When the New Orleans Saints lost their first game two weekends ago, I was disappointed that I would not get to see a potential Super Bowl matchup of two undefeated teams...the Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.
With the Saints' loss, my attention turned to the Colts to see if they could complete what the New England Patriots could not two seasons ago—go undefeated for the entire season.
Well, with one stroke of his "idiot paint brush," Colts head coach Jim Caldwell destroyed what could have been a perfectly painted canvas for his team.
Instead of letting his team play to win the game, he decided to pull his offensive starters in the third quarter to save them from potential injury. That's correct...from potential injury!
That logic is as stupid as a military officer pulling his subordinates from the front line of battle for a day to avoid getting wounded, then sending them back to the front line the next day for full combat.
Does Caldwell realize he coaches in the National Football League, where injury is so rampant that it is as common as breathing? Does he realize his starters have a higher chance of getting injured at practice than in an actual game? Is he really that stupid?
Caldwell obviously suffers from the same stupidity and aloofness that so many athletes and coaches have suffered for years. For some reason, they don't seem to understand the most basic concept of their existence—to play the game for the fans.
Fans show up for one reason—to witness greatness from their sports icons. However, far too often, this concept eludes athletes and coaches as they confuse themselves by believing their performance is for their edification and not for their fans.
As a huge fan of track and field, I had to witness this nonsense several times with disgust during the past few decades.
I had to watch Carl Lewis decide not to take all of his long jump attempts at the 1984 Olympic Trials so that he could preserve energy for his quest of four gold medals. Did he not realize that fans came to see him break the world record in the long jump? Who cares whether or not he won four gold medals. We wanted to witness a world record.
Furthermore, I had to watch in disgust when Usain Bolt decided to stop running 30 meters from the tape at the 2008 Olympic Games during his 100-meter race. Sure, he broke the world record; however, he cheated his fans of witnessing a demolition of that record that would have stood for decades had he just kept running. His selfish exuberance denied me and others of a sure athletic feat that would have been unthinkable.
Well, Caldwell is the new fool of the day who believes his self-righteous and self-centered explanation of "team first" should be good enough for the fans. Well Jim, once again, the fans paid their money to see greatness. They paid their money for bragging rights so they could have ended a sports debate with their friends by stating "Well, my team went undefeated. Did yours?" Jim, you ruined that for us all!
With that in mind, I will pay homage to former San Antonio spurs head coach John Lucas.
In 1994, David Robinson was going for the NBA scoring title and needed to score over 50 points in the regular season finale. Lucas recognized the significance of the event and allowed the fans to witness both greatness and history by allowing Robinson to score 71 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, thus winning the scoring title.
Some thought the move was classless; however, I believe Lucas got it correct. You see, he was smart enough to recognize that fans pay their money to witness great things that they could potentially brag about in the future.
How many people to this day in San Antonio are still saying "Hey, I was at that game when Robinson scored 71 points!" My guess would be many people.
That being said, I hope Tennesse Titans head coach Jeff Fischer catches the spirit of Lucas this coming weekend.
Chris Johnson needs 234 yards to break the single season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson. The Titans are out of the playoff race; therefore, this is their last game.
Jeff, please realize that there are many fans (including myself) that are hoping you put the team persona aside and let us witness history by letting Johnson run wild. That's right, feed him the ball 60 times and let him get his yardage. After all, that's why we watch the game!
Please, don't be an idiot like Jim Caldwell and play the "team first card."
We have had enough of that idiocy for one week.