“Everything perfect of its kind must transcend its kind: it must become something other, something incomparable.”
“Certain shortcomings are essential for the individual’s existence.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities
It was a thrilling moment on Sunday, when those underdog Indianapolis Colts were able to hang on and defeat the NFL’s decade-long behemoth, the Kansas City Chiefs, to finally end yet another run at perfection.
The Colts did beat the Chiefs, but that’s about the only aspect of that sentence that’s accurate — unless you find field-goal kicking especially thrilling. And now, just five weeks into the NFL season, there are no unbeaten teams left.
Kinda sad, right? A potential season-long storyline gone, right? A chance at historical transcendence done with, right?
Well, sort of wrong.
Remember, the quest for perfection — and yes, historical transcendence — was, at least in one man’s opinion, the storyline in sports over the last decade. And last season, it got to the point of becoming, well, banal. In the earlier part of the decade, the intrigue surrounding perfection was centered on the apparent impossibility of it. A team just couldn’t go undefeated. And then the Patriots changed that, even before they actually went undefeated — because it became obvious that this team, as constructed, could very easily do it. And after that, the Titans, Saints, and Colts all took extended runs at 16-0 that seemed, in ascending order, very possible.
In fact, going undefeated was so passé that Indianapolis didn’t think it was worth it last season.
That’s why, this season, I’m glad there is no storyline of perfection. Not because it wouldn’t be interesting — even last year, the Saints’ and Colts’ runs at 16-0 were intriguing. It’s just that going undefeated isn’t as interesting as it should be right now. One team’s quest for perfection used to be the dominant storyline once we got to about Week 9; it inherently can’t be when two teams are doing it. Much like the allure of the perfect game, approaching a 16-0 season can’t be properly appreciated if it occurs too frequently. Last year, we could openly wonder not just how an undefeated season for the Saints and/or Colts wouldn’t really stack up historically like the ’72 Dolphins or the ’07 Patriots, but also that it would take something away from those teams. The accomplishment would be cheapened because, as we all know, something is special only as long as it is rare.
So Perfection, why don’t you sit this year out? Take the next two or three off, too. Remind us of your slight possibility in 2014 — how about giving the Lions a go at 8-0? — and then come back for real in, oh say, about 35 years.
By then, we’ll be able to appreciate you again — and debate how much harder it is to go 30-0 in an NFL regular season with intercontinental travel.
Look, I’m all for breast cancer awareness. But at this point, what person watching a football game is NOT aware of breast cancer and NEEDS to be aware of breast cancer?
Tony Siragusa: “Eli has a big smile on his face: second and third, exactly where he wants to be.” I’m sure he meant “2nd-and-three,” but does this mean Tony has been watching too much postseason baseball lately?
I’m not generally a fan of FOX’s NFL broadcasts, simply because their announcing crews aren’t nearly as good as CBS’. That said, picking up former officiating head Mike Pereira and being able to pipe him in during games to discuss calls was a fantastic move that really enlivens their game presentation. On Sunday, there were in-the-scheme-of-things insignificant offsetting penalties between the Giants and Texans. Darryl Johnston mentioned that he doesn’t like the idea of offsetting penalties, especially in an instance where, like this one, one penalty is severer than the other (it was holding v. a personal foul). FOX then brought Pereira in just a few plays later to discuss how the league has tried to decrease offsetting calls, but that they’re difficult to avoid when one penalty is during the action and another in a dead-ball situation. An interesting and good explanation from an inside source.
That said, I still agree with Moose.
Giants’ special teams coach Tom Quinn got so much air time during Big Blue’s win over Houston, you would have thought he was Mike Westhoff or Joe Avezzano, am I right?
The Giants’ win did overshadow one of the larger stories from that game: the dramatic return of Sage Rosenfels to the scene of his greatest triumph. And yes, Sage Rosenfels’ greatest triumph was that time he almost beat the Colts, but then didn’t.
I was going to criticize the Redskins for not wearing their gold pants at home, but then I realized they were going up against the yellow trousers of the Packers. Smart move by Washington to go with whites instead. Just don’t make it a habit.
There’s something missing with the Packers. So far, they’ve managed to lose two games they should have won, which is the opposite of what good teams do. I don’t feel as strong about Green Bay making the Super Bowl right now as I do about Baltimore, even though the latter’s road is clearly far harder.
At one point in that game, Joe Buck called a Ryan Torain 3rd-and-1 conversion run with more enthusiasm than the David Tyree catch. Sigh.
I really enjoy watching Ahmad Bradshaw run. Not just because he’s on the Giants. He’s just a fun player to watch, and I’m very happy he’s on my team.
Jets Bash of the Week: Can you please play a Monday Night Football game that isn’t delayed by lightning? I think it’s clear who God wants that stadium named after.
Chiefs Plug of the Week: This is going to be an actual plug and not a joke: The Chiefs acquitted themselves pretty nicely on Sunday, right? Clearly, Matt Cassel has to do something in the passing game if this team is going to hang on in that division, but with that running game and defense, he won’t have to win them a lot of games.
I was happy to see the Bengals run Home Run Throwback — Jeff Fisher’s old baby — for the final play against Tampa Bay with some moderate success. It’s rare you see a team break out any kind of organized play for a final kickoff/lateral situation anymore.
Cincinnati was also hosed on a call by Tim’s Least Favorite Ref, Scott Green, in that game. On the big completion to Micheal Spurlock that set up the game-winning field goal, it looks to me like there’s indisputable video evidence that Spurlock’s right toe came off the turf right before he caught the ball. Green upheld the ruling on the field, and Conor Barth’s game-winner came from 29 yards instead of 50+.
If I told you that Oakland’s three quarterbacks were Kyle Boller, Jason Campbell, and Bruce Gradkowski, what are the odds that you would guess that Gradkowski is the starter? And deservedly so?
Solomon Wilcots, on Tyvon Branch’s fumble return late in the Raiders’ win over San Diego: “That’s a game-closer! Can the Raiders finish? I think they just did. We’re not writing this one off, though.”
On that play, though, Branch shouldn’t have scored. He only had Darren Sproles chasing him (with blockers to help), so he should have run it down inside the five, taken as much time as possible off the clock, and then taken a knee. Run the ball into the line twice, make San Diego use its timeouts, and then score. Even if it’s a field goal, the Chargers would have had only a play or two to score.
Terrible Clock Management of the Week: Down 10, the Niners had a 1st-and-goal just inside the Philadelphia 10 with about 2:40 to go. Alex Smith throws a pass short of the end zone — to what looked like the primary receiver on the play — who is tackled at the one. San Francisco then wastes over 20 seconds before attempting another pass (incomplete) and then runs it into the end zone with 2:02 left on the clock. The 2:00 warning is totally wasted.
Before that first-down play, they HAVE to have two plays in the huddle, especially if the primary receiver on the first play is short of the goal line. The first play of the subsequent Eagles’ drive must take place before the 2:00 warning in that situation.
How ridiculous is it that the Terrible Clock Management of the Week happened in an Eagles’ game but not by Andy Reid?
Something I had never considered until this week: Why is that defensive tackles line up inside and offensive tackles line up outside? I mean, what’s the deal with that?
The NFC West: Where two of the teams might be able to beat you as long as they’re playing at home!
One of the key reasons the Red Zone Channel really works: Scott Hanson is very likable.
That said, I got upset when it wasn’t updating me on postseason baseball. Diversify, man!
15. St. Louis
14. San Francisco
11. Tampa Bay
4. New York
3. New Orleans
2. Green Bay