybe you should consider doing the same Mike. No offence, but at one of the most interesting times of the season, that is way too much time to spend on a team that locked it’s seeding in the playoffs 2 weeks ago. Whether or not Polian lied or twisted the truth about what happened on Sunday isn’t really that important. Maybe going undefeated is something to aim for, or maybe it’s irrelevant, it’s a judgement call.
    I know for a fact that when the Colts are eliminated from the playoffs, whenever that is, you will bounce up and down excitedly and say “I told you so!” and say that it was obviously because they took their foot off the gas at the end of the season, regardless of the fact that it is very likely (just through the laws of probability) that the Colts won’t win the superbowl *regardless* of what they do in weeks 15, 16 and 17. Likewise if Manning or another key starter were injured against the Jags, then everybody would have been saying that they should have rested their starters as they had ‘nothing but meaningless records’ to play for.
    It’s just lazy journalism and fawning over irrelevant details in the hope of looking profound at some point in the future. Maybe it’s time for *you* to ‘let it go’.
    And before anyone asks, no I’m not a Colts fan.

  27. Tyler says: Dec 30, 2009 4:49 AM

    Hiding injuries.
    F Y Florio. Y A A F I

  28. Bill Cowher's Chin says: Dec 30, 2009 4:59 AM

    “I thought we had made it clear that 16-0 was not a goal for us,” Polian said.
    “Not at all,” Polian said. “As a matter of fact, I’m very proud of them because what they’re upset about is losing the game, not the ability to play in the game. They all wanted to win the game because we want to win every game we play.”
    ________________________________
    Lets see if I follow this Bill, you have no interest in going 16-0 in the regular season, and then 19-0 by capping it with a Super Bowl…………but “we want to win every game we play”?????
    WHAT?!?!?!?!? You want to win every game, but you dont care if you go 19-0???
    Am I the only one that cant make sense of that? Every player in the NFL, goes into training camp, wanting to win every game (that means go 19-0 Bill, to make sure you are up to speed). I dont very much, that if you poll the players before kick off in week one, no one is going to say “I hope we go 18-1 this year”…….

  29. hardtolikedabears says: Dec 30, 2009 5:16 AM

    Yes ……………..!!!

  30. SuzyKolberIsAwesome says: Dec 30, 2009 5:35 AM

    wasn’t the head coach quoted as saying about the importance of trying to go undefeated, “LESS THAN ZERO”??? WHY is this still a story, and WHY is anyone suprised he pulled his starters? if sundays game proved anything, it’s if #18 gets injured, they’re in a lot of trouble

  31. Sean says: Dec 30, 2009 5:48 AM

    Even if you discount the silly historical argument, here’s a more practical one:
    I’ll bet the tickets for that game were full price for one half of effort, and it wasn’t even preseason. If I’d shelled out a couple hundred bucks to take the family to see Payton Manning play, I’d be plenty pissed to see him on the sidelines while Curtis Painter chucks INTs. The Colts ripped off their fans, plain and simple.

  32. RaiderRedleg says: Dec 30, 2009 5:55 AM

    Florio,
    Best article by you I have ever read…Right on!
    Hope Polian and the Colts management that bet on the game made some serious money to justify the crap storm they created with their fans!

  33. Quagmire says: Dec 30, 2009 6:01 AM

    “Why wouldn’t going undefeated be a goal?”
    You need to think “risk-reward”
    If they did play all their starters the last few games & one, or more, gets injured does that help toward their main goal?

  34. RayLewisKillsPeople says: Dec 30, 2009 6:07 AM

    sportsjustice..
    come back with your Patriots banter when they actually win a Super Bowl..Dynasty has been over for awhile now..
    last 4 Super Bowl winners
    Steelers
    Colts
    Giants
    Steelers
    that being said, screw Caldwell and the Colts for doing that… I hope NE or SD takes them out..

  35. Quagmire says: Dec 30, 2009 6:09 AM

    sportsjustice,
    You forgot some:
    Taping opposition defensive signals to win SB: Pats
    Perfect season, winning every game except the only one that really matters: Pats

  36. Newguy says: Dec 30, 2009 6:10 AM

    So, I opened a new tab to view the interview at nfl.com, found the video and opened it. The 15 second commercial that preceded the interview was none other than our buddy Herm saying, “You play to win the game.”
    If this were not football, but another industry and I heard Polian’s comments, my conclusion would have been: I guess his bonus was dependent on winning the most games in a decade and winning the most consecutive games in the regular season, not on going undefeated in a season.
    I have a small issue with the original post’s item #7. I think Polian’s attitude on this is understandable. You want players who want to win. I disagree with his conclusion that this will not have a negative impact on that mindset.

  37. danfinocchio says: Dec 30, 2009 6:14 AM

    Can we please give this story a rest? Who are we to tell them what their goals should be? They won the SB a few years ago so this organization knows what they’re doing.
    HOF QBs: Brady Colts

  38. Peak says: Dec 30, 2009 6:14 AM

    I think thebeave hit it right on the head. This wasn’t about resting starters, it was about controlling who made the playoffs. The Steelers, Ravens and Texans all scare the Colts a lot more than the Jets. The Colts revealed what many of us have long known, that they lack the confidence and heart of a real champion. You know they are thinking “oh, please don’t mess up when the playoffs come”. By doing what they did last Sunday, and all the BS that followed, they have admitted their deep running doubts. Besides, if the Steelers, Ravens and Texans have them scared, can you imagine what they think about facing the Chargers or maybe the Pats?

