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Handicapping The 2008 Tennessee Titans

Titans Go for the Gold – 10 Wins and Counting

Tennessee is the last NFL team standing without a loss. The Titans are living up to their name at 10-0.

Seven of the 10 teams during the Super Bowl era that achieved the same record from 1972 through last year went on to play for the championship. And five won it all.

Chicago captured the ’85 Super Bowl, culminating a 15-1 season. The only loss came at Joe Robbie Stadium. It was most fitting that the Dolphins defeated Bears since Miami has posted the only Perfect Season.

In ’84, the Dolphins also started out 10-0 and made the Super Bowl, but fell to San Francisco. It was Miami great quarterback Dan Marino’s only trip to the Big Dance.

There are similarities between the 17-0 Dolphins of ’72 and this year’s Titans. First, both lost their starting quarterback early in the season.

Miami’s Bob Griese fractured a small bone in his right leg and dislocated the ankle when he was sacked in the fifth game against San Diego. Veteran Earl Morrall replaced Griese and the Dolphins won, 24-10.

Tennessee lost starter Vince Young in the ’08 opener when he sprained a knee against division rival Jacksonville. Veteran Kerry Collins came in and the Titans won, 17-10.

Strong points for both teams: powerful running games and impressive defenses.

Miami No-Name Defense only allowed the opposition 127 points through 10 contests. Tennessee has only given up 131 points.

I witnessed the closest contest of Miami’s Perfect Season – the sixth game against Buffalo in the Orange Bowl. Despite losing three fumbles, the Dolphins held off the Bills in the fourth quarter and won 24-23.

So far, Tennessee has captured three games by three points: 13-10 at Baltimore and 19-16 at home against Green Bay.

On Sunday, the Titans host the Jets at LP Field and travel to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day game. Their toughest games come next month when they host the Steelers on Dec. 21 and close out at Indianapolis on Dec. 28.

The record for the most consecutive games without a defeat dates back to early NFL days shortly after its founding in 1920. That’s when a group of men gathered in Canton, Ohio, at the Hupmobile showroom of Ralph Hay, owner of the hometown Bulldogs.

Eleven franchises were represented and 10 teams started the season in the league named the American Professional Football Association (APFA). Among the founding owners was George Halas, whose Decatur (Illinois) Staleys later became the Chicago Bears.

First president of league was Jim Thorpe, later voted the greatest athlete for the first half of the 20th Century. He also was the star running back of the Bulldogs, which posted 22 victories and three ties in ’21-23. The APFA was renamed the NFL in ’22.

New England holds the record for most consecutive triumphs spread over two regular seasons – 18. Ironically, the Patriots defeated the Titans in ’03. New England didn’t lose until ’04 when Pittsburgh won.

Oh, the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls those years: 32-29 over Carolina in ’03 and 24-21 against Philadelphia in ’04.

Last year, New England was undefeated during the regular season, defeating the Giants to go 16-0. But in the Super Bowl, New York won, 17-14.

It was the latest nail-biter for ’72 Miami alums that usually gather each year much earlier to pop open champagne in celebration of preserving the Perfect Season.

“All you have to do is think about all the years before 1972 and how many years there have been since then,” legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula recently told FoxSports.com columnist Alex Marvel. “Nobody has done it except one team.”


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