Indianapolis Colts' First Loss Was Seen from a Mile Away

Nick Mordowanec@NickMordoCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 27:  A Indianapolis Colts is pictured during the NFL game against the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Peyton Manning and many of the starters were pulled from the game in the second half and the Colts went on to lose their first game of the season 29-15.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When the New Orleans Saints were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys over a week ago, the path was set for the Indianapolis Colts to complete the third undefeated regular season in NFL history.


After all, the Colts had defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars just two days earlier in what many thought was the Colts’ toughest remaining game. With games left against the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills, perfection was on the doorstep, and one of the best seasons ever was about to come to fruition.


If only Colts head coach Jim Caldwell had received the memo.


With the Colts on top of the Jets at halftime, faces on Colts fans became somewhat convoluted. It was, of course, practically expected that the Colts would rest their starters down the stretch; Tony Dungy did it in 2005 and his predecessor Caldwell has hinted to it the last month.


But what Colts fans saw, along with NFL fans in general, was disappointing to say the least. All of Indy’s best players sat hopelessly on the bench, witnessing perfection slip away, and there was nothing they could do about it.


Didn’t we all see this coming?


Caldwell worked under Dungy and eventually took over the position of the future Hall of Fame coach this season. He could have gone undefeated in his first season at the helm, an achievement which would have been nearly remarkable.


However, that wasn’t his goal, and we knew it all along.


There really aren't any differences between Dungy and Caldwell; each coach had many of the same players as well as many of the same schemes. And the biggest similarity between the past and present is the willingness to throw out NFL immortality in order to achieve the highest plateau: winning the Super Bowl.


We all know it didn’t work for Dungy in 2005, whose team lost its first playoff game after resting starters and enduring a first-round bye.


Whether it works for Caldwell is yet to be seen. But if you thought the Colts were going to go undefeated in the first place, then maybe you just weren’t paying enough attention.