I hate when there’s a sports topic I want to cover in a blog. I envision non-sports fans just tuning out.

But after listening to all the sports talk on the AM dial yesterday, I couldn’t resist.

It started with the Sunday game, in which the Colts took out a lot of their starting players against the Jets (this sounds like a match-up out of West Side Story).

This has happened in the NFL before, but it’s usually the last game of the season.

I remember in the late 80s it happened with the Lakers. Pat Riley took out the starters, wanting them to be fresh for the playoffs. He was promptly fined by the NBA. Yet for some reason, the NFL isn’t saying they have a problem with it.

I’m guessing the NFL won’t have a problem with players sitting out of the Pro-Bowl. It’s the one sport where their all-star game was always after the season, and nobody was ever interested. This year, the geniuses decided to have the Pro Bowl a week before the Super Bowl. Well, people still aren’t going to be that interested. And the two teams playing in the Super Bowl (the Chargers being a likely candidate), will obviously keep their players from possibly getting hurt in a meaningless game.

With the Colts, the problem was that their fans being mad they didn’t go for the 16-0 season; something the Dolphins had been the only team to do (going all the way thru the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl).

The topic was season ticket holders that pay hundreds of dollars per ticket, to watch a game that was nothing more than a scrimmage. To a fan, it doesn’t matter if the game is as meaningless as a pre-season match-up. They pay to watch Magic, Jordan, Peyton, Tiger, LT, etc. When those players aren’t in the game for reasons other than injury, you’re bummed.

And how fair is it to the other five teams that had reason for wanting the Jets to lose? The Jets won, but…had the Jets played the Colts in week 2 of the season, it would’ve been a different outcome.

The coaches all say they don’t care about the 16-0 record, it’s only about winning a Super Bowl and that’s why the great players were taken out. Well, someone needs to explain to me why Peyton Manning was still in the game earlier in the season when they were up by 28 points on a few teams.

Everyone is now wondering if the Chargers will do this, since they have everything locked up. And with the past history of LT in the playoffs, I can guarantee he won’t be on the field against the ‘skins.

A lot of fantasy football leagues are being hurt by this new trend. Teams that drafted Peyton Manning in the first round, or Reggie Wayne, Antonio Gates, in earlier rounds…they now have players that they have to wonder about playing.

For those fans that say the only thing that matters to a team, should be their health, and if keeping starters out of a game means they lose a meaningless game, so what.

Well, explain to me why a team like the Redskins or Raiders, after week 10, doesn’t just lose all their games on purpose. Not necessarily forfeiting the game, but putting second and third stringers out there. They knew they weren’t going to make the playoffs, so why risk injury? And if they come in last place, it improves their draft position.

There are just too many possibilities on how this can affect other teams. So the simple rule should be – you are playing to win. If the league doesn’t think you are doing that, you get severely fined.

Sure, a player like Shawn Merriman is banged up (I refrained from a Tequila joke here) and it makes perfect sense to sit him. But the commissioner really needs to make a stand after this season and let teams know that this isn’t acceptable.

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Comments

SpudDavenport Dec. 30, 2009 @ 5:14 p.m.

ya know I don't always agree with you, Josh, but on this topic... you make a few good points. First off, screw the Fantasy Football geeks (which I am one). These late season changes in personel are part of that game. But the PAYING Customers, of the Live game, Pay-per-view, whatever, not getting the product "as advertised"... now THAT is a crime. The NFL has always been consumed with putting out the best Sports product possible, and I agree with you that the League should levy fines at Teams for not delivering the goods.
Commish Goodell... This is the NFL. You can't "bait 'n' switch" like they do at the Supermarket. This ain't Stater Brothers... Come on, man. -- spud

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Josh Board Dec. 30, 2009 @ 10:52 p.m.

Spud, I'm a fantasy football geek, too. I remember, since we've been doing the league for 25 years now...when Jerry Rice and Joe Montana would only play the first quarter or two of the last game of the season. But, we all knew that was going to happen and we would adjust for that. When teams like the Colts are doing that, with two games left in the season...it's just bizarre.

And, for ANYONE that said (like all the callers on these sports shows)...that the main purpose is the team staying healthy to TRY and win a Super Bowl...well, what if a team went 10 - 0. Then, all the other teams in their division had bad enough records that those last 6 games didn't matter. So...should they just sit all the good players those last 6 games? It would start getting ridiculous. And seriously...the last game of the season...that's one thing. But with more than one game left to play and starters being pulled to "stay healthy"...well, something needs to be done.

