Monday, December 28, 2009

Colts Complainers Are Nothing More Than Fair-Weather Fans

So many people were pissed off yesterday about the Indianapolis Colts loss that 2nd string QB Curtis Painter was one of Twitter's top trending topics.

For those of you who missed the game, head coach Jim Caldwell pulled the starters after the first half and put in the 2nd string players.

They promptly lost to the New York Jets, 29 - 15.

The Colts were on the verge of achieving a perfect season, and they lost it with their 2nd team. To the freaking New York Jets, a team so bad that, you know what, make your own "sucks out loud" joke. We should have won, we should have had the perfect season, and we certainly should have beat the New York "What're YOU Lookin' Ats?!"

But frankly, I don't care. It didn't matter. This was a meaningless game, and I don't care if we got a perfect record.

But I'm in the minority. So much so, that some of the other Twitter trending topics were probably "f---ing #Colts" and "f---ing Caldwell."

After the game, I tweeted The #Colts fair weather fans who are cursing the team for losing: You're not allowed to be pro-Colts during the playoffs.

Surprisingly, this didn't raise a lot of hackles. I got a few responses from people who said, "I'm not a fair weather fan. I'm just disappointed/frustrated/annoyed."

Now, I'm not pointing fingers at people who were upset. I don't mind complainers or people who are frustrated that the Colts didn't make their perfect season. I have no problem with people who hated the loss or are disappointed that the Colts won't go 16 – 0 this season. I'm one of them.

This post is not about you.

But the people who were angry — absolutely foaming-at-the-mouth pissed — that Caldwell pulled the starters, were merciless that the Colts lost a game, are not true fans.

They're whining on the fan forums that Caldwell should be fired, that Bill Polian is an idiot for hiring him, and Saint Dungy would have never, ever rested his starters for the last few weeks of the season. (Actually, he did it in 2005 and 2006.)

They're nothing more than fair weather fans.

Look, people, we're 23 – 1. We haven't lost a game since last year. We're first in the division, and we've got the home field advantage. We can lose this game and the next one, and it won't mean a thing.

I've been a Colts fan since they showed up here in 1984. I cheered for them when they were 1 – 15 in 1991, and 4 - 12 in 1992. When they could only manage a 9 – 6 field goal wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the... wait for it... New York Jets. I cheered for them when I couldn't see the games on TV, but had to listen to them on a staticky AM radio station out of Fort Wayne. I cheered for them when Bob Lamey's only game highlights were a Dean Biasucci field goal or an Eric Dickerson first down.

If you're angry about a single loss, grow up. This team is not about you. You're not a player. You're not a coach. You have no clue what's going on in the minds of the coaches, or why they make their decisions. I don't either, but I at least recognize that fact. I assume the coaches are making the best decisions they can.

Tony Dungy said on NBC's "Sunday Night Football" broadcast, "They can't play for everybody else. They have to get ready for the playoffs. You have an obligation to win a Super Bowl, not to go undefeated."

So, if you're so angry about the fact that the Colts didn't want to risk injuring Peyton Manning or Dallas Clark, vent away. If you think the Colts should give refunds to players, because "Coach Quitwell" phoned it in in the second half, you're entitled to your own misguided opinion.

Just keep in mind you're not a pro player, you're not a pro coach, you've never taken a professional snap. You're a second-string Monday morning quarterback whose football insights probably came from John Clayton, an ESPN football analyst who was probably the backup "manager" for his high school football team. You truly have no clue as to what the coaches should or should not have done.

But you're probably also the first people who would have whined that Coach Caldwell should have pulled the starters if Peyton Manning broke a bone in his throwing hand playing in the 4th quarter of "an unnecessary game."

You're failing to see the big picture: the Colts need to stay healthy so they can make it through the playoffs. The Colts can't risk an injury to their star players just so a bunch of fans with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement can claim support of a team they probably didn't support when the times were lean. Fans who were nowhere to be found when Jeff George couldn't make a first down pass during halftime.

So, if you bitched and whined that the Colts gave up or that Coach Caldwell should be fired, you're nothing more than fair-weather fans. You're not allowed to cheer for the Colts in the playoffs. If they disappointed you that much Sunday afternoon, the real fans don't want you. We don't need you. Go cheer for the Bengals or the Chargers.

Because with fans like you, who needs the Patriots?

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  1. I think you and other apologists are missing the point: It isn't the loss, it's the choice not to participate.