  39. Otis Taylor 89 says: Dec 30, 2009 7:19 AM

    The biggest joke of all is the ’72 MIA season – they played against NO WINNING TEAMS DURING THE REGULAR SEASON!!! Can you image that happening today? Yeah, they were a good team, but no wins against a winning team during the regular season, two wins against two good teams to get to the SB and then they beat a team with Billy Kilmer at QB! It was a fluke year.
    The ’72 Phins were probably the 5th best team…of the ’70’s!!!!

  40. hotchick says: Dec 30, 2009 7:44 AM

    I cant believe so many people are whining about this. 90% of you would be calling Caldwell and the Colts management ignorant dumbass losers if Manning got hurt in the 4th quarter against the Jets and lost their shot at the Super Bowl.
    Here is another example of the contradictory nature of so many people. One angle is they should play to win because the game has playoff implications for other teams. But no one complains in game 5 when a team is up 45-9 with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter and the starters are pulled. At that point its “protecting the starters” is the right thing to do. Well point differential is a tie-breaker. So pulling those starters has playoff implications for other teams. And someone could make the playoffs based on whether that game ends 45-9 or 52-9 (or even 48-9).
    If teams are “required” to play to not effect other teams playoff implications in week 16 & 17, it should also apply in weeks 1-15. And you cant pick and choose which playoff implications matter.
    This is true for records also. How many more yards would QB’s have if they weren’t pulled from blow-outs? If historical records are so important, that its worth risking injury for them in situations that do not improve your chances of making the super bowl, why is it not OK to keep passing when up 45-9, or to keep feeding your #1 RB the ball so they can chase historical records?
    And remember, many here say its stupid to add another game to the schedule or to play the starters in the pre-season. Why? Because a player only has so many snaps in his career. His body can take only so much wear and tear. The extra games can shorten a career. Running backs are the prime example. Joe Addai only has so many carries in those legs. That is what we say about running backs. Maybe not playing some players these two weeks not only keeps them healthy for this Super Bowl run, but also keeps them healthy for an additional Super Bowl run down the line.
    So..stop the whining. It is a complex decision that can be defended on many angles both for why they should play and why they should not.
    But again 90% of you saying they should play would be saying it was stupid to play for the undefeated season if Manning, Wayne, Clark or a key lineman got hurt.

  41. Buschman says: Dec 30, 2009 7:46 AM

    No matter how the Colts fair this postseason, they are screwed. If they don’t win the Super Bowl, everyone will say it’s because they eased up and couldn’t get their momentum back. If they win the Super Bowl, they will have failed because they should have had an undefeated season. And if the Colts play their starters at all in week 17, then it makes no sense. They are no more at risk in week 16 than in week 17.

  42. TFBuckFutter says: Dec 30, 2009 7:47 AM

    This begs a much more important question…..
    How exactly did a retard become GM of an NFL franchise? That boggles the mind.

  43. BeerBarron says: Dec 30, 2009 7:58 AM

    The Indy toilet seats are the biggest playoff choke team of the decade(with all their AFC championship game losses the steelers are a close second imo).. How many years were they the one or two seed, and even with rested players, have they made it to the SB.. only once..
    I wish Peyton had a little Favre(im no fan of his, interception record and all) in him and refused to come out.. but PM is to much of a yes sir playa anyway..
    .. and either way 16-0 or the resting players saga, BSPN has plenty to talk about..
    IMO.. the Colts can do what they want.. they earned it by steamrolling through the AFC this year.. but in the past the toilet seats choice to rest players hasnt worked any better than going full throttle till season ends.. As it is they have earned a bye week.. they can rest then..

  44. Ed says: Dec 30, 2009 7:58 AM

    No matter what you think, or anyone else that reads this blog thinks, no one has insider information on what the Colts philosphy is unless you happen to be on the team or an employee.
    A local blogger has said it best:
    This comes down to whether of not someone believes that 16-0 is an important goal to be reached.
    In life, there are situations in which you come across arguments that you realize are un-winnable, and therefore at some point not worth continuing, and in recent days, that’s what this has become.

  45. RaiderRedleg says: Dec 30, 2009 8:13 AM

    Hotchick,
    Vaild points…I think most of the “whining” as you call it comes from the execution of the decision to sit starters.
    NFL fans are passionate to a fault and if you as team are going to purposely not put forth 100% effort to win a game then you need to put on your best public relations “hat” and let your fans know WAY ahead of time that no matter what happens during a game that the starters are coming out at halftime, third quarter, etc.
    The decision was questionable enough, but justifiable as you posted…HOWEVER execution and the resulting damage control effort by the Colt organization has been a DISASTER!

  46. Krow says: Dec 30, 2009 8:16 AM

    The only thing that bothers me about the Colts giving the Jets this Xmas present is that we have to put up with those geriatric morons from Miami for another year.

