A lot's been said over these two dragged out weeks where we're all repeatedly reminded how awesome it is to work in sports -- especially if you're not playing the Super Bowl. All athletes and celebs and every single sports radio show in America (except the Handsome Hour) seem to descend upon the host city. I will admit I rather enjoyed the fact that they had marginal-to-crappy weather in Miami most of this week. Serves you all right for rubbing the rest of our noses in it, jerkwads. Also, have fun trying this in Dallas next year. It actually snows in Dallas in Jan/Feb. Have fun with that.
Also, why can't we go back to those few years where there was only one week between the conference title games and the Super Bowl? They did a few times maybe ten or so years ago and I'm guessing it didn't work as well for the sponsors and host city and, well, basically everyone trying to make money off this event. You know who it did work out well for? Fans. You know, the people who, ostensibly, these games are being played for. I loved that. A week off sucks. From preseason games in late July through the NFC/AFC championship games, there is NFL football every single week. And then we just grind it to a halt for two weeks. So stupid and illogical. Of course, they could be like the BCS and take off 5 or 6 weeks and then play the Super Bowl in March, so I guess I should be thankful.
Anyway, here we (finally) are. Colts versus Saints and, honestly, unless you have some irrational hate for one of these teams, I think the majority of neutral fans (i.e., not a true fan of either) are in the boat I am -- it wouldn't be awful if either team won. Which is a rare place for the Super Bowl to be. Usually I really do or do not want to see a team win. Usually, it's the latter. Unless the Giants are in it, I'm usually rooting against someone. Two years ago was utterly awesome because not only was I rooting for my Giants, but I would have been rooting against the Patriots anyway.
For Boilerdowd, the season before was the ultimate. And now, here we are, with a game that matters probably more to him than me (since as for pro football, he's a Colts guy and a Drew Brees
lover fan) but that I cannot wait to watch.
Neither team plays a whole lot of defense, though we've heard a lot of talk about the beating New Orleans put on Brett Favre. And that's fine, but Favre has always taken hits. The guy holds on to the ball and waits for a sandlot play to develop. He often throws at the last second and he also tries to throw a block sometimes. Make no mistake, though, the Saints gave up a lot of yards and points in that NFC title game. The Vikes couldn't stop turning the ball over and yet they still should have won. Crazy.
The Colts are surgical, as everyone talks about ad nauseum regarding Peyton, so I won't rehash it here. Suffice it to say, though, that when Tom Brady had marginal, unknown receivers back in 2006, he lost to the Colts and everyone said they needed to upgrade their receivers for Terrific Tom. The Pats then did that in a major way (Moss, Welker, Gaffney, etc.) and Handsome Tom still hasn't won a Super Bowl since the 2004 season. Manning, on the other hand, takes unknown receivers and turns them into stars. Funny how that works.
The Saints have been riding emotion for a long time now. They played like a machine for the first three months of the season, dispatching quality opponents like the Giants and Pats as though they didn't belong on the same field with the Saints. These weren't "solid wins" or clear victories -- these were destructions. One could argue that the G-men and the Pats were never the same after being de-pantsed by the Saints in New Orleans. The Giants were 5-0 heading to New Orleans, in what was billed as a test for the Saints. Turned out the Giants were pretenders, getting hammered and reeling a 3-8 finish. Ugh.
The Pats entered 7-3, got trounced, and went 3-2 down the stretch, flaming out in the first round of the playoffs.
My point? The Saints were a buzzsaw, absolutely mowing down anyone in their path. And then they sort of lost their way, losing their final three games. I knew this would be a problem, as they then had a bye week and it had been five weeks since they had won a game. You can't overstate how much repetition and mindsets factor into NFL success -- after all, it's one-and-done; you can't have a bad game and go get 'em tomorrow like in a playoff series in other sports.
The Saints got their act together in destroying the Cardinals and then put together a somewhat nervous performance against the Vikes. And here we are.
The Colts, meanwhile, are almost frighteningly methodical in how they flatten teams. No trash talking. No responding to remarks by idiots like the Jets. They, in what is unfortunately rare, let their play do all their talking. They go out there and ground their opponents into dust. How many times were the Colts even seriously challenged this year? I saw them in person here in Houston against the Texans and the Texans looked in control early, building a 23-7 lead, I believe. And then, predictably, the wheels came off because Peyton has something few others have -- complete confidence in his and his team's abilities as well as patience. It doesn't matter how long it takes for him to figure things out -- he will figure them out. The Patriots had outplayed the Colts all night in that November game famous for Bill Belichick's going for it on fourth down. But that call kind of overshadows how Peyton brought the Colts back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter. That's incredible and few guys -- if any -- could do that to a Patriots team. The fourth down call never should have been an issue -- Peyton forced it to become one.
Another Colts tidbit that I have heard a few times and find myself completely agreeing with is that they haven't lost a single game they've tried to win. On its face, this sounds like a little kid argument: "Well, I wasn't trying!" But it's not. The Colts lost two games this season. One to the Jets, in which they held a third-quarter lead before the team inexplicably decided to fold the tent for the week and remove key players, such as Manning. And the other in the final week, in a snowy game against the Bills -- a game which I definitely agreed with yanking the starters since the game was truly rendered as meaningless as possible as a result of the previous week's dumb decision. The Colts should have gone for perfection, in my opinion. But they didn't and so now they're pissed and want to crush anyone in their path -- at least that's how I see it. So maybe it was a genius move. We'll never know for sure.
My (rambling) point is this.... we think the Colts are going to wind up the champs this weekend. As mentioned on the Handsome Hour, our loyalties are divided. Boilerdowd is a Colts fan who likes Drew Brees more than the supple, young, impressionable lads he "guided" as a counselor in the Purdue dorms -- and he's come to the conclusion that he wants the Colts to win. He also threw in the girl-like (no offense ladies) comment that he wants to see Drew do well, too. So, basically, he's like a mom who wants all the kids to get a trophy at the end of the soccer season. Yay!
Me, I'm pulling for the Saints all the way. I've been the Superdome to see Drew play, I (like many of you) watched him play in Ross-Ade and I really like pretty much everything about this Saints team. Again, this is not to disparage the Colts, who for the most part do everything the classy, right way (aside from going for perfect seasons, at which they are poor). And again as mentioned, if the Colts were to win, I'd be fine with Peyton having a second Super Bowl and would honestly hope he wins a few more to cement his status as the best QB ever -- because he really is.
The BS pick, as though you care:
Colts 38, Saints 35