    If a team isn't playing to win—and there was nothing about the last third of that game or the post game talking points that indicates that was a goal—why show up at all? If I had plopped down a couple hundred bucks, devoted and evening, and challenged a snow storm to make it to a regular season game, I would expect the team do what they can to win it.

    If injury is really that big of a concern, maybe the Colts should petition the NFL to allow them to forfeit games they don't want to play, return the money to the fans, and let their opponents fighting for playoff spots get the freebie. After all, there were a lot of accidents out on the roads Sunday. They risked being hurt just by walking out the door.

    Maybe this speaks ill of the organization and Polian (who practically made up this cursed strategy by encouraging Marv Levy to pull Jim Kelley and company in similar situations a couple decades ago) not to have a deeper roster or given more opportunities during the season. The franchise can try to excuse this as having nothing to play for but the Super Bowl, but it isn't true. They threw away a chance to do something unique and contribute to the greater NFL tradition and community.

    You can only lose if you play. The Colts chose not to play.

  2. Read Bob Kravitz's column in the Indianapolis Star:

  3. I don't think most fans are upset about a so-called "perfect" season. It's more about keeping momentum going into the playoffs and basically just giving up on a game that loyal fans paid big bucks to get into to see the team compete.

    The Colts have lost in the playoffs 2 of the last three times that they have elected to rest players to avoid injury. The other time, they decided not to rest the best players and they won the Super Bowl. Go figure...

  4. One more point. Erik, you said "a team so bad that, you know what, make your own 'sucks out loud' joke." Umm...The Jets came in with a 7-7 record, nothing to write home about but certainly not in the bottom tier of the league. More importantly, they came in with the league's top rated defense and were particularly good against the pass (1st in the league, as compared to 11th against the run).

  5. Eric I agree with you 1,000,000% if that is possible. I actually tweeted this morn that the people bitching arent allowed to root in the playoffs. The Colts had a game plan and stuck to it plain and simple. The same reason they hung in and won against the Pats this year is the same reason they lost yesterday, game plan. Thanks for having some common sense about the game and not being FANatical. Being a Lions fan by birth state I know a good thing when I see it.

  6. I don't spit on the decision to rest the starters. Like it or not, championships have corrupting influences at the individual game level. The price we pay for that corrupting influences, in my opinion, is worth getting the biggest spectacle in sportsdome at the end of the season.

    I don't agree with davekellog's appeal to the past for his would-be decision to not rest the starters. Even if we lost the last 2 of 3 playoffs after resting the starters prior there's no proof that we would have won those games if we had played them. The bottom line is that there is a linear causality chain. Peyton, Collie, Wayne, et al risk injury every time the ball is snapped but only if they are on the field. Given the way the Colts suffered early this season having to dig deep into the bench, you'd think the fans would be particularly sensitive to this issue.

    So, on that score, I agree with Erik. On the other hand, his appeal to authority and specialized in knowledge seems horribly misplaced. This idea that only pro coaches can know what's going on on the field and that their choices are sacrosanct and that anybody that questions those decisions is in violation of an unwritten fan code seems horribly unfair and short-sighted, and also flat wrong.

    Among the many things we enjoy about sports is that it's an occassion to use our analytical faculties in a recreational setting. Coaches and players put on a show specifically to have their poorer choices questioned by the fans of the sport. As Colts fans we have no obligation to sycophantically line up behind Caldwell's decision. There's nothing wrong with demanding perfection. In an ideal world the Colts never lose. They always have perfect seasons, they are never injured, and they win Super Bowls too.

    Of course this is impossible, but what the fans saw last night was the opportunity to win again, closing the gap between the real and ideal worlds. And they saw Caldwell-not Peyton, not a freak accident, or a stellar Jets defense-ruin that. Of course they're angry. And they should be.

    Booing at the team mad? Firing the coach mad? No. That's too far.

  7. Dave--do the fans complain when starters dont play in the last preseason game or only half of the game before it and are expected to come out guns blazing the first regular season game? If we expect the team to play its best the first regular season game then there is no reason to expect they wont play their best after the last 2 games and bye week are treated like the preseason. They are pro athletes and are paid to be ready to go so I dont buy the momentum thing one stinking bit. Momentum can change during a game but you cant tell me Pittsburgh killing themselves these last 4 weeks to make the playoffs will be any better than the Colts if they make it in. The one time the Colts chose to not sit people? They couldnt choose it because they had to keep playing to get in.

