The Super Bowl Contenders are set
The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints are their respective conference champions and thus continue their quests for the 2009 world championship of professional football in Miami, Florida, on February 7. The road to the Super Bowl was a little more predictable for the Colts than so for the Saints, who have heretofore never made it to a Super Bowl. Their 43-year-old franchise history of mostly losing seasons took a different course this year with their thirteen wins and three losses. They are an opportunistic team that seems to pounce upon their opponent’s miscues.
Peyton Manning is the Colt’s four-time NFL Most Valuable Player and he proved it again this year when he ripped up the New York Jets’ top-rated defense in the AFC championship game. Manning has some excellent receivers to propel their aerial circus as they march on to the Super Bowl with a record of 14 – 2. The Colts will be the slight favorite of the oddsmakers.
The Saints and Minnesota Vikings NFC championship game brought lots of drama but was fraught with mistakes by the players, coaches and the officials. The Saints ended up with an overtime win, but they gave up tons of yards to the Vikings and had it not been for a five Viking turnovers, the result would have been different.
Cheeseheads may or may not take delight in the folly that took place in the waning moments in the fourth quarter. With the Vikings in long-distance, but makeable, field goal range and less than 20 seconds to go and following a long time out, the Vikings inexplicably huddled up 12 players. The subsequent penalty was followed by a very bad across-the-field pass by Benedict Favre which resulted in an interception and subsequently set up the over-time win by the Saints.
Favre’s inadvisable pass, perhaps his last in Purple, was reminiscent of Favre’s last pass playing for the Green and Gold back in the NFC championship game two years ago vs. the New York Giants. Cheeseheads have seen the replay a hundred times of that play where four Packer receivers were wide open, but Favre chose to throw to the fifth receiver who was blanket-covered and the subsequent interception led to the Giants playing in the Super Bowl rather than the Packers.
Somewhat sadly, the legend that old Benedict Favre had created in Titletown is somewhat now diminished due to his proclivity to fade down the stretch part of his last three seasons. Favre should have retired as a Packer two years ago, but now he is the Vikings’ problem. Two years ago the Packers made their (correct but unpopular) decision to go forward without Favre. Now we shall see what the Vikings are going to do.
Look for the Colts to win the Vince Lombardi trophy this year. The Colts have too many offensive forces and the Saints revealed some defensive deficiencies which could lead to a lopsided victory.