Shula likes the Colts

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:18 AM ET

Don Shula wants to set the record straight about the record.

Those romanticized stories about grumpy old members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins getting together to celebrate every time the last NFL undefeated team of the season goes down?

Not true.

No champagne on ice these days waiting for the Indianapolis Colts to lose. No special humidor for those victory cigars, no team party to celebrate keeping their record intact as the only "perfect" team in league history.

Apparently, over the decades, there has been some literary license with regards to telling of the stories.

"We've never gotten together and had a team celebration," Shula, the coach of those legendary 1972 Dolphins, said this week on a conference call. "There's just a few players who live in the near proximity of each other."

Those players are Nick Buoniconti, Dick Anderson and Bob Griese, who reside in Coral Gables, Fla. The trio will get together some years when the last remaining unbeaten goes down, but it is far from a big bash.

"They have been accused when that final undefeated team gets beat, they go out into the parking lot and pop open a bottle of champagne," Shula said.

Many of those famous Dolphins, including Shula, believe the current edition of the Colts are the best equipped to join them in their elite spot.

"Peyton Manning is doing things that I think no other quarterback in the history of the National Football League has done at the line of scrimmage," Shula said.

"I just think they are a team right now that has a real chance of running the table."

And if it does happen, those '72 Dolphins will be disappointed, but only mildly so.

"We don't root for them to lose," said running back Jim Kiick, who rushed for 521 yards and five touchdowns in 1972.

"We're not bitter old men like some people make us out to be. We're proud of our accomplishment. You can't beat perfection, you can only equal it. If they do it, then we'll make room for another chair on our mountain."

CHALLENGED CHARGERS

After winning nine of their final 10 games last season, big things were expected of the San Diego Chargers in 2005.

And based on their play during their current three-game winning streak, they arguably are one of the top teams in the league heading into the stretch run.

"I think it's safe to say we are starting to get the feeling that we had last year," said running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who will try to help his team extend that streak tomorrow in Washington.

The problem for the Chargers is that a 2-3 start to the season has their record at 6-4. Thursday's overtime win by Denver over the Dallas Cowboys didn't help matters as the Broncos, who are 9-2, have the second-best record in the NFL and are running away with the AFC West.

"It's a confidence level, that attitude that we can move the ball no matter if it's the pass game or the run game," said Chargers quarterback Drew Brees.

STEEL CURTAIN

As the Colts proved last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, they still can move the ball through the air.

That may be the required attack again in an interesting Monday nighter when the visiting Steelers are the opponent.

The Pittsburgh defence is making a name for itself again extending its streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 22 games.

Among the big names they've kept below the century mark are Baltimore's Jamal Lewis, Jacksonville's Fred Taylor and Tomlinson.

Next up is the Colts' Edgerrin James, who has gained more than 100 yards seven times this season.

"We definitely gotta stop him," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said. "It will be a great challenge for our defence."


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