Sunday, February 7, 2010

Call it: Manning 34, Saints 27

A Super Bowl victory by the Saints clearly would be a great story, considering all the trying stuff the city of New Orleans has been through. But there are two words why I don't believe it will happen: Peyton Manning.

The Colts field general is such an incredibly cerebral quarterback who is able to figure out even the most complex defenses. And there have been few players in the history of the game who have been able to elevate the play of those around him as well as Manning has. Look at what he has done despite the loss of all-time great receiver Marvin Harrison, the lack of a solid run game and the tepid backing of a defense that will never be mistaken for the Steel Curtain.

I'm hoping for a close game, but after witnessing two of the most compelling Super Bowls the past two years, we might be due for a clunker, especially if the Saints experience first-time jitters and start turning it over.

Call it Indianapolis 34, New Orleans 27.

* Imagine how different the history of the Colts would have been if general manager Bill Polian had chosen Ryan Leaf instead of Manning. In retrospect, the decision seems like a no-brainer, but at the time the majority of NFL GMs polled said they would draft Leaf. The rap against Manning was that at Tennessee he couldn't win the big game against arch-rival Florida and that he was a mechanical, immobile quarterback who relied too heavily on systems and couldn't improvise on the fly. So much for that scouting report.

* People forget that before the incredible success the Colts have enjoyed this past decade, they were among the dregs of the NFL when they first stole away to Indy. The joke during their early years in the Hoosier State was that Colts stood for: Can Only Lose This Sunday.

* Back to Polian, I can't help but wonder how different the history of the Buffalo Bills would have been these past 16 years if he were still in Western New York as GM and president. Purely speculation on my part, but I believe there would have been at least two Lombardi Trophies in the lobby of the Bills administration building at One Bills Drive.

* I love the fact that we get to watch the 'Cuse play hoops on this Super Bowl Sunday. It sure beats having to watch yet another two hours of mind-numbing football analysis.

* This Syracuse matchup with Cincinnati has all the markings of a trap-game upset. The Orange have been rolling along and have big games with UConn and Louisville at home followed by a Georgetown rematch in D.C., so they could be looking ahead. Plus, the 14-8 Bearcats are a tough out at home, having won 11 of 12 at Cincy's Fifth Third Arena.

No comments: