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Memo to Colts: 'Buck' the trendPosted Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at 2:10 PM
If I were the coach, I'd let them play.
I'd want to keep pursuing history.
I'd keep going to try to complete a perfect season.
But I'm not the coach.
The Indianapolis Colts are 14-0 with only two regular season games remaining.
By all accounts, both of those games are very winnable.
The Colts play the Jets this weekend before closing out the season with a game at Buffalo.
Momentum is on their side. They seem unbeatable.
Although the odds are against them, the Colts are in unchartered territory, even for them.
The Colts have won 23 straight regular season games. They have won 115 games this decade.
And they're only the third team to ever have reached 14-0. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins did it on the way to the first (and only, so far) perfect season in NFL history.
The New England Patriots finished the 2007 regular season at 16-0 and were 18-0 before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
At this point in the season, teams that are playoff-bound are thinking about resting players to get them ready for the playoffs.
If I were first-year Colts' coach Jim Caldwell, I'd say forget it.
We're going to try to achieve history.
Caldwell coached under Tony Dungy while he was still with the Colts.
In 2005, The Colts started the season 13-0, before losing to the San Diego Chargers.
Despite finishing the regular season with a 14-2 record, it meant nothing as the Colts lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
After losing to the Chargers, players started "resting."
Momentum was lost.
In any sport, momentum is key.
And in football, it seems imperative.
The Colts appear to have everything going their way.
An undefeated season could very well happen.
And based on statistics, I'm quite certain all the players are thinking about it.
As stated earlier, the Patriots went undefeated in the 2007 regular season and appeared unbeatable.
But the Giants found a way to beat them in the Super Bowl.
Even if the Colts complete a 16-0 season, I guarantee you analysts will start bringing up Peyton Manning's playoff history, which is not as great as one might think.
Manning was drafted in 1998. Since he got into the league, he has appeared in the playoffs every year of his career except his rookie season and 2001.
Despite this, The Colts are 7-8 in the playoffs since 1998 and have only one Super Bowl to their credit.
Despite throwing for more than 49,000 yards since he came into the league (he currently ranks fourth) and tossing more than 360 touchdowns (third all-time), Manning's playoff numbers seem somewhat pedestrian.
But one player doesn't make a team.
Still, this is a team that hasn't won a playoff game since 2006, when they defeated the Chicago Bears for that only Super Bowl.
In fact, it's been one-and-done for the Colts two years in a row, both times to the Chargers.
Again, momentum is key. Currently, the Chargers have won nine games in a row.
The only way for the Colts to keep the momentum going would be to continue rolling like nothing was different.
Roll through the Jets and Bills en route to 16-0.
Can it be done?
Will it be done?
Time will tell.
But if history has anything to say about it, the Colts will not start "resting" their players.
At least, if they want to move further into the playoffs. Undefeated or not.
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