I'm not going to list articles and writers just to bash them for their stupidity on the subject of resting starters because, apparently, many of you out there are sick of me pointing a bright light on "bad journalism" topics. I'm also not going to go into any log diatribe on the silly, over-discussed topic of sitting or resting starters during meaningless games. This is all you need to know on the subject:
The press are going to absolutely LOVE Sean Payton and the Saints if they attempt to go for an undefeated regular season record, even if they lock up homefield weeks before the regular season ends.
Why? Because it gives them a story.
An undefeated regular season provides them something fun and tangible to write about. Of course, if during those meaningless games we see Drew Brees re-injure his shoulder (as he did in a meaningless game to close out the 2005 season when he was with the Chargers) or if Pierre Thomas blows out his ACL, then all this "love" the press are giving to the Saints will evaporate when a team like the Vikings or the Cardinals walk into the Super Dome and beat the Saints because they aren't healthy enough.
But hey, why worry about the future? Go for greatness now (aka, give us something to write about now, not in a month!).
Meanwhile, on the other side, the press will predictably boo and bemoan Jim Caldwell for resting starters because A) That's boring for them to report, and B) Because it makes the Colts' late season match-ups less exciting. Forget that in 2003 and 2004, the Colts rested players prior to the playoffs and went on to win playoff games in dominating fashion. The press and other media will claim that when the Colts rested starters in other years (2005 and 2007, specifically) they lost their first game in the playoffs to supposedly inferior teams. Left out of the discussion, conveniently, is the fact that in 2005 Tony Dungy's son hanged himself in late-December, creating a horrific distraction for the team just prior to the playoffs, likely contributing to their Division Round loss to the eventual world champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Also left out is the fact that in 2007, the Colts limped into the post-season without Dwight Freeney (gone for the year) and with a severely injured Robert Mathis, Marvin Harrison, and Raheem Brock.
Little details like these tend to get pushed aside by media who are simply wanting "a good story."
Bottom line here is the media will praise the team that tries to go undefeated and bash the one that looks to keep players fresh and healthy for a post-season run. The irony behind all of this is for all the bile the media has thrown at the NFL for their polices to keep players healthy in terms of concussions, they seem perfectly fine exposing healthy (or even injured) players to injury in meaningless games that affect nothing in the standings.
In the end, the teams that are the healthiest are usually the ones that make it to the Super Bowl, and playing important players in meaningless game is not a formula for keeping the team healthy come playoff time.