  47. Newportranger says: Dec 30, 2009 8:19 AM

    The father that wrangled every connection to bring his kid to see the then historic Colt’s attempt another historic victory should be offered his money back. Athletes are trained to win, and fans have a right to see their team give it their all. I remember seeing my first Jets game late in the season with the Jets owning a handsome lead and Joe Namath playing on his shattered knees until the clock expired. The Colts management and coaching staff voluntarily stripped the athletes and fans the ability to create history and display competitive, sportsmanlike conduct. I will remember Joe Namath.

  48. Newguy says: Dec 30, 2009 8:20 AM

    On the comments that “if Manning had gotten hurt no one would be complaining…” yada yada yada, ….
    Wasn’t it last year when a QB of a team playing in a meaningless game (from a standings perspective) was carted off on a stretcher? How did that injury play out in the playoffs? Big Ben made it back and played OK.
    I don’t recall anyone calling for Tomlin’s head. There was some second guessing, but hell, Steeler fans second guess everything.
    I’m certain one can look at every Superbowl winner and find a player (or two or more) who played well in the playoffs after being injured to some extent in the last game or two.

  49. Ytsejamer1 says: Dec 30, 2009 8:31 AM

    Awesome article…and responses. Many of which I’ve been chewing on myself. Polian’s appearance on NFL Network was really aggravating. What’s his hard on with the Patriot’s organization? Polian is the one who has turned football into a flag football/track meet, changed rules to benefit his team, he’s the head of a team that has certainly gotten the best of the Patriots many times in the last four years or so, and he never has had bad comments made about him publicly by ANYONE in the Patriots organization. Belichick has never trashed Polian or the Colts team in the press…
    What’s his deal?

  50. HarrisonHits says: Dec 30, 2009 8:49 AM

    Colts will be one and done in the playoffs, and Polian will always be remembered as the perfect jackass, and one who wouldn’t accept the responsibility for the decision he made.

  51. realitypolice says: Dec 30, 2009 8:50 AM

    Since I am always so quick to criticize you, Florio, I should make sure to praise you when you put together a post as great as this. Not that Polian needs all that much help to look like a pompous a***hole, but you do a fantastic job laying out what he said in a way blows his stunningly flawed logic right out of the water.
    As I said in a post yesterday, Polian would rather lose his way than win someone else’s. And this will be proven when once again, as in every other year where the Colts have taken their foot off the pedal at the end of the regular season, they get beat in the playoffs by a team that didn’t.

  52. jerseypatriot says: Dec 30, 2009 9:03 AM

    I’d rather be accused of cheating than quitting.
    Pats were already the team of the decade, the Colts QUITTING
    is just icing on a delicious cake.
    It’s almost January, FEAR THE PATRIOT!

  53. hayward giablommi says: Dec 30, 2009 9:05 AM

    Wow.
    This is one of the best articles in recent memory on PFT, and other than a handful of posters, some excellent, dead on comments about the sham purpetrated on the fans of the Colts, the AFC wildcard contenders, and the game itself.
    A+

  54. Indy Pride says: Dec 30, 2009 9:06 AM

    Fortunately for the Colts, Jim Irsay is the owner, Bill Polian the president and Jim Caldwell the coach…and NOT an emotional blogger and/or responder. Give it up already……

  55. mbs says: Dec 30, 2009 9:08 AM

    To compromise the integrity of the Playoff system is totally inexcusable. If the shoe was on the other foot, I am certain the Colts org. and it’s fan base would be livid.
    The NFL should look into this matter

  56. bluenoser says: Dec 30, 2009 9:18 AM

    There are 10 years in a decade.
    Since the first year ever was year 1 that makes the decade end at year 10 and the century at year 100.
    Thus, the decade goes from 2001-2010.
    Oh, nevermind…

  57. NotForYou says: Dec 30, 2009 9:26 AM

    I love it!!!! Keep the haters coming!!! Why Florio, or anyone else out there, thinks that the Colts or Bill Polian owe anyone an explanation as to what they are doing, or why is beyond me. As a season ticket holder, I have an expectation that the Colts make the playoffs every year and put themselves in the position to get a ring. Obviously, I’ve been less than satisfied with the result the last several years. Fact is, with the talent on this team, we should have 4 titles this decade, not 1. I could give a rats a$$ about 19-0, I want another ring. What I expect every year for the price of my admission is their best effort to achieve that, not to see 18 on the field in a meaningless game in which we have EVERYTHING essential to reaching that goal already in the bag.
    Keep the hate coming, jealousy is a biatch. No one would care if this were one of 31 other teams in the NFL, but this is the Colts, and just like the Michael Jordan Bulls, you hate the teams that you WISH you had. Just like Colts fans USED to hate the Pats, when they were on top of the game.
    Late!

  58. pghsteve says: Dec 30, 2009 9:27 AM

    As a Steelers fan, I am disappointed that the Colts did not beat the Jets, which would have made it easier for the Steelers to get to the playoffs. However, the Steelers caused their own problems with 3 losses to bad teams, so no complaining from here.
    Also, last year in a moslty meaningless 17th week game against Cleveland, the Steelers played Big Ben and he suffered a fairly sserious injury, had to carried from the field. Tomiln took a lot of heat for having Ben in that game. Imagine the fury of Colts fans if Manning was carted off the field after an injury in a ‘meaningless’ game.

