Week 16 Morning Aftermath: Colts blew it

As the season winds down, the story lines should shrink.  After all, there are plenty of teams already on the outside looking in, and plenty of teams already on the inside looking out.

But, still, even with a clear difference between the league’s “haves” and “have nots,” the weekend of the 15th games of a 16-game season featured plenty of things to discuss.

So here’s the issue that we find most compelling, with links to the other nine eventually added below.

1.  Colts blew it.

They say that history always forgets the team that finished in second place.

With 43 Super Bowls and counting in the books, history is starting to have a hard time keeping straight the teams that have won it all.

Sure, some hard-core fans can recite the winners of every championship game since the Packers took down the Chiefs in the first Super Bowl, before the phrase Super Bowl had even been coined.  But for most it’s hard to remember exactly who won the title in any given year, without resorting to Google.

Perfection, however, is indelible.  No one will forget the ’72 Dolphins.

The Colts had a great chance to be the next team, 37 years later, to navigate an NFL season without a single loss, trumping Miami’s 17-0 season by two games.

And the Colts blew it.

Coach Jim Caldwell will catch the brunt of the blame, even though he probably was merely doing what he had been told to do by team president Bill Polian.  Regardless, the fans are livid, and now if the Colts fail to win the Super Bowl, Caldwell’s decision to take the foot off the gas with 1.5 regular-season games to go will be the focal point of the finger pointing.  

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star, a publication that has been known to shake the blue and white pom-poms from time to time, appropriately let the team have it for conceding Sunday’s game to the Jets:  “They treated [perfection] with a casual shrug of the shoulders, disdain even, as
if they were beyond such a trivial pursuit.  Standing on the precipice
of NFL history, the Indianapolis Colts’ brain trust arrogantly,
foolishly, treated Sunday’s second half like a preseason game.”

Our friends at NBC were split on the topic of whether the Colts should have continued to push for 16-0.  Said Cris Collinsworth during Football Night in America:  “I would have been out of my mind to have an opportunity to have
the best record in the history of the National Football League and I was not
allowed the opportunity to go for that.  Peyton Manning has every right to be
upset. . . .  Peyton Manning is a football historian.  He has to be absolutely crazy right

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy disagreed. “You have an obligation to win the Super Bowl, not to go undefeated,” Dungy said.

We agree that, within the confines of a given season, the goal is to win the Super Bowl.  But the Colts are in the mix for a championship every season, and they will be until Manning retires.  Rarely does the opportunity arise to do something truly historic; when it does, we think the opportunity should be embraced, even if doing so adds nothing to the pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

And that leads to a question no one has satisfactorily answered:  How does pulling Peyton Manning in the second half of Sunday’s game help the team get ready to win the Super Bowl?  Surely, Caldwell didn’t fear that the quarterback who never gets hurt would blow out a knee in the time that remained against the Jets.  So did Caldwell think that Curtis Painter would get enough reps to be ready if/when the quarterback who never gets hurt gets hurt in a playoff game?  Is Painter now that much better prepared to lead the team to victory over the Patriots or the Chargers if Peyton goes down?

While most of the players are saying all the right things (since the last thing they need is Ed Werder camped out at the facility all week talking about schisms and such), the body language and demeanor of Manning and many of his teammates, who had to watch helplessly as the team pissed away a chance for something far more special than the once-a-year crowning of a champion, was undeniable. 

They’re not happy.

And not all of them are saying all the right things.

wouldn’t [want to pursue perfection]?” Reggie Wayne said, per Kravitz.  “I mean . . . who wouldn’t?  Doesn’t
everybody want to be a part of history?  Not a season goes by that you
don’t hear about the ’72 Dolphins.”

Even when Wayne tried to be diplomatic and deferential, his frustration came through.

“I guess there’s a bigger picture.  We all wanted to play, but the big dog made a decision and
we have to roll with that decision.  We came out after halftime and felt
like we were starting to roll and could score some points, but the
manager took us off the mound.”

Peyton Manning’s exercise of extreme restraint reminded us of T.O.’s declaration from earlier in the year that “I just run the plays that are called.”

“We are followers of our head coach and the people in the organization
to lead us and give us direction,” Manning said, per Kravitz.  “That’s the way we’ve
always done around here.  Our job is to take instructions from our
superiors and follow those instructions.”

In other words, Peyton wanted to keep playing, but they wouldn’t let him.  And he’s got no choice but to agree with that, even if he doesn’t like it.

Caldwell’s job in his first season with the Colts was simple — stay out of the way and let Manning do his thing.  Caldwell made the mistake on Sunday of disrupting that process.  Even if the directive came from Polian, Caldwell is the one who’ll have to find a way to keep Manning and the rest of the team behind him for the balance of the 2009 season and beyond.

Some thought that carrying a perfect record into the playoffs would put too much pressure on the Colts to win it all.  As it turns out, Caldwell has placed even more pressure on himself to be certain that the plan calling for the Colts to lay down while leading in the game that would have pushed them to 15-0 culminates in a Super Bowl win.

Even then, we think plenty of players and fans will have a hard time getting beyond Caldwell’s decision to take a course that cuts against the grain of a group of men who are programmed to give everything they have to win every game they can.

No. 2:  Bengals face a dilemma.

No. 3:  Bye-week bingo in the NFC.

No. 4:  Haynesworth must go.

No. 5:  Giants won’t cave to Osi.

No. 6:  Cowboys still have much to prove.

No. 7:  Mangini twists in the wind.

No. 8:  Bengals-Jets was obvious Week 17 flex choice.

No. 9:  Suh sweepstakes still not resolved.

144 responses to “Week 16 Morning Aftermath: Colts blew it

  1. The Colts dishonored their ticket buying fans, anybody who invested 3 hours watching the abortion yesterday, and they dishonored the game of football with their losers’ mentality.
    Gutless quitters who can’t get out of their own way.

  2. The great Michael Irvin put the undefeated season in it’s proper perspective on NFL Network when he proclaimed that he would give up all 3 Super Bowl rings and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for one undefeated season.
    Florio, I must say that you do this writeup an injustice by not referring to Irvin’s eloquent presentation as to why it is what it is…

  3. They laid down…. quit.
    That’s not something you want your team to learn to do before the playoffs.
    Guaranteed themselves a quick exit… Welcome to Miami San Diego Chargers.

  4. The teams have an obligation to the fans to put their best team on the field. Ticket prices are too high to watch a week 16 “pre-season” game, not to mention that the Colts (and likely the Bengals) are giving the Jets a free ticket to the playoffs at the expense of another team.

  5. Not a Colts fan but I have to agree. How do you not go for it and how does it help you to pull players for a half? Why play at all if you are not in it to win? A big Boo to Polian.

  6. Lets compare the class act that is Peyton Manning to the pathetic jerk that is Brett Favre. Manning was pissed as he should be. but instead of throwing everyone under the bus or arguing on the sidelines, he gave a classy response that hinted at his feelings. You could read what he said and interpret it to understand he was upset. but he did what was asked by the people in charge, and thats how a professional handles his job.

  7. You can’t have it both ways in this article. It’s either Caldwell’s decision or it’s Polian’s. We all have bosses, and if we don’t do what they say, we’ll get fired. If the decision was out of Caldwell’s hands, why would he lose any respect over this?

  8. The great Michael Irvin put the undefeated season in it’s proper perspective on NFL Network when he proclaimed that he would give up all 3 Super Bowl rings and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for one undefeated season.
    Florio, I must say that you do this writeup an injustice by not referring to Irvin’s eloquent presentation as to why it is what it is…

  9. The Colts absolutely made a mistake, and not only did it affect their chances at perfection, it also undeniably altered the AFC Playoff Picture.
    Had they played their starters the whole game, the Jets would be out of the picture all together and it would be 4 teams (DEN, BAL, PIT, HOU) fighting for those last 2 spots.
    You’re likely to see the same thing next week as NE rests their starters against Houston, and Cincinnati does the same against the Jets.
    And if anyone thinks the Jets and/or Texans can actually win a playoff game, you’re insane.

  10. Refreshing will be the day when Dungy offers real football insight and not mere cheerleading for his former team.

  11. Personally I don’t have a problem resting players. But if you’re going to rest them, rest them next week against the Bills who are playing for nothing. Now granted it’s not the Colts job to beat teams to allow other teams a playoff shot, but at least play competetive ball. They took care of their business to get in position to do what they want. You put your rookie QB in against a good Jets defense and just get totally embarassed. Now you’ve allowed a weak Jets team to have life in a playoff race that’s above their heads. Horrible!!!

  12. Maybe someday the Colts will remember the year they won the Super Bowl…when they had to keep on the throttle for all 16 regular season games.
    Whatever team has the worst record coming out of the Wild Card games has assured themselves a spot in the AFC title game now.

  13. Florio, you should have mentioned Dungy’s inherent bias in supporting the decision to not go for it. He ALWAYS decided to rest the starters and has only one Super Bowl to show for it. Of course, he supports the decision, it shows he wasn’t wrong.

