Perennially bitter old guy and former Miami Dolphins running back Mercury Morris is a little less bitter than usual about the prospect of the 2011 Green Bay Packers going undefeated.
In 1972, the Miami Dolphins put together an unbeaten and untied season – the only one of its kind in NFL history. They were immediately heralded as sports heroes from that day going forward, and appeared destined to go down in football lore for their undeniably impressive achievement.
But then they started talking. And then, as the years passed, they talked some more. They would go on and on about their place in history, about how their accomplishments deserved the reverence of all the world’s children and how no other franchise would ever come close to them. Whether their non-stop jibber-jabber over the last few decades has been the byproduct of their own personal insecurities or some deep-seeded resentment towards other football players is unknown. However, what we do know is that various members of that ’72 Dolphins team never forego the opportunity to take a you-know-what on any team that approaches their undefeated mark
In a move of sheer trolling genius, they also began popping bottles and toasting every single time an undefeated team fell. It happened after the New England Patriots fell apart in the infamous “helmet catch” Super Bowl, thus nullifying their otherwise perfect 18-0 season up to that point. It happened when the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints similarly flamed out, though nowhere near the 18-win plateau that the Patriots were able to get to.
It’s sort of become an accepted tradition – if a team goes undefeated long enough, the grumpy old men from the ’72 team, led by No. 1 grouch Morris, will show up to rain on that team’s parade.
Well, the 2011 NFL season has produced a new undefeated: the Packers.
During a recent interview with FOX Sports, Morris, and the rest of his ragtag group of Al Bundy-like folks who can’t stop talking about their 30-year-old exploits, weighed in on Green Bay. Shockingly, their commentary wasn’t all explicitly negative.
"If they do it, I will toast them," said Morris, describing what would happen if the Packers were to go undefeated.
"I like [the Packers]. If they get to 10-0, which they probably will, I'm going to send [quarterback] Aaron Rodgers one of my CDs," Morris told Chris Tomasson. "I have nothing but good things to say about the Packers. If they [end up] in our neighborhood, they're a credit to the sport. They don't have a bunch of guys out there who view themselves as entertainers.
"I didn't like the way [the Patriots] came across [four years ago]. They thought it was just a formality [finishing 19-0] … They were too much in your face. They wanted you to bow down to them and kiss the king's ring."
Folks can judge how genuine Morris was there for themselves. Of course, shortly after those seemingly kind words, he reverted to being the bitter old guy we’ve all come to know and attempt to ignore when he offered this tidbit on where the Packers would stand if they did ultimately go undefeated:
"I don't want to hear from the pundits that they're going to pass us," Morris said. "We were the first team to do it. They'd be the second team. They won't be better than us just because they won 19 games."
Tomasson also went to former Dolphins safety Dick Anderson and asked him how he felt about the Packers nipping at the heels of his team’s perfect year. He, the man who began the now infamous toasting tradition whenever an undefeated falls back in 1991, was a little more real in his response.
"I hope our record stands," safety Dick Anderson said. "They say all records are made to be broken, but I wouldn't be a competitor if I said I hope they do it."
Will Green Bay actually go undefeated? The smart money isn’t riding on that prospect. Heck, here at Opposing Views we’ve heavily scrutinized the possibility and ultimately deduced that it was very, very unlikely.
But man oh man, the thought is tantalizing. Not because the Packers are some unanimous fan favorites. Not because it would be great for the new generation of fans to get an undefeated squad to call their own. No, the real reason an undefeated Green Bay season would be wonderful is because it would accomplish the one feat that 98 out 100 scientists agreed was physically impossible – it would shut Mercury Morris up for good.