If The 2009 Colts Are Remembered At All, It Will Be As The Team Who Threw Away History.
The fact is, whether the players publicly admit it or not, they wanted perfection. The fans made it clear that they wanted perfection as well, when they lustily booed Curtis Painter throughout the second half.
The decision to pull their starters wasn't a surprising one. The Colts have done the same thing many times throughout the past decade or so. But as our own 100%InjuryRate pointed out, it has never led to success for them.
The one time the Colts won a Super Bowl, it was after finishing 12-4, and as the #3 seed in the AFC. In the other years, when they looked like the best team in the league and rested their players late in the season, they ended up choking and losing to teams that were thought to be inferior.
For everyone who thinks that the Colts were right to rest their starters, and points to the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl as the reason, you're flat out wrong. I'm sorry to say it, but there are several reasons why you're way off base, starting with the aforementioned failures that the Colts have experienced after doing this very thing. But that's not the only reason.
The Colts' offense is based on precision passing, timing and chemistry between Peyton Manning and his receivers. The more they rest, the more that timing will suffer. They're already going to get an entire week off thanks to their #1 seed and first round bye. Do they really need to take an entire half off against the Jets, and probably at least that much time off against the Bills next week? Absolutely not. If anything, it's hindering them.
The worst part of it all, though, is that this is a team who gave up. No matter what happens from here on out, it doesn't matter. The Colts had a chance to make history, and stopped trying. They gave up. And for that, they should be embarrassed.
Some may say that the ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl, and that if the Colts manage to do that, then they will have made history, regardless of their regular season record. Unfortunately, that's wrong.
Winning a Super Bowl isn't "making history". Whoever wins the Super Bowl this year will just become one of 44 teams to have done it. It's a great accomplishment, but it happens every single year.
An undefeated season, on the other hand, is something that only happens once in a great while. The 1972 Dolphins are the only ones who have done it so far, and they only went 17-0. To go 19-0 in today's era of parity would be a feat unmatched in all of sports history. THAT would be "making history".
My problem with the Colts isn't that they lost. Honestly, I was expecting them to lose at some point. I still believe they'll lose in the playoffs, as I've said for a while now. My problem is that they gave up. They had a chance to grab history by the throat, and beat it into submission, and they let it go.
Peyton Manning was disappointed, and his post-game comments reflected that. That's because Peyton Manning has a winning mentality, and wanted to add his name and his team's name to the top of the list of the greatest teams of all time, which could have been accomplished, had they finished undefeated. Very few people remember who won the Super Bowl before the 1972 Dolphins, but almost any football fan out there can tell you which team was the only undefeated team in NFL history.
The ignorant might point out the fate of the 2007 Patriots, who finished the regular season undefeated, only to lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. However, resting their players wouldn't have affected a thing. They were in the position to win the Super Bowl, and the Giants simply executed better than them when it mattered. Resting their players in weeks 16 and 17 wouldn't have changed a thing in the Super Bowl, which was more than a month later.
Another thing to consider was that the Jets were fighting for their playoff lives. With the win against the Colts, they were pushed to the top of the list of 8-7 teams, and are in prime position for a playoff spot. The Colts not only screwed over themselves by not trying to win, they also impacted the entire AFC playoff picture.
Let's face it... no matter what the Colts do this year, they are a failure. Not because they don't have the chance to win a Super Bowl. They still have that chance. They're failures because they gave up. It's that simple.