Monday, October 6, 2014

And then there were none

Quite surprisingly to a lot of people, after 4 weeks of the NFL season, only two undefeated teams remained. Two teams wasn't so surprising -- it was who they were. The Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals.

And now there are none. The Cardinals were trashed by the Broncos. Turns out, that flappy-armed, toe-headed, chicken-necked, geezer quarterback that plays for Denver still has some serious game left in him. I think his name is Manning.

The Bengals went to New England and were also demolished. Turns out, that former 6th round draft choice QB out of Michigan for the Patriots, that still hasn't figured out how to shave, still has a trick or two up his sleeve as well. I think his name is Brady.

This is the first time in a while, and only the second time since Super Bowls started way back in 1967, that no NFL team has started out the season at least 5-0. Granted, a hot start doesn't always mean a successful ending. Lots of teams have started out the season with longer winning streaks, but never made it to the Super Bowl -- let alone win it.

To date, the 1972 Miami Dolphins were the only team to run the table, including the Super Bowl, posting a perfect 17-0 season. Yeah, the Patriots would go 18-0 thirty five years later in 2007 (due to the regular season having been lengthened from 14 to 16 games starting in 1978) , but they couldn't seal the deal -- losing to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl.

Yet Newton's laws of NFL parity physics dictate that for every team with a long winning streak -- there must be a chump taking it on the chin every week. In other words, there's been some serious losing streaks as well over the years.

Conventional wisdom has it that the first winless season in the NFL occurred in 1976, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their debut. They would go 0-14.

But that's not entirely true. The Detroit Lions had preceded them in the futility category long before.

A look back at history shows the Lions were originally called the Portsmouth Spartans, and came into existence, fittingly enough, in 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression. Coincidence?

In 1934 they would relocate and become the Detroit Lions. Eight years later, in 1942, the Lions would go 0-11 for their season. Of course in 1942 World War II was raging all over the globe. Even in their early days, it seemed the Lions were tied to some serious calamity in one way or another.

Nevertheless, the Buccaneers 1976 skunk record stood without equal until, of course, only the Lions could top that. Or out-bottom that, however one wants to look at it. Thirty two years later, in 2008, the Detroit Lions set a record that will likely never be equalled, much less broken. They went 0-16.

2008 was Calvin Johnson's first year as a Lion. One can only imagine back then. Welcome to Detroit, Megatron. Are you having fun now? Despite putting up gawdy personal stats -- six years later the poor dude has only been to one playoff game, where his team got blown out by the Saints, and now he can barely hobble around after the beatings he's taken over the years.

No doubt, Calvin will have a huge pile of money when his playing days are over after signing a long term contract that basically locks him into the Lions until he's Manning or Brady-esque. Here's hoping he can still walk when it's all over.

Johnson might well become a future Hall of Famer, if the Lions ever allow him to totally heal up so he can get back to what he once was -- no given.

But when all is said and done, also given he's contractually locked into the Lions for likely the rest of his playing career - well -- when it comes to Super Bowls for the Megatron -- see the above title of this post.

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