Streaky: NFL-colored glasses make Cleveland Indians’ 22-straight wins even more impressive

Technically, the 2017 Cleveland Indians stand alone as the team with the longest winning streak in Major League Baseball history with 22 consecutive victories. The 1916 New York Giants had 26 victories but there were unofficial ties that were included in the streak, so it was not 26-straight wins.

Even though they are two completely different sports, is it safe to say that a 22-game baseball win streak is more impressive than an undefeated regular season in the NFL?

An NFL season has only seen one franchise complete the perfect season. That would be the 1972 Miami Dolphins who had a 14-0 regular season and went a spotless 3-0 in the playoffs, which was capped off by a Super Bowl victory against the Redskins. The 2007 New England Patriots came close to that record with a perfect 16-0 regular season but came up short against the Giants in the Super Bowl — finishing with an 18-1 record.

Is football more grueling to a player’s body than baseball? Yes. But people don’t like to take into account the mental grind that baseball puts on its players. As a major leaguer, you have a game nearly every single day for five months, not including the postseason and spring training.

A good portion of a baseball player’s day is spent studying film of all the pitchers he may potentially face in a series. This could be 10-12 guys he needs to study and memorize their tendencies. The same will go for pitchers who need to come up with game plans on how to pitch to certain players.

This isn’t discrediting the film work football players spend time on, but they only have to prepare for one single game per week, not a three-game series.

On top of studying a hitter or pitcher, baseball players are subject to long flights every three or four days which — if you are not used to constant travel — can cause jet lag and can be a cause for poor performance.

Former Athletics’ pitcher Dallas Braden and Mark Mulder (who was part of the A’s 20-consecutive wins in 2002) said it perfectly when asked which streak was harder to accomplish when they appeared on the Starting 9 podcast.

Mulder: “I would have to go with baseball simply because I’ve never done the football side of it at a high level like that. I get it, football is an extremely demanding sport but you’re playing baseball every single day.”

Moulder compared it to your pitcher on the mound is always changing every game, while in the NFL you normally have a set quarterback for the entire season.

“With [Indians pitcher] Corey Kubler on the mound 21 start days, they wouldn’t stop at 21-straight wins.”

Braden chimed in and added how a weak link in a starting rotation shouldn’t allow for long winning streaks. He used the 2002 A’s starting rotation with him inserted as the weakest link.

“Hell of a lot different than going [Tim] Hudson, Mulder, [Barry] Zito…Braden. There’s a slight drop off there. I likely won’t be running the two-minute drill.”

The NFL season may seem long (5-6 months depending on if a team makes the playoffs) but it is more of a sprint than the marathon a Major League Baseball season is. There are so many intangibles that would have to be perfectly aligned for a baseball team to ever reach 22-consecutive wins ever again.

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