Squeeeeak creeeak shuffle shuffle *blink blink* squint [mothball waft]
It's that time again! Time to pull the venerable old undefeated '72 Dolphins out of the attic, dust 'em off, and prop 'em up next to the blank-and-0 teams du jour.
Will Perfectville soon have a population increase?
Will America survive another round of Mercury Morris without electing to saw Florida off and shove it out to sea?
If the either the Saints or Colts go undefeated, can we Dolphins fans just be glad it isn't the Patriots?
And can we please do this round without arguing ad nauseum about strength of schedule and road trips and talent pools, and just recognize greatness when and in what context it happens?
Oh, the debate will annoy the tar out of all of us over the next two months, though mercifully the Pats' aborted run in '07 has, if nothing else, kept ESPN from starting up a premature website of overkill comparing everyone with six games between now and Super Bowl glory.
But though it's begun more quietly, it's certainly begun.
Over there is Don Shula "secretly" rooting for a loss.
Over there is Bob Greise actually suggesting New Orleans and Indianapolis lose a game each on purpose, which happens to be the sort of sinister psychological warfare we can get behind. Kudos to you, Taco Bob.
And over there is someone still trying to credit the Pats with ruining the mystique of the Dolphins' perfect season (fact: the media ruined the mystique of the Dolphins' perfect season) and pointing out that no one's talking about it by...talking about it.
And it's only going to get louder.
Can it happen? Both the Saints and the Colts are 13-0, and have good chances at running the table against the Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Panthers (New Orleans) and the Jaguars, Jets, and Bills (Indianapolis) before they head into their respective postseasons.
They also have equal chances of not running the table, if narrow escapes for both are any indication, so we've all got that going for us.
After all, 37 years later, it's become less about preserving some measure of glory for the Dolphins that can't be tarnished anyway, and more about surviving the inevitable overdose when the machine gets really and truly cranked up.