An old maxim of news, and perhaps almost any other discussion, is that a future without a past can never be.
As a guide to the importance or relevance of the events of today, we tend to line them up against those of yesterday.
Thus it is that we find debate over the performances of the All Blacks about to enter a new sphere. After the last two performances in thrashing Argentina a week ago and the dispatching of South Africa during the weekend we all confidently expect that at Labour Weekend they will take Australia apart in Brisbane, and equal the All Blacks' record for the most test match wins in a row.
Since the last loss, to Australia, in Brisbane, in August last year, the All Blacks have had 16 wins, and the public is dining out on just over 13 months of invincibility, including grand-slamming the Rugby World Cup tournament, and the Rugby Championship.
Already some are suggesting this is the greatest All Black team ever - somewhat missing the point that it is rare that we ever see the same team in action for two tests in a row.
Likewise the parallel claims that Richie McCaw is both our greatest captain ever, our greatest flanker, and even our greatest player, which while all having a little more credibility, ignore the claims of a fair few others in the past who have also been the greatest ever.
Try telling that to anyone who was around in the 1960s, when Hawke's Bay's own Kel Tremain was in the All Black teams who won 17 in a row, of which he played 13, between one loss to South Africa in September 1965 and the next, also to South Africa, in May 1970 - six weeks short of five years.
For about half the the 1960s era, no replacements were allowed in rugby internationals at all, not even if someone died on the pitch. In 2012, each team is allowed seven replacements, very often making full use of this freedom, and to some degree turning it into a different sport.
In the 4-0 home series drubbing of the British Lions in 1966, only 16 players got to wear the silver fern. The following year the great Colin Meads became the first All Black to be ordered off since the 1920s, but the few minutes left in the game were the only minutes he was to miss in those 17 consecutive victories.
It was on a 1968 tour of Australia that the All Blacks were able to field a replacement player for the first time in 21 years.
Ian Kirkpatrick came on in place of captain Brian Lochore, who was unable to carry on. Lochore had earlier spent five minutes off the field having an injured thumb strapped, while the team played on a man short, reluctant to make any replacement if it could be avoided.
It was to be an even more auspicious debut for Kirkpatrick, who scored three tries, the first All Black to to do so in a test since 1935.
Lochore was to come back, captaining the All Blacks in 14 of those 17 wins, which were a part of 52 consecutive matches without defeat, the only blemish a 3-3 draw with East Wales.
That was a non-test selection which like most of the All Backs' non-test match opposition in the '60s would have been good enough to meet any second-tier nation at the time, which is about where we may draw the only real comparison.
No doubt there is a nerd somewhere trying to find hologrammic resolution to a debate that can never be resolved, but a few zillion bytes will disintegrate in the process.
Perhaps it's not our greatest All Blacks team ever, but it sure as hell makes a great debate.
PS: Apologies for not mentioning the 1924-25 Invincibles, and George Nepia, who played 36 games in a row (at two a week). And the team which won the 1987 World Cup ...