Interesting relationship I've had with Mercury Morris over the course of my life.
He was a prominent member of the powerhouse Dolphins teams in the early 70's when I first became a football fan. I thought he had a cool name and a cool number (22) and I even had a poster of him on my wall that I rotated with others depending on the season and, of course, at the mercy of my whim.
Later, I came to view him as somewhat petty for surfacing every year in the middle of the football season espousing the same tired message. Year after year, when the schedule whittled the teams down to its last undefeated franchise or two, Merc would go on talk radio and glorify the '72 Dolphins while belittling which ever teams happened to be mid-way through an undefeated season.
I always thought he had no argument based on how much easier it was to go undefeated in the "old days" prior to a 16 game season, prior to the salary cap era, and prior to free agency. Math doesn't lie and it is progressively more difficult to stay undefeated as you play more games. Without a doubt, the other changes brought the league a step closer to parity which has also increased the difficulty of staying unbeaten.
A coupe of years ago, when the Patriots were vying for perfection, I came to despise Morris (and to dislike Shula) for his thinly veiled attempts to besmirch the Patriots season as one that had been tainted by cheating. No coach or analyst agreed with that perspective but several former Dolphins players and coaches, panicky about the possibility that their achievement would be eclipsed by a modern team with a tougher challenge, got plenty of air time and had me grumbling at my TV on several occasions.
Now I see two teams (Saints and Colts), both of whom beat the Patriots in the past two weeks, both of whom are well on their way to perfect seasons in this modern environment that I have described as so difficult. In my mind, the Patriots 16-0 performance currently stands alone as a singular achievement. And here is the part that is difficult to admit, I don't want any other teams coming along and etching their names on that particular trophy. In this way, I have a new-found kinship with old 22.
I need to check the attic to see if I can find that old poster.