Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Did the Colts fumble perfection? The team stands by its decision to rest its starters, but most fans feel they dropped the ball.
It was more than a championship season. It was a chance at perfection - breaking records and making history. Now all that is history after a controversial call to pull the starters Sunday. The Colts went on to lose to the New York Jets 29-15.
The comments poured into WTHR thick and fast Sunday night. (See Eyewitness Sports anchor Rich Nye's thoughts here.)
"I understand not wanting the starters to get hurt which in most cases is a good choice, but the fact that they were playing the number one defense in the league and that the players were just as upset as the fans for being pulled shows that this was not the right choice," said V. Wilson.
The Colts were up 15-10 when in the third quarter, Coach Jim Caldwell made a substitution. Fans reacted by booing, and it was a call heard around Lucas Oil Stadium. Fans say the coach's decision sacrificed the game to the Jets, who are scrambling to secure a playoff berth and jumped at the chance.
"Most wins in the regular season. That was broken tonight. A perfect season was broken tonight. The possibility for a rookie coach to have a perfect season and maybe go on and win the Super Bowl. Just lots of things were taken away," said Cyndi Alti, fan.
The reaction wasn't just heat of the moment. a day after the game, WTHR's poll shows fans are still fuming. When asked if the Colts made the right decision, an overwhelming majority - 82 percent - said "no."
"What is frustrating is that fans pay to watch a game and expect their money's worth and I will never buy a ticket for the last three games of the season," wrote Darcy Troville.
"I will never spend a dime on the Colts again because of this," said Jason Hall.
On the other hand, some fans saw reason in Caldwell's decision.
"I fully agree with the decision made because who is to say one of the starters wouldn't have gotten hurt?" said David Wray.
The Colts' front office defended its decision.
"A perfect season was never an issue," said Bill Polian, Colts president.
Players toed the company line, but the looks on their faces Sunday told a different story. Now they'll work to recover what some say should have been a perfect season as they focus on the playoffs.