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0-16 requires a lot of work


Which Scenario is Most Likely to Occur?  

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  1. 1. Which Scenario is Most Likely to Occur?

    • Dolphins Go 0-16
    • Pats Go 16-0
    • both
    • neither

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0-16 Requires Awful Lot of Work

The Dolphins, a once-grand franchise reduced to a sorry NFL outpost in South Florida, keep drawing attention for all the wrong reasons. Last week, it was Don Shula mouthing off about the Patriots' legacy in light of their camcorder chicanery. Now, it's the possibility of reclaiming Ricky Williams from pot purgatory.

Remember when stinking up a stadium week after week was enough to turn a team into national laughingstock? When a team that went winless deep into the season would inspire exorcisms, psychotherapeutic dissection and a few decent effigies of the coach? Those were the days.

Granted, the Dolphins aren't exactly flopping under the radar. They were duly saluted for reaching 0-9 last weekend all by themselves, after the Rams finally won.

But nobody seems to appreciate how hard it is to lose every game in a league as expansively stultified as today's NFL. All of the suspense has gathered around the Patriots' shot at historic perfection, with little acknowledgment that it is fake suspense. Their only real obstacles to becoming the first NFL team to finish a regular season at 16-0 are the possibility of an injury to Tom Brady, the Dec. 9 game against the Steelers and the season finale against the Giants in the Meadowlands. The "on any given Sunday" theory of professional football does not apply to this team.

The Dolphins' schedule, however, turns up countless obstacles to running the table in reverse. They have the profoundly flawed Eagles on the schedule this week. Two weeks later come the Jets, who beat the Dolphins by only three points in September. After that, they have the Bills, who beat them by three last week.

In fact, five of their nine losses were by just three points. The Dolphins aren't born losers. They work at it. They dig deep. They can't possibly keep it up.

If going 0-16 were feasible, the Raiders would have done it last year. Their offense, run by a bed-and-breakfast proprietor for half the season, was comically awful. They didn't know how to run a simple screen pass. Their blocking schemes and deep drop steps came out of a time warp, from an era when nobody had heard of Lawrence Taylor. And yet the Raiders won two games. I still don't know how.

More to the point, I don't know how the Dolphins lost to the Raiders this year. I was there. I saw it. I still don't believe it. At the time, it appeared that the Raiders were gaining traction on respectability. But that was a mirage. Every awful team manages to create at least one. The Dolphins will do it, too, and they'll probably win two straight. It happens all the time. Even those legendary losers, the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ended their 26-game streak with two consecutive wins.


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Great question. The Pats are unbelievable this year, they don't have one weakness anywhere. I hate saying this but it's true. The Dolphins are going to end up beating one or two teams, the Jets are probably going to be one of them unfortunately.

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