  14. Colt fans…
    Just ask the Patriots from two years ago. Would you rather have a loss or two and win a Super Bowl or would you rather go undefeated in the regular season and lose in the Super Bowl?
    Just sayin’

  15. THe Colts didn’t blow it. The Colts have been winning 12, 13, 14 games a year for almost a decade, but they have only one superbowl win. The core of this team needs to realize the playoffs are different then the regular season was necessary. They seem like they have been satisfied with a successful regular season for 10 years. Caldwell just told them all, “F that!” I only want to win the Superbowl. Big time decision for a rookie head coach and he got it right, he is the real deal.

  16. RIP 16 – 0 regular season. Not everyone is man enough to take on such a demanding challenge. Made my day.

  17. Man this just feels wrong. Indy gave up and in essence let a team win. The Jets are going to make the playoffs b/c a team pulled it’s starters! If Indy wanted to rest their players why even start them? Sit them against Buffalo who has nothing riding on the outcome of the game. Dirty!

  18. If the Colts now have the mentality that the win this week and next is not necessary, why play at all? Why risk any injuries at all? Why did they even let Peyton play in the first half?
    They could just as well forfeit the remaining games. At least that way there would be no questioning the coaching staff’s cowardice.
    Really just sad.

  19. Dumbest move of the week. I wonder if Favre hadn’t showed his ass last week in defying Chilly if Manning wouldn’t have told Caldwell to eff himself and walked back on the field? But seeing the fallout, he instead said “OK, take my undefeated season, you asswipe, but I guarantee you that on Monday everyone will think you are a retard for giving up a once in a lifetime opportunity for perfection.” As an aside, I heard that Dungy said that the Jets had absolutely no chance against the Colts this week. None. Not a whiff of a chance. nada.

  20. I could understand if the Colts were playing a NFC team or a AFC team already eliminated from the playoffs (like my Raiders), but to allow the Jets to remain in the playoff hunt by basically giving up the game is a BAD IDEA.
    Just imagine if the Colts had a rematch with the Jets next month…Granted the Colts SHOULD easily handle them, but NOTHING is guaranteed in the NFL.
    What sweet justice for passionate NFL followers it would be for the Colts to lose in the playoffs to a team they should have ELIMINATED in Week 16!!!!!

  21. Dungy’s (Polian’s) position assumes pulling the starters to avoid injury improves the chances of winning through the playoffs. I am unaware of any evidence of that being the case.
    There are many reasons to continue to try to improve by playing the entire season. The chances of one of the starters having an injury which leads to their being placed on the injury list for the next game are knowable, and small.
    A perfect season aside, the best way to win a Superbowl is to continue to try to win and improve.

  22. All teams should listen to florio. He is an expert at running a team. He knows better than the gm or dungy or caldwell right?

  23. People are upset over the Colts becuase the Colts deprived people of the chance to see history.
    The Colts earned the oportunity to rest their starters, and they took advantage of that. There is nothing more won by going undefeated, they wouldnt get two trophies for going 16-0 and winning the SB

  24. poetic justice would be that the jets somehow find their way to into the divisional round against indy, and beat them. the colts would have no one to blame but themselves for letting this team into the playoffs…not likely to happen, yet not impossible.

  25. I hope they lose their first playoff game. It would serve them right.
    They did a disservice to all those teams still in the playoff hunt. I can understand if you do that against a team who is either already in or has no chance to get in, but against a pathetic team like the Jets? Gimme a break.

  26. Its a fine line you walk when you have a perfect season lined up to obtain, and at the same time, staying prepared for the playoffs. To play starters or not to play starters when your playoff seeding is wrapped up, and you have a chance to go 16-0, may not have a right or wrong answer. Fate and destiny will always play a roll after decisions like those are made.
    The Colts cherish a Super Bowl win rather then an undefeated season, there is pride in that. Im not a diehard Colts fans, but I respect the decision.
    Would have been nice to see someone match the Pats though.

  27. Dungy is such a bitch…how does going undefeated automatically disqualify you from winning the superbowl? And the flip side,how does tanking 2 games guarentee you a Super Bowl? Like Herm Edwards said,you play to win the game.Every year a team wins a SB.How many teams go 16-0?

  28. You know what? I guarantee you that if Peyton Manning had gotten injured when he *was* playing, you guys would be screaming about what an idiot the coach is for allowing him to be in such a situation unnecessarily.
    And if I had been the coach, the major starters would not have even played.

  29. Based on the logic that the Dolts have presented I would suggest that they forfeit next week. I mean just don’t show up.
    That way no one will get hurt.
    He**, why not cancel practice? Extra rest ….

  30. dlmcc0909,
    Payton class act? What about the time he threw his lineman under the bus? Or do you mean like the time Payton disrespected Dungy and told him to stick his FG unit up his a$$? ohh, I’m sure he was just being “competitive”. lol
    I laugh at the double standard Payton gets above all QBs. Nobody seems to want to mention Payton’s horrible post season record despite season after season of 13, 14, and 15 wins, yet only 1 SB. Something you guys like to give Favre a lot of flak for.
    Yep, class act indeed. Lol

  31. “Dumbest move of the week. I wonder if Favre hadn’t showed his ass last week in defying Chilly if Manning wouldn’t have told Caldwell to eff himself and walked back on the field? ”
    I agree. That seems to be what is important to Payton, his public image. Even if that means giving up an undefeated season. A REAL leader would have told the coach “Nope, game is still close and we want an undefeated season”. A REAL leader is not a yes man, sheep.

  32. My thoughts on the Colts game:
    A disgrace. And a mockery of sports. Unless you somehow are awarded the championship and receive a Super Bowl ring for losing to the Jets, there is no excuse. Forget how unfair it is to fans and players for a second, even though not trying to win on purpose is worse then any last second loss for a fan or player. But people bet on these games. People pay money to go to these games and see these teams and players. There is no reasonable excuse for this behavior. It’s a slap in the face to sports and anyone who cares about them. What’s the point of even having sports if winning is not the goal? And I don’t need to hear crap about resting the players. If anything this strategy has had a NEGATIVE effect in the past. Inexcusable. Deserving of protest.
    Caldwell said a perfect season was never a primary goal….I bet creating unnecessary distraction and dividing the fan base weren’t either.
    It’s sad, because the Colts Organization had been so good in recent years. Polian and all those guys. But intentionally not trying to win a historic game is unforgivable. It really is. It defeats the purpose of sports.
    I’m a lifelong fan of sports in general, and I’ve never felt like this after a game before. Maybe this feeling will change, but right now I couldn’t care less if the Colts win the super bowl this year. And this is coming from a lifelong fan.

  33. “The Colts cherish a Super Bowl win rather then an undefeated season, there is pride in that. Im not a diehard Colts fans, but I respect the decision. ”
    The thing is, though, that the one year they did win the SB, they had to go full throttle for 16 games just to get the 3 seed. Every year they have “rested their starters” – read: surrendered toward the end of the regular season- they have failed miserably in the playoffs. Hell, including their SB run in 2006, they’ve only had TWO AFC Championship game appearances this decade.
    Yet the football minds that run the Colts continue to use this already FAILED strategy yet again.
    If I recall corrently, the definition of insanity is continuing to do something over and over and expecting a different outcome.
    Quitters mentality from a gutless franchise.

  34. The Colts rightfully fear 3 teams – The Chargers, Pats and Steelers. They saw a chance to eliminate one of them yesterday (the Steelers) and they did it. Plain and simple. They also gave MVP voters a look at the Colts without Manning, which all but guarantees another MVP for him.
    You may hate what they did, but at least understand what they really got out of it. The certainly did not lay down for nothing.

  35. Great new layout for Morning After, much better.
    Colts have not won a playoff game since their Super Bowl Victory in 2006. 25(?) regular season wins and no playoff wins since then. Don’t see much changing there either.

  36. Yesterday’s fiasco was bad for the Colts, bad for the fans and bad for the NFL. If Peyton’s health (and the others) is such a worry why were they still in all the games this year they were up by insurmountable points. The worst case of overcoaching I have ever seen in any sport. One and out is what they deserve.
    As much as I respect Coach Dungy he is completely unable to be objective when commenting on the Colts.

