Another one-sided win for the Indianapolis Colts, and another move up into more exclusive company.
Eleven teams have started off NFL seasons with an 11-0 record, but only four previous to this year's Colts took the next step to 12-0: the 1934 Bears (finished the season 13-0 but lost next out in the championship game) and in the post-merger NFL, the ’72 Dolphins, the '85 Bears and the ’98 Denver Broncos, each of whom won the Super Bowl. (You want to get technical, you could include the 1942 Bears, who went 11-0 through the season and won the championship to complete a 12-0 year).
|Next up for the Colts: the '85 Bears and their record.|
Among those that fell at the 12th hurdle: the ’84 Dolphins (later drilled in Marino's only Super Bowl by Joe Montana's Niners) and ’91 Redskins (went on to win the “Thurman Thomas Forgot His Helmet” Super Bowl). The Super Bowl Shuffle Bears fell after starting 12-0, so they're next up to possibly be passed on the Indy course.
Since the league started keeping records in 1920, when it was known as the APFA (American Professional Football Association), 1,316 NFL team-seasons of 12 games or more have been played. Only one, those '72 Dolphins, was unbeaten and unblemished.
The Colts aren't there yet. But win this coming weekend, and they pass the Fridge. Next up a week later would be the '98 Elways, who crashed at 13-0.
So Manning & Co. is not quite once in a generation -- but they're getting close.
Postscript: One CFL team put together an unbeaten season – the 1948 Stampeders, who had a 12-0 regular season before tying the first leg of their two-game total point western final. They won the second leg, then introduced a horse to the Royal York Hotel lobby, and the rest is history.