Dungy’s decisions may have Colts tempting the Sports Gods

The Indianapolis Colts have steamrolled their way through the NFL this season. But now, with home-field advantage in the playoffs wrapped up and the laurels of a perfect season too hard to resist, the team may be on the cusp of taunting the Sports Gods.

For thirteen games, the Colts have trampled, trounced, and triumphed over every single one of their opponents. They’ve outscored the competition by over 200 points, lead the league in scoring with 392 points, and have surrendered just 180 points, good for second in the NFL.

But the fun doesn’t stop with winning because the Colts don’t just win. They dominate. This team has trailed in a grand total of two football games all season. The last time in the season they were on the losing end of a score was 11 minutes and 43 seconds into their week six game against the Rams. One second later, they took the lead and haven’t been behind in seven games since then.

Already, the Colts have put the finishing touches on their regular season drive. Secure in their division lead, they wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But still, Coach Tony Dungy won’t commit to resting his regulars, and the rest of the Colts have not let up. The pressure to go 16-0 is strong.

In football, the perfect season has attained a near-holy status mainly through the machinations of the coach of the first and last perfect team. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins tore through the season and captured the Super Bowl. Now, the team, its coach and former players maintain their lofty position in NFL lore by hosting a champagne toast when the last remaining unbeaten team finally loses. Some people hate the arrogance in this move; others see the charm. And nearly everyone is rooting for the Colts to break the spell of those 1972 Dolphins.

It’s foolish, though, for the Colts to take a risk in their efforts to achieve a perfect season. Of course, everyone on the Colts wants to see their team attain football immortality. It’s the nature of an athlete. Records keep legends alive, and everyone wants to become a legend of their time. But 16-0 isn’t important because it is not a Super Bowl trophy. Once the wins come off the board and everyone starts all over again, that 16-0 is meaningless unless it nets a title.

The Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. Since then, they’ve made it as far as the AFC Championship game just twice. With a real shot at heading into the playoffs as the favorites to win the title, Dungy’s decision — to rest or not to rest — ought to be a no-brainer. When a Super Bowl is a team’s ultimate goal, the best option is to rest your stars and starters in preparation for the playoffs. Baseball teams understand this in September when the rosters expand; now, it’s time for Dungy to end speculation and scale back playing time for his key contributors.

By sitting Peyton Manning, the superstar quarterback with the league’s highest QB rating, Dungy would be protecting the hopes of the franchise. Having Manning on the field for more plays than are necessary to ensure that important home field advantage could be disastrous. Just as Michael Vick or Tom Brady. Those two men matter just as much to their respective team’s playoff hopes as Manning does to the Colts. When Vick and Brady both went down last weekend, Falcons and Patriots fans everywhere held their breaths in the hopes that both would come back this week as good as new.

What happens when, two quarters, two halves, two plays away from 16-0, Manning gets sacked and twists an ankle or worse? What happens if that one extra throw isn’t the difference between a fresh arm in on February 5 and a dead on during the AFC Championship game two weeks earlier? What if? What if? What if? Those are the questions with which Dungy has to grapple.

So far, Dungy hasn’t committed to anything beyond this weekend. Facing the Chargers and QB Drew Brees, the Colts face arguably their toughest challenge to an undefeated season. If they win this weekend, the could go 16-0 without the help of Peyton Manning. Dungy will be playing his A team this weekend in an effort to keep their streak going.

Will pride ruin the title hopes of an entire city? Who knows. To me, the answer is clear: What’s the point in risking it? Let the 1972 Miami Dolphins keep their champagne rituals if need be; 16-0 be damned. Anything less than the trophy is a disappointment for this powerhouse of a football team.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Dungy’s decisions may have Colts tempting the Sports Gods”


  1. 1 skipn December 17, 2005 at 5:18 pm

    You got also think about how these Colts have to pull off 19-0, not just 16-0. Which is a far stiffer gauntlet.

