There has been a lot of complaining about the Colts resting players and pointing to 2006 were they "kept the playing until the end of the season." I’ve even heard ESPN's Mike Greenburg discuss how the only time the Colts won the Superbowl they had to play hard the whole season. The fan base has become as paranoid that resting the players equals playoff losses as Polian is paranoid that playing the starters in the last game will result in key injuries. For the record I too was less than thrilled by what happened in the Jets game. However, has anyone bothered to look at what happened in December 2006? To hear all of this one would think the Colts steam rolled through December on their way to the Superbowl.
The reason the Colts had to play until the end was because they played so bad the last month of the season. They went 2-3 and were out scored 129 to 119. During December 2006 they were swept by divisional rivals Tennessee, Houston and Jacksonville. This included the now famous 375 yards rushing, 44 -17 drubbing they took from the Jaguars. The last game of the season was a less than impressive victory over a bad Miami team 27-22. For some reason this game sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. Keep in mind the 2006 6 win 10 loss Dolphins scored 22 points with the immortal Cleo Lemon at quarterback.
That last game did not exactly instill confidence in the masses and many including Mr. Greenburg predicted the Colts would get steamrolled by the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. We all know what happened. The point is while it is true in 2006 the Colts did play to win through the last game of the regular season it would be hard to argue that doing so built any momentum. We all know what happened next.
This year the Colts of course pulled the starters in the third quarter of the Jets game. Outside of that minor little undefeated thing it was much better than what they did in 2005 where the team basically played one series each game and sat for the most of the last three weeks. In the Buffalo game last Sunday, yes they totally mailed it in but given the weather conditions does anyone really think playing a half or more would have helped the offensive rhythm?
There has been a lot of complaining about the Colts the last two weeks and I have done much of it myself. I also know that the last decade has been far more enjoyable than say the Jeff George years. If you have ever actually played and/or coached football you know that a big part if it is you have to get over what happened last week and get ready for next week. The playoffs are starting and for me anyway it is time to move past the Jets game and support the Colts completely in the next game.