Nov 292005
Authors: Brett Okamoto

Forgive me sports for I have sinned.

I plead guilty to jumping on a bandwagon in the first degree. God help me, I cannot cheer against the Indianapolis Colts anymore. I didn't like them at the beginning of the season. I didn't like them last week. I love them today.

And why not? Is it really such a crime? Eleven and O, five to go – I am witnessing history in the making.

Which is why if the Colts' head coach Tony Dungy pulls his starters after clinching home field advantage for the playoffs, I just might go Ron Artest on him. With a perfect record on the horizon and record book immortality in his grasp, Dungy is hinting that he would rest his starters for the playoffs instead of finishing off the rest of the league.

His reasoning behind this is that the team's goal is to win the Super Bowl – which is, well, the dumbest thing I ever heard. Do you know how many teams have had an undefeated regular season in the NFL? The Miami Dolphins did in 1972 and the Akron Pros kind of did in 1920 (6-0-3 record). Do you know how many teams have won the Super Bowl? Thirty-nine.

The Colts still have to play very good teams in their next five games. They have Jacksonville, San Diego and the Seahawks in Sea…but what am I saying? It's like the JV squad taking on the varsity. Make no mistake – the Colts will go undefeated if Dungy allows them to.

Against Cincinnati, the only game the Indy defense looked human, the offense rose to the occasion against a legitimate Bengal defense. The Steelers, a team considered by many to be the second-best in the AFC, looked downright frightened Monday night. The Colts aren't just winning every game, they're hurting feelings out there.

Every year, sports treat us to teams competing for the league championship. Once in a while sports treat us to something greater. In 1998 Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the country in the home run race. The Colts' perfect season would mean ever more than that because it's a team, rather than an individual accomplishment. Does anyone remember who won the Series in 1998?

The Super Bowl is great. Millions watching, good commercials, wardrobe malfunctions – it's all a blast. It also comes once a year. Teams this good, come once a lifetime. When history knocks, you answer your door.

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Nov 292005
Authors: Scott Bondy

What a great feeling it must be to win the big game. Which big game am I referring to? This year it's Super Bowl XL.

Distractions are getting in the way though. Unnecessary distractions, I might add. Let's set aside the fact that the Indianapolis Colts won't go undefeated this season. Instead let's look at a hypothetical situation they may find themselves in.

The Colts may be 12-0, 13-0 or 14-0 in the upcoming weeks and will have clinched the AFC South as well as home field advantage throughout the playoffs. What is a head coach to do? Do you start your star players and risk injury or do you go after an honor only one other team in history has accomplished? Another question along those lines may be: Which is more valuable, an undefeated season or a Super Bowl ring?

What purpose do players and coaches have in the NFL? Simple, to win the Super Bowl. It is the ultimate symbol of achievement as far as the NFL goes. There is nothing more important.

If the Colts wish to win Super Bowl XL, they need every one of their stars in that game. Therefore, after clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs, pull Edgerrin, Peyton and Marvin. Don't risk any of them getting injured.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is arguably the most valued prize in professional sports. You get nothing but a pat on the back for being the second team in history to go undefeated. Just ask one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL history, Dan Marino, what he regrets about his playing days. The answer would undoubtedly be winning a Super Bowl. He led the 1984 Dolphins to an 11-0 start (ultimately finishing 14-2) and eventually a Super Bowl loss. But what does he have to show for it?

Take a look at Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, two of the best at their respective jobs. Both have tallied plenty of wins in their careers. The only win that counts is the "big one." Would either of those men be happy with an undefeated season followed by a loss in the big game? No way. Dungy was asked about the situation and responded with, "They don't give out rings for going 16-0. They give out rings for winning the Super Bowl. And everything we do will be with that goal in mind."

Everyone around the world watches the Super Bowl; it is the most watched event of the year, every year – and for good reason.

When you win, everyone knows it. Your team is celebrated for being winners. The lucky city in which the team resides even holds a parade in the team's honor.

Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm