Peyton Manning Hurts Knee, and Is Out For Playoffs, But Colts Are 16-0!

Justin JavanCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2010

HOUSTON - JANUARY 03:  Wide receiver Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots is tended to by medical personnel after injuring his leg against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Wes Welker is feared to have torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee today. As I watched him being taken off the field by the cart of doom, I couldn’t help but think what if that had been Peyton Manning.

All week long I have had to listen to commentators and fans bemoan the fact that the Colts organization pulled the starters in the third quarter of last week’s game.

Why is everyone so irate? It’s as if Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian committed some egregious atrocity.

 The answer is because Colts fans feel cheated out of a meaningless win, in a meaningless game, in an attempt to match, not set, a meaningless record.

Apparently, what the Colts organization did was so bad that some people are cancelling their season tickets.

So let me get this straight: fans are going to punish the organization by cancelling season tickets, which will be easily re-sold, and miss out on watching one of the best teams in the NFL over the last decade, playing with the best quarterback to ever step on the field. That’s how they’re going to punish the Colts?

I guess I should have paid more attention in my logic class in college, then maybe this would make sense to me, but I digress.

First off, the organization made it very clear (as early as October) that 16-0 was not important to them. Why all the outrage now. Did everyone think Bill Polian was kidding? If so, then you don’t know Bill Polian.

The second thing about all this tumult, and unnecessary drama, is that people are ignoring the fact that besides from having a season beyond any ones expectations, the Colts actually set two records this season: 1) The 2009 Colts achieved the most wins in a decade. 2) The Colts also set a record of 23 regular season wins.

The point here is the Colts set, not matched a record already set by the Patriots, two records that will probably stand for a very long time.

Colts fans need to look at the big picture here. Part of the big picture is looking at the two records that were set, and taking the time to marvel at how amazing, given all the injuries and fourth quarter comebacks, that those records were achieved in the first place. It’s a testament to the heart with which this team has played all year.

The Colts may not be the most talented team in the league right now if  all you look at is statistics, but they have that inexplicable ability to win no matter what. That’s not something that fans of any team see very often.

Maybe it’s time to stop the whining about 16-0, and realize you may never see a team like this again.

The other part of the big picture is twofold. First, has it ever occurred to anyone to look at the toll it took on the Patriots to go undefeated? I remember that season, and as it went on the margins of victory became smaller. By the time the Patriots made it to the playoffs they looked worn out.

 Go back and watch the film of the post-season. The Patriots started to struggle; they didn’t give off that sense of invincibility anymore. In fact they had their problems against the Jaguars and Chargers, regardless of the final scores.

By the time they got to the Super Bowl they didn’t look like the same team that started the season. They looked tired and beat up. There is no doubt in my mind that the energy it took to go 18-0 had finally caught up with them.

Is that what the Colts fans want for their team? A team that is already worn out by a brutal regular season schedule that had them play five prime time games, four of which were on the road.

Maybe fans don’t understand, but when a team plays a primetime away game, that means the team doesn’t get home until four, five, or six in the morning. Then most of them still have to go to the facility on their “day off” for treatment of injuries and other duties.

Last Sunday I saw a team that looked beat. Sure, they could have beat the Jets, but at what cost? Gijon Robinson got injured in that game helping block on the weakside of the line (because the only thing Tony Ugoh can block is the lunch line).

What if Peyton was in the game, and because Robinson wasn’t in there to help block, he got hit on one of Rex Ryan’s exotic blitzes. What if that hit caused him to tear his anterior cruciate ligament, and his medial collateral ligament, like Wes Welker did today?

Is matching a record that somebody already set worth that?

Ask the Colts if they rather start the new decade off as world champs, or go 16-0, risk more injuries, maybe lose their quarterback, and end up with nothing in the end.

That’s why Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell made the right decision, regardless of what the fans think. They know better than anyone else that they have a banged up team, that’s nursing injuries, and needs its rest.

Remember, their job is to do what is best for the team, so that they can win a championship, not placate the fans.

 If Colts fans want to see the team go all the way, then stop complaining over a stupid number, and let management get them healthy, so that come playoff time they field a team that is ready for one hell of a fight.

The Colts are going to need everyone they’ve got if they are to be hoisting the Lombardy Trophy on February 7, 2010, and that’s why 16-0 is superfluous, and the bitching and moaning needs to stop.


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