In the history of the NFL, both before and after the AFL/NFL merger, perfection has been hard to come by.
In fact, from 1920 until the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, the Chicago Bears were the only team to finish with an unblemished regular season record, a feat they pulled off twice; once in 1934 and again in 1942.
Since 1970, only two teams have managed to complete the regular season with an undefeated, untied record—the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went on to win the Super Bowl that year, and the 2007 Patriots, who suffered a major letdown after winning 18 straight regular and postseason games before being defeated by the Giants in the Super Bowl.
(As an interesting side note, the Giants own a record of sorts. They are the only team to defeat two previously undefeated teams in the league championship game. A corollary to the argument here is for both Manning brothers to make it to the Super Bowl, and see if New York can make it a three-peat).
Plenty of teams have made a run at the record. The NFL annals are rife with season standings showing teams with 15-1 or 14-2 records, but no one, save the '72 Phins, has been able to close it out.
All the arguments about the difference in season length, level of competition, rules, etc., are nothing more than noise designed to distract us from the main point—this record is hard to break.
Now, I'm not necessarily a fan of either team, but I for one think this is something that needs to happen. Yeah, I realize that Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell, like Tony Dungy before him, are no Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They could care less what the final record is, as long as the last win comes in February at the Super Bowl.
But they should care. Opportunities like this are rare. As I've already pointed out, a perfect regular season has only been managed four times in the 90 years since American Football has been somewhat regulated. Two teams achieving the feat in the same season is unheard of.
And then there are the fans. Average Joes and Janes spend otherworldly amounts of money on merchandise and tickets to watch people they will probably never meet play a game at a level that they as fans can only dream of, all in hopes of living vicariously through their chosen teams' success.
So if for no other reason, the Colts and Saints should strive for perfection for the sake of the fans, those nameless, faceless people who cheer them on each week.
Besides, can you imagine the marketing opportunities Manning could have with this one?