As a fan of the Jets, of course I wanted them to beat the Colts on Sunday. But as a fan of non-douchebags, I wished Indy could stay undefeated. Because that would mean they had a chance to win all 19 games, and thus threaten the sore winner tyranny of the 1972 Dolphins. Up until two weeks ago, I hoped both the Saints and Colts would go undefeated in the regular season and win the AFC and NFC championships, thus ensuring there would finally be a completely undefeated team to knock those old crabs off their cheap throne.
In every other sport, when a record falls, the previous record holder (or his family) is on hand to congratulate the new champ and wish him/her well. Even Hank Aaron begrudgingly tipped his cap to Barry Bonds when he beat the all-time home run record. If anyone ever had a reason to flip off the guy who supplanted him in the record books, Aaron did. But Aaron decided the game was bigger than him and paid tribute to Bonds, because he’s not a huge dick.
The ’72 Dolphins don’t suffer from such humility and perspective. They’re like mountain climbers who’ve scaled Everest, and decide to take sniper shots at anyone else who attempts the feat. Each year, they literally pop champagne when the last undefeated team takes a loss–and brag about such poor sportsmanship, on top of it all. And make commercials about it, too.
They insist to whoever will listen about how they’re the best team of all time, which, considering how much football has changed in the last 37 years, is borderline insane. Athletes are conditioned so much better in every single sport now, but especially infootball. Can you imagine the ’72 Dolphins trying to block the linebackers of today? Just look at these guys. They’d be mashed into the ground by the Lions, let alone a decent team.
Oh, and they played one of the easiest schedules in NFL history. Not in the NFL that year. In NFL history. Their opponents that season had a .396 win percentage. They are in the 99th percentile in terms of ease of schedule, all time. An NFL team is less likely to play such an easy schedule every again than a person is likely to be born with a dorsal fin.
Two years ago, when the Patriots were in the midst of their undefeated (regular) season, Don Shula got all a-snitter about how Camera-Gate invalidated their accomplishments. He conveniently neglected to mention that his ’72 Dolphins were not without their own ethical missteps.
He also tried to poke holes in many other grand achievements, on this very web site. It was quite a coup to get him to open up, I must say! You can take a trip down memory lane and read all about it here.