The New England Patriots faced their toughest test of the season on Sunday and came away with the victory.
Now, it's time for them to realize they could go down as the greatest team in the history of the NFL.
No team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins has gone undefeated. The Minnesota Vikings came close in the late 90s by going 15-1—but their loss came in the middle of the year, so there was little drama along the way.
The media hasn't been shy in talking about New England's potential for a 16-0 regular season—and the buzz will only pick up after the win over in Indy.
The debate isn't so much whether the Pats can go undefeated but, but whether they should even try.
With the chance to have the division wrapped up in November, the risk of injury may appear to outweigh essentially meaningless games.
Bill Belichick needs to realize the games may be meaningless in the context of this season, but not in the context of history.
No one remembers who won the Super Bowls in the '70s—except for the 1972 championship.
Every football fan knows it was the Dolphins.
The sheer number of uncontrollable factors in a football season make it nearly impossible to win every game—even with the most talented roster. Injuries are one of the biggest components.
Colts-017.jpg&c=1&w=525&cs=1" style="margin: 8px; float: right;">If Tom Brady or Randy Moss were to get hurt, the Pats would have no chance at perfection. This is the biggest argument made by those who think winning the Super Bowl is more important than winning 16 regular season games.
On the "no duh" scale, this ranks an 11 out of 10.
Many skeptics tend to think an injury is sure to happen in Weeks 15 or 16, thus eliminating any chance at the trophy. While it's more likely a player will be injured in a game as opposed to on the sideline, potential injuries cannot be a deciding factor in the pursuit of history.
It will take 16 wins in the regular season plus three wins in the playoffs to be remembered forever. 15 regular season wins and three playoff wins and the Patriots are remembered for a few years.
16 regular season wins and one or two playoff wins and who knows?
At least they tried.
And that's where teams like the Colts of years past failed. They didn't seem to try to be undefeated. They were trying to win a Super Bowl, which is understandable for a team that had not won one in some time.
These Patriots have won their share of rings, and now it's time for the bigger picture.
So if Belichick and Tom Brady and the rest of the team meet and decide to go for it, what's in there way?
Pittsburgh will be traveling to Foxboro in Week 14. This could be the deciding game. If the Patriots get the victory, I expect them to go for it—which means when the Patriots travel to New York to face the Giants, they'd be playing for history.
Judging by Belichick's propensity for the "Eff You TD," as Bill Simmons calls it, I think he wants to silence every critic who has called his past championships tainted because of the cheating accusations.
So Bill, put your sweatshirt back on (it almost cost you the Indy game) and get ready to go down in history as the best ever. If you come up short, like numerous other teams have in the past, I hope you can at least say you went down swinging.
And to the 1972 Dolphins: If the Patriots pull off the undefeated season, don't send your champagne to Foxboro. Go celebrate with them. You both will be remembered forever.