Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday Will Not Lack Excitement
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Super Bowl XLIV (Forty-four), to be played in Miami, Florida on Sunday, February 7, 2010 will certainly not lack excitement. It will pitch the formidable passing offense of the Peyton Manning led AFC team the Indianapolis Colts against the strong rush offense and defense of the NFC’s New Orleans Saints led by quarterback Drew Brees whose own skills should not be ignored.
Either way it is going to be an exciting game, even for us West Coast types who held up their hopes up till the San Diego Chargers loss in the playoffs to the New York Jets on January 17. The other old West Coast powerhouses, the 49ers, Raiders and the Seahawks have still to recover their past glory and once again were just happy to be playing football this past season.
There has been some talk about how Peyton Manning will be able to break through the Saints defense with ease. Talk is all this may turn out to be, because the Minnesota Vikings led by Brett Favre can attest to the fact that the Saints defense had quarterback Favre on the ground at least fifteen times during the NFC Championship game. Manning may be younger and faster, but if his offensive line is not able to protect him, his formidable passing skills may remain under-utilized.
Comparing the teams during this past season remains difficult. The Colts have an edge in passing yardage per game, but a wider gap exists between the two teams for rushing, this time in favor of the Saints. On defense against passing, the Colts have a better record for yards per game allowed, but the Saints have proved more efficient against the rush. And if one delves into 3 rd down conversions, the Colts have had better success in both passing and rushing. But how often have these teams played against one another this past season to indicate who is really better? The answer is zero.
There were rumors at one time last December that not one but both of these teams would finish the season undefeated. But that did not happen, even though they did not meet on the football field. There was a strong element of truth in the forecast back then, because as we stand today, the two best teams in the NFL are still going to finally face each other on Super Bowl Sunday, even after having lost games in the process. The Saints finally losing to the Dallas Cowboys and the Colts to the New York Jets during the regular season, returned to avenge their losses and have earned their way to the top.
The weather is usually not a limiting factor in Miami (except for that occasional hurricane or two). New Orleans has the underdog sympathy vote behind it, since they were devastated by Katrina, and many fans including this writer would like to see the city rebound. Indianapolis became the home town of the Colts which used to be Baltimore. Peyton Manning and team already have a Super Bowl win in 2007. Pierre Garcon of the Colts, whose family hails from devastated Haiti, will be drawing some attention because of the tragedy. And Reggie Bush of the Saints will be drawing the attention of Kim Kardashian who in turn will be drawing all kinds of attention.
Queen Latifah and Carrie Underwood will be the featured performers along with the veteren band The Who singing during the halftime show. But expectations are high from the football game itself this time as one can only speculate which team will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Will Manning and the Colts triumph? Or will the Saints come marching in? I will continue to hope for the latter.