The 17-game season has really hurt the Indianapolis Colts

The NFL decided to make the regular season 17 games long and that move has had a negative impact on the Indianapolis Colts.
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

In 2021, the NFL decided to make the regular season 17 games instead of 16. It’s fair to assume that number will eventually creep up to 18. It may even get to 20 one day; with all of the money and viewership flowing the league’s way, anything is possible. However, this extra game on the schedule is more than just another game for money; it has had some major implications.

Looking back at the three years since the league has implemented 17-game regular seasons, it’s clear that the additional week has changed the fate of franchises. One team in particular that has been negatively impacted by the extra game is the Indianapolis Colts.

Kent Sterling recently pointed out that the Colts would have made the postseason in 2021 and 2023 if they were playing 16-game regular seasons. However, Indy lost in Week 18 during both years and missed the playoffs.

Week 18 has cost the Colts the playoffs twice

Now, this definitely isn’t the schedule’s fault or the league’s for adding an extra game. At the end of the day, Indianapolis has to go out on the field and win the games. Indy hasn’t been able to do that when the playoffs were on the line. In 2021, the Colts were embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars and in 2023, Indy was a play away from beating the Houston Texans.

It’s also important to note that both of those games were against AFC South opponents. Regardless of how many games are in a regular season, teams have to play their division mates two times each. So whether these games were in Week 18 or Week 17, the Colts would have had to play them and the outcome very well could’ve been the same.

This does ultimately show how much the league can change in a given week. That’s why every game is important and teams have to be prepared to bring it from Week 1 to Week 18. One too many slip ups will leave teams playing the if game.