  37. Caldwell and Polian put the COLTS in a sad situation.
    If they win the Super Bowl, everyone including Manning will wonder ‘what if?’
    If they lose the Super Bowl, everyone including Manning will wonder ‘why’ and ‘what did sitting out accomplish, except to take teh wind right out of our sails?’
    Dumb move for two guys who should know better

  38. Why is the injury list posted for public and rules are strict? BECAUSE they dont want ONLY SOME gamblers to have “inside” information on injuries so the teams are forced to tell the public about every player on that list. WHY IS THERE NOT a list posted for if and when a coach will pull his best players out and at what possible score situation? because for all you know Colts Caldwell told some big gamblers im pulling manning if it is starting to look like colts will win. if you are not trying your hardest to win then you are throwing the game – you are in the tank – you are fixing the game.
    Let’s look at how Indianapolis’ last 3 regular season schedules played out:
    Week 17 Tennessee at Indianapolis
    Indianapolis had already clinched #2 AFC Seed and bye going into Week 17
    Tennesse needed to win to make the playoffs and eliminate Cleveland on Division Record tiebreaker
    Indianapolis used Sorgi as QB as well as other backups for most of the game
    Tennessee won 16-10 and makes the playoffs beating out Cleveland by the tiebreaker win they earned that day
    Week 17 Tennessee at Indianapolis
    Tennessee had already clinched #1 AFC Seed, a bye and homefield going into Week 17
    Indianapolis needed to win make the playoffs and also clinch the #5 AFC seed
    Tennessee uses 3 different QBs including Chris Simms, Quinton Ganther is Titans leading rusher with 27 yards that game
    Indianapolis won 23-0 that day
    Week 16 New York Jets at Indianapolis
    Another fix!
    Today’s WWF = NFL

  39. “Would have been nice to see someone match the Pats though.”
    Match the pats in what tylerncom? so far they have they each have one loss on the year. If you think the pats should be remembered for anything more than that you are mistaken. I think what you meant was be nice to see someone match the Dolphins.

  40. Well said indc!
    Perfection is perfection…Whatever your occupation is that should be the goal.
    Is it always attainable…HECK NO…but when you simply throw in the towel like the Colts did yesterday it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of every fan and competitive player who is out there busting their tails trying to win…The GM and HC should know that.
    Colts’ management/coaches have every right to rest players as they see fit (as ICDogg rightfully posted above), however just like the prevent defense, when you stop “playing to win” in midstream of a football game bad things tend to happen on the football field and that loss of momentum can easily carry over into the playoffs (as the Colts and other teams have proved NUMEROUS times in the past).
    It is interesting when you note the only year the Dungy lead Colts won the Super Bowl was the year they had to compete in every regular season game for playoff seeding. Every other year the took games off and rested a majority of their frontline players, they got bounced out of the playoffs.

  41. “They also gave MVP voters a look at the Colts without Manning, which all but guarantees another MVP for him. ”
    They also got a look at the Colts without Reggie Wayne, Clark, and most of the other starters. Shall we split the league MVP between them all?

  42. The biggest problem with the decision is that it is contrary to everything this team is about. This team goes for the throat on a regular basis (maybe not to the degree of Belichek and the Pats, but a close 2nd). Who throws more often than the Colts in the 4 minute drill at the end of the game? No fear about “stopping the clock” or some other bullcrap that 99% of teams/coaches do–relying on the defense and playing “not to lose” by kicking it away with as little time left, instead of WINNING the game on offense by throwing for the first downs that you need. This team GOES FOR THE JUGULAR. And if they don’t make it (like in the Jags game), THEN they rely on the defense to make a stop. That gives you TWO opportunities to close out the game, instead of just ONE. Never understood the logic of coaches running it three times into the middle, punting with 90 seconds left (plenty of time left for a decent team to win) instead of just throwing for it to win it and never kicking it back to the other team. But I digress. The point is that this decision is a pu$$y decision that will cause problems in the lockerroom. Talk about pressure? More pressure to win now (after this boneheaded decision) than it would have been to go 19-0. A part of me hopes it’s the JETS that knock off the Colts in the playoffs–the team the Colts could have finished if they weren’t a bunch of pu$$ies.

  43. Yeah, Caldwell screwed up bad. So much for “homefield advantage throughout”.
    I mean, isn’t that supposed to loom large for anyone coming into your stadium in the playoffs?
    Not anymore.
    If the Jets can win there – now anyone can, with or without Manning.
    And Sanchez couldn’t hold Rivers, Brady, or Palmer’s jock. Should be fun watching the Colts early exit.

  44. Tom E Curran, formerly of PFT, just said on WEEI this was the equivalent of a boxer quitting on his stool, ahead in points, when he starts getting knocked around in the late rounds. They were in a dogfight getting knocked around and quit.

  45. “Caldwell’s job in his first season with the Colts was simple — stay out of the way and let Manning do his thing. Caldwell made the mistake on Sunday of disrupting that process. ”
    Is it true that they had to enlarge the upper 2 feet of the doors at PFT headquarters to allow Florio’s giant ego to enter the room? I think I trust the guys that have the needs of the team in mind and winning the ultimate prize in sight. The Pats did not take their foot off the throttle and a declining team lost to the Giants. Greatest upset in recent memory.
    What Florio knows about the non-personnel and non-salary side of football fits in a thimble.

  46. One hit on Manning and the title to this piece would be the same, except it would mean the Colts blew their season for the sake of a record that is still four games away. If the Colts win the Super Bowl, there will be regrets, but I doubt that anyone in the organization or Indianapolis will give back the trophy because it’s tainted by one loss. Ask the Patriots if they would prefer a one-loss season with no trophy or a one-loss season with a trophy.

  47. I thought it was lame – they were in a tight battle, and it seemed like they would rather lose by giving up than play out the whole game and potentially lose the old fashioned way.

  48. While I don’t agree with pulling the starters…. I just wonder what everyone would be saying if he DIDN’T pull the starters and Manning DID get a season-ending injury. Would everyone be calling him stupid for playing Manning then??

  49. I don’t give a damn if these bastards win the Super Bowl because of this. I actually like the team. Or if they lose, I don’t care, either. But they friggin’ quit. Quit during an NFL game. Not just one player, like Moss. The entire team, from the owner down to the coaches to the players, quit. I can’t believe that.
    This isn’t Pop Warner, or a high school game. It’s the highest level of the sport. And to see an entire organization throw in the towel during a game was absolutely pathetic.

  50. The colts earned to right t0 do whatever they want with whatever players they want for the last three games of the season based on their performance from the first 13 games. They locked up the conference/home-field advantage in week 14, so why be mad at them? Everyone who is mad at them for sitting their startes is just mad that one of the key playmakers wasnt in the game to get hurt when it didnt matter for colts..

  51. “What Florio knows about the non-personnel and non-salary side of football fits in a thimble.”
    Lord knows I hate taking up for Florio – but check out all the other comments Zombie (and also check out all the other media as well – ESPN, SI, Indy Star, etc ) concensus of opinion is definitely against it.
    Yep Florio usually in the wrong but even a blind hog gets an acorn now and then.

  52. I pondered all night if I could find one lawsuit to file against Indianapolis Colts. That was a “boneheaded” decision if ever there was one. If history serves as a lession, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts should have three Superbowl rings instead on 1. Pittsburg won their last two Superbowls after Dungy made the decision to “throw” a few games to rest his starters because they were games they did not need to win. Idiot! You play to win every game!Each time he made that decision, Indy lost to San Diego Chargers in the second round! San Diego is ready to stop Indy again! I’m going to bet with history repeating itself! Before you get mad, look at the facts! Indy will not win the Superbowl this year!

  53. I was really wanting to see the Colts go for the perfect season. It is rare that a team has an opportunity to be in a position to accomplish that goal. It would have been nice to see Peyton be the one to beat the Dolphins and the Patriots season records. Now I could care less if they make it to the Superbowl. The thrill of watching them is gone.

  54. Half a game this week, half a game next week, a bye the next week…. their first playoff game is going to be their first full game in a month. That’s NOT the way to go into the playoffs, and the rookie coach just lost what little credability he had. Unreal.

  55. Hey, Coach Caldwell … There’s only one sure-fire way of being 100% guaranteed that you win the Superbowl in any season … and that’s by finishing the season 19 – 0!! Anything less, and you may have a Superbowl, or you may not!! Just ask the 18 – 1 Patriots!!

  56. The main problem with all this is that the decision is based on the notion that resting starters at this juncture improves their chances of winning the Superbowl. That’s BS plain and simple.
    If someone needs the rest then fine but otherwise you are performing a gutless act in a game that demands the utmost in guts.
    Incredibly stupid and shortsighted. You play the game to WIN!
    What will the excuse be when the Colts go down in round one and the Chargers are hosting the AFC Championship.

  57. As a fan of the game, and one who generally likes the Colts (Though not a Colts fan), I’m quite disappointed. It’s not often you get a chance to see possible history in the making, and to see the Colts organization slap history in the face like that is an insult to the fans who have supported the team for years and to the integrity of the game. If I were a fan who bought tickets, I’d be demanding a refund.

  58. Ask anyone in New England who watched the Patriots lose the Superbowl in ’08 to the Giants whether they would rather have a perfect season or a Superbowl win.

  59. Chances are that a lot of the negative comments on here come from people who have Peyton Manning on their fantasy football teams (or some of Peyton’s key receivers or other Colt starters)
    Ask the Patriots about whether they prefer a perfect 16-0 record + a loss in the Super Bowl or whether they prefer a 15 – 1 record + a Super Bowl ring.
    The goal is to win the Super Bowl, and you have to have your best players in perfect health to do it.
    The Colts did the right thing by insuring against injury and increasing their chances to win the Super Bowl.
    I’m a HUGE Packers’ fan and I don’t care about a 16-0 season. All I care about is whether my team wins the big game.

