The Indianapolis Colts have been the feel good story in the NFL this season. No one gave them hope as they only returned 17 players from last year’s team and have relied on over 1/2 of their offense led by rookies. Mix in head coach Chuck Pagano’s bout with leukemia and this team seemed doomed for a two-three win season.
Instead, the Colts cliched a playoff spot last weekend with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs and sit 10-5 entering Sunday’s matchup in the season finale against the Houston Texans. The Colts were given a gift in that they have nothing to play for as they’ve clinched the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. As it has been a long emotional road this season with guys getting injured and everything they’ve been through a week off would be nice.
Pagano, formally announced he was back on Monday and one of his things he said is this team will not rest their starters on Sunday. I feel that move was the dumbest they could have made. After everything they’ve been through this season, why play the starters?
Is it really beneficial to play guys like Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis? What if one of them gets injured which could happen on any given play? Wouldn’t you rather see these guys healthy for a playoff run to extend a magical season?
I get some of the fans are in uproar about sitting the starters. But these are the fans that are going to the game. Those fans can get over the fact the Colts have the luxury of being in this point. They should enjoy the fact they’re watching backups on a playoff team. They should feel privileged they’re even in the gates of Lucas Oil Stadium.
This team doesn’t owe the fans anything. I’m sick of the excuse, “well we want to go to the playoffs with momentum.” Don’t you think with the season they just had is enough momentum? One measly win against the Texans when everything is clinched isn’t going to give any added momentum. In fact, a loss to the Texans while resting starters isn’t going to set this team back any.
I think the risk is far greater than the reward by playing the starters in a meaningless game on Sunday. Houston has too much to play for and they’re going to come out firing. If the Texans lose, they not only lose home field advantage, but likely a first round bye.
The Houston defense is no joke either. They’re bruisers and hard hitters. With the running back spot thin as both backups are banged up, what good would it do to get Ballard hurt? Would you trade a win in the season finale for Mewelde Moore starting at running back for you in the wildcard round?
What about J.J. Watt only needing 2.5 sacks to break the NFL single season sack record? The Texans sacked Luck a season-high five times a few weeks ago. With a very thin and injured offensive line, do you really think it’s good to see Luck line up behind center against that defense in a meaningless game? He’s one hit from being knocked out for the season. Do you really want to see Drew Stanton lead this team in the playoffs? Luck got no protection against the Chiefs. It’s going to be even worse this week.
If anyone says they want to see the starters play and think it’s dumb to rest them isn’t a true fan and is just selfish. Just because you paid money for a ticket doesn’t mean they owe you a win. This team did enough this season with fighting every week with everyone including most Colts fans against them. They have you in the playoffs.
The team deserves the rest to regroup for a playoff run. It’s been a taxing season emotionally and physically. The Colts screwed this decision up and deserve what comes to them on Sunday.