Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thoughts on a Perfect Season

I am sure you've read about it in your imaginary newspapers -- the Colts pulled their starters and lost against a very motivated Jets team last Sunday. This ended the Colts' run at an undefeated season and deeply disappointed Broncos fans who could have seen their team lock up a post-season birth if the Jets had lost.

We know how Mercury Morris feels. Here is how I feel about a couple of particular angles on the whole perfect season matter.

First, it's already been done. The Dolphins did it in the 14 game season of 1972 and capped it off with a Super Bowl victory. The Patriots did it in the 16 game season of salary-cap and free agency football in 2007. It's not like this is an accomplishment never seen before.

Second, one of the reasons it is hard to accomplish a perfect season is because, given the opportunity to rest players near the end of the season, any coach would be crazy not to do it. The goal after all is to win the championship. It is pretty clear that the big story of 2007 was the Giants winning the Super Bowl not the Patriots having a good record in the regular season.

Third, who is to say the Jets would not have won that game against the Colts starters? Who is to say the Colts won't lose (or wouldn't have lost) next week against the unpredictable Bills in cold and snowy Buffalo? It is a setting where finesse teams often struggle. Those who assume the perfect season was in hand prior to "the benching of starters" must not follow the NFL very closely.

Finally, it is unknown if resting starters is better or worse than playing them right through the season in terms of how it affects post-season outcomes. I hear many pundits expoundeing their views but, other than Mercury Morris, there are no real experts on the matter

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