Monday, November 24, 2008

Maybe They All Share A Glass of Shamepagne

An acquaintance asked this evening if the 1972 Miami Dolphins had their champagne toast last night to celebrate the fact there will not be an unbeaten NFL team this season, due to the Titans losing (not that I think those superannuated attention whores were too worried about a team with Kerry Collins at quarterback tying their record).

I suppose they did. But it got me thinking. Every year there's some team that's the last to lose a game, and that's when the old Dolphins shuffle into the limelight and grab hold of it for dear life. That process, however, works from the bottom up as well. Every year there's a team that's the last to WIN a game. And the 1972 Dolphins do have an evil, make that inept twin, the one team in NFL history to have lost them all, the 0-14 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Do the old Bucs note the winless clubs each fall, as they come close but fail to match their dismal but unique record. Are they JEALOUS of their status as the worst of the worst, and scoff at the pretenders who don't have their package of disadvantages, the utter lack of talent, character, and poise that allowed Tampa Bay to fail on every given Sunday?

Probably not, but maybe they should be. To be 0 for the season is, in its way, probably harder than winning them all. That takes a twisted but special brand of consistency. This reporter saw some pretty awful Eagles teams in his youth, and some pretty freakin' awful Patriots teams in the line of duty. National sexual harassment scandal and all, the 1990 Pats still bungled their way to one win. They were a disgrace, but they weren't PERFECT failures.

There are plenty of '76 Bucs still alive and in robust health. Given the turnover a first year expansion team generates, there are likely more of them than there are '72 Dolphins. I'm not being snarky here, this is genuine curiosity. Do they possess a unit esprit de corps? Do they have annual reunions? Have they ever met as a group since 1976?

I don't know, of course. But if I was a Detroit sportswriter, I'd be making it my business to find out. Because the Bucs have an NFL record that appears to be in maximum jeopardy.


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