  59. justintime says: Dec 30, 2009 9:27 AM

    If I were a Colts fan, I might be less angry at Polian for resting starters and more angry that he constructed a roster with an incompetent backup qb.

  60. chunky soupy sales says: Dec 30, 2009 9:33 AM

    “Fortunately for the Colts, Jim Irsay is the owner, Bill Polian the president and Jim Caldwell the coach…and NOT an emotional blogger and/or responder. Give it up already……”
    Unfortunately for you, your name is Indy pride and apparently you don’t have any. I don’t mean that as a personal attack. I just don’t understand how you can’t be furious with the teams decision to forgo history fo their fans.
    Will Manning play this week? Because if he does, it is even more stupid.

  61. PFTiswhatitis says: Dec 30, 2009 9:37 AM

    I watched that interview also and to me it sounded like the Colts (Polian) are too preoccupied with out-doing the Pats in any/every way they can rather than simply focusing on greatness.

  62. RaiderRedleg says: Dec 30, 2009 9:47 AM

    Indy Pride,
    Why post that?
    PFT and the people who post on it are simply sharing information and views.
    If you don’t like reading blogs stating how badly your team handled last week’s game then why don’t you stop reading PFT and catch Bill Polian’s call in show, watch the NFL Network, or check out http://www.forum.colts.com, but I think you will find all those outlets are weighing in on it also.
    Sorry, maybe crawl in a hole and wait until the playoffs and pray the Colts don’t get bounced by the Jets!

  63. redsquare says: Dec 30, 2009 9:53 AM

    The Colts can never be the team of the decade now, which this Polian clown has just assured with their debacle last week. By so casually tanking a game and being careless with history, by so easily shaming his team and fan base, he’s destroyed any chance of the Colts being held above the Pats for the decade.
    Colts with two Super Bowl wins, last SB win of the decade, and a perfect season to close out the decade = Colts most likely seen as team of the decade and revered in all-time NFL history.
    Colts with two SB wins after throwing a game and instead clinging to a couple who-cares records which, as others above have pointed out, are exceeded by other more meaningful records by the Pats = Colts just another successful team in the decade. Probably below the Steelers, too.
    Colts with their collective psyche screwed up by bone-headed management and their HOF QB frustrated and disappointed = 2009 AFC Champion San Diego Chargers.
    It didn’t have to be this way.

  64. if yer not first... says: Dec 30, 2009 9:55 AM

    Everytime someone from the Colts speaks I have less respect -and more dislike- for them. That was 5 minutes of pure unadulterated BS.
    Fine he told the fans way back in October that and undefeated season wasn’t a goal (which is asinine enough) but did he also tell the fans the would intentionally sabatouge it?
    Also he’s talking about the most win in a decade. Would somebody explain to this effin idiot the decade is over on Thursday – there are no more games this decade.

  65. redamber says: Dec 30, 2009 9:59 AM

    East Bay Ray says: “…Another team could have surpassed what the Dolphins did, but didn’t even care to.”
    Your an idiot! No team had the opportunity to go undefeated. Not the 49ers! Not the Steelers! Not the Bears! Not the Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings; not any team before the Patriots and Colts!!! You have got to learn your NFL history, boy.
    Going perfect is a monumental achievement and deserves incredible praise. Sure, a team gets lucky as the ’72 Dolphins and the Pats did. (The Pats faced Philly without McNabb; Ind had 2 of their top 3 WRs out) but to come out and play every game with purpose and intent stands out above all. The Colts organization showed they lack heart. No heart no SuperBowl!

  66. kbar69 says: Dec 30, 2009 10:06 AM

    A week for Polian’s PR Team/Spindoctors to come up with an excuse and these are the lame reasons they came up with?
    Neither the Indianapolis Colts nor the common fan care about the most wins in a decade or most consecutive regular season game wins. Every football fan knows the Holy Grail of team accomplishments is the perfect season with a superbowl victory!
    This guy’s an egotistical S.O.B if he thinks fans are stupid enough to believe that load of crap!
    If the guy just came out and said “I didn’t want to risk serious injury to my players going into the playoffs” and be done with it then most could have lived with that. Not all, but most! Polian just continues to dig himself a hole and show how very little respect he has for the common fan!

  67. TimTheEnchanter says: Dec 30, 2009 10:06 AM

    Um…
    How could the Colts catch the Pats for wins in a decade by winning out and winning the Super Bowl when the week 17 game and the playoffs all occur in the next decade?

  68. The Rural Juror says: Dec 30, 2009 10:13 AM

    Team of the decade? the Colts?
    No way. It’s gott a be the Pats . And I hate the Pats.
    The Colts numbers show that they have been a GOOD team, definately NOT a great one.
    In the past decade, both the Ravens and the Colts have the same number of playoff wins (7) and superbowls (1)
    And the Colts have 6 ‘one and dones’ out of nine appearances.

