Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 25th, 2010 21:31 EST
The Not Quite Perfect Super Bowl

The Not Quite Perfect Super Bowl

By Geoff Dean

 So, it`s going to be the New Orleans Saints vs. the Indianapolis Colts in Miami. NFC Number one vs. AFC Number one. Remind me, please, why did we have playoffs anyway?

 No, that`s not fair. The playoffs were needed. We got to watch Favre`s drama end in tragedy and Rex Ryan`s Comedy Hour go off the air. We got to see Peyton Manning deal with the top two defenses, consecutively, while the Saints got some much needed comfort for the revived city of New Orleans.

 As a craz Colts fan, transplanted to Japan, I should be ecstatic. I sure was three years ago when the Colts beat their ultimate enemy, the Patriots, in one of the most incredible games, I have ever seen, to get to the Super Bowl. This time, for some reason, I feel remarkably subdued. I am having trouble figuring it out myself.

 Is it because the Colts have already won one and not so long ago? Because, I, like most Americans, feel for the Saints and their city? And long suffering fans? Maybe, but I think it really stems from Week 16.

 The Colts, as everyone who even a passing (sorry!) interest in the NFL knows, rested their starters against the Jets. They were 14-0 and leading the Jets, but when the went to the second stringers, they lost the game and the shot at the perfect season. Coach Caldwell explained that the goal was never a perfect season, just winning the Super Bowl. In theory, I agree and if resting the starters meant that they were fresher than their opponents, it is hard to argue. Baseball managers often decide how long to rest a starting pitcher or even give a day off to a regular player on a similar basis. So why does it still bug me?

 Furthermore, countless pundits have come out to say that the victories over the Ravens and especially, the Jets, have put the controversy to "rest" (sorry, again!) And it is hard to argue with a coach that in his rookie year has done things that many coaches never do in long careers (14-2 regular season, trip to the Super Bowl). And yet, argue I must!

 The Colts did a disservice to a)all the other teams, b)the NFL, and worst of all, c) Colts fans. Let me explain.

 First, much has been made of how the Colts let the Jets make the playoffs. Not much has been said about the Texans, Steelers, Dolphins, and Broncos, whom the Colts, essentially, prevented from making the playoffs. In fact, the conspiracy theorist in me can make a case that the Colts let the Jets in to keep the Steelers out. Be that as it may, the fans of Houston, Pittsburgh, and so on, have every right to be irritated at the Colts for not giving one-hundred percent.

 Second, this NFL season was largely focused on whether there could be a perfect Super Bowl. When the Saints and Colts both made it to 13-0, it looked quite possible and the excitement was white hot. The Saints lost but at least, they went down fighting. The Colts at 14-0 held up the banner for a possible perfect season. If they lost as the Saints did, who could complain? But to lose because they benched their starters, to essentially throw the perfect season away, was to spit in the eye of the NFL. The hype had been for nothing since the Colts had never intended to try for a perfect season anyway. Fans everywhere who had watched the Colts intently, wondered why they had bothered.

 Worst of all, the Colts slammed their loyal fans. People who went to the game and cheered on the Colts in Week 16 paid full price for a ticket. This was not a pre-season game. For the coach and GM to decide that winning was secondary was totally unfair. At least, they should have told the fans ahead of time that they did not intend to go all out for the win but those fans who still wanted to come anyway were welcome. Fans, like myself, who have suffered through some bad seasons and kept on supporting the Colts will not quickly forget being dissed.

 I congratulate the Saints and the Colts on making the Super Bowl. I believe this is the first ever showdown between two teams whose fans have worn bags on their heads (The Aints and the Dolts). And yet, as a Colts fan, I think Indianapolis may well be the first city ever to win a Super Bowl, if they do, and still end up disappointed in the season and the coach. The 0-13 Colts were never Dolts, not really, but the 14-0 Colts sure were.