Imagine for moment that you’re the head coach of an NFL football team, that you have a great quarterback, wide receivers, running backs, defense, offense, you name it, and that you’ve won 14 games straight to start the season – is there any good reason to accept your first loss and ruin your chance at a perfect season?
That’s the question of the decade it seems. The Patriots faced it a couple of years ago and chose to not only play their starters all year, but even when they had a 10 or 20 point lead in the fourth quarter, they didn’t even reduce the pressure. No, they just kept going and scoring and driving that pigskin down the throats of every opponent.
The Colts though? They decided to take a break. Now as I’ve seen mentioned on blogs all over, they chose to save their stars from injuries in the second half of the game so they’d have the best chance possible to win the Super Bowl.
That makes sense, a lot of it too. A Super Bowl win is the epitome of what these guys play for. It’s not about money or fame or stats – it’s about winning the whole show, the Lombardi trophy, the prestige and pride of meeting every challenge and walking away with a smile and a W all year long.
But isn’t winning football games the idea? I mean is there not a whole league, two conferences, eight divisions, billion dollar stadiums, millions of jerseys and merchandise, and millions paid each year for player salaries around the core idea that these teams should win football games? Maybe I missed something.
Maybe all this talk about concussions and injuries has shed a new light on the purpose of the game. I don’t know. I don’t want players hurt, but I want them to do their jobs.
I don’t want coaches holding back. I don’t want a loss to be acceptable. That’s not the spirit of the game.
Maybe the Colts could have played it safer and just tried to the clock out, just doing what must be done to preserve the win, but pulling their key starters for the second half was about as un-American and against the reason that football is such a major sport in this country as I’ve ever seen.
Damn Jim Caldwell and the Colts for letting this sport down.