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PistolPete Dec. 31, 2009 @ 9:54 a.m.

I'll agree with you on that point, Josh. I'll contribute my thoughts more on this topic this weekend. I'm gearin' up to get drunk in a couple of hours and need to clean the house before I do.

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redsoxfan Jan. 1, 2010 @ 7:41 a.m.

I agree Josh, even though I'm not a pro football fan, per se, I believe it to be a rip off to all those fans that were either at the game, or watching it on tv, or the fantasy geeks. The main purpose of playing a game is to win...right? No matter what, don't you want to win every game? It's a blight agains the NFL, but I don't think the Commish should do something about it, forcing a team to play it's stars, etc. I completely disagree with what the Colts did, but let's just hope that they don't tank game 16 on Sunday against an inferior Bills team.

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KarenBP Jan. 2, 2010 @ 11:57 p.m.

The NFL never should have moved the Pro Bowl to DURING the season. So freakin' stupid... NFL = Never F*n Learn

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cold666pack Jan. 3, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

i dont know crap about football except that it adds to the economy, provides jobs for some, well, maybe not the sharpest pencils in the box and is a great reason to drink and get together with friends. that being said, I am super happy the Browns are beating the Steelers and that THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY won their first Rose Bowl since 1997 (Im told). But I LOVE watching the commercials during the superbowl.

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Josh Board Jan. 3, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

Hey Karen, great new name for the NFL! Especially since I hate idiotic announcers that jump on the "no fun league" every time Chad Ochocinco does something dumb and gets fined.

I actually don't blame the NFL for moving the game DURING the season, because for years, the big complaint was always "Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl. It happens AFTER the season. After the Super Bowl." So, those "geniuses" thought -- let's move it DURING the season. What they don't realize is...football is the one sport where hardcore injuries happen, and during a season, no team is going to risk it.

Which leads me to Redsox...you're right, the NFL will never fine teams for this practice, as it would be too hard to tell when a team is doing that or not. I mean, the Patriots could be 13-1, and knowing they want to sit Moss and Brady, they'll list them the week before as possibly injured, just to set up the game where they aren't going to play. But, they do need to do something. Fans are only going to take so much of the last two games being irrelevant for teams.

6Pack...I think you may have just gotten Fred Williams riled up with that statement!

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Fred Williams Jan. 6, 2010 @ 7:46 p.m.

Me? Riled up? Just because of economic illiteracy?

Nah....

I'm a real man. I think we should eliminate all public services and put all our tax money into professional sports instead. A billion dollars for the new Spanos stadium just isn't enough...why should we stop at two or three stadiums in San Diego...they're such great investments that the more we build the richer we'll be. I want a stadium in every neighborhood!

I'm such a strong heterosexual male, that I spend my weekends with my buddies, getting drunk, hugging, chest bumping, and high fiving whenever a great play is made.

There is just nothing more manly than panting over a bunch of athletic youngsters prancing around in tight pants, patting each other on the butt...it makes me so excited!

Yep. I renounce all my previous comments on the stupidity of professional sports and its devoted followers. I'm going out right now to burn all those useless books I used to read, and devoting the rest of my life to fantasy football and watching the games on television.

That's what's important in life...

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shizzyfinn Jan. 6, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

There's no big content difference in moving the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl, other than players from the two Super Bowl teams won't be in it. The real change is that viewership will shoot through the roof, as the Pro Bowl is much more exciting with the Super Bowl yet to come.

Any of the Colts critics have updated views, given last weekend's season-ending injury suffered by Wes Welker in a game the Pats did not need to win to make the playoffs?

I don't buy that fans are somehow getting ripped when teams with nothing to gain rest their stars. You can still cheer for second-stringers, can't you? Padres fans do that all season long.

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SpudDavenport Jan. 7, 2010 @ 7:46 p.m.

shizzyfinn, don't bring the PADRES into this. We're talkin' 'bout Top-Tier Entertainment. And you sound like a guy who has never shelled out a coupla hun for tickets to see what shoulda been a Game with all the Stars. Not a warm-n-fuzzy, shizzy, and alotta Fins

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shizzyfinn Jan. 7, 2010 @ 8 p.m.

I went to Dodger stadium last year for a Saturday night game, late in the season. The Dodgers were still fighting for first place, yet Manny Ramirez took the night off. I guess he was tired or something. That was pretty wack.

Still, if the game were football and the Dodgers had clinched, I would of understood. Better safe than sorry. Just ask Wes Welker.

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