  60. This was an idiotic decision. If they had decided not to “go for 16-0,” then Peyton and co. should have played a quarter, max, if they were worried about injuries. To keep them sharp they could have played another quarter or two next week. That decision, along with “trying to eliminate the Steelers” could have been made much earlier in the week.
    By doing this, the Colts have given the Jets a peek at how they will scheme against a Rex Ryan defense, which will only help them if by some chance they play again in the second round.
    There would be no better irony given the Colts could have eliminated them by playing out the last 1.5 quarters.

  61. Absolute foolishness to concede that game. They had a very real shot at history and that is well worth whatever “risk” is associated with playing your starters for one more half of football after and entire season of playing them in every game. I can understand pulling the starters if you’ve already clinched a playoff spot and you have nothing to gain by winning. But this is pure stupidity. THEY HAD A MASSIVE PLACE IN HISTORY TO GAIN. Pure idiocy. And that goes for you too Tony Sanctimony.

  62. TheBigOldDog says:
    Tom E Curran, formerly of PFT, just said on WEEI this was the equivalent of a boxer quitting on his stool, ahead in points, when he starts getting knocked around in the late rounds.

    no its not!
    it is a team in the tank/ throwing the game!
    no different than pro wrestling but no one is dumb enough to think pro wrestling is on the level!

  63. The way I look at it, the Colts have screwed themselves regardless of what happens in the playoffs. If they would happen to lose and not make it to the Super Bowl, the owner, coach, and team will be criticized for putting the brakes on their momentum and/or allowing a bit of doubt to enter their psyche. On the other hand, should the Colts win the Super Bowl this year, the owner, coach, and team will be ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE because the will have given up the possibility of even being considered the number one or number two best teams of all time. And they will have nobody but themselves to blame for this; they brought it all upon themselves! If they do win the Super Bowl, they’re no better than the other (currently) 42 Super Bowl winners that had at least 1 loss on their resume.
    In my opinion, all of the members of this organization will be miserable for the rest of their lives should this occur as they will spend it asking themselves, “WHAT IF…..”.

  64. @jbs1005-
    That’s a dumb argument as the Pats actually made the Super Bowl that year. Had the Pats missed the Super Bowl, you might have an argument.
    Resting your starters the final two weeks of the regular season and through the bye week doesn’t automatically mean Super Bowl appearance. More often than not it seems as if the team who had the bye week comes out rusty and gets knocked out during the divisional round.

  65. It goes to prove that the conspiracy theory is a live and well in the NFL. Or is Caldwell so arrogant that he thinks he does not owe the fans the best performace his team can offer. The conspiracy was set into place last week after the come back victory by the Steelers. The Colts and Bengals do not want nothing to do with a playoff Steeler team, even a team missing Aaron Smith off the d-line. There is no way NE or the Bengals show up on Sunday. But the only poetic justice we fans can ask for is a Colts one and out in the playoffs.

  66. Remember that in 2007 the Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl in the last few minutes. Belichick did NOT pull Tom Brady in Game 15.
    Caldwell’ s decision was against everything that competitive sports represents. It might also have destroyed the Colts forward momentum. If this was his decision he should be fired when the year is over.
    Peyton Manning must now hate his guts. It is hard to play for a guy you dislike. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peyton demands to be traded.

  67. jbs1005 says:
    December 28, 2009 11:43 AM
    Ask anyone in New England who watched the Patriots lose the Superbowl in ’08 to the Giants whether they would rather have a perfect season or a Superbowl win.

    That’s ridiculous. New England didn’t lose the Super Bowl because they gave their best effort in Weeks 16 and 17.

  68. I am a hard-core Colts fan…Am I disappointed? You have no idea, but not for all of the same reasons as everyone else. First of all, the one thing that the Colts accomplished by handing the Jets the game is that they guaranteed that the Patriots are probably going to have the opportunity to face them again at some point in the playoffs…Not a very smart move, huh!!! Second, the health of the players is overrated to the degree that probably all players are banged up right now…that is the nature of the game. The sad part is that the Colts rhythm has been and will continue to be disrupted for the remainder of the season, and anyone who follows them knows that resting players has not helped them in the big games…THE PLAYOFFS!!! Whomever thought this was a good idea needs to be discarded from the NFL.
    I am not a Jim Caldwell fan, and I think he was a bad choice for the Colts’ coach…irregardless of his rookie 14-1 start. Anyone could coach this team and be successful…the past has proven this as well. I am more irritated by the fact that the players give their hearts and souls to a franchise all season long, and when the time comes for the franchise to give back (eg. a chance to make history with a perfect season) it pulls it out from under them…This is the ultimate slap in the face. To those of you who say Peyton is not a good leader because he didn’t insist on staying in the game, you are dead wrong!!! His character shows true leadership because he doesn’t put himself above the game or his team, as does Brett Favre.
    The biggest mistake made by the Colts is that they are going to be rusty heading into the playoffs, as usual, and for some reason the bright minds of the coaching staff and front office are oblivious to this fact. What is it going to take to open their eyes????

  69. Peyton Manning does not run the Indianapolis Colts the way Brett Favre runs the Vikings. Players play and coaches coach. This is a STORY created and needed for the talking head haters on Radio and TV to fill some air time. Ultimately the objective is win a Championship.
    Caldwell is a coach of the year candidate and won his first 14 games and barely got mention prior to now. Instead the “media” DECIDED to focus on Manning as if he’s the defacto coach of the team with Jim Caldwell an afterthought in the conversation and process of managing the team on a daily basis. As an INFORMED consumer of the NFL product it is insulting to me that this continues to be a big deal to so many outside of the Colts Organization.
    I’ll attempt to answer the question posed by Florio. Pulling Manning ensures that Manning will have the oppurtunity to play next week. The Jets pressure packages will eventually get to the QB. If Manning is hurt under those circumstances then Florio and his ilk are writing how stupid Caldwell is and why would he jeapodize the Colts playoff chances is a “meaningless game”. Can’t have it both ways ladies and gentlemen.
    As for fans of the teams that are on the cusp of the playoffs or on the outside looking in well…… your players should play better and your coaches should coach better. If you’re on life support as a fan base look to/at your teams woes and not the Indianapolis Colts.

  70. “Ask anyone in New England who watched the Patriots lose the Superbowl in ’08 to the Giants whether they would rather have a perfect season or a Superbowl win. ”
    “Ask the Patriots about whether they prefer a perfect 16-0 record + a loss in the Super Bowl or whether they prefer a 15 – 1 record + a Super Bowl ring.”
    As a Patriots fan, I was all for the Pats going for 16-0, and still think they played it correctly.
    You guys talk as if going 16-0 and winning a SB are mutually exclusive. Momentum is big in sports, and football especially. The Patriots didn’t lose to the Giants in SB 42 because they were 16-0, and throwing the week 17 game to the Giants to go 15-1 wasn’t going to guarantee that they’d somehow win the Super Bowl. (The 11th hour media sabotage in the form of Matt Walsh didn’t help, but that’s another story for another day).
    And if you hold the misguided opinion that the Colts are smart by conceding/throwing/forfeiting games at the end of the regular season, then name me a single team in the last decade that has quit in December and managed to regain momentum in the playoffs to win a Super Bowl.
    I guessing you can’t. Look at recent champions…2001, 2003, 2004 Patriots, 2005 and 2008 Steelers, 2007 Giants, 2006 Colts…all teams that carried the momentum from December successfully into the playoffs.

  71. Screw the ’72 Dolphins. That bunch couldn’t carry Colt’s toilet paper. Bunch of over rated old fools. Pop another bottle of champagne before your pacers stop working. Screw the patriots too.

  72. Those invoking Coach Caldwell’s name in association with the decision to pull Peyton are thinking clearly and are missing the point, like someone that’s had a little bit too much to drink and logic and reason has completely left them (if it was ever there to begin with). Caldwell did not make the decision, this isn’t college football, people! The coach answers to the owner and the team president. If Caldwell had defied Polian he would have been called out on the carpet. If he defied Polian and Peyton was injured and lost for the playoffs he would have like lost his job. If you’re ticked at anyone it should be Polian or possibly Irsay, not Caldwell. The more you complain about “Caldwell’s decision” the more blubbering of idiots you appear.

  73. To all intents and purposes the Colts threw that game against the Jets. There is no other word for it. Clearly they could have won had Manning played the whole game. It was evident to everyone that’s what was going on; all in the name of “protecting players’ health”.
    So now the NFL has come to this, teams intentionally altering their efforts to win games according their immediate interests. And, in so doing, altering and effecting the chances of other teams to make the playoffs. If that isn’t as illegal, I don’t know what is.
    And to think, the NFL big wigs get so bent out of shape if thingere is even a hint of point shaving. That is illegal! But, throwing a game in the name of “protect players’ health” is not. You got to love the NFL. When it suits its purposes, it isn’t illegal to fix a game.

  74. I stopped reading about half way thru the comments. Up to that point, no one had mentioned that the Jets had a decent chance to win this game with the Indy starters in. The Jets did have a 3rd quarter lead while the starters were still in. Sure the Jets might have lost, but you never know…all I’m saying is the possibility is there…acknowledge it please.
    @Joe C. … I don’t know about the Texans, but the Jets defense and Jones “could” get the Jets one win in the playoffs. Probably not, but don’t automatically write them off….