    Kevin--If you would have followed the Colts the last few years and realized they had the game plan set all week long maybe you wouldnt have been disappointed or surprised when they pulled everyone up in the 3rd. Anyone thinking they were going to the game Sunday to witness the starters play all 4 quarters and continue to perfection was pretty short sighted. Peyton said it after the game and he wasnt covering for anyone, they planned it all along. Now they didnt plan on the Painter sack resulting in a TD but that stuff might have happened with Peyton in. Be mad the line didnt block on that play not at the team for pulling Manning. And what if Manning was in and that sack caused him to tear ligaments in his knee? Would you still say it was smart to keep him in and go for a meaningless record? The Colts owe it to the city to do what they feel is best to get the team to the Super Bowl. They owe the league, history and the other teams fighting for the playoffs nothing.

  8. Let me start off by saying I am not a Colts fan. I see your point but I think it is a bit extreme. You can get upset all you want about the negativity shown by certain Colts fans after Caldwell pulled the starters, but who are you to decide who is allowed to cheer for the Colts?

    Football, especially at the pro level is a game of momentum. It's rhythm and chemistry that make the Colts a special team. Yes, they are very talented. And yes they have some of the most talented players in the NFL. But are the Chargers playing this good because they all of a sudden became more talented than everyone? They are playing like this because of momentum. They got in a groove. It is no question the Colts have more talent but I would rather play them over the Chargers come playoff time.

    It is pretty easy to say you rooted for the Colts during all of those rough seasons (I'm not trying to say you didn't) but that doesn't make you a better fan than anyone else. Great fans are the first ones to pat their team on the back when they do well and the first ones to cuss them when they screw up. Where is the fun in agreeing with everything they do? Who wants to be a civil fan?

    The fact is they failed to even try to attain one of sports' most difficult and unique accomplishments. So shame on you for saying you don't care about a perfect season. If I was a Colts fan I would not want to be associated with your mentality.

    And when did you become a first-string Monday morning quarterback?

  9. Chris---Are you kidding me? You're comparing preseason to going into the playoffs? I hope that's a joke. Also, I never said anything about the players not giving it their best. I spoke of M-O-M-E-N-T-U-M.

  10. Dave my point is the players have zero momentum during the first game of the regular season yet are expected to perform at the highest level right out of the gate. Their first game of the year counts as much as their last game of the regular season. My point was if they are expected to play the first game as good as can be why cant they play the first postseason game after taking off a week and a game and a half. The parallels in this instance are the same because of the amount of down time prior to a game. Im not comparing preseason to the playoffs im comparing this past week, next week and the bye to the end of the preseason since these last 2 weeks & the bye mean nothing technically. If the written and spoken goals of the team were make the playoffs, win the division, get home field and win the Super Bowl why do the fans care that perfection wasnt a goal. Perfection gets you no closer to the teams main goal of the Super Bowl. You can argue the merits of sitting versus playing all day but as the point was made previous there is no way to know if the decision made yesterday and next week TRULY affects the outcome on January 17th. There will never be a way to figure out that answer so everyone should stop trying to say their idea is right and just hope they do well in the playoffs.

  11. Chris, momentum doesn't necessarily have anything to do with effort. A team can play as hard as they want but momentum gives a team confidence and helps them to play better.

    Besides that, I'm not saying that my viewpoint is right because there's no way to determine that for sure. I might be wrong but, then again, maybe not.

  12. If momentum gives a team confidence and makes them play better then no team would try to be the first or second seed because they have to take a week off. If the Colts already have to take a one week break after the regular season why does it matter that they took a break Sunday. The momentum you speak of was lost by playing so good all year that they have to take a one week hiatus. Maybe the league shouldnt give the 2 best teams a bye week because it actually hurts them ;)

  13. I love it when you get peeps all worked up, Eric. You're a master. And by the way, I hate to agree with you so often, but you are, as Chris stated, 1,000,000,000% correct on this one. Did I get enough zeros in that? You gotta look at the bigger picture, and that's what the coach did.

  14. Erik...The Jets made the playoffs yesterday. You know, that team that was so bad... ;-D

  15. @DaveKellogg, yeah, yeah, I'll eat my hat on that one. I was not surprised they won. The Bengals didn't need the win, but the Jets desperately wanted it, so they played like it.


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