The Indianapolis Colts have made the playoffs every year since Tony Dungy became their coach in 2002. But Dungy, who’s now in his third year out of coaching after seven years leading the Colts, suspects that streak may be ending this year.
On the Dan Patrick Show today, Dungy was asked to give a yes or no answer on whether the Colts will make the playoffs.
“I would say no, because I would be concerned about Peyton Manning,” Dungy said. “Just the fact that he may miss one game tells me that this is fairly serious.”
The Colts say Manning, who’s continuing to recuperate from offseason neck surgery, is doubtful for Week 1 against the Texans. That means there’s a very good chance the Colts will start 0-1 against an AFC South opponent, but the Colts started the season with a loss to the Texans last year, too, and they still managed to win the division.
The problem is that Manning, who has the second-longest streak of consecutive starts for a quarterback in NFL history, wouldn’t miss a game unless his injury was serious. And if his injury is serious, it’s probably going to be more than a week before he’s healthy enough to play.
From Dungy’s point of view, if Manning only misses the first week or two of the season, the Colts can recover and make the playoffs. But if Manning is gone for an extended period of time, the Colts may be in too deep a hole to climb out of by the end of the year.
“I think it all depends on Peyton Manning,” Dungy said. “If he misses a lot of time I think it’s going to be very difficult for them to make it. If he misses one or two games, I think they still will win the division.”
Dungy knows the Colts as well as anyone, and he knows the Colts are Peyton Manning’s team. They’ll go as far as he can take them, and he can’t take them anywhere if he’s sitting on the bench nursing an injured neck.