Beautiful beginnings

TED WYMAN

, Last Updated: 1:03 AM ET

Six weeks into the NFL season and four teams are still in the hunt for perfection.

The Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos still have an incredibly long way to go to achieve the ultimate goal but they're all off to the kind of start every sports team dreams of.

Being fast out of the gate doesn't always guarantee glory at the end of the season -- you just need to look at the 2007 New England Patriots to understand that -- but it sure makes for some memorable moments.

The odds are slim any of the aforementioned NFL teams will go wire-to-wire without a loss this season, but the odds of one of them winning the Super Bowl aren't too shabby.

They've also given us inspiration for this week's Top-10 -- the greatest starts in pro sports history.

10. 1948 Calgary Stampeders

Under coach Les Lear, the Stampeders pulled off the only perfect season in Canadian professional football history, going 12-0 in the regular season, beating the Regina Roughriders in a two-game Western Inter-Provincial Football Union final and dropping the Ottawa Rough Riders 14-7 in the Grey Cup game. Since the Stamps and Riders actually tied 4-4 in the first game of the W.I.F.U. final, some would argue their season wasn't actually perfect, but it was still a hell of a start -- and finish.

9. 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs, 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres

With Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk and Wendel Clark leading the way, the Leafs reeled off 10 consecutive wins to start the season. They wound up finishing second in the Central Division and winning two rounds of playoffs before falling to the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference final. The Buffalo Sabres also went 10-0 in 2006-07 but three of those wins came in shootouts. They did, however, go on to win the President's Trophy and eventually lost to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference final.

8. 2006-07

Anaheim Ducks

Shortening their name from the embarrassing Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to the Anaheim Ducks seemed to pay off immediately. Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and the Ducks flew out of the starting blocks, recording at least a point in their first 16 games (12 wins and four shootout or OT losses). They went on to compile a 48-20-14 record and defeated the Ottawa Senators for their first and only Stanley Cup.

7. 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, 1982 Atlanta Braves

With Paul Molitor, who was embarking on a 39-game hitting streak, and Robin Yount leading the way, the Brewers won their first 13 games to tie the MLB record set by the Braves in 1982. The Brewers finished a fine season with a 91-71 record but in those days before the wild card, that meant a third-place finish in the AL East and no post-season appearance. The 1982 Braves, under manager Joe Torre, won their first 13 games, then lost the next five and struggled at times during the season. However, they did win the NL West with an 89-73 mark before getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS.

6. 1993-94 Houston Rockets, 1948-49 Washington Capitols

Led by Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets stormed out of the gate and won their first 15 games before compiling a 58-24 record and eventually outlasting the New York Knicks in a seven-game championship series. Led by coach Red Auerbach, the Capitols went 15-0 to start the Basketball Association of America (precursor to the NBA) season in 1948. They too made it to the league final, before losing in six games to the Minneapolis Lakers.

5. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls

In Michael Jordan's first full season after a 17-month retirement, the Bulls got off to a ridiculous start, losing only twice before Christmas and holding a 41-3 record at the beginning of February. They wound up going 72-10, setting a record for regular-season wins and winning their fourth NBA championship.

4. 1984 Detroit Tigers

In one of the greatest wire-to-wire seasons in MLB history, the Tigers went 10-1 to open the season and were 35-5 after 40 games before rolling to the AL East pennant with a 15-game cushion over the Toronto Blue Jays. After going 104-58 during the season, Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Jack Morris and Co. swept the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS and beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 in the World Series.

3. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers

Bobby Clarke and the Flyers lost once in October and didn't fall again until January, going 24-1-10 in the first three months of the season. After their first loss, they went an incredible 35 games without suffering another defeat. They finished the season with a 48-12-20 record and made it to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the New York Islanders on Bob Nystrom's famous overtime goal.

2. 2007 New England Patriots

Tom Brady led the Patriots to the first 16-0 season in NFL history. They clinched the AFC East before their 11th game. They defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers to reach the Super Bowl, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, that made them the first team from any of the four major North American sports to go 18-0 since 1884. They were poised to be crowned the greatest pro sports team in history, but then a funny thing happened. They lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

1. 1972 Miami Dolphins

Pretty tough to top a perfect season and the Dolphins are the only North American pro sports team that can truly claim such an achievement. Led by coach Don Shula and players like Bob Griese, Earl Morrall and Larry Czonka, the Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season and had only a couple of close calls (a 16-14 win over the Vikings and a 24-23 win over the Bills). They then dispatched the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs before capping the perfect 17-0 season with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins.

Disagree with our picks? E-mail yours to topten@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos