For the first time in the history of ever, two NFL teams hold an impressive, undefeated 13-0 record with just three games remaining in the regular season.
The New Orleans Saints have emerged as the New America’s Team: Now with a Cause! Sorry Down-in-December-Dallas, but New Orleans is a feel-good/play-well team with a story behind it. The story for Saturday when the former America’s Team plays the New America’s Team will play out like a Civil War, except that we know the South will win. Ugh, I can hear grumblings from Texas people who think Texas is not the South, but their own land. Fine, it’s not a Civil War… it won’t be any war if Romo & Co. continue to play their December Don’t Win plan.
The Saints put together a terrific team that has learned how to play well together. Thirteen wins is already more than any other Saints team has ever had. Ask Daddy Manning, he’ll tell you about the Saints history.
This year’s Saints team has had some close calls. They squeaked by the one-win Rams by only 5 points in Week 10, and have had two consecutive wins of just 3 points the past two weeks against two very mediocre teams: the Washington Redskins and the injured Atlanta Falcons. But a win is a win is a win. The final score is the only statistic that really matters. Pushing through tight games, overcoming errors and just plain luck is necessary in NFL winning streaks. And hey, at least they’ve been given a few runs for their money, which always highlights a teams weaknesses, giving them areas to improve on.
Recent comments by sports commentators, writers, players and coaches highlight a general conflict of interest in going for a 16-0 record or focusing on the bigger picture of a Super Bowl championship.
How is there any conflict about this issue? YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!
Of course, the goal of the season is to win the Superbowl. But how does going for a perfect record, striving to be the best possible team conflict with a championship agenda?
There are decisions to consider within each game. If a player has a borderline injury, of course you rest them because, as the 2007 New England Patriots proved, it’s all for nothing without a victory in the big game. Like most other game plans, if Indy or New Orleans pulls ahead by more than two scores, they should probably substitute starters to keep the bench fresh while protecting the playmakers. These strategies are logical without being overly cautious. Nobody like injury paranoia. It’s a terrible mindset.
However, to pull a Brian Griese and say that it is important to lose a game is ridiculous. He’s worried about a monkey on the undefeated teams’ backs? Determination and hard work have brought both squads to where they are now. Continuing the same game plan is the most likely plan to yield the same winning results.
Additionally, the past few years (especially 2007) have proven that momentum going into the playoffs is imperative. Wild card teams have won Superbowls because they got hot at the right time. For these two teams, they need to stay hot at the right time… which is now.
Personally, I’m against these teams going undefeated. That’s not what the NFL is supposed to be. Good competition should not yield these results. And I want the Giants Superbowl 42 victory to remain as a general punch in the face to perfection. On top of that, it drives me crazy that these are dome teams. Football is about toughing out bad weather and getting dirty. The Arena Football League is bankrupt. Why are these teams playing indoors? Is this the most advanced gym class ever?
With that being known, there is nothing sportsmanlike about essentially forfeitting three games for absolutely no reason. The sub par teams that the Saints and Colts face in the next three weeks should, and most certainly will give their best efforts to play spoilers, even if obnoxious strategizers recommend those teams mail it in for a better draft pick. Bad teams shouldn’t roll over, they should try to rise to the level of their competition while good teams shouldn’t sleep on a chance for victory. One more time for good measure, YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!
I can admit that these teams are exciting to watch. The possibility of a Superbowl between two undefeated teams must have the NFL hyperventilating. Even if it doesn’t come to that scenario, there is so much on the line that every game these two teams play for the rest of the season will be intense, unless they cowardly quit on their jobs and dreams.