So for yet another year, the ’72 Dolphins are safe. They remain the only perfect single-season team in NFL history. This, of course, because the Packers, a huge favorite at Kansas City, couldn’t make it to 14-0. At roughly the same time, the Indianapolis Colts, who were 14-0 two seasons that now seem like an eternity ago, avoided 0-14 by notching a win against Tennessee.
So the Packers will not match the ’07 Pats at 16-0 and the Colts will not match the ’08 Lions at 0-16. Beyond these statistical coincidences, the Colts and Packers are perhaps linked in a more significant way.
With two weeks to go, Indy still has the worst record in the league and unless they have the poor judgment to conclude the season with a mini-winning streak, they can still claim the No. 1 pick in the Draft.
The question is, what to do with it if they get it? And for the answer, they might look to Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers sat for three full seasons behind Brett Favre before emerging as one of the league’s best.
What’s wrong with that scenario for Indy? Peyton Manning will be 36 by next season. Even if he were completely healthy, the Colts would need a plan of succession. It is extremely unlikely that over the next few years they would have another shot at anyone nearly as good as Stanford’s Andrew Luck is expected to be. So take him and let him back up Manning. That’s no hardship — that’s an honor.
Plus, if Manning should go down again, the Colts would be left with a viable option, unlike this year, when they went from a playoff team to utter ineptitude when Manning hit the sideline. Yeah we know, there are contract issues here, but creative organizations can figure their way around that.
It’s also true that other key Colts are aging. Even so, when Manning returns, they can be a decent team again. And at the same time, they could have a quarterback-in-waiting who might someday do for them what Rodgers is doing for the Packers.
–NBC Sports Group–