The 1972 Dolphins can break open the champagne.
Now that San Francisco became the last unbeaten team to lose Monday night, it is official that the Dolphins are the only team ever to record a perfect season in the league’s first 100 years.
In the league’s early days, four teams didn’t lose a game but all had ties. That doesn’t mean the Dolphins were the best team in the first 100 years. They probably weren’t in the top five, but they took advantage of window between the Green Bay dynasty of the 1960s and the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s to get their perfect season.
The Packers won five titles and Steelers won four and the 49ers, the team of the 80s, won five although the final one was in 1994. The Dolphins only won two.
The San Francisco loss means the NFC race is wide open. The 49ers now lead the Seahawks by just a game in the loss column and still play five winning teams, including the Packers, Ravens and New Orleans.
The Packers and Saints are also just a game behind the 49ers in the loss column. It also was one of those Any Given Sunday weekends as three 1-7 teams all won, notably the Falcons upending the Saints and the Dolphins, who are supposed to be tanking, winning at Indianapolis.
The third was the Jets beating the Giants although that wasn’t much of an upset.
—The Dolphins dumped Ryan Tannehill as part of their tanking program. The Titans signed him and he’s 3-1 since replacing Marcus Mariota, including the win over the Chiefs Sunday, and has them in the playoff hunt at 5-5. Tannehill even scored on a two-point conversion.
—Another team that took advantage of the Dolphins’ tanking program was the Steelers. They gave up a first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and he has four interceptions and two returns for touchdowns in the last three games, including one Sunday against the Rams. They’ve won four in a row after a 1-4 start without Ben Roethlisberger and are in the wild card hunt at 5-4.
—Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson has now beaten previously unbeaten New England and winless Cincinnati in the last two weeks. He does his thing regardless of the competition. The skeptics say he can’t keep playing this way long term without getting injured but the Ravens are living in the moment.
—The Seahawks are living on the edge, winning an overtime game for the second week in a row. They beat the 49ers on Jason Myers 42-yarder against San Francisco at the end of overtime.
—Kirk Cousins led the Vikings to a big prime time come from behind road win in Dallas with two touchdown passes. He was 6-13 with the Vikings and Redskins in prime-time road games. Dalvin Cook was the key to the victory for the Vikings, who are now 7-3. He ran for 97 yards including the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down and had 86 receiving yards.
—The Giants are finding out Eli Manning wasn’t their only problem. They have lost six in a row with rookie Daniel Jones at quarterback, including an embarrassing loss Sunday to the Jets and coach Pat Schurmur is 7-19 in his past two seasons. Will he get a third season? We’ll see.
—The Rams are having a major Super Bowl hangover after losing in Pittsburgh. They’re 5-4, haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in their last 19 possessions and Jared Goff looks lost.
—Adam Vinatieri has now missed six extra points this year, including a critical one in the loss to the Dolphins. It looks like he stayed one year two long at age 47.
—Jimmy Garoppolo is now 16-3 as a starter for the 49ers after the home loss to Seattle. But he had three turnovers in the loss. He has to play better down the stretch. He plays Kyler Murray Sunday and then has a three-game stretch against the Packers, Ravens and Saints. The 49ers can’t afford any more losses like the one to Seattle after Chase McLaughlin of the 49ers missed a potential game winner from 47 yards out earlier in overtime that was shanked so badly it went into the tunnel. He made a 47-yarder with one second left in regulation to send the game in overtime. He was kicking because Robbie Gould was sidelined with an injury. San Francisco opened the door for Seattle to win when they got the ball back with less than two minutes left and threw three consecutive incomplete passes, taking only 25 seconds off the clock and giving the Seahawks time to drive for the game winning field goal.
—Count Carolina’s Ron Rivera as the latest coach to not understand when is the right time to go for two. He did it early in the fourth quarterback with the Panthers down 24-16. That meant they needed both a touchdown and two-point conversion to send the game in Green Bay into overtime in their final drive. They didn’t score anyway, but it was a head scratching decision by Rivera.