  75. I understand the decision by Polian (no, it wasn’t Caldwell, give me a break). However, like many have said, you play to win the game. The threat of injury to a star player is no greater late in the season than it is in week 1. Just ask Brady. All the decade records the Colts now have mean nothing. It is a slap in the face to the fans who pay big money to see professional sports which exist solely for entertainment value. That’s why the Colts players/coaches/mgmt. makes an obscene amount of money doing what they do. It’s not to sandbag and watch history repeat itself over and over again. They should refund the ticket money to those who attended the game.

  76. I believe in going for the undefeated season…
    NFL is nothing without it’s fans, so give the fans what they want. A team isn’t obligated to win the Super Bowl….they’re obligated to keep fans coming back and paying A LOT of money for tickets. Fans want to see there team win everytime. If I had paid over a hundred dollars to see that game yesterday, I’d be seriously upset….I’d be demanding my money back. I’m surprised some group of fans hasn’t already put together a class-action lawsuit…they should.

  77. constan480:
    “If they do win the Super Bowl, they’re no better than the other (currently) 42 Super Bowl winners that had at least 1 loss on their resume. ”
    I would like to know who your team is. It must be hard to find anything to get excited for as a fan, if winning the super bowl doesnt make your season a success, regardless of your regular season record.

  78. This has to go down as one of the most bone-headed moves in sports history. With a historic season within their grasp, they chose to play it safe – for what? A SB win now will leave everybody wondering, what if. (I doubt anyone will look back and say, wow, what a smart move) A playoff loss will confirm the move was of no value. Let’s kick the team in the stomach, then see how they respond going into the playoffs. I think I’ve lost the will to live.

  79. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! 72 Dolphins still remain only unbeaten untied SB champ ever…suck it, haters! They, unlike the Colts, never rolled over and quit. Overrated my balls, that defense would have eaten Manning alive, learn your history and quit making-believe that these modern teams are all that. When Indy goes unbeaten with a 40 year old backup QB running the offense, we’ll talk.
    Indy embarrassed themselves yesterday. They stuck it to their home fans, they stuck it to every other team battling for a spot, and they stuck it to themselves by ruining their momentum (not to mention anyone who had Peyton going in their fantasy SB). One-and-out, guaranteed. I hope they play SD or NE and get spanked hard like they deserve. Quitters never win and winners never quit, bottom line. It was a cowardly move.

  80. coach just blew the super bowl…history shows when they do stuff like that they lose early in the playoffs and by the looks on the players faces he totally demoralized the starters…what ever happened to the objective to win? sure they may not have an objective to go perfect but at least to win and if undefeated happens then thats an added plus….they are done now…

  81. To all intents and purposes the Colts threw that game against the Jets. There is no other word for it. Clearly they could have won had Manning played the whole game. It was evident to everyone that’s what was going on; all in the name of “protecting players’ health”.
    So now the NFL has come to this, teams intentionally altering their efforts to win games according their immediate interests. And, in so doing, altering and effecting the chances of other teams to make the playoffs. If that isn’t as illegal, I don’t know what is.
    And to think, the NFL big wigs get so bent out of shape if thing is even a hint of point shaving. That is illegal! But, throwing a game to serve the team’s purpose; alll in the name of “protect players’ health” is not llegal. You got to love the NFL. When it suits its purposes, it isn’t illegal to fix a game.

  82. Are you kidding me
    Anyone who has been an athlete would want to take on the ultimate challenge – undefeated and superbowl champ
    This is a disgrace to the fans and team
    The Colt will probably lose in the playoffs because of the letdown
    They had a chance to be the best team ever and ownership did not care

  83. keabu – I agree, the Jets COULD have won the game even if Indy didn’t pull their starters. Now the Colts just handed the #1 defense in the NFL their own destiny for the playoffs. A team that has basically no running game at all just allowed the #1 passing and overall defense a chance to come back in the playoffs and really do some damage. Unbelievable.

  84. As long time colts fan this really confuses me the only year we won the Superbowl 2006 we didn`t rest anyone. Every year we rest our starters we loose so logic would indicate to not rest them like come on now Polian even an Idiot would learn from his mistakes you`ve tried this theory over and over again with no success.

  85. I understand that they needed to rest their playersbefore the play offs. But they had the best chance of making history and i frankly think they blew it off.
    While i am not a Colts fan, i would have loved the Colts defeat the Jets thereby denying them the play offs. On the other hand, being a Pats fan i am happy that our record is intact atleast for now. For all those people who criticised the New England coach when he went for that decision when the Pats played the Colts and lost, i think this decision is more dumb.

  86. Drive 130 miles from Lafayette rountrip in Decembers Wintery Weather…
    Tank of gas ($20)….
    Scalp two tickets in an obstructed view area at Lucas Oil Stadium, (section 435) for $240…
    Pay for parking $20…
    Buy a couple pork tenderloin sandwiches, a beer, and a cold soda $ 31 before the game even started…
    Up 15 – 10 in the 3rd qtr and bring in a rookie quarterback out of Purdue (and hes no Drew Brees) to hold off the #1 defense in AFC…
    As a Retired AMRY Veteran… its a good thing that the Colts Heirachy (Polian and Irshay) are not in charge of our brave young men and women who are in harms way each and everyday around the world protecting our country against terrorism…
    Its a good thing that our troops and their commanders realize that in their profession, Everyday is a Superbowl for them, when they come back from combat to fight another day… not tank a game cause its never been important to go UNDEFEATED…
    Why would we want to go undefeated… Its all about the Superbowl right???
    Priceless… thanks to all who made the decision to pull a victory from not only the players but the fans who pay big bucks to support the NFL…
    Thanks for making this Colts vs Jets Game experience one to treasure for years to come for my wife and myself…
    Go Blue… Still a fan… A disappointed one but still a true fan…

  87. OK, a lot of good comments here and many stupid ones. Anyone who watched the Patriot’s SB loss should know the loss had nothing to do with playing all their starters through all 60 minutes of every game. They did enough to win the first 57 minutes of the game, and lost it on two small errors in the last minutes of the game. That had nothing to do with players being tired or injured and everything to do with two good football teams beating each other up for 60 minutes and one team beating the other.
    The many Colts playoff losses after “resting” key players had nothing to do with the players being gone from the game too long, nor “losing momentum.” The Chargers were the better team and played better football, so they won.
    The real problem has been hit on by many people here already: real competitors never lose because they quit. They lose because they have a bad game, get beat by a better opponent or sometimes for no good reason beyond the luck of the draw (or coin flip). Every time the Colts rest their starters and don’t try their hardest to win, they insult competitors everywhere, regardless of the results. Will the Colts win the Super Bowl or lose early? No one knows now, and it doesn’t really matter. You show who you are out on that field, and they showed that they would rather win than do their best. They cheated themselves, their fans, the league and the game because they believed it would help them to win the Super Bowl. Every person with a spirit of competition in them should be offended!

  88. As a sports fan I often wondered do the Pros care
    as much as we do .Bleed the emotional blood,sweat and tears that a loss to a heated rival
    stirs in all of us .I know the athletes are required
    by their respective leagues to talk to the press but
    the sound bites are always so scripted. Well I got my answer when I started reading Jackie MacMullan’s book on Bird and Magic .The raw emotion comes though loud and clear — the best always care .Last night for the first time I felt sorry for Peyton .The 19-0 record is one that is more than a number it represents absolute perfection .The Peyton led Colts are a numbers machine but when it counts they always seem to come up short .This time there would have been no doubt ,no room for disagrement they would have been the Greatest Team of All Time.The chance to do something for eternity is worth the gamble .As a Pats fan the loss to the Colts in the
    AFC championship hurt more that the loss to the Giants .I might feel differently if the Pats history was not 3 championships in 6 tries .

  89. Did Elvis walk off the stage before performing his entire concert in Hawaii……
    Did the Beatles walk off the Ed Sullivan show in the middle of their US debut…….
    Did Mohammed Ali leave the ring after boxing for 5 rounds of a 14 round fight………
    Did Earl Anthony walk out of the bowling alley with his first 5 strikes before finishing his perfect game….
    Did the Rocket-Roger Clemens- leave the mound in Fenway Park after he had recorded 10 strikeouts while on his way to recording 20 …………
    Did Tiger Woods walk off the golf course while in route to winning his first major golf title……..
    Great entertainers finish the show………….
    That’s why the fans come to see them

  90. For everyone complaining about Dungy’s bias, what Florio didn’t include is that Rodney Harrison (the anti-Dungy) agreed with Dungy’s take.

  91. If I was a Colts fan that paid good money to sit in those seats I’d demand my damn money back. Terrible. Do they really think they can just stroll into the Divisional playoff round with 2.5 weeks of byes?
    Chargers – AFC Champs.

