History repeating

Only one NFL team has ever recorded a perfect season. The 1972 Miami Dolphins won all 17 games, culminating in a win over the Washington Redskins in Superbowl VII. These days NFL teams have to win at least 19 games to post a perfect record and, so far, the Dolphins' record has remained safe.

In 1985 the Chicago Bears came to Miami having won all 12 of the games they had played up to that point. The Dolphins had a pretty good team that season and, supported by several members of the 1972 team, beat them 38-24. It was the only game the Bears lost that year.

Things could have been different if they had met the Dolphins again in the Superbowl but the New England Patriots put paid to that in the AFC Championship Game. As it happens, that championship game was the first American football game I saw. I was eleven and, for reasons now lost in my memory, I decided to become a Dolphins supporter.

In the short-term my decision paid off as the Patriots were demolished by the Bears in Superbowl XX, 46-10. However, since then the Patriots have been to the Superbowl four more times, winning three, while the Dolphins have done, well, bugger all.

In fact the Dolphins have been positively woeful in the last two or three years, so I wasn't very optimistic about their chances of repeating history today.

Twenty-one years on the Dolphins, with one win and six defeats so far this season, travelled to Chicago to face the Bears, who have won all seven games in 2006. Nobody thought the Dolphins had a chance. Bears fans have even made a t-shirt chronicling the path to an unbeaten year.

But they did it! The Dolphins won 31-13, improving to 2-6 and dumping the Bears down to 7-1. It doesn't save their season but it's a good reminder of better days.