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Jeff Saturday still mad Colts didn’t try for a perfect season

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After one final season in Green Bay, Jeff Saturday is returning to the Colts to call it a career and officially retire with the team, and he says that when he looks back on his time in Indianapolis, there’s only one thing he regrets.

That one thing is that in 2009, the Colts started 14-0 but didn’t try to finish a perfect season, instead resting their starters and losing their final two regular-season games. They ended up losing the Super Bowl to the Saints at the end of the postseason.

That’s the only thing I wish we would have done differently,” Saturday told Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “I was in favor of it, but obviously, I got out-voted [by management]. When we pulled everybody and just let it go by the wayside and ended up losing, that was a great opportunity we had. As a player, perfection is the highest goal you can reach. And we were so close.”

Saturday’s comments don’t specifically mention who he blames for that decision, but former Colts G.M. Bill Polian is often blamed for being the one who decided the Colts would rest Peyton Manning and Co. in the final two games. That decision wasn’t popular with the Colts’ players then, and it’s still not popular with them now.

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58 Responses to “Jeff Saturday still mad Colts didn’t try for a perfect season”
  1. snarcasms says: Mar 7, 2013 8:44 AM

    You blame Polian since he seems to be the one pulling the strings.

    You blame Caldwell for not having a sack to stand up to Polian and for being a puppet to start with.

    You blame the hypocritical owner Irsay, who could have been hitting the rattler for letting it happen to start with.

    All 3 should be embarassed for allowing that garbage to happen.

  2. sawasta says: Mar 7, 2013 8:45 AM

    Saturday looks like that guy from Pulp Fiction. You know the one I’m talking about. Bow chicka bow wow.

  3. bullcharger says: Mar 7, 2013 8:45 AM

    They made it to the Super Bowl and had a chance to win. In hindsight it may look like a bad decision since they lost the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t that bad a decision if they made it to the game.

    They could have gone for it and went undefeated and still lost the Super Bowl like the Patriots in 2007, or someone critical could have gotten hurt and they could have lost their first playoff game. When looking back you can’t only imagine good scenarios.

    It’s certainly more fun for the fans if teams in that situation go for it, but ultimately the goal is to win the Super Bowl only.

  4. rexryansdirtysock says: Mar 7, 2013 8:46 AM

    Saturday is right, it was a sham. You play to win the game. Seeing the Colts hand over those games was truly sad as a football fan.

    Being a Patriots fan, I was happy they didn’t tie their mark. But as a football fan, I felt cheated they didn’t at least try.

    That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – to go for the undefeated mark. The 2007 Patriots failed miserably at the end, losing the Super Bowl. But I guarantee you the fate of the 2009 Colts, another Super Bowl loser, felt just as bad.

    Colts management wasn’t at all considerate to the players with that decision.

  5. jaff49 says: Mar 7, 2013 8:47 AM

    Agree the Colts lost that wonderful thing called edge going into the super bowl BAD idea. very bad idea…

  6. Patskrieg dot com says: Mar 7, 2013 8:49 AM

    A distant fabled past when we all thought Jim Caldwell was a good head coach.

  7. goraidersgospurs says: Mar 7, 2013 8:49 AM

    blame your back ups!!!

  8. rayjayjohnsonjr says: Mar 7, 2013 8:49 AM

    A mistake that will nag on forever and whoever made the decision should grow a pair and admit it.

  9. sb44champs says: Mar 7, 2013 8:50 AM

    Wouldn’t matter as the Colts were going to get destroyed in the SB by the Saints either way..

  10. HerculesHochuli says: Mar 7, 2013 8:51 AM

    Like my Pats they lost the SB so the perfect season means ABSOLUTLELY NOTHING. Trust me, there was no worse feeling than losing the SB at 18-0.

  11. m1000be says: Mar 7, 2013 8:52 AM

    As a Colts fan, I agree a hundred percent with Jeff on this. There was a distinct chance that the Colts could of had that 19-0 season or at least matched the Patriots 18-1 season. As it is, the season felt incomplete and was topped off with a loss to the friggin’ Saints in the biggest game.

    With all that said, glad to see Mr.Saturday retire a Colt. Great player and will be missed for sure.

