Treating an undefeated season with a laboratorial approach, the Colts discarded their chance at 19-0, and more importantly--a second Super Bowl ring in Indy.
Bill Polian threw the petri dish out with the bathwater against the Jets in Week 16 by not going for number 15.
By virtue of treating destiny with the disdain of a failed science experiment(or was it the wrong experiment? after all an undefeated regular season was "never the goal"), Polian put all the pressure on Peyton Manning.
Instead of leading his team to a tying score and cementing his place as history's "best ever", Team Captain Manning became Captain Comeuppance for the team.
Now Manning is the consummate professional. He actually looked relieved after the game, answering each perfunctory question with the patience only a Saint on the other podium should demonstrate.
Even in loss the guy exudes class--refreshing--in today's win at all cost World.
Could the relief be a sign that the pressure cooker was finally turned off for him?
The Colts decision to bench their starters once again made the post-season all about Peyton. To this day, you can still hear the disappointment of all the members of 2007 Patriots with regard to their ill-fated perfect season.
Special teams were not special for the Colts. Besides Dwight Feeney's ankle there were apparently not any other appendages on the defensive side of the ball for the Colts. Not one single turnover created.
I guess thats why they call them "unsung heros", because with the Colts you will never hear any other praises, besides Manning's--sung.Dwight Freeney's ankle showed up though, so every other player knew that Manning and the ankle would win this game.
The 17-0 Dolphins had a "no-name" defense, ego free, and yet a team that get's together to crack the bubbly every year. Surely this motley group had some fun en route to perfection.
Alas, The Colts bubbly was bottled up in paralysis through analysis.
A championship, just like a perfect season, should be a shared effort. The decision to go for a perfect season should be left on the field. After all, you trust Manning to call all of your plays but you don't trust him and his coaching entourage in a quest for perfection?
Now maybe Polian was taking the heat for a "group-think" decision in the regular season. Jerry Jones notwithstanding, I don't recall a team president calling the shots on the playing field during any game. Isn't that what the Coaches are for?
Is Tony Dungy still the head coach? At least he would have been part of the story. Besides the retiring Howard Mudd there was no storyline here either as first year coach Jim Caldwell is left to wonder what might have been?
Polian would have looked brilliant if the Colts won the Super Bowl, but now Caldwell looks like a lacky for a contrived season led by control freak Polian. Caldwell hardly acting like a hoody like coach who has a bunker like mentality, us against perfection--called Belichik.
Yet I look at the petri dish through hind-sighted glasses. Even if Polian's tabulations had worked out for the Colts, without the perfect season, it still would be remembered as Manning's team. Maybe the Bubbly is put to better use on Bourbon Street.
Indy isn't South Beach and doesn't have Mardi Gras. New Orleans never let up in their quest, even during the regular season.
Besides, given the number of dropped balls for Colt's receivers they needed every regular season catch attempt they could garner. They were far from perfect.