The NFL will ask the competition committee to review integrity-of-game and competitive-balance concerns with clinching playoff teams that choose to rest starters at the end of the season.
“This is an issue that we have reviewed in the past. The position of the competition committee, and affirmed by the clubs, when it was reviewed in 2005 was that ‘a team that has clinched its division title has earned the right to rest its starters for the postseason, and that preparing for the postseason is just as important as protecting some other team’s playoff opportunity.’ That is the current policy,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said.
“We are aware of the fan reaction and that is a factor to be considered,” he continued. “Some teams that have everything clinched, like the Giants and Patriots two years ago, choose to play all out to continue or gain momentum for the playoffs. We expect to continue to review this issue.”
The Colts’ recent 29-15 loss to the New York Jets, which ended their shot at an undefeated season, didn’t sit well with Colts fans and NFL purists.
The Colts (14-1) had nothing significant to play for, having clinched their eighth straight playoff berth in late November. In a controversial decision, coach Jim Caldwell chose to sit quarterback Peyton Manning and numerous starters for most of the second half.
The Jets’ win boosted the playoff chances for New York, which can clinch a postseason spot with a victory Sunday against the Bengals. Cincinnati, which has clinched the AFC North, also might sit some of its key players in the game.