I have avoided it, most Miami Dolphins fans do…to some degree…talking about the New England Patriots‘ 1 game shy of perfect, season. So call me bitter, but you know what, I don’t think its historic…I think it is a historical repeat.
This has nothing to do with the Miami Dolphins going undefeated in 1972, if this were any other NFL team I may actually feel sicker. Instead, it is not only a rival, but it is the AFC East…keep it home right?
Well there is a lot of things that will be talked about this season in future seasons. Chances are it will be the Dolphins who are the forgotten ones…after all, there is the first who went 17-0 and the 2nd who went 19-0…hmmmm, see my point? Still, make no bones about it, the Dolphins will always be the first.
Comparing the two is impossible. Ask most “experts” and you will hear them say that the Dolphins were not as good as some of the “Steel Curtain” teams of Pittsburgh in the 70′s. Many “experts” believe that the the perfect Dolphins are not even in the top 5 of the NFL’s greatest teams. Along with perfection comes a tremendous amount of disrespect. Get used to in NE…you may be on the verge of 19-0 but historically you will be far from perfect.
The 72 Phins played on in Pittsburgh for their AFC Championship game….the game was rotated back then and the best conference record was not a ticket for home field advantage. The rules were much different as well. You no longer can just hit the QB for the hell of it, back then, you could take his head off. WR’s were not chucked in the first 5 yards, they were chucked all over the field. Hell, the rules back then were so weird compared to today that Phins RB Larry Csonka was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct…on a play that he was running the ball…with the ball.
The 72 team has faced the media whirlwind each and every year since, as the last team loses, guys like Chris Berman talk about popping champagne corks, celebrations, and some media have done a very find job of portraying that team as bitter. That of course is overblown media hype…there is no champagne being flung around in a wild party frenzy…I am sure that there are a few fist pumps in the air. Seriously, why would anyone want that record to be repeated? Why is that considered bitter? Well NE, you will get that chance to feel that same thing…eventually…as time wears on, you will understand why you don’t want that repeated…and it will happen.
The NFL has talked about a 17 game season, thus, potentially, another team could trump your 19-0 with a 20 win season and no losses. What say you then? We were the first to get to 19? You will. And when you fall from the graces of the media darlings, you will be portrayed as the bitter ones.
For now though, you will answer some other questions. Your season will be, right or wrong, shadowed, not over-shadowed, just shadowed. An asterisk, it will be questioned…and it can not be denied, and every time a fan makes their argument for their team, that one simple thing will be something that becomes not only annoying, but will forever be linked to the season. The New England Patriots got caught cheating. There I said it. Again, call me bitter. But this is a fact.
The draft is only a short 3 months away and the NE Patriots do not have a 1st round pick. The reason? Simple, they got caught cheating and the NFL saw fit to forfeit that pick. No big deal some will say…but it is. See that has never been done in the history of the NFL. So there is another first for the Patriots to hang their hats on. Bill Bellichik was fined 500,000.o0 dollars for the infraction…an enormous amount that directly relates to the severity of the infraction. The team was fined an additional 250,000. A steep penalty indeed. One that will forever be linked to this perfectly imperfect team.
Of course, when it comes to the banter between rival fans, the Patriots will hear more than just CHEATERS. Could the Patriots have done this with say….Cassell all year? You will hear that. Could the Patriots have done this if the rules were not changed to open up the passing game this year? You will hear that. The fact is, much like the fact that the Patriots did cheat, the New England Patriots did not need to play with Cassell, Brady stayed healthy all year long.
The New England Patriots of this season are perhaps the most explosive offensive team I have ever seen play. It has been almost…ALMOST…exciting to watch. Down by two scores and you know they will still find a way to win. They do because they have the confidence to know they can.
There is one win left to make it official. Still, be careful what you wish for. As the Patriots move onto Perfection street…don’t think they immediately get the big house on the cul-de-sac. Sorry, that house still belongs to Don Shula, he is not just going to move out because you won 2 more games. Nor is any of the other members of that team that live on that street. The street just gets a few more residents.
So for now, as a Miami Dolphins fan, I will say congratulations for making it to the Super Bowl. I offer you no luck whatsoever.
In the end, the Patriot fans will celebrate perfection, they will ticker tape parade the team in the chilly Boston air, they will applaud as their “SB Victory” hats and t-shirts arrive, and they will proudly wear their 19-0 merchandise. Then, in April, the draft will come by…and at the end of the first round, when pick number 32 is announced, the Patriot fans will hear the asterisk behind their season…the one that will forever be attached whether anything ever happened or not…see, at pick number 32, everyone will hear nothing. That is because the New England Perfect Patriots, were not perfect. They were cheaters…and like it or not…they got caught. That is a fact.