07 February 2010

Super Bowl XLIV: Finally, my mind made up

It took me only a day after the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts advanced to this year's Super Bowl to realize that I shouldn't spend a lot of time analyzing it myself. I could've spent hours and hours crunching the 2009-10 season numbers for the two teams, but even that would have left me no closer to deciding who would, or should, win. A few minutes of examining intangibles, by contrast, got me a lot closer to making up my mind.

I'm rooting for:  the Saints.  Usually, one or both Super Bowl teams inspires great passion.  (The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, loved by some and hated by others, are the most obvious examples.) Failing that, the public just likes one team more than the other.  (Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers were much more popular than the Arizona Cardinals -- even in wide swaths of Arizona.)  This year, neither case applies.  The Colts and Saints both enjoy high degrees of likability.  The worst thing I've heard about either side is that, well, the Colts won only three years ago.  Once, since 1970.  That's not exactly a reason for hating on any team.

I'll celebrate no matter who wins, but sentiment compels me to pull, a little bit, for the Saints.  Even 53 months after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans can still use every morale boost it can get.  A Saint win would cap a truly remarkable comeback for quarterback Drew Brees, whose career obituary was being drafted when the Colts won Super Bowl XLI.  Finally, the Saints are Super Bowl debutantes, and they deserve a little love on that count alone.

The winner will be:  the Colts -- one of the most poised teams ever to take the field in the NFL.  The first pieces of evidence came back in 2007, at the end of their Super Bowl XLI run.  They didn't panic when the hated New England Patriots took a 21-3 lead in the AFC Championship that season.  When the Chicago Bears -- whose 2006-7 version won with short but devastating spurts -- made an early run, the Colts kept their heads and won solidly.  This year, nothing has panicked Peyton Manning and company, especially not the 17-6 lead they yielded two weeks ago to the Jets.  All year long, they've kept their focus.  That's true even in their two losses.  Having already wrapped up the playoff home field, the Colts treated those games as preseason-style experiments, aimed at finding and patching whatever weaknesses they had.

I don't mean to dismiss the Saints' poise.  They've also shown lots of it in their run to tonight's game.  Unfortunately for them, the Colts have been at the poise business for much longer.  Colts, 30-21.

(Done with 20 minutes to kickoff. Phew!)


2 comments:

Matty Boy said...

Oopsie!

I didn't have a prediction, so no mistake was possible.

You were right about D-Cap throwing in the towel. I hadn't read his blog since he decided to quit.

Abu Scooter said...

Apparently, Reggie Wayne didn't get the memo about the Colts' poise. :-)

The Saints pretty much took out the Colt receivers, and made some great adjustments at the half. Wayne was a disaster in the second half, and the other receivers were not factors at all.