NFL will weigh incentives to make late-season games competitive

Associated Press
January 3, 2010
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Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL will consider offering incentives to teams playing late-season games to discourage them from resting their starters for the playoffs.

Goodell said the league was sensitive to criticism of the Indianapolis Colts' decision to use backups a week ago in a game they lost, ending their bid for a perfect season.

"It is something we'll look at," Goodell said Sunday. "We heard the fans loud and clear. It's something our competition committee has looked at in the past, but we're going to ask our competition committee to look at it again in the future. We want every game to be competitive."

The league's position has been that playoff-bound teams enjoy the right to rest their starters to prepare for the postseason. Goodell said he didn't blame the Colts for their decision.

The commissioner spoke before the game between the Dolphins and Steelers. Later, in an interview with CBS, Goodell said various incentives to prevent teams from benching starters will be considered.

Such incentives could include awarding draft choices.

"We are considering a lot of different things," Goodell said on CBS. "I don't think you can punish them for not playing. The other thing that has to happen is you have to make it clear to the public that you are not going to be playing someone, like we do with our injury reports."

The Colts already had clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs when coach Jim Caldwell sat Peyton Manning and other starters in the second half, and the Jets rallied to win. NFL purists were upset the Colts didn't go all-out with a shot at a perfect season.

"We want to make sure the integrity of the NFL is first and foremost in everyone's mind, and try to find ways to make sure our games are competitive at all points in the season, including the preseason," Goodell said.



  • Don't agree with Polian on this one
    I heard a caller on a talk show the other day who summed this up very well. Whe remembers what team won the Super Bowl 5+ yr.s ago? Not many. It's an accomplishment that a team gains every year. Is it special? Kind of, but its just flash in the pan for that year. A perfect season is something that just doesn't happen very often and is more special than a Super Bowl. The undefeated Dolphins team and their accomplishment of the undefeated season far outweighs a Super Bowl win. The Super Bowl was the cherry on top of the greatest season ever.

    The Colts could have achieved that but chose to turn the last 2 games into an exhibition. Which, I deem as a rip-off for fans who paid full ticket price and had high hopes to see history in the making. The Colts took the buzz of the town an smashed it.

    If you're not here to be competitive EVERY single game, then why bother even having those games that don't matter? Just forfeit prior to the game so that you don't waste anybody's time. I think the Colts need to refund the full ticket price of everyone who went to that last home game. They ripped off everyon who paid for the tickets and that was just wrong. It was kind of like the fans who went to see the busted F1 race a few years back. Big on promise, but not delivery.
  • Sitting Stars
    And yet yesterday, in a blizzard, Peyton played 3 series just so Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark could get to 100 receptions. Maybe they had performance bonuses riding on it, but it seems hypocritical that the Colts would play stars on a slick field but wouldn't play them inside LOS.
  • Playoff Teams Earn That Right
    Those "Losers" have the best record in the NFL, the #1 Seed, and Homefield advantage and like the rest of the Playoff Teams have a 0-0 Record.

    Is it even possible to "quit" and have the best record? These 2 games have absolutely no bearing on a Super Bowl, which is and was their goal.

    The Regular Season as of right now means squat. It's Playoffs and Positioning that matters and The Colts are right where they want to be AND HEALTHY.

    Goodell is saying this because he has to. In all actuality there is nothing that can force Playoff teams to not rest players nor should there be.

    It is an incredibly violent and high impact sport. To sit on your couch and tell them what to do is a bit ironic.

    This team has done nothing but Win for its fans, put themselves in a great position for the Playoffs, and we should keep things in perspective as should Roger Goodell.
    Quit whining already. By busting a$$ the first 15 weeks, they earned the right to rest and recover. By the way, have you heard of a guy named Wes Welker...
    kind if like a amber alert..to let you know that the LOSER"S are entering the field ...knowing that they were going to quit....LOSERS

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