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Could they Go 19-0?

November 15, 2011

As this article will be submitted prior to the Green Bay Packers game against the Minnesota Vikings, the team could potentially have a 6-1 record following this weekend’s games.  On the other hand, they are playing the Minnesota Vikings, who at 1-5 appear to be the junior to the Packers varsity, and the David to the Packer’s Goliath.  Basically, they are the bottom dwellers of the NFC North.  For that reason, the Packers will be looking at a 7-0 win/ loss record in pursuit of perfection, and the coveted 1972, 17-0, Miami Dolphins.

What’s Cooking?

After the first quarter of an NFL season, if a team is yet to post a “1” in the loss column, fans generally don’t get too excited.  (Unless your team is the 2011 Detroit Lions who just two seasons ago failed to register a “1” in the win column.) Wins that early are generally attributed to strength of schedule, lack of injuries, or a new coaching system. There is a fear of identifying a team as “great” early on because the NFL season is so long and such a grind.  Once a team reaches the halfway point undefeated however, whisperings of perfection start to come to fruition. 

At 6-0, the 2011 Green Bay Packers are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL.  Their prowess at home and on the road has been equally dominating, as the schedule has lent to three games played home and away. Green Bay, WI, also known as title town is famously known as the home of the Lombardi Trophy, the 2010 Super Bowl Champions, Lambeau field, Cheese heads, Brett Favre, Lambeau leaping, historically frigid temperatures, and most recently, the Aaron Rodgers heavy weight touchdown celebration.  Interestingly enough, the storied franchise will be most known in the upcoming months for their ongoing battle not with current NFL teams on the field, but the unblemished 1972, Miami, Dolphins.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins went 17-0, finishing the season as Super Bowl Champions.  As the last undefeated team each season finally loses, every member of the ’72 dolphins toasts to another year their record stands.  In 2007, members of that team had to wait until the Super Bowl to make their toast, because the New England Patriots became the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, only to lose their final game, super bowl 35.  Other notable attempts at perfection since 1972 include the 1985 Bears who won 12 games before their first loss, the 1991 Redskins went 11-0, the 1998 Broncos went 13-0, and the Colts 13-0 in 2005, and 14-0 in 2009.  Last season, the last undefeated team was the Chiefs at 3-0. 

Key Ingredients.

Last season, the Packers won the Super Bowl despite finishing the season with 15 players on injured reserve.  Two offensive stars, Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant have returned to the starting lineup this season, giving the team even more offensive weapons.  Their offense operates on all cylinders, with front-runner for MVP, Aaron Rodgers at the helm.  He is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and his ability to run and pass has the Packers offense ranked 4th overall.  The defense is second in the league in interceptions, has the 5th leading tackler in linebacker Desmond Bishop, the hair of Clay Mathews and the leadership of veterans like Charles Woodson. (    

While history is bound to repeat itself, there has only been one recipe for perfection.  The Patriots figured out how to do it in the regular season with a prolific offense, a splash of defense, and an MVP quarterback in Tom Brady.  The 1972 Dolphins had a similar recipe.  The main ingredients being Quarterback Bob Griese, two 1,00 yard rushers in Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka, and what was referred to as a “no name defense.”  With similar team attributes, if the Packers could cook up a perfect season, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t ice the cake with another Super Bowl victory.

Dinner is served.

The Packers schedule still includes meetings with the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and two games with the Detroit Lions.  On Nov. 6th the San Diego Chargers will attempt to add salt to the already perfect entre that is the Green Bay Packers.  Coming off a bye week, the Packers will be 7-0 and looking to add some west coast flavor to their recipe for perfection. 

Will Phillip Rivers and the Chargers burn the Packers and ruin the recipe?  Most likely they will lose and be just another course, as the Packers run the table to a perfect season.