Resting Players...Is It The Fair Thing To Do?

Justin WorsleyContributor IApril 11, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts walks on the field against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

More and more around different professional leagues, we are seeing more superstars being rested at the end of the season.  In some cases it might be necessary when it is a concern to rest a valuable players coming off injuries for the playoffs.  Then there are the scenarios when you just want your MVP to be healthy regardless.  But does this alter the overall outlook for certain playoff scenarios?  Also, does this take away from the fans that pay these athletes millions to basically come to work?

During this last NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts decided to rest Peyton Manning and the other starters during the second half of the game against the New York Jets.  This was huge because the Jets needed the win to stay in the playoff hunt and keep pressure on other teams.  We can never say "what could" have happened because anything could have happened but the Colts were leading going into half before Curtis Painter basically destroyed any hopes of a perfect season and in my opinion gave the game to the Jets.  I'm not trying to take anything away from what the Jets did but it's a lot easier getting a win when facing Painter than Manning.  And because of that win, the Jets were able to make it to the playoffs.

Should a team that doesn't have to work as hard benefit from the luck of the draw and sneak into the playoffs?  That's not fair to the other teams that must work harder for their wins because the team they are playing on a particular day is not able to rest starters.  Secondly, as an athlete I don't see why you wouldn't want to strive for perfection.  I understand Coach Caldwell wanted to make sure his team was prepared, healthy, and ready for their playoff push which would eventually lead to the Super Bowl but why not try to put your name alongside one of the greatest teams in NFL history and go 19-0?  The players deserved it and you could tell they wanted it by the looks of sadness and frustration on Manning and Reggie Wayne's face.  

Also in my opinion, the fans deserve it.  They may not be on the field or in the huddle but they're there with the team every step of the way.  They make their way out in hazardous weather just to see their favorite heroes do something spectacular.  I'm sitting in front of the TV watching the Cavaliers play the Magic and I notice that it's fan appreciation day in Cleveland.  Where's LeBron?  The bench.  I mean I understand there is nothing left for the Cavs to do since they have the best record locked up in the NBA and the season is over on Wednesday and you don't want to take a risk with your main guy.  But then the Lakers are playing the Blazers now and Kobe Bryant is on the floor despite being bogged down from multiple injuries.  A reporter asked Phil Jackson why he was starting and even playing Kobe at this point and Phil simply replied it keeps the competitiveness in the game.  Lakers have the best record in the West easily yet he knows how monumental having a certain player in the game could shift teams in the playoff picture.

It's a tricky debate no matter how you look at it.  Keep the game competitive and true or take away from the game by resting your valuable investments for a possible playoff run to the top?  I'm sure that the various leagues will be in discussion over this topic as well as it impacts the nature of the game.