National / Sports / January 28, 2010

Forging alliances in a complicated world

So, Saints and Colts. We’ve got a while before the actual game, but it must be commented upon in some way. The storyline is compelling, though I’m sure television networks would have been more charmed with this matchup back in 2006, when the Saints came one game away from facing the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

Think about it: Katrina was fresh in our minds, people still thought Reggie Bush was going to be a stronger version of Barry Sanders and Peyton Manning would have been in his first Super Bowl. What’s the storyline this time around? Well, I’ve seen lots of articles about Archie Manning and his diverging alliances. Interesting, no?

No.

I guess the appeal of the Super Bowl for the NFL’s other 30 teams lies in the day itself: the gambling, the buffalo wings, the marathon of pre-game coverage, in-game coverage, post-game coverage, etc. Considering my status as a middle-class college student, I lack the funding to fill a parlay card and simply root for random occurrences, like a heads on the coin flip or a score total of 22 at halftime.

So, with that in mind, I must root for someone. (Author’s note: the only Super Bowl in my memory during which I had no rooting interest was Super Bowl XXXVII — known by many as “that time the Bucs won.” It was, for lack of a better term, boring.)

Well, the Saints have a compelling case, Katrina still resonates, Drew Brees’ mom killed herself, Bush is awesome in bursts, Sean Payton seems like a decent guy and their fans are rabid, passionate, and pretty much used to rooting on a terrible team. Plus the Saints took down the Vikings in thrilling fashion — can’t discount that.

But despite the passion of their fans, the whole “WHO DAT? WHO DAT?” thing makes me mildly uncomfortable. Additionally, video surfaced earlier this year of a Saints fan shooting a television (the result of a “friendly” wager) when New Orleans took down Washington to preserve what was a perfect season. I’m usually all for a flat screen television crime, but not over a football game. Barbaric, I say.

The Colts, conversely, don’t have much of a case. I never got the whole Peyton Manning-is-a-decent-guy thing. Jim Caldwell seems to have the charisma of longtime whale and former head coach Mike Holmgren, while former all-pro receiver Marvin Harrison doesn’t even play for them anymore. I can also tangentially relate the Colts to Reggie Miller, which doesn’t help their case.

And while the Saints’ fans are a little off-putting, have you actually met anyone from Indianapolis? Me neither. Actually, let’s raise the stakes: do you know anyone who has gone to Indianapolis of their own volition? Again, me neither. But compared to the sheer hatred that New Orleans’ last opponent procured from the depths of my soul, I can’t get that worked up about the banality of the Colts.

Still, it appears I will join the howling chorus of “WHO DAT? WHO DAT?” the Sunday after next.

As for a prediction, I guess I’ll take care of that next week. I can’t take my mind off this Sunday’s Pro Bowl enough to really focus on a projection, but c’est la vie.

E-mail Kevin at: kmorris@knox.edu

Kevin Morris


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