“The truth is, (the decision) had nothing to do with us,” said Colts center Jeff Saturday. “There was nothing we could do about it. I can tell you every player wanted to play, every player tried to play, but that wasn’t what our front office and our coach decided. As players you can’t look back, because there was no hesitation [in what I would have done].
From “Colts won’t get to raise the real flag,” by Tom Curran.
Tom Curran is one of those special journalists who gets football and does an incredible job covering the entire game across every medium he touches. It is never about Curran, but his enthusiasm and appreciation for the nuances that make the sport special. As a bureau producer for NFL Network I was fortunate enough to talk to Tom about the NFL often prior to his appearances on Patriots Cam, and it made me that much more excited to read his article about the Colts and their place in history.
They could be squaring off against the New Orleans Saints this coming weekend to sport the title “undefeated” and stake their claim as the best team ever. Instead, they don’t really have to worry about that distraction, because they quit on their fans and the history of the league earlier this season.
Colts GM Bill Polian is one of the best football team architects in the history of the league. I respect that he had a plan, and has been consistent with it since his days in Buffalo. That’s what makes it so hard to be upset about a decision that likely came from his perch, but I can’t shake it. And it’s just this scenario that makes me admire and respect New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick that much more.
The question becomes: are executives and head coaches paid to win the Super Bowl or are they paid to try and win every game? Fans pay for tickets to all the games and TV networks shell out huge sums of money to show all the games – so why shouldn’t it be a team’s responsibility to try and win every single game on their schedule?
Again, I’m not necessarily upset at Polian (who believes his job is to win the Super Bowl above all else and has that right), but just the circumstances that have brought us here.
There will be an emptiness, however small, if the Colts win on Sunday in Miami and have to live the rest of their lives wondering if they could have been perfect. They will celebrate from owner Jim Irsay down to internet services director AJ Macht and beyond, but I really wish they were all getting ready for that rare opportunity to say they were perfect. Another ring will ease any pain, but the question will forever linger – unless they can manage to give the run another shot next year.
Thanks again for being great, Tom Curran – and thanks to Saturday for being brutally honest and enabling me to end this blog post with the following quote:
“I played every game as hard as I could trying to win and you wish you would have won those games,” Saturday continued. “It would have been nice to. But that wasn’t our goal. That wasn’t their goal. That’s how they set it up that’s how they decided you have to play for.”