- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Perfection is an illusory concept, for no institution stuffed with humans is perfect.

That, of course, is the beauty of being a trial lawyer, forever motivated to find imperfections in institutions with cash-atoning recourse.

The Colts and Saints should consider this imperfect truth as they weigh the prospect of an unblemished record against the benefits of resting their starters in the coming weeks before the playoffs.

The conflict emanates from the 1972 Dolphins, the standard of perfection in the NFL, as perfection is distilled down to a 17-0 record.

It is easy to talk this game, and talk they do on the airwaves, where a sore knee is not liable to hold back anyone’s vocal cords.

The Dolphins are inevitably trotted out each time a team makes a run at an undefeated season, the 2007 Patriots being the last team to inspire a nostalgic break in the action.

The Patriots came within David Tyree’s one-in-a-zillion, ball-pressed-against-the-helmet catch of going 19-0 and putting the 1972 Dolphins to rest.

And maybe Shula’s Steakhouse, too.

That would be Don Shula, coach of the 1972 Dolphins, chain restaurant entrepreneur and one of the spokesmen of the Nutrisystem weight-loss program.

You can draw what you want from the connection: steakhouse, expanding girth, Nutrisystem.

As it was, the Dolphins were hardly the top NFL organization of the ‘70s, not when you consider the four Super Bowl championships of the Steelers, their sustained level of excellence preferable to a burst of brilliance.

If it is about hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the end - and it is - every other consideration is extraneous.

Pity either coach if Peyton Manning or Drew Brees suffered a season-ending injury in the final regular-season game.

Actually, the Colts could secure home-field advantage this weekend, which would reduce their final three games to exercises in bookkeeping.

This would appeal only to those agents tracking the bonus clauses in the contracts of their clients.

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