Interesting point of view from Colts president Bill Polian a few minutes ago on NFL Network’s Around the League program. Here’s why he said he wasn’t interested in 16-0 (or 19-0 for that matter) …
“We were tied with New England for that, and now we have it for ourselves, and secondly, for the most games won this decade, and I don’t believe anyone can catch us now no matter what happens this week. We felt those were both extremely historical milestones that were worth going out there and risking everything for.”
And if Polian didn’t side-swipe the Patriots enough there, there was this: “New England did not win the Super Bowl, and they are not considered an undefeated team, and so it would not have been complete had we not gone all the way. And to us, since it had been done before (by the 1972 Dolphins), it was not as historic a milestone” as the aforementioned ones.
Ouch! I can see where some of you may want to stop reading here. Feel free to follow the jump for more of Polian’s reasoning, and just who made the decision on Sunday.
“We went over it during the week with Mr. (Jim) Irsay, among many other people,” Polian explained. “And we were quite public about it, as well. Both coach (Jim Caldwell) and I were asked about it quite frequently, and we responded that this was our plan. The timing was entirely up to coach, it was his decision to make as to when we took the players out.
“And by the way, it was Peyton (Manning), Reggie Wayne, who was battling a sore toe and sore groin, Dallas Clark, who had a thigh contusion, and I think that was. Joseph Addai went out earlier in the game with an injury.”
Polian explained that he’s proud that those players are upset about losing the game. But he said that there was evidence for his decision’s validity that came up almost immediately after Manning and Co. were yanked.
“When Jim Sorgi had to be placed on injured reserve with shoulder problems, it was evident to coach and myself that we had to be very careful with Peyton, because there’s no one out there we could bring in that could handle the load of being the backup quarterback,” Polian said. “Curtis Painter is a rookie and we’re in a situation where we had to be very careful with him.
“As a matter of fact, Gijon Robinson, our starting tight end, went out with a knee injury which will keep him out a couple of weeks at the same time those fellas came out of the game. On the very next series, I believe, the Jets blitzed as they do frequently, and Gijon’s substitute missed the blitz pickup and the quarterback got hit and fumbled and resulted in a touchdown. And while we wish no ill to Curtis, had that been Peyton, I and many, many others would’ve felt a heck of a lot worse.”
And so there you have it.