    Yeah when I was in Fort Lauderdale was disgusted at the Shula restaurant chain. It looked like a night eating there would be like a night eating inside a garrish man’s neck chain, with his curly, greased chest hair.

    Go Indy.


Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Game 74: A Sonny Saturday June 23, 2018
    The Yankees lost for only the fifth time in their last 22 games last night, and you know what’s crazy? Two of those five losses were by one run and the other three were by two runs. Even when they lose, the Yankees are in every game right to the end. Losing winnable games stinks, […] The post Game 74: A Sonny Saturday appeared first on River Avenue Blues. […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Saturday Links: Watson, Giambi, YES Network, Kay, Singleton June 23, 2018
    The Yankees and Rays will continue their three-game series with the middle game later this afternoon. Here are some links and notes to check out in the meantime. Yankees pursued Watson over the winter According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees tried to sign left-hander Tony Watson during the offseason. He instead signed a luxury tax […] The post Saturday Links: […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss if there ever was one June 23, 2018
    Ugh, I hate that the Yankees only win most games and not all games. The Yanks dropped a completely forgettable series opener to the Rays on Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton made a great catch and … that’s it? Nothing else of note happened. The final score was 2-1. Sabathia Bends, Breaks Only A Little Pretty […] The post Rays 2, Yankees 1: A forgettable loss i […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Clarke Schmidt debuts following Tommy John surgery June 23, 2018
    MLB.com posted their midseason top 100 prospects list today. Three Yankees made it: OF Estevan Florial (No. 39), LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 42), and RHP Albert Abreu (No. 65). 2B Gleyber Torres and 3B Miguel Andujar are no longer prospect eligible while RHP Chance Adams, who was No. 66 before the season, has dropped out […] The post DotF: Clarke Schmidt debut […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 73: A Trip to the Trop June 22, 2018
    The season is nearly halfway complete, and the Yankees are just now making their first trip to Tropicana Field. Very weird schedule this year. I’m not complaining. The Trop stinks. Just pointing out the schedule is weird. First of three in St. Pete tonight. As for the Yankees, my goodness they are red hot right […] The post Game 73: A Trip to the Trop appear […]
    Mike Axisa
  • 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays June 22, 2018
    For the first time this season, the Yankees will play in Tropicana Field. They’re in Tampa for three games this weekend. The Last Time They Met It seems like just yesterday that the Yankees hosted the Rays, but that’s not quite true; in fact, it was last week. The Rays visited the Bronx last weekend, […] The post 6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays a […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Yankeemetrics: Bomber Brooms, Seattle Sweep (June 19-21) June 22, 2018
    Domingo+Dingers=Win After a quick trip to the nation’s capital, the Yankees were back at the friendly confines on Tuesday night and opened their series with an easy 7-2 win over the Mariners. Domingo German was absolutely brilliant in his eighth career start. After giving up a run (unearned) in the first inning, he retired 19(!) […] The post Yankeemetrics: B […]
    Katie Sharp
  • Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, Judge, Bundy June 22, 2018
    There are ten questions in this week’s mailbag. RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is the mailbag email address, so send your questions there each week. Ryan asks: Any explanation for the power Torres is showing in the majors? I think I read he had only 24 homers in like 1,500 at bats in the minors. […] The post Mailbag: Torres, Adams, Loaisiga, Gardner, Drury, […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win June 22, 2018
    Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (3-1 win over Lehigh Valley) SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 SB — 24-for-73 (.329) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers in his last 17 games … that looks a lot more like pre-2018 Tyler Wade 1B Brandon Drury: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K — second start […] The post DotF: Wagner goes deep yet again in Tampa’s win appeared […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thursday Night Open Thread June 21, 2018
    ?Good game today, great series this week. The Yankees finished the three-game sweep of the Mariners this afternoon and they are now 28 games — 28 games! — over .500 on June 21st. Feels awesome. The 2018 Yankees are not perfect, far from it, but damn, is this team good or what? Great team and […] The post Thursday Night Open Thread appeared first on River Ave […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,703 hits
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: