An undefeated season… an almost unprecedented thought as it has happened only once prior in the illustrious past of the National Football League.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins, coached by Don Shula and led by bruising running back Larry Csonka and gun-slinging quarterback Bob Greise, are the only team ever to reach the end of the arduous trail that is the lengthy NFL season unscathed and still gleaming.
They perched atop their promontory with 14 wins and no losses, looking into the postseason with an optimism unmatched by any team. The ‘Phins of ‘72 proceeded to go untouched throughout the postseason as well, gaining victories in the next three games, one of which was the hollowed Super Bowl. They finished at a perfect 17-0.
The New England Patriots of the 2007-2008 campaign seem the most worthy of bringing home the “trophy” and title of only the second team ever to be unbeaten, a daunting task which now would consist of winning 19 games.
They have scored over thirty points per game and with such connections as Tom Brady to Randy Moss, the Pats seem untouchable. They have a slew of talent in all three facets of the game. Names such as Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, Adalius Thomas, Tedy Bruschi, and Asante Samuel ring out loud and clear when defensive bests are in question, and they also have a slick and speedy return man in Wes Welker, making them solid on offense, defense, and special teams.
Oh, and not to mention that perhaps the anchor of their defense and best defensive end in the game, Richard Seymour, as well as one of the league’s youngest most talented bright lights in running back Laurence Maroney both have been absent for a large portion of the season thus far. The Patriots, nonetheless, have posted a league tying best record of six wins and no losses and with the trouncing of a fellow unbeaten franchise in the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night proves that they are the real deal and the best team in the NFL.
Brady, arguably the best quarterback in the game, has thrown 21 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions on 204 attempts, completing 148 passes for a 72.5 completion percentage and a QB rating of 128.9. Ridiculous. Those numbers aren’t normal, they make no sense. Throwing over two hundred passes and having only two end up in someone else’s hands isn’t possible. Moss alone has 8 touchdown receptions and 40 catches on the year, which set him on pace of break his personal records of 17 touchdowns and 111 catches. “Not fair” would be the phrase muttered in response to this statement.
The only foreseen obstacles standing in New England’s path are the Indianapolis Colts, also undefeated at this point in the season, injuries, an entire team collapse, and perhaps Bill Belichick using his better judgment and sitting some starters once the team is sitting at a lofty 13-0 or better, locking up their postseason by that point… and of course the curse placed on any team anywhere near the sacred ranks of the undefeated.
Many teams have come close to the mark such as the Colts last season, before suffering a few losses, and eventually sitting their starters, and ending at 12-4. Every year there seems to be a team who is likly to come close to defying logic and being the next to become undefeated. The remaining Dolphins from that fateful early seventies season pop a bottle of champagne every year after the last game is played and their mark still remains and they are still legends. After "all heroes get remembered but legends never die," thanks Babe.
In any case, the Patriots have too many weapons and too much talent to be stopped now. They seem nonchalant while on the field, and make it seem as if they were playing a far less superior opponent, perhaps because they are. A David and Goliath comparison almost seems fitting. They make every team look as bad as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look this year.
In week 14 on December 9, the Patriots will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I wouldn't go as far as to say it is a rivalry, but it is for me. I've seen the Patriots beat the Steelers in several AFC championships and many regualr season matches in my short 20 year existance, and well I'm sick of it. I'm hoping the Patriots are still undefeated by this time, and the Steelers can hand them their first loss and I can finally be happy and smile. And the answer is yes, I will be wearing my personalized jersey.
If you’re superstitious, sorry, I talked about the precious undefeated season until it's over, my bad. Oh wait... I hope I jinxed it.