Rise of Colts' defense not entirely true

They switched coordinators, but D isn't the reason Indy is in Miami

Updated: January 28, 2010, 4:51 PM ET
By Ned Macey | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesIt's a good thing Ned Macey doesn't play QB in the NFL.

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Sometimes the story simply writes itself. The Indianapolis Colts -- long an offense-first team with a history of early playoff flameouts, save one Super Bowl win three years ago -- reach the Super Bowl again after their new head coach jettisons the longtime defensive coordinator to bring in a more diverse and aggressive scheme. The players fill up reporters' notebooks with quotes about how they are finally attacking opposing offenses rather than passively playing their previous coach's antiquated Tampa 2. Thus, the defense must be better. The problem is that, objectively, the Colts' defense under first-year coordinator Larry Coyer is no better than it has been in recent seasons.

One of the main early discussions about the Super Bowl has been this: "The Colts' defense is much better than it has been in years past." That's relevant, since the Saints' offense is excellent. So... what if the Colts' D is a mirage? That would change things for you, right? Maybe you should read this article. Maybe you need to be an ESPN Insider. We can't make all your life decisions, but we can nudge.