  12. jimthebuilder27 says: Mar 7, 2013 8:52 AM

    Bill Polian made that call. That, along with hiring his son as GM, and making his team totally dependent on Peyton Manning was unfortunately the latter half of his legacy with the Colts.

  13. wewantmoretebowandfavrearticles says: Mar 7, 2013 8:52 AM

    This is why Irsay took a stronger hold of the organization back from the Polians. Front office men have ZERO BUSINESS involving themselves in coaching decisions. Who starts and who sits should entirely be the coaching staff’s decision. This year the Colts had nothing to play for, but put up an amazing show in taking away the Texans home-field advantage and gave them something positive to build off for next year. The coaches need to be in control of the team.

    When you have front office men dictating the depth chart and the flow of the game, you end up with situations like a couple of years ago in Chicago where Brian Greise and Rex Grossman were taking turns throwing INTs while Kyle Orton was on the bench due to contract. You get situations like New York where Mark Sanchez is a starting QB. In Jacksonville, Blaine Gabbert got way too much time before giving way to Henne. Can you imagine the Polians in Seattle forcing Russell Wilson to sit? Front office men just don’t know the players nor do they have to go to war with them. Coaching from the press box is a recipe for failure.

  14. pittsburghsteelerz says: Mar 7, 2013 8:52 AM

    The NBA went all Shock & Awe on the San Antonio Spurs when they rested their starters during a regular season game.

    Tickets don’t guarantee certain players will play, but they determined resting the majority of starters changes the quality of the game and it wouldn’t be fair to the fans.

    Are the differences in the CBAs or just the enforcement policy?

    The Spurs actually won the game by the way.

  15. thetooloftools says: Mar 7, 2013 8:58 AM

    I agree. I knew someone would finally come out and say it.

  16. nygf says: Mar 7, 2013 8:59 AM

    So are the rest of the fans: you guys laying down for the Jets and letting them into the playoffs kicked off an awful two and a half year stretch in which Rex Ryan and the Jets got more myopic media attention than a Kardashian wardrobe malfunction. We’re all still trying to recover.

  17. coltzfan166 says: Mar 7, 2013 8:59 AM

    As a Colts fan, I’m not mad about it anymore, but I was for a long time. Man, I still wish we would have gone for it.

  18. bucrightoff says: Mar 7, 2013 8:59 AM

    The football gods didn’t like it either, hence why the Colts lost the Super Bowl.

  19. facebook.com/joesimmonscomic AKA Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: Mar 7, 2013 9:00 AM

    I absolutely hate when teams rest players once they’ve clinched. It goes against the integrity of the game.

    I’m neither a Colts fan nor hater, but I rooted against them in the playoffs after they pulled that.

  20. notdemfalcons says: Mar 7, 2013 9:02 AM

    Irrelevant, woulda been 18-1

  21. EJ says: Mar 7, 2013 9:07 AM

    I was at the extremely frigid final game of the season when Buffalo dismantled the Colts at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Manning was in for the first couple of drives and was picked off right away. I’m not sure that even with their starters in that the Colts would have beaten the Bills. Terrell Owens caught a few deep passes, one for a TD. Lee Evans also scored twice. The Bills running game was on with Fred Jackson rushing for 205 yards and the Buffalo D was rock solid. If the Colts wanted to win that game, they would have had to play their hearts out. Besides, the snow was falling at 1-2 inches an hour. The field plows were constantly running and the stadium was very loud that day. #BillsMafia was definitely representing that day.

  22. jradeff says: Mar 7, 2013 9:08 AM

    So are Browns fans. Derek Anderson’s fluke year. 10-6 record. Manning sits in last game agianst the Titans and the Browns miss the playoffs on tiebreaker. #Believeland

  23. biggerballz says: Mar 7, 2013 9:13 AM

    Yeah, the colts would rest starters every year for the final few games and get booted out of the playoffs. The only year they won the superbowl they fought every game of the regular season.

  24. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 7, 2013 9:19 AM

    The way in which they lost that one game in 2009 became the formula in which Polian used to “Suck for Luck.” Painter, Sorgi at QB and a team doesnt stand a chance to win…The ultimate tank job.

