Sports: December 2007 Archives

Today the Patriots try to become the first-ever team to go 16-0 in the regular season, and win 19 straight regular season games.

It's a very big deal. Even if they don't win the Super Bowl, it will be a very big deal.

But the Super Bowl matters a lot more. So while I want this win a lot, I won't breathe a sigh of relief or anything until they get win number 19 on the year, winning the Super Bowl.

No matter what happens, though, I remember after the Pats' second, and then third, Super Bowl win, people talking about whether this Pats team is one of the best ever. There's no more talk about that. The verdict is in. They are. The only question -- one that may never be answered -- is whether they are the best ever. But they've accomplished all these feats and Brady is just now hitting his prime. If the Pats ring off a lot more wins, including some Super Bowls, I think we may just have to call them the best ever (or at least, best since The Merger).

But that's the future. The Now is one game, and one game only. Today's game.

Go Pats.

Patriots on Saturday

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Huge game coming up: the Patriots, the only regular season 15-0 team in NFL history, is going for a perfect record, 16-0. There's other season records on the line too -- most TD passes by a QB, most TD receptions by a receiver, most points scored by a team, biggest cumulative point differential, longest consecutive winning streak, and so on.

This unprecedented game was scheduled to be seen only by about 40 percent of the normal NFL audience, because it is going to be on the NFL Network, which is only available via some satellite and cable providers. But tonight the NFL announced it would be simulcast on NBC and CBS, getting 100 percent nationwide coverage, and marking the first time since Super Bowl I that a game would be shown simultaneously on more than one U.S. network, and the first time ever to be shown on three.

Tom Brady jokingly said he wants the Giants starters to take the game off, since the game is meaningless for the playoffs. But as a longtime Patriots fan, I say no: sports is about rising to a challenge. That's why no one cared about The Dream Team after it won its first Olympics. The tougher the challenge, the greater the glory. There will be 11 other teams in the playoffs, and the Patriots will have played at least five of them (Cowboys, Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Giants; and maybe seven, if the Redskins win, and the Browns win/Titans lose).

Going 16-0 while beating a lot of top teams would be a great accomplishment, but if one of those top teams intentionally didn't play its best game, that would diminish it a bit, for many fans. Granted, it's already slightly diminished in that the combined wins by the rest of the Patriots' division is only 11, four less than the Patriots have won by themselves, and that accounts for six of the Pats' games. So the competitor in me really wants to see the Patriots play all the best teams en route to a perfect season, and, eventually, to another Super Bowl championship.

Bring it on, Coach Tom Coughlin. If the Patriots can't go 16-0 against the best you have to offer, then they don't deserve to get a perfect season.

Patriots vs. Dolphins: In the bag?

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Let's go back to 2004.

The Patriots won 21 games straight, going back to 2003. That streak ended at the hands of the Steelers, and the then-lossless Ben Roethlisberger. The Patriots would not lose another game -- including handing Big Ben his first-ever loss -- until the 2005 season.

Except for one.

December 20, 2004, the Partriots travel to Miami, and Tom Brady gets intercepted four times (for some perspective, he has only five INTs this season so far) and A.J. Feely threw none, and Sammy Morris scored two TDs, and the Dolphins won 29-28.

The Pats ended the year 17-2, and the Dolphins 4-12.

Of course, Feely is now with the Eagles (where he just missed upsetting the Patriots a few weeks ago), and Sammy Morris now plays for the Patriots. But the Dolphins also beat the Pats in 2005 (granted, that year, the Dolphins actually had a winning record) and 2006.

In 2005, the teams were close in the standings, and the Pats had their worst season in years, and lost at home 28-26. In 2006, the Pats had a 12-4 record, the Dolphins were 6-10, and the Pats went on to just miss going to the Super Bowl. And in Week 14, the Dolphins shut the Patriots out in Miami, 21-0.

Twenty-one to nothing. Just a year ago. The only shutout the Patriots have suffered since the 31-0 shutout the Bills handed them in week 1 of 2003 (which the Patriots avenged in week 17, with a 31-0 shutout over the Bills).

Granted, this is an undefeated New England and almost-winless Miami, the by-far-best against the by-far-worst. On the other hand, the 2007 Dolphins want no win more than this one, and have beaten the Patriots in their second meeting of the season three years in a row, including a shutout last year.
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Sports category from December 2007.

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