  69. Grogan14 says: Dec 30, 2009 10:14 AM

    At this point, Polian must be wishing the refs had made the correct spot when Belichick went for it on 4-and-2. At 13-1, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

  70. Ranoversquarells says: Dec 30, 2009 10:15 AM

    Well done Florio,
    Bill Pollian tried the use the Chewbacca defense but you tore into that pretty good. Johnnie Cochran would be proud.

  71. RacerX says: Dec 30, 2009 10:19 AM

    So glad he wants to be team of the decade… we all know how the ensuing decade goes for the team who earns that honor.

  72. redsquare says: Dec 30, 2009 10:19 AM

    @NotForYou:
    “Fact is, with the talent on this team, we should have 4 titles this decade, not 1. I could give a rats a$$ about 19-0, I want another ring.”
    Do you really not see the connection between not giving a rat’s ass about 19-0 and only having one ring?

  73. hayward giablommi says: Dec 30, 2009 10:26 AM

    “Fact is, with the talent on this team, we should have 4 titles this decade, not 1. I could give a rats a$$ about 19-0, I want another ring. ”
    ^^^^^
    If your Colts front office didn’t insist on benching players and continuing this failed, losing philosophy, guess what, you might have more than one ring.
    ———–
    “Keep the hate coming, jealousy is a biatch. No one would care if this were one of 31 other teams in the NFL, but this is the Colts, and just like the Michael Jordan Bulls, you hate the teams that you WISH you had. ”
    ^^^^^
    Not only is noone jealous of the Colts, or their fans, but you seem to have some delusions of grandeur if you, as a Colts “fan”, have some sort of persecution complex. The mark of great teams are those that are hated, like the Steelers, Cowboys, and most recently the Patriots.
    The Colts are not, and will not get into that echelon, for many reasons, but for one in particular: the Colts represent the antithesis of greatness, underachievers who are scared to take risks and do everything it takes to be the best.
    And seriously, for you to compare the Colts to Michael Jordan’s Bulls is laughable and insulting to everyone’s intelligence.
    ———-
    “Just like Colts fans USED to hate the Pats, when they were on top of the game.”
    ^^^^^
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: their is no fan base more obsessed with another than the Colts fans obsession with New England. That is part and parcel as to why the majority of your brethren wanted 19-0 so bad. Stop kidding yourself.

  74. Doral4720 says: Dec 30, 2009 10:26 AM

    What the Colts did last Sunday is inexcusable and the NFL should be investigating it. The NFL and all sports leagues work under the premise that a team will go all out to win a game (with the exception of pre-season). If you take away that effort then you no longer have a legitimate contest and the sport becomes a joke. Professional Wrestling is not classified a sport because it is staged and is thus an exhibition. What the Colts did was to put the NFL on par with Professional Wrestling. Besides doing their best to win there are a couple of other issues that need to be looked at…Teams competing with the Jets for the final playoff spot such as Pittsburgh and Houston were hurt because the Colts gift-wrapped the game to the Jets. I’m sure that if the Colts find themselves in the future fighting for the last playoff spot that the favor will be returned. The second point deals with gambling. What’s the difference between taking a fall in a boxing match to benefit gamblers versus what the Colts did? We all know that anything that smells of throwing a game or match is what scares the NFL most.

  75. Doral4720 says: Dec 30, 2009 10:27 AM

    What the Colts did last Sunday is inexcusable and the NFL should be investigating it. The NFL and all sports leagues work under the premise that a team will go all out to win a game (with the exception of pre-season). If you take away that effort then you no longer have a legitimate contest and the sport becomes a joke. Professional Wrestling is not classified a sport because it is staged and is thus an exhibition. What the Colts did was to put the NFL on par with Professional Wrestling. Besides doing their best to win there are a couple of other issues that need to be looked at…Teams competing with the Jets for the final playoff spot such as Pittsburgh and Houston were hurt because the Colts gift-wrapped the game to the Jets. I’m sure that if the Colts find themselves in the future fighting for the last playoff spot that the favor will be returned. The second point deals with gambling. What’s the difference between taking a fall in a boxing match to benefit gamblers versus what the Colts did? We all know that anything that smells of throwing a game or match is what scares the NFL most.

  76. manningtowayne says: Dec 30, 2009 10:30 AM

    I’m a Colts fan and prior to week 13, I didn’t care if the colts went 16-0. All that matters at the end of the day is hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy. Yeah there are two sides to the argument. Caldwell was in a lose lose situation. If key starter got hurt in the game then he would have had his head chewed off. resting his players obviously has gotten his head chewed off.
    After watching that game on Sunday, my respect for the organization went down a couple of notches. They will be one and done this year and they fuked up an opportunity to carry some serious momentum into the playoffs and go to to the superbowl. Isn’t the bye week rest enough. WTF?
    I know Polian is also thinking that he’s taken some of the pressure off of the team. In fact he has increased the pressure on the team significantly. If the team is one and done (which I think they will be) this decision will be scrutinized forever. The Colts have even more pressure to play well and show that the organizations decision was the correct one.