  25. markisb62 says: Mar 7, 2013 9:28 AM

    I agree 100% with Saturday and the rest of the players who wanted to go after 16-0. How in the world can you NOT want to go for that? The last 2 games they lost, they barely lost, and severely undermanned at that. In the super bowl, playing for the perfect season all the way (19-0) would have been an incredible added focus, and that team most likely would have done it. But we’ll never really know thanks to the management who really did drop the ball on the call to rest the players.

    Jeff you had a great career on great teams (that you were an instrumental part of making great). Keep your head up and have no regrets. So glad you’re going out a Colt as your deserve to and where you belong. HOF

  26. rboutote says: Mar 7, 2013 9:32 AM

    The Jets and their top defense would’ve won the game anyway. If not for the injuries to Strickland and Greene in the AFCCG they may have won that game too. Move along.

  27. rayray5227 says: Mar 7, 2013 9:34 AM

    Polion is the same guy who tried to trade Manning

  28. raidingtexas says: Mar 7, 2013 9:36 AM

    Well if they had a perfect regular season, imagine how mad he would’ve been at Peyton as Tracy Porter was running the other way for six.

  29. thegame2love says: Mar 7, 2013 9:40 AM

    “You play to win the game, hello! You play to win the game, you don’t just play it” Herman Edwards, 2002.

  30. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 7, 2013 9:43 AM

    He obviously spent too much time in GB. must be something in the water that turns em into PR-hounds and complainers.

  31. boogerhut says: Mar 7, 2013 9:47 AM

    I can name the winner of every war in history. Hindsight, what a concept.

  32. hehateme2 says: Mar 7, 2013 9:59 AM

    Only the Miami Dolphins live on that block Jeff…. only the Dolphins.

  33. marima07 says: Mar 7, 2013 10:03 AM

    As a Pats fan I was terrified Indy would go undefeated while completely enthralled with the possibility and totally hooked – that is until the Colts’ brass stuck a sharp pin in that balloon.

    It was the first – and only – time I ever felt bad for the Colts players, especially Saturday, on the sideline. The Irsay, Polian, Caldwell contingent basically told their players, ‘we don’t think you can handle the pressure’ which is a killer.

    On a good note, it shut up the group that insisted if the 2007 Patriots hadn’t been so arrogant and lost a regular season game, they would have won the Super Bowl.

  34. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Mar 7, 2013 10:04 AM

    When you have a legitimate shot to make NFL history, you keep your foot on the gas. Keep the edge. I agree with Saturday.

  35. xli2006 says: Mar 7, 2013 10:08 AM

    The Colts lost in the Super Bowl so it was really a moot point.

    What happened in December had absolutely no bearing on what happened in February. They earned the 1 seed, the bye, played well in the Playoffs, and went on to the Super Bowl… what did the Regular Season have to do with the Super Bowl?

    If I were Jeff, I’d regret losing in the Super Bowl more than I would have regretted the record.

    I’m not buying anyone’s reasoning that if they would have won in December after having the Bye locked up then they somehow would have played better 5-6 weeks later, that makes no sense.

    Either way, he’s a legendary Colt and could potentially go to work as a rep for the Player’s Union immediately.

  36. yojoemama says: Mar 7, 2013 10:20 AM

    That’s vintage Tony Dungy for you. He’s the idiot who made speech after speech about going 16-0 wasn’t a priority.

  37. patriotinvasion says: Mar 7, 2013 10:26 AM

    They should have gone for history, just like the Pats did. They had a legit chance to be remembered for ever as one of the greatest teams ever, and instead they played scared and ended up losing the Super Bowl anyway.

    For everyone that is in favor of resting starters, remember that those same starters can get hurt on the first play of the first playoff game just as easily. Who knows if the Saints win that Super Bowl if the Colts had the mojo of being undefeated. It’s a shame.

  38. vikinghooper says: Mar 7, 2013 10:30 AM

    Delicious irony. The Colts as we all remember had a run of 3 years where they were undefeated past 9 games and the first two years it seemed to impair there focus as they lost to the Steelers one and done at home, and had constantly came up short in New England.
    Polian decided to lose the Jets game as it kept the Steelers out of the playoffs. The Bills game became irrelevant when Painter bumbled away the Jets game.
    By not having the Steelers in the playoffs, low and behold the Colts got the Jets in the AFCCG. So Polian may know his team better than us, and as all fans know, there are certain teams you’d rather not face in the playoffs. The Colts didn’t want the Chargers and Steelers, and fate and planning made it work for them. Contrast that to the 76 Raiders who could have laid down for the Bengals on MNF to keep the Steelers out, but they came out smoking, exterminated the Bengals, AND kicked the Steelers butt en route to the SB victory.
    As a Viking fan, I saw what Polian did from a mile away; avoid the best competition.
    True champions want to face everybody’s best shot and crush them anyway. Polian did the mating call of the loser.

