No one is going undefeated in the NFL, so just drop it
After Monday night’s victory of the New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons, which put the Saints at 7-0 along with Indianapolis as the last two undefeateds in the NFL, we then had the obligatory news conference where the press asked head coach Sean Payton if it seemed more likely now that the Saints could go undefeated.
More likely than when they were 6-0? Well, sure, I suppose — in the same way that 4th and 30 is more likely to be converted by the Cleveland Browns offense than 4th and 32.
Then, during his ESPN analysis, Steve Young went on to go down the Saints schedule to point to the only two teams remaining to play them that have a chance of beating them (Dallas and New England). The Saints are better, he said.
So are the Saints going to run the table?
This is just silly. Every year, when there’s a team that goes 6-0, 7-0, or — God forbid — 10-0, we get the usual chatter about the team possibly going undefeated. Listen: It ain’t gonna happen. Most of the other analysts at ESPN were sane enough to admit that.
Me — I have to believe that Young was simply putting it out there as an academic argument so the other analysts could counter it. As a former player he has to know better.
Sure, the 2007 Patriots ran the table — before losing in the Super Bowl — but that was an aberration, one that I don’t think is going to be repeated anytime soon.
And I certainly think that talking about going undefeated at this point in the season (it’s 7-0, for chrissakes!) is beyond hilariously premature. This is the NFL, folks, where Any Given Sunday [TM] anything could happen. Players get hurt. Quarterbacks have off-games. Underrated opponents step up and play better than expected. Good teams make mistakes. Let’s please not forget that the Patriots came within millimeters of being beaten by Baltimore during that 16-0 season they had. Only impossible miracles saved them.
To say, on the second day of November, when not even half the games have been played, that the Saints “absolutely could” go undefeated just because they have an easy upcoming schedule is, well, categorically insane.
Come on, Steve Young, you’re smarter than that. At least you should be.