Monday, November 28, 2005

Nobody's Perfect....Except The 1972 Dolphins (And Alone They'll Stay)

Haven’t heard much from Larry Csonka, Manny Fernandez, Bob Keuchenberg or Mercury Morris or Nick Buoniconti. Nothing, either, from Vern den Herder or Larry Little or even Bob Griese.

No, those 1972 Miami Dolphins, they of the perfect 17-0 record, have been pretty quiet thus far. You know the drill, right? A team shoots out of the gate 8-0 or so, and the talk is of matching the ’72 Dolphins, and those hyper-protective ex-Phins start pontificating about how they are the greatest and nobody’d better even THINK of going undefeated again, but even if they did, who cares, because no one ever WILL go undefeated again, dammit. Or so they hope.

Those ’72 Dolphins have always been a tad obnoxious and sore winners about that, if you ask me, but I can understand their pride. Even though the combined winning percentage of the teams they beat that year was .357 (stat courtesy Sports Illustrated), they did, after all, sail through an entire NFL schedule undefeated, then ran the table in the playoffs and Super Bowl. And they are the only team to do that in league history. So it’s not like they have nothing to be prideful about. I just wish they’d do so with a little more savoir faire.

The Indianapolis Colts are, as you know, 10-0, and they have a potential pitfall coming tonight against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The game’s in Indy, so that should help confirm their victory, but the Steelers aren’t chopped liver, although with Tommy Maddox at quarterback, they’re not prime rib, either. Anyone who can’t beat out Charlie Batch isn’t anyone worth writing home about, you know. Still, the Steelers just might throw a scare into Peyton Manning and company, before collapsing into defeat sometime in the fourth quarter.

The task to go 16-0, then sweep the playoff games, is becoming more than just a nice thought for the Colts. It’s quite attainable, because you don’t go 10-0 in the NFL on a fluke, so why shouldn’t the Colts be able to go 6-0 from here on out? Their schedule isn’t all that tough right now, from an opponents winning percentage standpoint.

But here’s what’s so impressive about the ’72 Dolphins’ feat, and why it’s unlikely to be matched: the NFL, today’s NFL, is so freaking fickle. Teams are so up and down -- 32 yo-yo’s on any given Sunday, which is what the league wants, of course. If Paul Tagliabue had his way, every team would be mathematically in the playoff race heading into the final weekend. And it damn near occurs every year, too, it seems. So the idea of a team navigating through those unpredictable, choppy waters for 16 regular season games without a loss is actually pretty amazing, when you think about it -- which is what NFL fans everywhere are starting to do, and it will be picking up steam each week.

I think the Colts’ run at perfection is good for the league, and so is, I suppose, the ’72 Dolphins’rather boorish behavior when it comes to their record. It all makes for an interesting cocktail that football fans everywhere will be imbibing in earnest, starting with tonight’s tilt.

My hunch? The Colts lose one -- and only one -- sometime down the stretch here, getting tripped up by a lesser weight. And those ’72 Dolphins can put their heart defibrillators away for another year.

The Colts will go 15-1, it says here. The Detroit Lions, in nearly three seasons under Steve Mariucci, only just got their 15th win TOTAL under Mooch a few weeks ago. If I was Lions owner Bill Ford, I’d send my crack team of spies to Colt Land and (New England) Patriot World to see how good teams get ‘er done, year after year.

Somehow I don’t think those teams accomplish it with smoke and mirrors. There’s a recipe, and it’s funny how the Lions have treated it as if it was of the secret variety. But what’s the big secret, when all but a handful of teams have appeared in at least one Super Bowl?

Food for thought, I’d say.


Sports Litter said...

With the loss of Leftwich for the rest of the regular season, tonight's game against the Steelers is probably the biggest test for the Colts. The Jags matched up great against them, but without leftwich we'll see.

I agree, 15-1 for the Colts and a lot of partying for the 72 dolphins.

Ian C. said...

I agree, the '72 Dolphins' behavior is rather annoying and makes me want to root for the Colts to go undefeated.

If the Colts get close, I'll be waiting for the ridiculously contrarian sportswriter or analyst who will claim that it would be good for them to lose a game so they're not overconfident heading into the playoffs.

The Armchair Quarterback said...

The Colts will lose one near the end when Dungy plays the backups most of the game. I can't imagine the outrage that would result in Indy if Manning went down with a major injury against Arizona.

dolphinfan said...

I agree the Colts will lose one at some point this season. We went through this with the 85 Bears. Give us your thoughts on Mooch getting fired today.