If the All Blacks are honest, this whole business of individuals losing emotional control which has been so evident in the Tri Nations, began during Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Maybe it was the pent up frustration of lockdown coming out or the sense that a New Zealand-only competition, run and refereed by New Zealand administrators and officials, was a safe place to indulge in multiple histrionics on the field without fear of recrimination.
There was definitely something at work, almost compelling players – many senior All Blacks – to behave in a petulant and volatile manner where they challenged referees openly and with hostility; where they stamped their feet and screamed when things didn't go their way and where they reacted physically to any mild sense of injustice.
Remember Brad Weber and Aaron Smith punching it out in Hamilton? Or the Chiefs crowding referee Brendon Pickerill at Eden Park after he awarded the Blues a penalty instead of the visitors a try?
Or what about TJ Perenara being told in the first game that he was no longer, even as co-captain, allowed to engage with referee Mike Fraser who'd had enough of the verbal onslaught.
The signs were all there in Super Rugby that plenty of players were finding it hard to stay on a steady emotional keel – that there was no ability to turn the other cheek.
And here we are now, a few days out from the final test of the season and the fate of so many rests on the ability of so few to get a grip.
There's no other way of putting it. It's that simple – it's time for a handful of players to grow up and realise that being played off the ball and being provoked is an occupational hazard of test rugby.
It's going to happen as it always has and it's not as if the All Blacks haven't indulged in a fair bit of this sort of stuff themselves over the years.
In the last few tests several All Blacks have felt the need to respond overtly when provoked, either because they feel that's what's required to deter it or because they simply can't cope with the idea that they are being picked on.
Either way, responding is the worst idea – precisely because a response is what the initial perpetrator is looking to induce.
The best All Blacks and the best teams have quietly endured that sort of nonsense and then picked a point in time to whisper in the ear of their opponent that they need to take a quick look at the scoreboard and see what it is saying.
The best teams stay focused on their task regardless of how hard their opponent is trying to lure them into a fake contest of wills and if this current All Blacks side is to grow and mature into something more reflective of its natural talent, then they need to show in their final match of 2020 that they have learned the art of sucking it up.
The best and only valid response to incessant off the ball provocation is to ignore it and get on with winning the game. After all, what's the value to the perpetrator if they can't use a stray elbow to the back of someone's head to spark a retaliation and penalty reversal?
There's none – and all the risk goes back on the perpetrator if they are a blur of flailing limbs after the whistle has been blown or ball long-cleared.
How much risk they are under at the moment is debatable as referees seem to have zero interest in taking control of the contest early and deterring teams from working the opposition off the ball.
At the moment, referees have clearly decided that anything that happens off the ball is outside their purview, unless of course there is extended response activity conducted right in front of them.
As All Blacks coach Ian Foster said, we have returned to the bad old days of the retaliation being seen as the real crime.
That's infuriating and nonsensical but it's also how things are and is just one more thing that the All Blacks have to accept as fact.One more thing to suck up.
Test rugby is not for the hot-headed or petulant. It's not a world where a quick slap to the chops brings closure or effective retribution.
It's a world where ice-cold temperaments have to endure, injustices be swallowed however bitter and cheap shots, however nasty, simply ignored.