The Reuters global sports blog
Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell stressed all season that his goal was a Super Bowl victory, not an undefeated season. He felt his team had a better chance at capturing the Lombardi Trophy if he could keep them rested and healthy.
With their place atop the AFC secured, Caldwell pulled many of his key starters in the third quarter against the New York Jets two weeks ago. The result was a 29-15 loss, ending any hope of the Colts joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL team to go undefeated for an entire season.
Some said that by pulling his starters, Caldwell was tampering with the integrity of the game. As former Jets coach Herm Edwards famously said, “you play to win the game.”
Others felt the Colts, or any team that enters the final few weeks of the regular season with nothing to gain from a win, earned the right to decide who plays and who rests.
During his brief stint as a commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pre-game show back in 2003, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign after making this controversial comment about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team,” Limbaugh said at the time.
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s prison sentence followed by house arrest for participating and bankrolling a dog-fighting operation officially ended on Monday July 20.
It took exactly one night for Vick’s name to be once again embroiled in controversy. Vick’s Virginia-based lawyer Lawrence Woodward denied reports that his client spent his first night of freedom at a Virginia Beach strip club. “It is absolutely, categorically false,” Woodward said.