When an NFL team begins to make it deep into the season without registering a loss, two things happen. First, everyone and their grandma jumps on the bandwagon but also beings picking the game that will end the streak. The second thing that happens is the 1972 Dolphins suddenly become relevant once again, as images of grouchy old men popping bottles with super models is unwilling imprinted into our minds.
That’s because whenever a team is running with an undefeated streak, we’ve been trained to look the way of the 1972 Miami Dolphins and their surviving members to try and throw all they can in the path of that undefeated team to keep their claim to fame alive.
But head coach Don Shula says all the hype about the members of the ’72 Dolphins team being bitter old men rooting against anything and anybody that threatens their glory is all made up.
“We’ve been portrayed as a bunch of angry old guys who have big cocktail parties and celebrate,” Shula said. “None of that is true. I think one year when the last undefeated team got beat, Dick Anderson and [Nick] Buoniconti were living across the street from each other. They went to the parking lot and did a champagne toast. Someone there took a picture of it, but they were too cheap to invite the rest of us to the party.”
Right now the Atlanta Falcons are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL, and as each week passes it becomes more and more apparent that they just aren’t capable of losing. Whether it be by skill or sheer dumb luck, the Falcons are 9-0 and aren’t showing any signs of stopping. Shula says more power to them, and that the close games (and lucky finishes) only make the Falcons that much more unstoppable.
“They shouldn’t have won,” Shula said. “They should have gotten beat that game. Carolina had them and let them loose. Now, you’ve got to have games like that if you expect to run the table. We just have to wait and see who else is going to give them that kind of battle.”
The Falcons have yet to play a team with a winning record this season, something Don Shula and his 1972 Dolphins like to skirt under the rug when all the glorified talk of being unbeaten is brought up each year.