Biggest game, well, ever

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 27, 2007



Just let us be the first to say that New England-Indy is the biggest regular-season game in the history of the NFL.
 
How do we know?
 
Well, the battle between the two epic rivals over the past few years has been fairly well documented. We'll break it down even further this week, rendering you impotent with knowledge, with no need to think for yourself ever again.
 
But the short version of why their Nov. 4 meeting will be the biggest regular-season game in NFL history is found in a simple Cold, Hard Football Fact:
 
New England-Indy 2007 is the latest meeting of NFL unbeatens ... ever.
 
The current record was set, hang on to your nuggets friends of the Facts, back in 1921. That was the second season in the history of what we now call the NFL. And that was the season that the Akron Pros (7-0) and the Buffalo All-Americans (6-0) battled to a 0-0 tie.
 
That 1921 meeting took place later on the calendar than Indy-NE 2007 (Nov. 13 compared with Nov. 4), but clearly the 1921 opponents had fewer wins.
 
The Patriots (8-0) and Colts (7-0) are a combined 15-0 for those of you keeping score at home.
 
By the way, don't just dismiss the Pros and All-Americans as historical novelties. In fact, to do so only diminishes the ground-breaking nature of the New England-Indy battle next Sunday.
 
For example, Indy's current coach, Tony Dungy, generated a lot of ink last year for being the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. But the 1921 Pros were led by the first black coach in NFL history, Fritz Pollard, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of course, Dungy wasn't the team's leading rusher as Pollard – a player-coach – was for much of his career with the Pros.
 
Akron also won the first-ever pro football title, with an 8-0-3 record in 1920, the first year of what would become the National Football League. (Pollard was not the coach, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of that 1920 team.)
 
The All-Americans, meanwhile, were the first offensive juggernaut in pro football history. The 1920 team (the charter year of what we now call the NFL) won each of its first four games by 20 or more points.
 
Buffalo's record of 20-point victories to start the season stood until – that's right, 2007 – when it was matched by the 2007 Patriots, who also won each of their first four games by 20 points or more.
 
So when we talk about New England-Indy in historic terms, folks, we're not just blowing smoke up your ass, like the factless "pundits" trying to create a story out of the thin, wispy strains of hype.
 
The 1921 Pros, you may remember, never quite recovered from that tie with the All-Americans. They went on to lose three of their final four games, including a 14-0 rematch with the All-Americans and, of course, a memorable 3-0 loss at the hands of the Dayton Triangles.
 
The All-Americans, meanwhile, probably regret facing the Pros on that November day late in the 1921 season, even though they won the rematch. Buffalo ended the season with a 9-1-2 record – a single tie behind the future Chicago Bears (the Chicago Staleys) who sported a nifty, league-leading 9-1-1 record.
 
There was no postseason, no championship game, back in 1921.
 
If the All-Americans could have scored just once against the Pros back on Nov. 13, 1921, they could claim the league championship today. (Oh, and for the record, it wasn't even called the NFL back then. It was the APFA – the American Professional Football Association).
 
Suffice it to say – no matter what you call it and no matter how far back your football recollection will take you – New England-Indy is the latest meeting ever of NFL unbeatens.
 
We don't know how the whole 2007 season will turn out.
 
But we do know this: at this point in the season two greater powers have never met in the regular season.
 
Considering the magnitude of the Colts-Patriots rivalry this century, that just sounds just about right, doesn't it?

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