  92. Don’t be so hard on the Colts. What if they had tried their best and still not won? After all, the Jets were playing well, perhaps the best they played all year. At least now the Colts have an excuse. At least now they can say “we coulda, woulda, shoulda.” By the way, don’t compare the Colts to the ’72 Dolphins – there is no comparison!

  93. Sounds like someone from da’ Bronx offered da’ Colts a deal they couldn’t refuse!
    Tell me it ain’t so!

  94. If you try you best and lose, then at least nobody can point fingers and say you didn’t give it everything. They will point to specific decisions and plays, but at least you tried.

  95. We would like to respond:
    There are several reasons that Indianapolis should NOT have rested “on their laurels” Sunday:
    1. Their fans – Anyone paying hard-earned money to watch their “heros” in action deserve better! We think that the Colts should give everyone refunds for Sunday’s game.
    2. Their record – Don’t tell us that it doesn’t matter if they go undefeated. It is a matter for the Record books, football history, and a matter of P-R-I-D-E!
    3. The Jets needed a win. In order to qualify for the play-offs, this was a “must-win” game for the Jets. Why should they be given a “free ticket”?? Why shouldn’t they have to work for it like other teams? Winning the game because they were BETTER would have been more honorable. Winning by default because the Colts handed it to them was disgraceful, and they should not feel good about that kind of win. Why bother playing at all? Just FORFEIT! At least that would have been honest.
    4. Last, BECAUSE THE WAY IT WAS DONE WAS THE WRONG THING TO DO! What does it teach our young people? It teaches them to have a screwed up value system. Don’t bother being the best, it’s ok just to be average? If you are ahead, then don’t push yourself to be any better. Mediocrity is good enough.
    We could go on and on…But we’ll rest our case!! At least WE have more fight than the Colts did!

  96. You never know. If Manning had stayed in the game and had been seriously injured, the title of this article would remain the same, and people still would ardently complain that this was a game that did not matter in terms of advancing the team to the play-offs, and that he should have sat this one out. No one would be willing to sacrifice for making history then. But alas, he is not injured, maybe because the higher-ups were not willing to let it ride on this game, and they don’t owe the fans in the stands a win here. Perhaps the decision-makers were thinking of all the fans, even those beyond the bleachers, who want to see the Colts in the Super Bowl again.
    But be careful when you proclaim that “the Colts are in the mix for a championship every season, and they will be until Manning retires.” You’re putting an immeasurable amount of stock and certainty on one player.
    You never know.

  97. The response to this issue is stupid, and Florio as usual, is on the dumb end of things. A perfect season counts for nothing. The Superbowl does. Hell, outside of the 72 Dolphins, pretty much nobody thinks the 72 Dolphins are the greatest team in history. So what does the perfect seaosn matter? What Caldwell did was lift a HUGE burden from the Colts. Gone are the additional pressures of ‘perfection’, and the recent memory of what happened to the Pats perfect quest (the Colts rivals) and their having to chase that ghost as well. They can focus purely on the Superbowl. Will the players be a little miffed in the near term? Sure. But if they hoist a trophy in Miami, do you think they’ll care? Not in the least. Peyton wants another ring, not a footnote in the record book.

  98. “You have an obligation to win the Super Bowl, not to go undefeated,” Dungy said.
    I hate it when players and coaches who haven’t spent that much time in the working world need to be reminded of this, but THE FANS ultimately decide what your obligation to the fans is; not the players, coaches, owners or even the league itself. Sure, sports fans can be dumb and/or impossible to please, but it is their hard earned dollars that make it possible for Dungy and others to make millions playing and coaching a GAME.
    If Indy wins the Superbowl this year, their home fans will forgive them for ignoring their wishes and for lowering the quality of the product that the NFL puts out over worldwide television. Non-Indy fans will never forgive, nor forget.

  99. Come on people, you can’t be serious. Stop falling for the antics of ESPN and the like. They are only putting a negative spin on this because they can’t lead off sports center with the “perfect season” reference. Just remember, news is nothing unless someone makes it news. ESPN is self serving. I can only hear you same complainers talking about this coach if he had left in Peyton and the rest of the starters, and perhaps Peyton suffered a catastrophic injury in a game that had absolutely no consequence for home field advantage. You same folks would be blasting this guy for having no regard for the health of his players, or the playoffs. Stop getting all of your sports news from ESPN, they are now nothing more than a glorified “smoking gun”. Tabloid TV at its best.

  100. First of all, anyone who thinks that the Jets would have won the game if the Colts had left its starters in is CRAZY!!!!!! The Colts had the momentum the entire game until that point. You guys must not have watched the same game that I did!! Without a return for a TD and a very pitiful sack of the Colts’ 3rd string quarterback and recovery in the endzone, the Jets were dead in the water. Do you honestly think that Manning, Wayne, Clark, even Addai (who should not still be the Colts starting back…he sucks!!!) would not have scored more in the second half?? Also, the scores other than the fumble recovery and return by the Jets happened in the fourth quarter without Indy’s starting defense. There is no way in He$$ that the Jets would have won that game, or even have come close to scoring 29 points…WAKE UP HATERS!!!!

  101. I guess the “real” question is…. why do you people keep giving money to a league that obviously does not care about you. Did the NFL do you any favors during this recession? Do you really think either side (players/management) will consider you when it comes time to negotiate a new license to get rich -CBA? These people laugh all the way to the bank with your money every year.
    Someone mentioned the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expect different results. Every year I see the same complaints from fans (taxes for stadiums, players salaries, competitive issues, etc….) but nothing ever changes. Insane indeed……..

  102. This is not the first time the Colts have done this. I recall they left the Titans win a few years ago so they could have three teams from their division in the playoffs.
    Lets face it they let the jets win because they are afraid to play a physical team like the Ravens or Steelers.
    The colts will never see the SB because they have the physical Chargers in front of them.

  103. Pathetic display of cowardice….In the name of POETIC JUSTICE, I hope the Jets make the playoffs and then beat the Colts…that would be awesome.

  104. I agree with Eldenco to some degree…we as fans probably do put too much stock in organizational decisions and seasonal results, but that is our right as fans. Yea, we support our teams monetarily and emotionally, but like myself, most of us do not ask for anything in return, nor do we expect it. All we want is for those whom we support to give us a great show and something to discuss every week. I am the first to admit that I anxiously wait for September to roll around so I can watch my team, the Colts, play football. I invest lots of time and energy into their games, even if they will never know it, and it literally pisses me off that each year the organization does something else stupid, like drafting a quarterback who is terrible (Painter) over the needs of the organization’s true success (defensive linemen who can stop the run, or defensive secondaries that can hang with a Randy Moss, Larry Fitsgerald, or Brandon Marshall. The Colts always rely on speed and Peyton Manning to win, so without him and his core crew in the game, the fans including myself should get used to the fact that the Colts are not going to reach their “ultimate goal” of winning the Super Bowl, as Caldwell so carelessly pointed out. The point is, a perfect season may not be your ultimate goal, but making sure that your team is emotionally ready and physically able to perform their duties by way of cohesiveness should be a major factor in your season’s decisions. Caldwell, Irsay, etc. seem to forget this fact when making lame-brain decisions, such as resting players for their health. Resting players for two games leading up to the playoffs is completely idiotic, and they have more of a chance of being injured throughot the regular season (in the Colts’ case, over the first 14 games) than in the last two weeks of the season. PUT YOUR HEADS ON STRAIGHT, CALDWELL, POLIAN, AND IRSAY…THIS METHOD HAS BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE FOR YOU OVER THE LAST DECADE…WHY NOT KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  105. I could see resting on the last game in front by 21 points or more but like Herman Edwards said, “You play to win the game.”
    The heart of a champion has them beating anyone who comes onto the field especially those in your conference and the possibility of the opponent going to the playoffs.
    The Colts should have made an example of the Jets and show the teams heading to the playoffs that you have been warned and you will not beat us!
    I remember the Giants and Niners of the 90’s doing just that, even the Broncos did that and the Rams with Warner. Hell, the Pats were doing it all year on their run!
    This might come back and haunt the Colts. I hope not, I want them to win it all.
    By the way, this is exactly what the Chargers are doing. Cut throat and sending a message. I hope the Colts, Pats, Vikes, Eagle and Saints see what is coming from San Diego. I hate the Dolts, but they are doing what champions do best: kicking major ass in December and not resting their players!
    I hope you hear the message Coach Caldwell.
    Come on, the Perfect 19-0 Super Bowl season is going to be the greatest feat for the team that eventually does it. It will happen. We all want to see it!
    If it doesn’t matter, why do the ’72 Dolphins cherish that record?
    You might as well through out the record books entirely. Tell Jerry Rice his records doesn’t matter? Tell Emmitt Smith his record doesn’t matter. Tell Shula his record doesn’t matter. Tell the MLB, NBA, NHL that their records don’t matter. Come on!
    Those of you who think the Perfect Season doesn’t matter are losers. I want to be alive to witness history. Don’t you? Deep down inside, you’re saying, “Yeah, I want to see that.”
    The Colts should have went for it. PERIOD.
    Here’s to waiting out the Al Davis Era! Love ya Nation, but Davis gotta go!

