I hate when there’s a sports topic I want to cover in a blog. I envision non-sports fans just tuning out.
But after listening to all the sports talk on the AM dial yesterday, I couldn’t resist.
It started with the Sunday game, in which the Colts took out a lot of their starting players against the Jets (this sounds like a match-up out of West Side Story).
This has happened in the NFL before, but it’s usually the last game of the season.
I remember in the late 80s it happened with the Lakers. Pat Riley took out the starters, wanting them to be fresh for the playoffs. He was promptly fined by the NBA. Yet for some reason, the NFL isn’t saying they have a problem with it.
I’m guessing the NFL won’t have a problem with players sitting out of the Pro-Bowl. It’s the one sport where their all-star game was always after the season, and nobody was ever interested. This year, the geniuses decided to have the Pro Bowl a week before the Super Bowl. Well, people still aren’t going to be that interested. And the two teams playing in the Super Bowl (the Chargers being a likely candidate), will obviously keep their players from possibly getting hurt in a meaningless game.
With the Colts, the problem was that their fans being mad they didn’t go for the 16-0 season; something the Dolphins had been the only team to do (going all the way thru the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl).
The topic was season ticket holders that pay hundreds of dollars per ticket, to watch a game that was nothing more than a scrimmage. To a fan, it doesn’t matter if the game is as meaningless as a pre-season match-up. They pay to watch Magic, Jordan, Peyton, Tiger, LT, etc. When those players aren’t in the game for reasons other than injury, you’re bummed.
And how fair is it to the other five teams that had reason for wanting the Jets to lose? The Jets won, but…had the Jets played the Colts in week 2 of the season, it would’ve been a different outcome.
The coaches all say they don’t care about the 16-0 record, it’s only about winning a Super Bowl and that’s why the great players were taken out. Well, someone needs to explain to me why Peyton Manning was still in the game earlier in the season when they were up by 28 points on a few teams.
Everyone is now wondering if the Chargers will do this, since they have everything locked up. And with the past history of LT in the playoffs, I can guarantee he won’t be on the field against the ‘skins.
A lot of fantasy football leagues are being hurt by this new trend. Teams that drafted Peyton Manning in the first round, or Reggie Wayne, Antonio Gates, in earlier rounds…they now have players that they have to wonder about playing.
For those fans that say the only thing that matters to a team, should be their health, and if keeping starters out of a game means they lose a meaningless game, so what.
Well, explain to me why a team like the Redskins or Raiders, after week 10, doesn’t just lose all their games on purpose. Not necessarily forfeiting the game, but putting second and third stringers out there. They knew they weren’t going to make the playoffs, so why risk injury? And if they come in last place, it improves their draft position.
There are just too many possibilities on how this can affect other teams. So the simple rule should be – you are playing to win. If the league doesn’t think you are doing that, you get severely fined.
Sure, a player like Shawn Merriman is banged up (I refrained from a Tequila joke here) and it makes perfect sense to sit him. But the commissioner really needs to make a stand after this season and let teams know that this isn’t acceptable.