I've had a quite enough of this silly one, so let's be done with it.
I have seen time after time after time that the 2006 Colts is a lesson that not resting your starters gives you "momentum" that will help you be more successful. This is total nonsense, for three reasons.
1. The 2006 Colts won the Superbowl because of a VERY favorable playoff schedule.
Truth is, the Colts lucked out on the playoff schedule, and it's always better to be lucky than good. They beat an AWFUL Kansas City team, somehow got past a Ravens team who was simply worse on offense that day than they were, and then played one of the greatest games in history to beat the Pats (at home, thanks to lucky seeding), and Rex Grossman was never gonna win a Super Bowl. This is not to minimize the accomplishment, it's just to say that they were advantaged by the luck of the draw (as are all Super Bowl winners).
2. The 2006 Colts won the Superbowl because they replaced Gilbert Gardener.
Gilbert Gardener was basically the worst linebacker of all time. Enough said there.
3. The 2006 Colts won the Superbowl because they FINALLY got healthy.
Ironically, this is probably the most compelling argument FOR resting your starters. Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, and several other players missed significant time leading into the playoffs. When Clark got healthy and came back, after missing (I think) four games with what looked like a very serious knee injury, he had the tremendous playoff performance that sparked his massive productive streak in the intervening years. Bob Sanders had been gone for most of the season, came back and had the tremendous playoff performance that sparked his DPOY campaign in 2007. Their backs were fresh enough that they could run over teams when they needed to, and, most importantly, ALL THEIR KEY STARTERS WERE HEALTHY. Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Addai, Rhodes, Clark, Brackett and June and Harper and Bethea and Glenn and Manning and Saturday were all out there, playing every game. The Colts, WHEN THEIR STARTERS ARE HEALTHY, are a tough team to beat.
This one more than any other demonstrates that your starters being healthy is ESSENTIAL to winning out in the playoffs. The Colts rested their players because many of them were hurting, and getting them healthy catalyzed the Super Bowl run.
I also want to make one point about Jim Caldwell versus Tony Dungy. It has been rightly pointed out recently that the 2005 Colts took their starters off quite a lot more in the 2009 Colts ever did. The 2005 Colts rested for almost three solid games. The 2009 Colts have taken a total of one game's worth of rest over two games. Clearly Jim Caldwell believes in Tony Dungy's philosophy about resting starters, but is using a more aggressive approach to maintain sharpness and focus. I also believe that part of the reason Caldwell pulled the starters like he did was he wanted the team to taste real defeat before the playoffs started, to keep them from overlooking anyone or believing that they were invincible (like the 2007 Pats felt). Just one man's opinion of course.
So let's all just lay off with the 1. Claiming that the 2006 Colts had "momentum". and 2. Simply assuming that Jim Caldwell will have the same playoff performance as Tony Dungy, because their approaches are clearly different.