Do you know of any sport beside the NFL where teams are encouraged to lose a game? I'm not talking about throwing a game--but rather just not trying as hard as possible to win?
I ask this following another week of debate on the sports networks and talk radio about what the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints should do over the last three weeks of the season--play their starters and try to win--or rest everyone and increase the possibility of losing. The majority of "experts" and talking heads support sitting the stars--going undefeated isn't worth the risk of injury they say. A few think both teams should go all out to go undefeated.
As someone who has played organized sports my entire life, I cannot fathom the idea of not trying to win everytime you step on the field, the court or the course. And I would hope that inside each of the high-paid players on the Colts and the Saints they feel the same way. You're just as likely to get hurt at 8-5 as you are at 13-0.
The "don't try to go undefeated" attitude is really present only in the NFL--which is ironic since it is the only league that charges regular season prices for its pre-season games--in effect telling fans that contests played by a bunch of guys who will be driving forklifts a few days after the games are just as important as the must-win showdown in week 17. I think that if the Colts or Saints decide they aren't going to try to win a game this season they should be required to let the fans know--so they can ask for their money back.
Obviously, the Colts didn't go for that "rest your starters" junk last night--beating the Jaguars 35-31 in a game where Peyton Manning could have spent the entire second half on the bench. I'm guessing Drew Brees will be playing the entire game Saturday night--lighting up my Dallas Cowboys.
So don't be afraid to go undefeated, teams. Remember, it's the only way you can guarantee a championship. Unless of course you are a college football team dealing with the BCS--look at how going undefeated is working out for TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati.