Why the Indianapolis Colts Need to Go for 19-0

Ryan SabaContributor IDecember 15, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts gives instructions to his team at the line of scrimmage  during the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 26-18.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the NFL, injuries, even the most minor injuries to the most minor players, can end up devastating a season.

Week after week the injuries pile up until it seems that some teams should have special wings built into the hospitals in their cities just for them due to the number of players that are injured on the team.

Since the Indianapolis Colts have wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, it's crucial that they rest their starters in order to prevent injuries that would prevent them from winning it all, right?

Not necessarily.

Let's take a look back at the Colts in previous years, starting with the 2003 season.

Season

Regular Season Results

Did the Colts Play In Wild Card Game?

Weeks Between Starters Last Full Reg. Season Game and First Playoff Game

Playoff Results

2003

12-4 Healthy starters play entire season

Yes

1

Lost in AFC Championship

2004

12-4 Healthy starters sit out last game

Yes

2

Lost in Divisional Round

2005

14-2 Healthy starters sit out last two games

No

4

Lost in Divisional Round

2006

12-4 Healthy starters play entire season

Yes

1

Won Super Bowl

 2007

13-3 Healthy starters sit out last game

No

3

Lost in Divisional Round

2008

12-4 Healthy starters sit out last game

Yes

2

Lost in Wild Card Game

In both seasons where the starters played the entire season, the Colts made it to at least the AFC championship and even won the Super Bowl in the 2006 season. In those seasons, the Colts were a combined 6-1 for the postseason.

In the seasons where the starters sat out for at least one game at the end of the season, the Colts were a combined 1-4 for the postseason. In the extreme instance of 2005, where the Colts' starters sat out for an entire month, they only scored three points for the entire first three quarters. How do we explain the difference?

Team chemistry.

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Team chemistry in football is vital to the success of any team. It allows a team to take risks and be more aggressive because everyone on the team knows the tendencies of everyone else on the field.

It can be the difference between the perfect pass on fourth and goal for the game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds of a game or a pass that the quarterback forces into traffic and gets batted harmlessly down by the defense.

When looking at the Indianapolis Colts, the difference is like night and day. In order to keep their team chemistry, the Colts need to be playing at full strength and speed for the entire season.

More proof, you ask? I'll be happy to provide it for you.

In the 2008 season, Peyton Manning missed the preseason. When Manning was able to play again, it was the season opener. The Colts lost this game 13-29 and stumbled out to a 3-4 record for the first seven games. During this stretch of seven games, Manning threw 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

It wasn't until the next the next week that the Colts came storming back with a nine-game winning streak to finish the season at 12-4. The team chemistry is evident by the fact that during this streak, Manning threw 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

It has been said doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a sign of a delusional mind. In this case, it's obvious that the Colts need to go against traditional thinking and keep their foot on the pedal.

History remembers the Super Bowl champions, not the teams who played it safe.  If the Colts want to be remembered, they need to take the risk.