  39. absolutsaints says: Mar 7, 2013 10:32 AM

    WHO DAT?!!!!

  40. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 7, 2013 10:45 AM

    The Colts deserved what they got here.

    If Manning was any kind of real leader & had any cojones he would have taken the bull by the horns, rallied the team & coaching staff en masse, coersed the decision by management and marched his troops to a true shot at NFL greatness!! That was his moment to put it all on the line & he didn’t rise to the occassion.

    Instead for two games we got to see a pampered pansy Manning pouting on the sideline throughout the whole game as if he was a victim of the circumstances & helpless to do anything about it. Not much of a gridiron moment to remember.

    Sure he has a super bowl ring & stats up the ying yang but you have to be unreasonable when facing difficult circumstances that define your career if you truly want to be considered great! How awesome it would have if he’d gone for the Hollywood ending here….. Manning couldn’t take it any more and just ran out on the field at one point with his starters and led the Colts to 15 wins, then 16 wins. I would have still rooted for him to loose the super bowl but he would have at least gained my respect.

    He played it safe & look what that got him, the team, organization & especially the fans.

  41. weepingjebus says: Mar 7, 2013 10:45 AM

    As they say, someone will win the Super Bowl every year. But to go undefeated means immortality.

  42. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Mar 7, 2013 10:56 AM

    Can we please get Mecury Morris’s reponse to this?? Please! We need more Mecurty Morris opinion on the ’72 Dophins undefeated season.

  43. CKL says: Mar 7, 2013 10:56 AM

    As a Pats fan who hated the PM-Polian run Colts even I felt bad for the rest of those players seeing their faces on the sidelines when they were pulled. It took the wind out of their sails.

    The thing that made it more outrageous is the fact they started the starters the next week and threw a bunch of WR screens so Wayne and PM, etc could rack up stats and records. Individual players’ stats are important, a shot at NFL history for the TEAM is not, that’s what that move said. Irsay should have fired Polian right after SB 44.

  44. razor1722 says: Mar 7, 2013 10:57 AM

    Would have lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl anyway!

  45. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 7, 2013 11:25 AM

    The way they did that had ripple effects across the league that year, as far as who made the playoffs and who didn’t, but also the story of the 2009 Colts will echo for years and years, because it has changed the way teams look at that situation and how best to handle it if they get to 13-0, or 14-0.

    The 2009 Colts will have an effect on the way teams handle those situations for decades to come.

  46. nite2al says: Mar 7, 2013 12:20 PM

    20/20

    Colts lose SB, so they should have tried to go undefeated?

    Pats did that, got tight, and lost. So they shouldn’t have?

    Hello, this is no right or wrong answer!

  47. croghan1919 says: Mar 7, 2013 12:39 PM

    Hey, I’m just a fan and still burns me to think about.
    Postmortem images in my head of that season from the 4th quarter Jets game to end of the SB are of a big balloon deflating.

  48. veetan says: Mar 7, 2013 12:40 PM

    Saturday’s a prince of a guy & a great NFL player, and I agree that teams should always try to win: period. BUT, it would’ve all been for naught, if not worse than that.

    In the game that REALLY mattered, after going up 10-0 early against the Saints, they were outscored 31-7, and lost by two touchdowns.

    So a no-loss season would’ve only made it that much more painful to have gotten beaten like that in the Super Bowl.

  49. Cereal says: Mar 7, 2013 1:12 PM

    The Irsay’s & Indy are historically soft….finesse only gets you so far.

  50. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 7, 2013 1:18 PM

    Greatness is a world of its own, but Yes a shot at football ‘immortality’ is the correct word here….

    For the love of the game how many times does that type of opportunity even show up in a football lifetime?!!!