  106. In respons to urworstnitemare, you too are crazy if you think the Colts are afraid to play physical teams. If that were the case, why would they want a team such as the Jets, who have no chance of defeating the Patriots or the Chargers to be the team that could ultimately decide who they play in week two of the playoffs? Didn’t think that through clearly, huh? The point is, Caldwell, or whomevewr decided to pull the Colts’ starters, wasn’t thinking at all about the future or who they could play, but rather following through on a commitment that was made several years ago (for God knows why) to “rest” players rather that have them prepared when the playoffs begin. GREAT MINDS AT WORK HERE, DON’T YOU THINK???? I just hope at some point people like you and the Colt’s leadership open your eyes!!!

  107. Forget about yesterday. It’s over and gone. What about next week? Who is going to play against Buffalo? I see a court injunction on the horizon. When a customer is enticed with one thing and a lesser quality item is offered…it’s bait and switch. Remember, this is the good ole’ US of A. Anybody can sue for any reason. I’ll bet there are a few teed off Colt fans who happen be lawyers. Let’s see what happen.

  108. One little point that may have slipped by you, the Colts didn’t LQQK so good during the game,
    and at the point he was removed, Payton wasn’t ligting up the Jets with Points or Yardage.

  109. As (ironically) former Jets coach Herm Edwards put it: “You play to win the game.” I’m a Jets fan and even I think it was lame…. You play to win the game. Every game. Plus DS’s gonna take the Colts right out as they every yr anyway….

  110. Mook says: “keabu – I agree, the Jets COULD have won the game even if Indy didn’t pull their starters. Now the Colts just handed the #1 defense in the NFL their own destiny for the playoffs. A team that has basically no running game at all just allowed the #1 passing and overall defense a chance to come back in the playoffs and really do some damage. Unbelievable.”
    Mook and keabu are right…the Jets were playing great ball. Like it or not, they were holding the Colts back, and keeping the score low. Peyton wasn’t at 100% completion on passing, or even 90%. Jones and Greene of the Jets were racking up the yards on running. The Jets ARE #1 in the league on defense and the run game. Let’s acknowledge the fact that they could have gotten this done, or finished damned close to the W.
    If the Colts OWNER (not the coach, the OWNER) didn’t make this decision, who knows what outcome would have been. Let’s acknowledge that this wasn’t a true “gimme” for the Jets…they were playing serious ball.
    And to all the teams who were counting on a Colts win to make the postseason, maybe your team should have won more games, especially against the teams finishing below 500! You could have controlled your own destiny, and wouldn’t have been blaming the staff in Indianapolis because your team may be couch-bound in the post-season!
    Just saying…..

  111. Next week will be worst than this week…the Colts will sit its starters for probably three and a half quarters, then expect them to be ready for the playoffs in a couple more weeks. Practice situations are not like game situations, so if the Colts’ big whigs think that a couple of weeks of practice will help them in the playoffs, they are crazier than I thought!!

  112. What the Colts fans needed was Farve to call in and argue with Caldwell to let Manning play ! So when its time for pleasing…if the quarterback argues and wants to play…he gets massacred by the press…… if a quarterback just accepts it…he is a wimp and corporate boy with no backbone. They cannot win….fans are hard to please and as we all know, TV analysts are perfect !

  113. Hey – the Jets are a very good team. They won!
    Give them credit and stop all the whining. The Colts are beatable by any NFL team with or without Manning. Any NFL team is beatable by any other NFL team. Look what happened in New Orleans on Sunday – the last place Bucs kicked the Saints’ butts in the second half. The Saints were playing for home field advantage and had all the incentive. And they played their starters. The Bucs were a better overall team on that day. Same with the Jets in Indianapolis. Manning is great and the Colts have a great team so will be back. But don’t bank on them winning the Super Bowl just yet. There are a LOT of good NFL teams and quarterbacks.

  114. Ken & Nan…
    don’t even THINK OF pointing a finger at the Jets for this. The Jets did not pull the starters, the COLTS did! This is a disservice to the Jets because they were playing for their playoff lives and now there is a shadow over their post season hopes. Jets fans didn’t expect a postseason, and the Jets team didn’t MAKE Polian pull Manning and Wayne. The Jets team DID, however, earn #1 defense in the league throughout the season, and #1 in rushing throughout the season. Don’t act like they’re bottom dwellers given a free ride because of another team owner’s decision. We will never know the outcome of the game now, so stop saying the game was handed to them!

  115. In the words of the Great One……. HOW SWEET IT IS !!!!!!
    I can’t tell you who won the last 3 super bowls but I can tell you exactly who won Super Bowl VII in January of 1973 with the only undefeated season in NFL history.
    My point? An undefeated season IS bigger than winning a Super Bowl!

  116. Your opinion, and many of the commenters here are wrong. Pulling Manning was the right decision.
    What you people fail to realize is that this ain’t a game any more, it’s a business, and a damn big one. Are you gonna risk your most prized possession on two of the worst teams in the NFL? Hell, no! Why take that risk, when it doesn’t matter.
    And I don’t care what you say about the ’72 Dolphins, a Super Bowl is far more important (check player contracts – everybody and their dog gets a bonus for a Super Bowl) than an undefeated season.

  117. Hey Larry, no one is giving the Colts the Super Bowl, in fact, I believe that most of the people who have posted comments feel that the Colts blew their shot at the Super Bowl yesterday when they gave (yes it is a fact, they gave) the game to the Jets. The Jets are not a good football team, as will be shown if they reach the playoffs in their first game.
    As for 72DolFan, quit living in the past!!!!!…you are worse than Mercury Morris and all of the other old farts who keep reliving their one glory year. Where have the Dolphins gone since that one miracle season? I am pretty sure that they did not win 12 or more games in more seasons than any other team in history for a decade as have the Colts…GIVE IT A REST!!!!!!

  118. “The great Michael Irvin put the undefeated season in it’s proper perspective on NFL Network when he proclaimed that he would give up all 3 Super Bowl rings and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for one undefeated season.
    Florio, I must say that you do this writeup an injustice by not referring to Irvin’s eloquent presentation as to why it is what it is…”
    He’d also give up all his Rings and HOF induction for 2 skanky hookers and an 8-ball of coke.
    Irvin is not only an imbecile, he’s the most overrated WR of all time

  119. Hey jrshep389 , Thank you for making my point!
    It was history and the Colts blew their chance to make theirs.
    Thanks again. By the way, you should read, then think before you type your response.


  121. So I have a question for this weekend. The Packers play the Cardinals in AZ. Both are already in the playoffs. If the playoffs were held today, they would meet in Round 1 (one week later!). What do both teams do this week? Do both teams play their third-stringers to rest the starters for the following week? Or, do both teams play their starters? I don’t think either side will want to show their hand to the other for the game which really counts. What do you guys think? I think this Sunday’s game (on 1-3-10) should be canceled for lack of interest.

  122. I am not a fan of the colts or NE, but I will say this: I learned to respect the Brady and the Pats for having the balls to try to win it all. I have always hated Manning and the Colts, but if they would have made the effort for perfection and lost like the Pats, I know that I would have to admit that they earned my respect, and I probably would have rooted for them.

  123. If Manning had stayed in the game and gotten injured would these same nay-sayers be complaining that they should have pulled him?
    It’s a matter of priorities. Which is mor e important? A Superbowl win or an undefeated season?

  124. I agree with those here that say the Colts blew it. I really feel for Manning, Wayne, Clark, etc. because they are such a competitors.
    Here’s the real question that I don’t believe I’ve seen yet: Now that Caldwell has laid down for the front office (and giving up a chance at history of being the first and only ROOKIE coach to go undefeated- OOPs), it should only be surmised that the starters won’t play at all next week against Buffalo, right?. After all, that would only go with the intent of what they did in the second half yesterday. We should all agree to that logic, yes?
    Sounds right… now tell that to Manning who is second only behind Favre in most consecutive starts (and a good chance to possibly surpass Favre’s mark one day). I’m surprised Florio didn’t “stir the pot” with some analogy such as this. If we see Manning start the next game in Buffalo, now the Colts are hypocritical in their ideologies for sitting and resting their players. That will only fuel the Colt Fan’s fire (I think). My two cents, of course.
    Stick with the intent, don’t play Manning at all (game is insignificant to either team), and then let’s see if Manning is able to keep his professional demeanor.
    All said, it’s a shame too that their rivals for the past decade, the Patriots, at least gave it a full throttle shot at history. The Colts can now always be labeled by history as “too scared” or “too conservative” to go for the feat… after working your butts off for 14 weeks. Really sad. Even more sad if they don’t win it all. If they do, they’ll always have that asterisk of “too scared or “too conservative” (there’s another phrase for this, but not appropriate).
    Don Shula must have been laughing when they sat their players.

