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Monday, December 29, 2008
Dungy: Fifth and sixth seeds not far from first and second


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

While the Titans clinched the AFC South title on Dec. 7 with a win over Cleveland, Colts coach Tony Dungy talked a bit Monday about how close Sunday's Titans-at-Colts game was to being a battle for the division crown and the No. 1 seed.

I'm not generally big on talking about what could have been as opposed to what was, but Dungy touched on it and I think it worthy of a mention.

He referred to the pass interference call against linebacker Freddy Keiaho on a fourth-and-1 play late in the Colts 23-21 loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 21. If no flag was thrown on that questionable play, the Colts win that game.

And if the Colts won that game, Sunday's finale would have been for the division crown. A Titans win would have won them the division by a game. A Colts win would have left both teams 13-3, and Indianapolis would have won the division on the division record tiebreaker -- 5-1 for the Colts compared with 4-2 for the Titans.

Dungy touched on that topic when he was asked if it's less daunting to win the Super Bowl as a wild card because the Giants and Steelers had both done it in the last three years.

"I don't know that it's less daunting, but I think it just speaks to the parity in the league and how close it is," he said. "We're grumbling or however you want to look at it that we're a pass interference call away from that game [Sunday vs. Tennessee] meaning an awful lot. We would've had a chance to play for the No. 1 seed. We didn't win that game against Jacksonville so we end up the five seed.

"I just think that's what you have, a lot more closer, tougher races and the five and six teams not being that much different than the one and two teams. I think that's what we've seen, and the healthy teams, the hot teams going in, have a chance to win it. San Diego, I think, is just as dangerous as anybody in this tournament right now. They're seeded four, but they're certainly playing well."