Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trampling their fans' hopes

It's hard, as a New England Patriots fan, to express sympathy for Indianapolis Colts fans. After all, we haven't liked each other much over the years.

But after the Colts lost to the New York Jets on Sunday, I could understand the venom being spewed on the various Colts forums, although much of it was over the top, as it often is in such places.

The Colts were looking like they had a very good chance at tying the Patriots' record for an undefeated regular season (16-0) and then going on to win the Super Bowl, which the Patriots were unable to do after their stellar 2007 season.

Instead, on Sunday the Colts chose to pull some of their starters, including quarterback Peyton Manning, with 5:36 left to go in the third quarter, in what was up until then a close game. The Jets ended up winning, 29-15.

The coach's rationale was that he didn't want his key players to get injured before the playoffs in what was essentially a meaningless regular-season game. Try telling the Colts fans who had paid good money to watch a piece of history being made, or at least to watch a shot at history in the making, that the game was meaningless. I don't blame them for being angry. Now they are left to wonder what might have been, had Manning and the others who have made so many improbable comebacks before been left in the game.

At any elite level of sport, games and events should be played to win. Holding back goes against the spirit of sport.

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