Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Colts, Manning are cowards again

Posted by Bill Koch on December 27, 2009

What you saw on Sunday is a perfect example of why the Indianapolis Colts will never win another Super Bowl with the current regime in charge.

The Colts gutlessly and fraudulently laid down for the New York Jets, taking a blowtorch to their own bid for a perfect season and suffering an embarrassing 29-15 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis had its undefeated run halted at 14 games and had its NFL-record 23-game regular season winning streak snapped by a team with a rookie quarterback that was struggling desperately to qualify for the postseason. Mark Sanchez and New York were handed a gift, a chance to play into the second week of January by finishing the season with a win next week against Cincinnati in what should be the last game at the old Giants Stadium. The Colts, meanwhile, will play in Buffalo and battle the Bills in a game where the better loser will lose.

The Peyton Manning Face was on full display in the second half on Sunday, and there was no masking his own displeasure when he was hooked in favor of the immortal Curtis Painter late in the third quarter. Manning’s own bid at finally doing something Tom Brady never accomplished went by the boards, and now all that’s left for Manning and the Colts to do is win the Super Bowl. They’ve clearly sent a message that their season will end in failure if it doesn’t feature a fresh set of championship rings after a trip to Miami in February.

If Bill Belichick pulled the stunt that Jim Caldwell pulled on Sunday, we’d hear screaming and yelling about how Belichick “disrespected the game” and about how he didn’t have any integrity or respect for his opponents. Caldwell called off the dogs in a 21-15 game, pulling Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and all of the other Indianapolis stars while practically inviting New York to finish off its upset win. Caldwell is a branch of the Tony Dungy coaching tree, and his treatment in the aftermath of this decision will likely be something similar to what St. Anthony of Indianapolis would have received. Teflon Tony never heard a cross word from any writer or talking head at any point in his career, even after he failed to win a big game as the head coach in Tampa Bay and scraped his way to a lone Super Bowl thanks to a pathetic performance by Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman. Caldwell’s sins will be forgiven because he’ll say he was looking out for the best interests of his team. The Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens, Jaguars and every other team in the AFC Wild Card equation might have a few different things to say.

Manning’s sideline emotions betrayed how he felt on Sunday, and it might be the only time I’ve ever agreed with the modern-day Dan Marino on anything. Manning was wearing his trademark scowl, so familiar to New England Patriots fans after watching all of those horrendous, interception-laced playoff performances in frosty Foxboro. After the game Manning stuck to the party line, insisting that the Colts have greater goals than going undefeated, but you could tell he wasn’t happy with the plan. He wanted to run the table, go 19-0 and end any discussion about his supremacy over Brady in this era.

That chance vanished as quickly as Painter trotted onto the field and the Indianapolis stars came to the sidelines, and it sealed the one fundamental difference between two of the decade’s premier franchises. The Patriots, like Herm Edwards famously said, PLAY TO WIN THE GAME – every game. The Colts don’t, and it’s that mindset that will keep Indianapolis from retaining its sharpness into the postseason. Manning has seen this story before, a strong Colts’ start that flames out early in the playoffs, and his face on Sunday bore the worry of a man who sensed that Indianapolis had allowed the momentum it spent 15 weeks building to slip away in 20 minutes. It was shameful and disgusting, and Indianapolis will endure similar feelings when it comes up short in the postseason again very soon.

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6 Responses to “Colts, Manning are cowards again”

  1. kgd26 said

    While I agree with you that the Colts simply handed the Jets playoff potential and a win by pulling starters throughout the game, I do not agree that Manning had anything to do with this. I think everyone who understands who Peyton Manning is as an athlete knows the reason he never took his helmet off was not to keep hearing the offensive play calls but in hope that he’d be put back in the game. Essentially, I don’t agree that you think Manning is a coward, ,but you sound like a Patriots fan. Since they hate Peyton, I guess it’s a good thing that it’s the worst name you called him.

    Another note, I agree with the Patriot mentality of playing to win the game
    (as much as I despise the team). Teams should be playing for wins going into the playoffs for momentum. We see every year what happens to the teams who stroll into the playoffs without the chip on their shoulder that screams they NEED to win. That chip usually fell off in weeks 14-16.

    Anyways, interesting post.

  2. bk1015 said

    Manning just gets lumped in — I know he didn’t like this decision. I’m not doubting his guts, but as the quarterback he gets to explain (and lie) at the press conference that he supports the move. That’s almost as bad.

    Thanks for reading — spread the word and keep the feedback coming!

  3. bigblue123 said

    What were the Colts doing? So, now do they play the second and third string this weekend too and then get the first round bye- dust the rust off colts, the only thing getting exercised will be Colts’ fans’ lungs from booing.
    I think this was cowardly and love peyton and am neutral on the team. What if a team 5-9 were to pull their starters too and substitute with younger players- don’t want to hurt them for 2010. Why bother playing anyone – could risk an injury to someone who someday might hely you win. Players get hurt all the time (ask Ron Artest) and not just in games. This comes to us from the NFL which gives us 4 (thats right 4) meaningless presason games that ticket holders have to pay for -now the end of the season has meaningless games??
    And GUTLESS ESPN basically seconds the Colts’ action-

  4. Rich DeCapua said

    This was probably the worst move the Colts could have made. And again, because they’re the Colts they get a bye with having to explain saying that “it was all in the game plan”. What crap. You play to win every game, and when you have the chance to run the table, you take that chance. That’s what the spirit of the game requires of you. Quite frankly, only Payton Manning probably has enough clout in their organization to pitch a fit about this call. Maybe he did and was overruled; but I doubt it. Instead of that angry look on the sideline of the field he should have been in the coaches headsets trying to get back in their. Just a real disappointment. Here’s to the Colts bye month.

    Now I’m really happy that we’re the number #3 seed, cause I want SD, knowing that right now we would whip Indy’s tail across the dome.

  5. […] spewed his particular brand of venom at a team that went 9-7 last season, backed into the playoffs when the IndiaNoPlace Colts tanked a game down the stretch and benefitted from San Diego’s annual postseason choke job (a game where […]

  6. […] a year in the AFC South after you steamrolled them for 231 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. Peyton Manning and his bunch of frauds looked like they were on the 16th hole in this one, their divisional dominance about ready to […]

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