As I've said before in this space, I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan.
This 2011 season was pretty much a lost cause roughly two months ago, after week two when the Chiefs got blown out for the second straight game. At that point, they were 0-2 with an aggregate score of 89-10 (if I remember correctly, and I'm damn sure not going to look it up).
I do not understand this game.
And somewhere, the surviving members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins are popping the champagne corks. As the last team to finish a season with an unblemished record, nearly 40 years ago now, they are known for celebrating, every year, when the last unbeaten NFL team goes down.
There is a part of me that is somewhat disappointed in today's outcome, however; while I could never root against my team, the Packers were one team that I wouldn't have minded seeing going 19-0 and putting those Dolphins to rest. Really, that 1972 Miami team does not deserve to be remembered with the great ones.
It was a good team, with a solid, disciplined defense and a pounding running game. But they lucked into a rather easy regular season schedule, and they were gifted with the good fortune of not having to face the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs thanks to one of the flukiest, most horseshit-looking plays in NFL history (a play known as "The Immaculate Reception,"). Yes, they went 17-0, the only unblemished record in league history, but they were far from being the best ever.
I'm old enough to have watched the 1972 Dolphins, yet young enough to retain clear memories of that team. And how would I describe them? Two words: bo and ring.
They had a Hall-of-Fame quarterback (Bob Griese) who was best known for not throwing the ball to his Hall-of-Fame wide receiver (Paul Warfield, who averaged two catches per game). Their terrific defense, nicknamed the "No-Name Defense," is best remembered for not having any players that anyone remembers. Their crowning achievement, the 14-7 Super Bowl win over the Washington Redskins that capped the unbeaten season, had one and only one memorable play: a ridiculously botched field goal by the Dolphins that featured kicker Garo Yepremian attempting to pass and coughing up the ball for a Redskins touchdown.
Their strategy, essentially, was to get an early lead and then prevent anything else from happening for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, it worked. How interesting was it to watch?
How long until halftime?
And today, thanks to the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs, those Dolphins and their unique place in history is safe for another year.
Which is boring. And now, to continue today's theme of mixed feelings and cognitive dissonance, I'm going to get focused on the afternoon contest: The New England Patriots, a team I have despised for the last decade, taking on the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow, whom I have loathed since the first time I heard his stupid name.