  77. DaMayan says: Dec 30, 2009 10:30 AM

    Turn it around for a minute:
    If the team was very bad and Polian would stop trying win after going say 1-8 to get a better draft position.
    That’s just plain ugly and bad sportmanship.

  78. Robert says: Dec 30, 2009 10:30 AM

    Otis Taylor 89 says: December 30, 2009 7:19 AM
    The biggest joke of all is the ’72 MIA season – they played against NO WINNING TEAMS DURING THE REGULAR SEASON!!! Can you image that happening today? Yeah, they were a good team, but no wins against a winning team during the regular season, two wins against two good teams to get to the SB and then they beat a team with Billy Kilmer at QB! It was a fluke year.
    The ’72 Phins were probably the 5th best team…of the ’70’s!!!!
    ——————————————————
    Miami played the following teams with winning records in ’72:
    9/17 – Kansas City (8-6)
    12.10 – New York Giants (8-6)
    Killer teams? No. But, they did win more games than they lost.

  79. NotForYou says: Dec 30, 2009 10:46 AM

    @redsquare:
    I hear what you are saying, but I still don’t care about 19-0. This team has had SO MANY injuries, not just this year, but every year to key players that even for just another 20 minutes vs the Jets, I’d rather not risk it. We all know what would happen if 18 went down, but we would be equally toast if Clark, Freeney, Wayne, etc go down.
    If I had a crystal ball that told me that we wouldn’t suffer any significant injuries before the playoffs, then of course I’d be on board. That’s what you earn when you start out 14-0…the right to rest players, prevent as many injuries as possible, and put your team in the best possible position to win a ring. Some would choose to go for perfection, which I understand, some would choose the other angle, which I support.

  80. woodman says: Dec 30, 2009 10:48 AM

    Why did we chastise the Black Soxs for their scandal of throwing games…….when now we condone it.

  81. TheBigOldDog says: Dec 30, 2009 10:50 AM

    redsquare says:
    Do you really not see the connection between not giving a rat’s ass about 19-0 and only having one ring?
    No, they don’t and that’s part of the problem. After reading the comments from the Indy fans here, I now understand why the Colts are perennial underachievers and why the NFL feels the need to make up calls for them on the field, and rules for them in the Boardroom. Their fans are clearly enablers. They will accept Polian’s ridiculous arguments. They accept the underachievement. In most NFL cities it would not have been tolerated and hence corrected quickly. Clearly, not so in Indy. So, the NFL has to do its best to help because Peyton in the face of the NFL.

  82. murphyinc says: Dec 30, 2009 10:54 AM

    Great points throughout.
    Teams of the various decades starting with the 60’s.
    60’s Packers
    70’s Steelers (followed by Dallas, Miami, Oak)
    80’s 49ers (followed by Skins, Oak, NYG, Chi)
    90’s Dallas (followed by 49ers, Denver, GB)
    00’s Pats (followed by Pitt, Indy, NYG, Phi)
    In addition to all the stats sited by sportsjustice, I think Pats are first team in cap era to have 9 consecutive seasons of 9+ wins (and all but ’02 were 10 or more).

  83. bornman3 says: Dec 30, 2009 10:58 AM

    @jerseypatriot
    100% agree. Everyone, that is EVERYONE, in the league cheats to some degree. It’s a part of the competitive nature, and Deacon Jones would likely back that statement up!
    I am no Patriots fan, but at least they had the guts to go for it. The Colts are a disgrace to every team that’s ever laced up their boots. Herm Edwards said it all several years back. “You play to win the game”.
    For those of you that do not see the big deal in this, have no clue on what competition means. This is a competitive sport, and you should always be trying to win.

  84. Raybrant says: Dec 30, 2009 10:58 AM

    What can we fans do to show this franchise our displeasure? Foolian (you can add you own P if you like) cannot justify not having a perfect season. There is no justification for that nonsense! Something must be done, mass protest, boycott, something to let the NFL and these idiots know that when we give them tax incentives to build their fancy stadiums, they are obligated to play the game, every game, totally and completely and never forfeit!

  85. mbs says: Dec 30, 2009 11:03 AM

    I lost a lot of respect for the Colts org on this one. Manning is a great QB and going all the way would have added to his lagacy. I might be wrong on this one but isn’t this the same ownership family that moved the franchise under the cover of darkness during a snow storm. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…….class act.

  86. houstonsimpleton says: Dec 30, 2009 11:11 AM

    Buffalo Bill Polian. Doesn’t win what counts.

  87. ZombieRevolution says: Dec 30, 2009 11:13 AM

    This is a win-win situation for drama queen Florio. If the Colts win he can point out how they could have made history. If they lose he can point out how they should have kept their foot on the gas (like the Patriots).
    One of the reasons this won’t die is the idiot in charge of PFT and how this generates webhits.

