There was a period in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup when most of the All Blacks were watched enviously by the famed Israeli spying agency Mossad such was their ability to stay so calm and clear in the heat of battle.
Having brought in forensic psychiatrist Ceri Evans to work with the team a decade ago, the All Blacks have used his simple red head-blue head model – a similar concept to the one Mossad are believed to use to train their assassins – to try to keep themselves mentally alert in big games.
Simply put – red head is when players are over-aroused and a touch wild and emotional. Blue head is when they are aroused, but calm, task-focused and capable of processing information.
And even more simply put, the fabled system isn't working as well as it once was and the All Blacks are finding it increasingly difficult to locate their blue heads when they are under pressure.
In Perth last year they went red head almost as soon as the game started and the defeat in Brisbane was as much attributable to the All Blacks' mental weakness as it was the Wallabies physical resurrection.
A team that was once the envy of the world in the way they coped with pressure is now prone to melting down in spectacular fashion when they get the first sniff of things not going their way.
As deserved as they were of the victory and proud of the way they swept up the broken pieces from Sydney and glued them into a fit for purpose collective, the Wallabies were still likely surprised that the All Blacks fell apart as easily as they did.
Australia twisted the dial barely half a notch and that was enough for the All Blacks to lose their pattern, discipline and control.
Probably more surprising for the Wallabies was the mileage they gained from working so hard to upset the All Blacks off the ball.
They haven't hidden from the fact that they will work the grey areas – hit players late, shove them when they are getting up, block their running lines and burrow under the skin anyway they can.
They took that to another level in Brisbane and if there is a criticism to be made of referee Nic Berry it is that he failed to stamp that out early and let it escalate to the point where it bubbled over.
But the bigger failure was the All Blacks openly demonstrating that the whole business had got to them. They reacted with red heads not blue. Anton Lienert-Brown was lucky not to be penalised when he shoved Nic White after the halfback kicked the ball away.
TJ Perenara was even more fortunate not to be in trouble as he grabbed his opposite by the throat – plainly frustrated at the fact the Wallabies had once again illegally killed attacking possession.
And then of course there was Scott Barrett's brain fade for the ages when he lay on the ground and slapped the ball out of White's hands.
Blue heads don't do dumb things and what may trouble Ian Foster is that the problem obviously runs deep, as he saw it throughout Super Rugby where too often New Zealand's best players were caught up gesticulating at the referee and acting hysterically when things didn't go their way under the mistaken impression that a tantrum would be rewarded.
The lack of discipline was the most obvious sign in Brisbane that there were red heads everywhere but the real impact of not being clear and calm was felt in the way they played.
There was virtually no game management in the second half. Blue heads would have rationalised that the All Blacks had to slow down, go back to what it had worked so well in Sydney and use lower risk rugby to put the pressure on the Wallabies.
They came into the second half at 8-8 with a man advantage and that was the time to squeeze with tight, low-error rugby. The time to push the Wallabies into their own territory, force them to defend and put them at greater risk of conceding penalties or even more cards.
Instead, the All Blacks thought the way to capitalise was to speed things up, take risks and try to play exclusively wide.
Red heads took over and the result was a predictable loss – built on poor decision-making, worse execution and a shapeless, thoughtless plan that seemed to be built on the flawed notion that the faster they played the better they would be.
Under pressure the All Blacks now revert to what they know – pass and catch and run from everywhere.
The problem with that isn't so much the strategy itself, it is the fact they now revert to type under pressure and that is the surest sign of all that red heads are in control.