Posted on: October 27, 2009 8:32 pm
In the aftermath of the New England Patriots’ 59-0 whipping of the Tennessee Titans on October 18, I saw a lot of posts on Sportsline condemning the Pats for running up the score. I saw similar posts from people upset with the Indianapolis Colts for throwing deep late in a blowout 42-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams. I don’t understand why people have been critical of these victories and other blowout wins because the players and coaches are merely doing their jobs and doing them well. It is an absolute shame that we live in a society where limits are placed on how exceptional one is allowed to be.
Competition is what makes sports truly great. Perhaps Herman Edwards knows that fact better than anyone else after considering his “You play to win the game!” rant as then coach of the New York Jets. Following this rant, the Jets finished the year 7-2 to make the playoffs and soundly beat an Indianapolis Colts team led by Edwards’ friend and mentor, Tony Dungy. Was Edwards trying to show up his former boss by winning 41-0? Was this just a lack of class on the part of Edwards for daring to win by such a large margin? I don’t think any reasonable person would argue that that was the case. Edwards was just executing his job as head coach and did it brilliantly that day.
We’ve seen the recent dilution of competition in sports as high school coaches are fired for winning and teams condemned for playing their best. It’s high time that coaches stop worrying about the feelings of opposing players and instead focus on their own team. Instead of feeling bad for the loser, feel bad for the player that has to ride the bench because they played too well and gave their team a big lead. We as a society should encourage excellence because it elevates us. As a Colts fan, I loathe the New England Patriots but still respect their right to walk out on a football field to play 4 quarters regardless of what the score is.
Posted on: December 29, 2008 3:55 pm
Both teams are coming in with plenty of momentum, with each having won at least 4 consecutive games. San Diego, however, hasn't beaten great teams during its streak; the reeling Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the mediocre Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. Indianapolis has beaten teams such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego during their 9 game winning streak. The Colts will be a much tougher challenge then either of the teams the Chargers have faced the past 4 weeks. This will be a very close game and that favors the Indianapolis Colts.
Both of these teams have had remarkable turnarounds from last year and are coming in to the Playoffs strong. This should be a defensive struggle and the Baltimore Ravens will have the edge. By winning against the Dolphins, the Ravens will avenge their late loss to them last year.
#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #1 Tennessee Titans
The Colts have already lost to the Titans once in Tennessee. Peyton Manning and co. will guarantee it doesn't happen again. Unless nose tackle Albert Haynesworth is 100%, the Titans 'D' may have problems stopping the Indy offense. This is definitely not the same team the Titans faced earlier this season and the Indianapolis Colts will advance.
#2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers better hope that Ben Roethlisberger gets better right away. Otherwise, it may be a long day for the Pittsburgh faithful. The Titans showed how the Steelers could be exploited in week 16 by scoring 31 points. The Baltimore Ravens will be ready this time around and send the Steelers to another divisional playoff defeat.
#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens
This game would be played at Lucas Oil Stadium if it ever occurs. In recent years, the Colts have owned the Ravens and pummeled them 31-3 earlier this season. This game will be closer but Indianapolis still advances to the Super Bowl.
Simply put, the Cardinals don't deserve to be in the playoffs. They have struggled down the stretch and their defense is atrocious. The Falcons have a multi-faceted offense led by Matt Ryan and Michael Turner that will exploit their 'D.'
The Eagles have come in on a roll after torching the Dallas Cowboys, 44-6. Ever since Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, the Eagles have been playing strong. The Vikings are not that strong offensively and the Eagle 'D' will suffocate Adrian Peterson. McNabb and Westbrook will provide enough offense to win and the Eagles will go on to face Carolina.
#5 Atlanta Falcons vs. #1 New York Giants
The Falcons have had a great season but they will have their hands full playing the Giants. Overall, Atlanta has had a great season but the Giants have been here before and will get the job done.
#2 Carolina Panthers vs. #6 Philadelphia Eagles
The Panthers are tough in the run game with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Plus, it helps to have Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith in the passing game. Overall, the Panthers will have too many weapons for the Eagles to defend.
The Giants and Panthers have been the two best teams in the NFC this year. The Giants did beat the Panthers late in the season but the Playoffs is a completely different environment. Who is Eli Manning going to throw to in pressure situations without Plaxico Burress? The Giants have been reeling of late and the Panthers have caught them at the right time. Everybody wants to see a Manning-Manning Super Bowl but it won't happen this year.
#5 Indianapolis Colts vs. #2 Carolina Panthers
This would be a great Super Bowl game, pitting two very strong teams. Carolina's duo of Williams and Stewart will attempt to run over the Colts but Bob Sanders will be back to plug the holes. This game can go either way but the Colts will be fighting to give coach Tony Dungy one last Super Bowl ring for retirement. That being said, the Colts would triumph over the Panthers.
It is true that the Colts are my favorite team but I honestly think they have the manpower to win the Super Bowl. It is not homerism or anything like that. The way I see the pieces falling, the Colts will get favorable matchups and give Dungy one last Super Bowl ring.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Albert Haynesworth, Andy Reid, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Bob Sanders, Brian Westbrook, Dallas Cowboys, DeAngelo Williams, Denver Broncos, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, Indianapolis Colts, Jake Delhomme, Jonathan Stewart, Kansas City Chiefs, Lucas Oil Stadium, Matt Ryan, Miami Dolphins, Michael Turner, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Plaxico Burress, San Diego Chargers, Steve Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tony Dungy
Posted on: December 22, 2008 4:44 pm
Around this time every year, NFL coaches around the league who have lead their respective teams to comfortable division leads perhaps think about resting their starters. Resting the starters is done with the objective to preserve players from injury but the move has been proven to derail teams in the playoffs time and time again.
Unless I am mistaken, the team that best exemplifies the negative effects of resting the starters is the Indianapolis Colts. On an almost yearly basis, coach Tony Dungy rests the starters for the final game or two of the season in order to preserve them for the playoffs. I am a big fan of Dungy but according to Einstein, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." When the Colts rested their starters as in both 2005 and 2007, they have been defeated by the Chargers and Steelers; teams that didn't rest their starters and played the whole season. The 2005 Colts were more talented then the 2005 Steelers and that showed in their 26-7 victory over them earlier that year. However, the Steelers came in on a roll and the Colts were rusty. Due to Dungy's decision to rest the starters, the Colts may very well have given away the Vince Lombardi Trophy that year.
When the Colts played the whole season, they have had much better results. In 2006, the Colts had to battle for a playoff spot, which lead to Dungy playing the starters. The Colts got on a roll and defeated the Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots and Bears in the Playoffs. One could argue that the 2005 and 2007 teams were more talented then the 2006 team but they have had decidedly different results.
Resting the starters is simply a tactic that hinders the success of a team in the Playoffs. No evidence has yet been shown to the contrary. For Pete's sake, these are NFL players and there is no reason to baby them as some coaches do. It's true that an NFL game is always a battle but they are being paid to play games, not to watch on the sidelines. Let them play!
There is no reason to rest players like Peyton Manning, who has started every single game in his career and has missed only a handful of snaps. In the case of injury prone players like Bob Sanders, there is a legit argument to give him the week off but those cases are usually not the majority.
Coach Dungy has already announced his intention to rest the starters in week 17 against the Tennessee Titans. Unless the Colts buck that recent trend, I am afraid they are looking at another early Playoff exit.
As a final note, the past 3 Super Bowl champions have been the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. All of these teams were a #3 seed or below and had to battle for playoff spots. These teams played through and won because they were playing their best at the right time. Resting the starters causes players to be rusty and that shows on the field. So please, STOP RESTING THE STARTERS.