  88. Bill Cowher's Chin says: Dec 30, 2009 11:14 AM

    I have to laught at the talk of the Colts being “Team of the Decade”. Please, the team of the decade has always been the team with the most rings, period.
    Saying Indy is more deserving, is like saying Buffalo is the team of the 90’s instead of Dallas. Or saying Miami was the team of the 70’s instead of Pittsburgh

  89. murphyinc says: Dec 30, 2009 11:16 AM

    The Colts tanking late-season games is nothing new, but this one was different for them and their fans. They blew it and I feel bad for Colts fans who wanted to go for history and/or paid top $ for those seats on Sunday.
    As a Pats fan, I hope they ask league to schedule next season’s Pats/Colts game in Foxboro for week 16 or 17, when the Colts might lie down again – instead of the typical November sweeps.
    Colts undermined competitive spirit and screwed about 6 other teams 9in addition to their fans) on Sunday. The favor may be returned at some point in future season.

  90. NotForYou says: Dec 30, 2009 11:17 AM

    If the Colts had achieved 19-0, the large majority of Colts haters on this board, and everywhere else would still rip them for whatever reason you deem appropriate for the time. Don’t act like all of you would start flooding the site with your “Wow, that’s really some achievement for the Colts…they are special! What a great team!” I’d expect something more along the lines of “Of course they went undefeated…they changed all of the rules for them, got all of the calls, etc.” Insert your favorite canned speach about all of the advantages the Colts have supposedly created for themselves. Don’t give me some bs about offending fans across the nation for not going for it because it was somehow owed to them. People love a good excuse to hate on Peyton and Polian. Same with Dungy when he was here.

  91. Slow Joe says: Dec 30, 2009 11:20 AM

    It’s really very simple: It’s a regular season game, so you try to win. It counts! It’s official! You try to win!
    You owe it to your fans, especially the ones who paid for tickets, and you owe it to the league, especially the teams competing with the Jets for a playoff spot.
    In my fantasy football league, of all places, we have a rule that you ALWAYS set your starting lineup and that you ALWAYS try to win, even if it’s late in the season, you’re out of the playoff race and could get a better draft pick next year (it’s a keeper league). The reason we have that rule is that when teams don’t try to win it upsets the competitive balance of the league, and could affect what teams get in the playoffs.
    So how can a shitty little fantasy football league have a rule to protect against crap like this, and the Mighty NFL not?
    I like Peyton and respect the Colts players, but I will be rooting hard against the Colts in the playoffs. I hope they are embarrassed in their opening round game.

  92. murphyinc says: Dec 30, 2009 11:55 AM

    I don’t hate Manning or Colts, but I am not a fan of Polian at all. I respect Manning the same way I respect Jeter, LeBron, etc.
    Peyton Manning is a top 5 all-time QB, no question along with Montana, Unitas, Brady, and Elway (apologies to Starr, Bradshaw, Namath, Marino, etc..)
    What the Colts (read managment and Caldwell) did on Sunday was wrong and they’re being called on it. The reaction on the faces of the Colts players spoke volumes. Polian said yesterday that he thought they were clear/transparent and public on what they would do, but how can that be when even their own players seem befuddled by this?

  93. bornman3 says: Dec 30, 2009 12:08 PM

    Dear Buffalo Fans,
    You are a great group, and support your small market team in a bad economy extraordinarily well.
    Please do the rest of us NFL fans a favor, and Boooooo the Colts right out of Orchid Park this Sunday!

  94. redsquare says: Dec 30, 2009 12:19 PM

    @NotForYou – I can understand the philosophy, and it does make some logical sense (even though the team’s own history doesn’t support the intended outcome). But if the Colts were really following that plan, why play starters against Jacksonville, and why bother playing starters so deep into the Jets game?
    I think that’s what has scrambled everyone so badly–Colts leadership said a month ago that they were going to rest starters late in the season. Then they started hedging a bit and using more general language. Then they kept playing starters. Then they play the starters into the third quarter of the next to the last game. And only then do they pull them.
    If they were going to do it, they should have done it sooner, instead of playing a full-tilt meaningless game and then fooling everyone into thinking they were watching a real game last Sunday.
    Apart from debating the wisdom of the Colts’ overall strategy, it’s the way they’ve gone about it which is riling so many people. In previous years, lots of people hated what they were doing, but they were more consistent about it, and they weren’t standing on the cusp of an undefeated season.
    All of this isn’t to try and convince you you’re wrong. It’s just to reinforce why there’s so much of an uproar. A healthy organization that’s very successful should not be producing this much outrage. It’s a sign that something’s wrong.
    (By the way, I really like the Colts and think Manning is phenomenal, probably the best QB I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen ‘em all since Staubach. So I don’t wish the team ill, but I’ve never liked their management and coaches.)

  95. LovinBlue says: Dec 30, 2009 12:21 PM

    One issue here is something that the league faces every year, and that is somehow requiring teams to field the most competitive team every week until the season is over. Whether it’s teams pulling starters to protect them in advance of the playoffs, or the risk of teams tanking games to move up the draft board, we all know that the competitions change near the end of every season. Until the current structure is changed, there will continue to be incentives to do this.
    Now, for those who think that somehow Polian cared about the “team of the decade” label: Why would the Colts want to change minds when (a) that completely subjective “award” has already been given, and (b) it was chosen a full year before the actual end of the decade? (Think about it… the first year wasn’t Year 0…)

  96. mdhallinvegas says: Dec 30, 2009 1:10 PM

    Polian’s remarks are just camoflague to deflect our attention away from being proactive in demonstrating our disgust with the decision to NOT PLAY TO WIN! I said it before and I say it again…Colt season ticket holders STAY HOME…TV fans watch some other game. They only care about the bucks so embarrassing them and costing them sponsor bucks will get their attention. Colt fans…grow a pair and make this statement…otherwise just shut up!