  125. Re: ‘Colts blew it’: Very, very well said.
    The move by Colts leadership fails one very simple test of logic: they chose to avoid a highly unlikely, remote possibility of physical injury to one player by causing certain psychological and emotional damage to every player on the roster, including the player they were trying to protect. In other words, to avoid unlikely damage, they caused certain damage.
    So congrats, Colts leadership, you’ve protected Manning’s arms and legs for another week.
    And you’ve quite possibly broken his heart. That should serve you well in the playoffs.
    Manning deserves better leadership than this.

  126. The Colts had a chance to be remembered for all of eternity, beyond just being another Super Bowl Champion, if that even happens at this point. The NFL is an entertainment venue so the Colts do owe it to their fans and all football fans to play their starters every game. It should be illegal to purposely throw an NFL game and any other game. The Colts, by not playing the game(s) they are paid and expected to play, are throwing these games which have a tremendous impact on the rest of the league and the teams trying to make something of their seasons. People remember the ’72 Dolphins, many will respectfully remember New England’s bid to go undefeated and the incredible Super Bowl won by the Giants to end that bid. But I admire New England for making the attempt instead of laying down as losers.
    The Colts have a history of laying down at the end of the season and promptly losing right out of the gate in the playoffs. Have they not learned from the past? The year they finally, barely won the Super Bowl was as a team grasping for the opportunity, making the playoffs as a wild card, never quitting, never letting up, playing the starters every down, every second of every game all the way to the Super Bowl.
    The Colts could have been the team of the decade, ahead of the Patriots, if they knew how to keep playing all the way through and not giving up at the end. Laying down at the end is not the way to go into the playoffs to try and win a championship. They will be cold and out of practice and not ready for a wild card team that’s never let up and has all the momentum going their way. The odds are really stacked up against the Colts achieving any post-season success this year (again). The Colts will not be remembered except for having one of the best QB’s in Payton Manning who couldn’t finish a season, couldn’t finish an undefeated bid, and could only win one measley championship…

  127. Here’s a funny scenario….Peyton, fed up and frustrated, opts to look for greener pastures when his contract is. up. He signs with the Jets, and then he can share a locker in the home stadium with little brother Eli!
    By the way, this was completely tongue-in-cheek…lots of emotion on this discussion, and just thought I’d add some levity. 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  128. Jim Caldwell, Tony Dungy you have proven that your being included on Rush Limbaugh’s list along with Donovan McNabb, was the right thing to do!

  129. I don’t think anyone will forget the epic game in week 17 of the undefeated Patriots playing the Giants. I am not a fan of either team, and that was one of the best games I have ever had the opportunity to watch. Two teams playing purely for pride and a love of the game is what football is all about.
    I have a ton of respect for Peyton Manning, the Colts organization insulted him and the game by pulling their starters. They not only screwed their fans but the fans of the game, the teams that have to play every game to make the playoffs, many teams in the wild card hunt, and the players who were chasing something that was only accomplished once in the history of the game.
    Yes, the Colts earned the right to sit the game out, but it never should have been up to the coach or the GM. The players earned that right, and the players should have made that choice. I don’t think anyone would argue that if it were up to the players they would have played and won.

  130. “Just ask the Patriots from two years ago. Would you rather have a loss or two and win a Super Bowl or would you rather go undefeated in the regular season and lose in the Super Bowl?”
    Of course, this Pats fan would have rather won the Super Bowl.
    Are you telling me that losing a game guarantees that? I don’t think so!
    Peyton Manning could get hurt on the very first play in the playoffs, and they’ll have a bye anyway so there’s really little point in “saving” him.
    It’s one thing to sit him down if they’re up 20 points or down 30. But when it’s a two point game? They disrespected their fans, their competitors and the game of football in general.

  131. Why is nobody asking why they felt obligated to play Jacksonville as a “regular” game, but not the Jets? They had everything clinched before last week’s game yet played everyone that was healthy the entire game. That’s exactly how they should’ve handled this game and next week. Play everyone that’s healthy unless / until the game is out of reach.
    I’m not a Colts fan nor hater – same with the ’72 ‘Fins – no love or hate. But I sure am rooting against Indy now. It would serve Caldwell and / or Polian right to not win it all, or better yet, not even make the Super Bowl.

  132. Pulling the starters is a business decision, football is a team sport, by allowing the Jets to win the Colts are doomed to fail. Someone in the Colts organization ought to ask Polian if he is still in Buffalo? From the looks on the players faces on the colts sideline in the mid third to the end of the game its over for the Colts for this year.
    Team sports are played to win, pretending its preseason is putting the cart before the horse, just like the old Bungling Bills of the 90’s….

  133. You mean I’ll have to click 9 more links to read your 10-part Aftermath? That’s rotten. I might miss one.

  134. I guess that when the season started, they had simply not planned on winning this particular game. For the life of me, I thought the idea was to win each and every game.
    This is going to come back and bite him right square in the backside.

  135. I hate the Colts, but that was ridiculous to take out the starters. What are the odds really of either Manning or Wayne getting hurt in two quarters of football after playing the whole season without incident? Plus, if they would have taken it all, it finally would have shut up Mercury Morris…

  136. 72DolFan, I believe you proved my point!!! You are living in the past. Everything that you said revolves around what you call “history.” Last I checked, history is about the past…DUH!!!! I do not need to think before I type, because this comment section was not about the 72′ fins (The miracle team of football), but rather about the Colts of this year. Your precious 72′ Dolphins would not last three weeks in the league today, so give your ego trip a rest. I say again, what has the Dolphins accomplished in the last 37 years except for the 72′ team making itself look like a bunch os a$$es…NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  137. “players and fans will have a hard time getting beyond Caldwell’s decision to take a course that cuts against the grain of a group of men who are programmed…”
    You bound it too small, Florio. “…a group of men”? Try everyone. Everyone who plays anything has that fantasy to make history at it. It’s the deepest secret motivation, the mountaintop of fame and glory. This “group of men”, that group of men and women — the whole deep pot of players, and fans who played, and fans and kids who don’t play but play vicariously through their teams, all have that fantasy. ”
    “…who are programmed…?” Ridiculous. We’re talking about what they bring inside of them, their own program. See above. History trumps the Super Bowl, hands down.
    Polian’s a loser – who knew? “Builder of winning teams and organizations”? Nah, with him that’s an oxymoron-he builds good teams then keeps them from winning. The ultimate tease. Rather, “four Super Bowls in a row, no rings”. Buffalo Bill Polian.

  138. People need to simmer down and put this in perspective, and look at it from all viewpoints. Had Manning (or ) been injured in the 4th quarter, you can bet there’d be far more outrage at playing them in an unnecessary situation.
    That said, why play them at all? Keeping them sharp? So how much is needed then? 1 series? 2 series? 1 quarter?
    The Colts didn’t play Manning, Wayne, et al much during the exhibition games to safeguard against injuries. Fair enough. Remember how the offense looked starting the season in week 1? 14-12 over a Jacksonville team that they rolled up 35 points on 14 weeks later. You can’t tell me that the Colts were in synch and firing on all cylinders after barely playing in the exhibition.
    It’s a no win situation either way. If they get injured for playing, Polian and Caldwell are idiots for putting them at risk without reason. If they pull them and lose, they’re gutless quitters.
    Polian made the choice that they weren’t going to play the whole game. If the starters could build an insurmountable lead in one half, then they could continue playing for an undefeated season. If not … then that was their chance (just 1 half instead of the whole game).
    If they really didn’t want to risk *any* injury they wouldn’t have even played them, or only played them 2 series.
    Don’t forget, the Colts now have a bye in the 1st round, so assuming they take a token few snaps next week, they’ll have not played any sustained meaningful snaps in nearly 3 weeks.
    And, on top of that, in sports, you’re playing for the competition, to win, to be a champion and ultimately, to be remembered (forever) as one of the best ever. That final goal was taken away from this Colts team due to the fear of injury.

  139. Well its obvious that Mike Florio was upset at the colts, and obviously thinks that because the coach or GM made a bad decision, that in some bizaro world way makes the players worse than they are. You are right Mike, Peyton Manning will never live up to the greatness or Romo, or Rivers or Breese or oh well just skip down the list to Smith, or Russell. Yup that decision will definately change how good or…bad the colts tight end is, Forget about being good Dallas, you my friend will now just be a 14 catch 167 yard no touchdown tight end going forward because Mike Florio thinks you all suck now because of a coaches decision. hey Mike, this may be tough for you to get right the first time…I’ll have a #1 with no mayo and a large coke….does your little brain need me to repeat that?

  140. 4 SB’s in a row, no rings … ahem, just who was there when Peyton and Indy *did* finally win the SB? Um … that same Bill Polian perhaps?
    Polian’s been scarred by the impact of losing Cornelius Bennett – that Bills team’s version of Freeney/Brackett – to an injury in a late season meaningless game. But it’s football, and this happens. If Peyton gets injured on the 2nd series, what does he do next year? Only limit him to 1 series? Or sit him entirely?
    Polian’s one of the best in the business. But he hasn’t really been able to get back on the bike after falling down. There are sound reasons behind it, and they could still win the SB. But he’ll likely fail to achieve everlasting fame and a legacy for the ages as being part of *the* best team *ever* until he’s willing to take on more risk.

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