There is an article out about how the Indianapolis Colts will have a legitimate claim to the crown of "Team Of The Decade", provided that they can continue their tear through the remainder of the NFL regular season, continue through the playoffs, and win the Super Bowl, come February.
I hate to break it to Colts fans, but that is just not going to happen.
First off, with two regular season games remaining, plus two more playoff games, plus the Super Bowl, that leaves the Colts five games away from even being considered for the team of the decade, even by Colts fans.
Not only that, the Colts have won more regular season games so far this decade, and have only won one Super Bowl. Normally, the Colts are knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. To talk about the Colts as being the team of the decade is putting the cart before the horse.
For argument's sake, let's say that the Colts do finish the regular season undefeated, power through the playoffs, and in doing so, down the Pittsburgh Steelers (one team with a legitimate claim to the TOTD debate), and the New England Patriots (the only other team to have a legitimate claim to the TOTD debate). Then in Super Bowl XLIV, the Colts smash the New Orleans Saints (No. 1 seed in the NFC).
This would give the Colts the only undefeated, 19-0 season ever in the history of the NFL. It would open a debate on, "Are they the greatest team to ever play?" but to include them in the TOTD conversation, you have to compare them to, as I said, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.
If the Colts go undefeated, they would have a legitimate claim to pass the Steelers, as they would have the same amount of Super Bowl victories, and they would have an undefeated Super Bowl championship. Steelers fans would have no complaint as to the title not belonging in Pittsburgh.
New England, on the other hand, would have something to say about it.
The Patriots are currently the TOTD titleholders, having won three Super Bowls in the early stages of the decade. Three times the Patriots ended the season, winning on the biggest stage in the sport. There is nothing else that a team can hope for, but to be the champs when all is said and done.
Colts fans, at this point, will say things like,
"We have won more games than any other team this decade,"
"We have had more 10-plus wins than any team in this decade,"
"Peyton Manning has won more MVPs than anyone in this decade."
And they would have a valid argument. I will be the first person to say that the Indianapolis Colts are the best regular season team of this decade.
Peyton Manning is possibly the greatest player to ever lead a team. He puts in more work than probably any two people from any team. He makes the players around him better, and that is what an MVP is supposed to do.
But, here is where I show why the Colts cannot be considered the team of the decade.
Jan. 16, 2000
The Colts fall to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs, 19-16. The Colts were not only the higher seed, but had a first-round playoff bye week, meaning they were one of the two best teams in the AFC.
Jan. 4, 2003
The Colts didn't their division, and traveled to the Jets for their Wild Card Game, which they lost 41-0. Being not only shut out, but be 41 points, is not a way to dominate.
Jan. 16, 2005
After defeating the Broncos, the Colts would lose the divisional game against the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in Indianapolis , 20-3
Jan. 15, 2006
As the top seed in the AFC playoffs, the Colts would lose in the divisional round to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18, and the game was not as close as the score.
The Colts traveled to San Diego to play a Chargers team that only made the playoffs because they won their division, even though they were only 8-8. The Chargers won the OT coin toss, drove down the field, and ended the Colts season, once again during their first game, 23-17.
The Colts playoff record this decade is 7-6. With the four victories the Colts had en route to their Super Bowl, they are 3-6 during the rest of the playoffs this decade, with four of those losses coming in their first playoff game.
When you think of the teams of the decade to this point—'60s Packers, '70s Steelers, '80s 49ers, '90s Cowboys—there is something they all have in common. When the playoffs came, they were the team that no one wanted to play.
Every time a team was eventually named the TOTD, they were so because they dominated in the playoffs. That is when teams go from being great to being super.
I am not going to say for one second that the '00s Colts are not a great team, because they are possibly the greatest team to ever play. But, when it comes to being super, they just could not complete the task.
Sorry, Colts fans, regardless of your record, teams are not afraid to play you. New England, San Diego, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh all know that, come the playoffs, if they play you, they believe they can beat you.
That is the difference between being great and being super .