  97. Frank Burns says: Dec 30, 2009 1:32 PM

    What’s an even bigger outrage is the league so clearly trying to get the Jets into the playoffs — you can complain about refs all you want, but this is an attempt BEFORE the game even starts to make sure a team has the best chance to play against another team’s scrubs for the second week in a row.
    Oh let’s put the Jets-Bengals on Sunday Night, so in case New England wins we’ll make sure Cincy has nothing to play for. Nice.

  98. hayward giablommi says: Dec 30, 2009 1:58 PM

    @ NotForYou
    You Colts fans are hands down the whiniest bunch of brainwashed pom pom wavers in the league.
    Until the disgraceful actions of the Colts management last Sunday, which had AFC-wide playoff ramifications, your Colts have faced very little criticism on the whole- despite being the most underachieving team since the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Braves of the 1990’s.
    Stop with the persecution complex. Noone is buying into it, and frankly, it’s embarrassing.

  99. Klytus says: Dec 30, 2009 2:00 PM

    Why does this story continue? Because the team was still undefeated! What if the Colts never have an undefeated again? Let the players have a hand in deciding that outcome. But the Colts management said, “We don’t care how the players feel about it. We’re going to pull them out of the game and insure a loss.”
    GO STEELERS!

  100. Furious George says: Dec 30, 2009 2:08 PM

    the bottom line is they were scared sh!tless about going into the playoffs undefeated b/c of their history of chocking in the first round. thats it, sugarcoat it any way you want it.

  101. RaiderChile says: Dec 30, 2009 2:22 PM

    Colts fans get pissed! As a NFL fan I wanted to Manning and Co go for it! I can’t stand the Grumpy Old Men from the ’72 Dolphins especially Mercury Morris who has nothing but this record to keep him relevant! Shame on you Bill Polian. The Colts are not the Bills, so get over it! Still rooting for the Colts to win it all since the Raiders can’t do squat!

  102. East Bay Ray says: Dec 30, 2009 5:09 PM

    # redamber says: December 30, 2009 9:59 AM
    East Bay Ray says: “…Another team could have surpassed what the Dolphins did, but didn’t even care to.”
    “Your an idiot! No team had the opportunity to go undefeated. Not the 49ers! Not the Steelers! Not the Bears! Not the Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings; not any team before the Patriots and Colts!!! You have got to learn your NFL history, boy.
    Going perfect is a monumental achievement and deserves incredible praise. Sure, a team gets lucky as the ’72 Dolphins and the Pats did. (The Pats faced Philly without McNabb; Ind had 2 of their top 3 WRs out) but to come out and play every game with purpose and intent stands out above all. The Colts organization showed they lack heart. No heart no SuperBowl!”
    redamber, if you had read and been able to comprehend the rest of my post, I was obviously referring to this year’s Colts as the team that “could have surpassed what the Dolphins did”. If you want to see an idiot, look in the mirror.
    My point is that the Colts have devalued a perfect season by saying “we don’t care about it, it’s all about winning the Super Bowl”. And, that’s a good thing because a few of the 72 Dolphins are graceless asses in the way they celebrate when the last undefeated team loses every season. I think of Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith. Payton was dead by the time Emmitt broke his all-time rushing yardage record, but I have a hard time imagining Sweetness celebrating had Emmitt fallen short of his record. As a good sportsman an classy individual, he would have been happy for Emmitt. But then, Mercury Morris was sure as hell no Walter Payton.

  103. davefs21 says: Dec 31, 2009 1:15 AM

    First of all, I’m ashamed of Tony Dungy. Although I have always thought of him as a very respectable man, I’m disappointed that he needed to say the players were all onboard with the plan to pull them out of the game on Sunday. Anyone who saw the game and the players on the sideline knows that isn’t true.
    Second, he stated how great Bill Polian was at leading teams to the Super Bowl. While it’s true that he has had teams in the Super Bowl, the only time his teams have won a Super Bowl was when the Colts won it. And that year, they had to play their star players every down just to make it to the playoffs. And, I’m not so sure he should brag about taking the Bills to the Super Bowl and losing 4 straight years.
    What about the fans? Did those who paid for tickets to the game get discounts for watching the Colts “B” team lose the first game of the year? Did Polian refund the money paid by the networks to televise the game because millions of fans turned the channel, after it was obvious the Colts strategy was to lose?
    If they are so damned worried about star players getting hurt, why don’t they begin putting the stars on the practice team and only use them during the playoffs?
    It should be the goal of every team, professional or not, to play their best and try to win. It’s unfair to the players, the coaches and the fans when so called experts make decisions to intentionally lose games.
    The Colts are not like most other teams. They need to be on the field playing, otherwise they lose thier edge. That fact has been proven in other years when they pulled their best players to save them for the playoffs. If memory serves me correctly, they lost those games in the first round.

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