  51. thecommissionersmen says: Mar 7, 2013 1:45 PM

    Im all in favor for a team trying to run the table even when they have 1st place in the conference wrapped up with a bye and home-field advantage secured throughout the playoffs.

    But here’s the thing…

    and im not sure why people don’t realize this, because I sure did as the 2009 season was winding down…

    Had Indy gone on to beat the Jets in Week 15 that season, the Colts would have most likely played the 13-3 Chargers in the AFC title game instead of the Jets. In fact, its probably the reason why they made the SB that year since the Chargers had Indy’s number and were handing them key losses like the one in the previous postseason when the Chargers beat the Colts in overtime. Instead the Colts called in the fighter J-E-T-S to take care of the Chargers for them otherwise the Colts would have been 16-0 without an appearance in SB 44.

  52. nejerseygirl says: Mar 7, 2013 2:12 PM

    rexryansdirtysock says:
    Mar 7, 2013 8:46 AM
    Saturday is right, it was a sham. You play to win the game. Seeing the Colts hand over those games was truly sad as a football fan.

    Being a Patriots fan, I was happy they didn’t tie their mark. But as a football fan, I felt cheated they didn’t at least try.

    That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – to go for the undefeated mark. The 2007 Patriots failed miserably at the end, losing the Super Bowl. But I guarantee you the fate of the 2009 Colts, another Super Bowl loser, felt just as bad.

    Colts management wasn’t at all considerate to the players with that decision.
    ____________________

    And they clearly weren’t thinking about the fans. Ya know, the people who actually pay their salaries and watch them play.

    As a fellow Patriots fan, I can also say it was heart-breaking to lose that big game. However, the regular season (and even most of the postseason) was a hundred times more exciting as it went on week after week. And the week 17 game against the Giants was a nailbiter!

    But that’s the point of the game – to win. I would much prefer my team to go 18-0 and lose, then to have an opportunity to get that record and sit back and do nothing.

  53. richc111 says: Mar 7, 2013 2:23 PM

    you know what I would like to see. Go back to the year Maimi went underfeated and apply video reply to the season. I remember watching a few games, that in my recollection “were handed t them by the refs” I could be wrong but it is something that I would like to see.

  54. patfic15 says: Mar 7, 2013 2:26 PM

    Its cool Jeff. Saints still won that SB. Who dat!

  55. bobzilla1001 says: Mar 7, 2013 2:34 PM

    CKL:
    Not that you need or want my endorsement, but your posts are always this site’s most insightful and accurate.
    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your passion for the greatest sport on Earth always shines through.

  56. siaaa says: Mar 7, 2013 3:20 PM

    Had Indy gone on to beat the Jets in Week 15 that season, the Colts would have most likely played the 13-3 Chargers in the AFC title game instead of the Jets. In fact, its probably the reason why they made the SB that year since the Chargers had Indy’s number and were handing them key losses like the one in the previous postseason when the Chargers beat the Colts in overtime. Instead the Colts called in the fighter J-E-T-S to take care of the Chargers for them otherwise the Colts would have been 16-0 without an appearance in SB 44.
    ———————————————————-
    even when they won the SB in 2006, it was partly because the Pats beat the Chargers in the 1st round. its no secret that manning just had a hard time beating those particular charger teams. we can probably say, had Marlon Mcree not fumbled against the Pats Peyton would not have a ring today.

  57. cmgww says: Mar 7, 2013 5:20 PM

    As a Colt, Jeff had every right to be mad about not going for 16-0. Polian was spooked by losing Cornelius Bennett in 1999 in a late season meaningless game, hence the “rest the starters” philosophy. As a Colts fan I didn’t really like it…but it’s not like it would have mattered. They rested in the final game of 2006 and went on to win the Super Bowl. They did the same in 2009 and played great football UNTIL the Super Bowl. They dominated the Ravens and Jets in the playoffs. That Buffalo game was a recipe for disaster (cold, snow, hard turf)…I still hate that the starters were out there long enough to get some stupid records (most likely for performance bonuses), and the whole thing was handled piss poorly. They should have either played the starters, or rested them completely, especially after playing “all out” vs. Jacksonville the week prior.

  58. cmgww says: Mar 7, 2013 5:22 PM

    correction, they played the starters in the final game of 2006.

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