The Indianapolis Colts lost yesterday for the first time this season, falling to the New York Jets. The Colts, who had already clinched the division and home field advantage in the playoffs, pulled their starters during the game to avoid injury and to rest them for the playoff run coming up.
The Colts loss means that the ’72 Miami Dolphins can celebrate for at least one more year as being the only team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl.
In my opinion, the Colts did the right thing. They have the bigger picture in mind, which is going to the Super Bowl. However, a lot of sports writers and commentators disagree with me. Quadry Ismail of ESPN says that the Colts “missed out” by pulling their starters. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star wrote that the Colts “tossed away perfection like a Christmas leftover. They treated it with a casual shrug of the shoulders, disdain even, as if they were beyond such a trivial pursuit”. The Chicago Tribune even went so far as to say that the Colts coach “dropped the ball by tanking the game.”
I’d like to know exactly what the Colts “missed out” on by pulling their starters. Did they miss out on getting Peyton Manning seriously injured in a meaningless game? How about any of their other first string players? How many of these “experts” would have changed their opinion about pulling their starters if one the Colts main players had gotten hurt? I guarantee that people would have been demanding that Colts coach Jim Caldwell’s be fired for risking his players to go after such a trivial record. Caldwell did the right thing by pulling his first starters out of the game. No offense to the New York Jets, but it was a meaningless game.
I hope that the Colts win the Super Bowl now. Once it happens, I’d like to see how these same writers who are criticizing Jim Caldwell now praise him for making the right moves.