Found November 05, 2012 on
You can't blame the NFL's all-time winningest coach for laughing at the question that he knows is coming.
Don Shula is annually asked whether any team will match the league's only perfect season posted by his 1972 Miami Dolphins. And every year, the challengers have fallen short.
The Atlanta Falcons (8-0) are this season's only remaining unbeaten squad. Shula told FOXSports.com on Monday that he is impressed by the Falcons but perfection won't come easily.
"They're good," Shula said in a telephone interview. "I like what they're doing at quarterback (Matt Ryan) and with their head coach (Mike Smith). They're playing good defense and they can score. But it's a tough deal."
Shula then cited how close the Falcons already have come to losing this season. With his son Mike serving as Carolina's quarterbacks coach, Shula attended Atlanta's improbable 30-28 comeback victory over the Panthers in Week 4. With no timeouts and 59 seconds remaining, Atlanta drove from its own 1-yard line to set up Matt Bryant's game-winning 40-yard field goal.
"They shouldn't have won," Shula said. "They should have gotten beat that game. Carolina had them and let them loose.
"Now, you've got to have games like that if you expect to run the table. We just have to wait and see who else is going to give them that kind of battle."
The 2011 Green Bay Packers made it to 13-0 before losing to Kansas City in Week 15. As it stands now, that's also the next time Atlanta will play a team with a winning record in the New York Giants (6-3).
Shula has long said he would offer a hearty congratulations to any team that could run the table like his 1972 Dolphins, which capped a 17-0 campaign with a victory over Washington in Super Bowl VII. The 2007 New England Patriots were 18-0 before being upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
That loss preserved Miami's unique place in NFL history, but Shula insists he and other members of the 1972 Dolphins don't gloat when contenders fall short. That includes the belief that the Dolphins always celebrate with a champagne toast after the last undefeated team falls.
"We've been portrayed as a bunch of angry old guys who have big cocktail parties and celebrate," said Shula, 82. "None of that is true. I think one year when the last undefeated team got beat, Dick Anderson and (Nick) Buoniconti were living across the street from each other. They went to the parking lot and did a champagne toast.
"Someone there took a picture of it, but they were too cheap to invite the rest of us to the party."
BEST OF MAXIM
The Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC through nine weeks at 8-0 and could be the second team in NFL history to go 16-0. The Atlanta Falcons have looked good in most of their games but have faltered as of late with close calls against the Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, and the Oakland Raiders. Despite it all, they remain the only undefeated team in the NFL and the question...
The last remaining undefeated team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, is looking to complete a perfect first half as they take on the 3-4 Dallas Cowboys.
The Falcons have a large lead in the NFC South, while the Cowboys are attempting to climb back into NFC East race.
Matt Ryan is everyone’s MVP leader so far. Can he keep the magic going against the Cowboys on Sunday night?
Dallas nose tackle Jay Ratliff suffered an apparent left leg injury late in the first half of Sunday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Ratliff was attempting to put pressure on Falcons linebacker Matt Ryan when he pulled up, favoring his left leg, before falling to his knees.
The Cowboys called timeout to assist Ratliff on the field. He was able to walk off the field...
What Went Right The defense once again was solid this week. Ware got pressure constantly and made sure to leave Matt Ryan’s face print onto the field before the game was over. Ratliff showed signs of him old self and until his injury, he was walling off the middle to Michael Turner and charging into the pocket consistently. McCray has shown that he may be a legitimate option...
Its 11 am MST on a day after the Atlanta Falcons beat the disoriented Dallas Cowboys to go 8-0 for the first time in their franchise history, and the Falcons still aren’t getting any respect. And I’m not about to give them any respect either. At least not now. Just an “Atta Boy”!
I will acknowledge that Matt Ryan has finally elevated his game to that next level, and those...
NFL midseason awards at halftime of the 2012 NFL season:
Most Valuable Player
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
“Matty Ice” has been as cool as they...
Matt Ryan came up with two words to describe his performance Sunday night.
''Good enough,'' he said.
It's a familiar summary for the 2012 Atlanta Falcons, who just keep winning -- even when they make a couple OF mistakes.
Michael Turner had a tiebreaking 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Matt Bryant kicked four field goals and the Falcons beat the...
The Atlanta Falcons improved to 8-0 on the season with a 19-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 342 yards while Michael Turner had a good night on the ground with 102 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw for 321 yards and a touchdown with WR Kevin Ogletre had three receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown...
Michael Turner had a tiebreaking 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Matt Bryant kicked four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-13 on Sunday night to extend their run as the NFL's only unbeaten team.
Turner had 20 carries for 102 yards and Matt Ryan had a season-high 342 yards passing for the Falcons (8-0), who took their first lead on Turner...
The unbeaten Atlanta Falcons got off to a sluggish start against the Dallas Cowboys before Matt Bryant's 46-yard field goal forced a 6-6 tie at halftime on Sunday night.
Beginning a drive at the 12-yard line with 1:03 left in the second quarter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed a 20-yard pass to Roddy White and a 22-yarder to Tony Gonzalez to set up the field goal.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Michael Turner had a tiebreaking 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Matt Bryant kicked four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-13 on Sunday night to extend their run as the NFL's only unbeaten team.
Turner had 20 carries for 102 yards and Matt Ryan had a season-high 342 yards passing for the Falcons (8-0), who took their first...
It sounds like a broken record, but the Atlanta Falcons found a way to win on Sunday despite not playing their best football. Don't get me wrong, the Falcons weren't horrible but the offense had trouble executing on the Cowboys side of the 50 which resulted in six field goal attempts, two of which were no good. The Falcons had a lot of opportunities to score in this game...