So here we go again. The Colts are 10-0 and fans are thinking undefeated season and Super Bowl. As someone who's covered this team for the past 11 seasons I can tell you that I'm not ready to hang a banner just yet. And to the team's credit, neither are they.
Let's consider the recent history: In 2005, the Colts raced out to a 13-0 start before finishing the regular season 14-2. The playoffs were a "one and done" affair ending abruptly when Nick Harper refused to outrun Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vanderjagt shanked his final kick as a Colt.
In 2006, the Colts were 9-0 before suffering their first loss at Dallas. The limped into the playoffs with a ragged run defense losing 4 of 6 during one stretch. In the postseason however, the D found its rhythm and the Colts were crowned Super Bowl Champs on a rainy night in South Florida.
In 2007, the Colts once again surged to a 7-0 record before getting knocked off by New England. A 13-3 regular season earned the Colts yet another first round bye. In the playoffs however, it was once again "one and done". A banged up Chargers squad closed out the NFL era at the RCA dome with a shocking 28-24 upset win.
Last year, the Colts staggered out of the gate due to a lingering knee injury for Peyton Manning. By year's end, they had righted the ship with 9 straight wins and were the hottest team in the league. They weren't division champs though, so their 1st round playoff matchup was on the road at 8-8 San Diego. Punter Mike Scifres had a career night at by night's end it was yet another "one and done" for the Colts in the post season.
So yes, winning streaks are nice, and it's fun for fans to dream about perfect seasons, but the new head coach Jim Caldwell knows that his team has accomplished absolutely nothing yet. Their goals are to win the division, win the AFC title, and ultimately the Super Bowl. The 10 wins are a good start, but they are far from satisfied.This team and their fans have been there and done that. No one is jumping the gun - nor should they.
That's not the case for the NFL's other 10-0 team. The FOX-TV station from New Orleans called us Sunday afternoon. They wanted to know if we had video of Colts fans meeting the team at the airport. Apparently, Saints fans show up in droves to meet their undefeated squad when they fly back home from road trips. Funny stuff.Colts fans are way beyond getting excited about regular season success. The real measure of any team comes in the postseason.
In fact, the one team that DID win them all in a 16-game schedule was the Patriots. Two postseason wins followed in what was a record setting year for the New England offense. They led in the final minute of the Super Bowl only to lose to the upstart Giants. Ask Tom Brady & Company how happy they are today about that 18-0 start.
The bar has been set high here too after that 2006 championship. Anything less than a Super Bowl win in Miami next February will mean this season was a failure. Call it being spoiled or high expectations or whatever you want. 10-0 means nothing if the Colts deliver yet another "one and done" in the playoffs. They know that - and so should you.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times