Inside the RCA Dome, you could almost hear the groans coming from the shores of Lake Erie when Peyton Manning traded his helmet for a headset early in the second quarter. To the Browns' chagrin, that was how the Colts chose to play. (Excerpted from http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/recap?game_id=29442&displayPage=tab_recap&season=2007&week=REG17)
Is it fair that the Indianapolis Colts took out their starters, basically conceding the game? This allows Tennessee to enter the playoffs, which they probably wouldn't have done if, let's say, the Colts still needed the win. Yes, the Cleveland Browns should have won one more game and then they wouldn't have to worry about this. However, this is the pros and I guess the Colts are worried about last minute injuries, already being on an injury-ridden team.
But then the New England Patriots had nothing to play for on Saturday night. They were already locked into the #1 seed. They were playing for a record, like when we non-footballers play the Madden video game and get so good that we try to break record after record, in effect playing for statistics. I remember one time in particular, on yet another perfect season, that my top wide receiver got a broken leg in that last, worthless game. It does happen, and has happened in the NFL.
I know the Colts need to look after themselves right now, but I don't find it easy to swallow. If the tables were reversed and they had won that Colts-Patriots matchup, then it may have gone the other way with Indy going for perfection.
Either way, I guess the Brown can't rely on other teams winning and losing to make it into the playoffs.