The smartest man in football may have pulled the bonehead move of the season in the NFL.
I admire the Colts President Bill Polian. As much as one can be in the game of football, he is a genius. He built a winning organization at Buffalo, and he was the man at the helm when the Carolina Panthers made it to the NFC Championship in only their second year in the league. He knows football. He knows talent. He knows the NFL, and Sunday he spit on its history. His Indianapolis Colts had the opportunity to pursue the ultimate achievement in the NFL, a perfect season. Instead he devised a strategy that pulled his key players from the lineup by the fourth quarter, effectively giving the game to the New York Jets and ending a historical run at perfection.
Ostensibly, it was done to protect the starters from injury as they head into the playoffs. 1.) I don’t buy it. I think Polian believes that pursuing a perfect season was too much pressure to carry into the playoffs. I think he believes his players will play loose and have more focus going into the games without the added stress of remaining perfect.
If we’ve learned anything this season, we’ve learned the Colts thrive on pressure. In fact, they don’t seem to play with focus until the game is on the line and it’s do or die on each remaining possession. I think Polian took away that sense of urgency that seems to give the Colts the edge.
2.) The Colts have one more game in the regular season, and they get a bye week in the playoffs. If Polian is concerned about injury to his key players, that means they won’t see any significant playing time in the last regular season game. Manning and the gang didn’t look too sharp last week when they were in the game. We’re looking at three weeks of a preseason type atmosphere for those key players. Can you say “rusty?” I don’t like where this headed.
Look, Bill Polian knows more about football than I could ever know if I lived three lifetimes studying the game. That being said, I think he made a mistake for his team. I think he disrespected the game, and I think he robbed the Indianapolis fans. Bill as Ricky used to say to Lucy, “You got some splaining to do!”