My last post was about the strange business approach of the NFL Network. And for those that do not follow the NFL the Indianapolis Colts won to remain undefeated and the New Orleans Saints suffered their first loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. Ho-hum for so many people. Yet something interesting has emerged as a result. The pursuit of perfection.
Two years ago the New England Patriots completed the first 16-0 regular NFL football season. They won two games in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl at 18-0 only to face the Giants in that final game and lose. The Patriots were ‘chasing’ the 1972 Miami Dolphins who have the distinction of being the only team in the modern era to finish an NFL season undefeated (17-0 as they played two fewer regular season games in those days).
The Patriots to a man lamented the pressure of remaining undefeated which came with intense media scrutiny, constant interviews and questions about how the players were ‘feeling’ in their pursuit of history. Even at the time arguments were made that if the team goal was to win an NFL championship (winning the Super Bowl accomplishes that) then losing a game along the way was a sacrifice worth making. I did not understand that then and it seems that history (as it so often does) is set to repeat itself.
Now that that the Saints have lost they can play ‘relaxed’ and not worry about the albatross of being undefeated. The Colts are now under an even greater microscope since the Saints had shared some of the ‘they’re undefeated’ focus. I’ve been reading about the idea that the Colts should consider resting some of their players in the final two regular season games both to avoid injury (always a great concern in the violent sport of American football) and to rest tired players.
To this point it appears that at least three-time league MVP Peyton is buying the logic of resting or not going for the brass ring of being undefeated. The Colts have clinched the best record in the AFC conference and cannot do any more to improve their position – they have home games all the way through the NFL playoffs.
I expect the Colts to pound my beloved New York Jets this weekend simply because they are a better team. And then they have a last game vs. the less than mediocre Buffalo Bills. The chance to be perfect to me is worth putting it all on the table and I cannot conjure any kind of argument to not play the best players in pursuit of perfection.
Quick do you remember who won the Super Bowl 5 years ago? But I bet you have an idea that the Dolphins of a prior generation finished the season undefeated. Perfection is special and the pursuit of it should always be the ideal. Agree or disagree?