In Their Hearts The Indianapolis Colts Know They Are Not A Great Team

Alan ShimelCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17:  Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Only the very best of the best get to compete at the NFL level. Over the many years of the league there are only a very few teams that have the term "great" or "team for the ages" attached to them. The heart of a true champion beats to be recognized as part of one of those teams.

It is therefore almost beyond belief why a team on the cusp of accomplishing something that no other team has ever done, would throw the chance away.  After thinking long and hard about it, the only conclusion I can draw is that deep in their heart of hearts, the Colts and Jim Caldwell just did not think they were truly capable of greatness and immortality. On top of that they have done a disservice to all of the teams still competing for a playoff spot.

Brett Favre gave his coach a hard time about taking him out of a relatively meaningless game. Peyton Manning sat by and watched his chance to lead his team to the first 19 game undefeated season pass him by. Is that the difference between the two. Does the competitive heart of a true champion beat in one's chest and not the other?

What do Colt's fans think? Are you happy about giving away your chance at an unbeaten season? Why not take Manning out of the game last week? Why not put him back in the game when you fell behind today? 

The Colts have made it clear. They are not worthy of being an unbeaten team and proved it to the world tonight. It is a shame it wasn't because they did not give it their best shot, but instead because they were missing the fire a team for the ages needs.

They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives and second guess their coach and themselves over what could have been.

To paraphrase something that someone once said, "it is better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all." With the Colts we will never know what could have been, only that they did not even try.

Authors Note: Charles Robinson over on Yahoo Sports has an excellent article up today on this as well.  Called the Colts throw in the towel on perfection. This is what he said'

In the end, perfection didn’t matter. But how the Indianapolis Colts lost perfection always will.

This one won’t be looked back upon fondly. Particularly if this team doesn’t accomplish its all-encompassing goal of winning the Super Bowl. Whatever happens from here on out, the Colts’ 29-15 loss to the New York Jets will always feel a little cheap. And why wouldn’t it? Indianapolis didn’t suffer its first loss fighting – at least not at full strength. It didn’t lose to a superior opponent, or even by a fluky play. Instead, it lost because it chose to give history away. It lost out of fear and unproven calculation.

For the first time I can remember, Peyton Manning(notes) had something left to play for, and his team retreated in spite of it.

I think that sums it up pretty well.  What a shame!!