Who Dat? Dem Champs! (Len's Super Bowl Retrospect 1/2)
A) Pregame's way too fucking long. Commercials are even longer. Halftime, oh, don't even get me started with the CSI Medley we got from The Who last night. I never thought I'd live long enough to see a band perform three different theme songs for three different shows all on the same network. I'm sorry, but there's not that much coincidence in the world.
A2) Was it just me, or did every commercial last night involving beer get incredibly dumber as the night progressed? Is it just me or was there something utterly oxymoronic about a beer commercial asking people to "drink responsibly", yet the actions within the commercial are anything BUT RESPONSIBLE?!
B) This Spring is going to kick ass from a movie standpoint. From the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street to the long awaited (or not) Wall Street sequel to next month's Alice In Wonderland... I can't recall being this excited about movies in a very long while.
Alright, filler time's up. On with my analysis of the game and ramifications thereof.
History will look back on February 7th and it will note that for the first time ever, the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. If you're a Colt fan right now, you should pull out a paper bag and just throw it over your head. Because quite honestly, your team duplicated something that hadn't been seen in 41 Super Bowls. It gave away a game it should've won in a walk.
A) The Saints figured out what virtually everyone knew coming into the game. Peyton can't beat you if he's not on the field. The Saints D came into last night's game ranked 25th overall and hit with the ever tragic label of being a "defense that causes turnovers". I find this label along the lines of "game manager" and "Shutdown Corner". They should go hand in hand and not deserve its own label as if it's something special. Traditionally, defenses such as New Orleans get on this stage and get utterly exposed. Last night however, this was not the case. The Saints kept Peyton on the sideline for, get this...
One hour and twenty three minutes real time. Note, REAL TIME and not "game time".
Now when I was watching this, I kept thinking...
"The Saints need a touchdown, field goals won't work. You cannot beat this Colts offense with your kicker tallying three while Peyton's throwing for six."
For about a half, this was my prevailing thought. Then after The Who CSI'd us to death and many degenerate gamblers collected money because some old fogey did a few hundred windmills on his guitar...
B) Sean Payton coached to win the game. Jim Caldwell coached to lose it. Quick, raise your hand if anyone saw an onsides kick coming to start the second half. Anyone? Ah, great. I thought I was the only one sitting there with my jaw on the floor watching that.
Oh and Hank Baskett, go back to Kendra and stay there. Seriously. Your football career should have ended last night when you didn't recover a ball that did everything short of fasten itself to your facemask. In any event, Sean Payton rolled the dice when necessary and at times, when it was absolutely foolhardy and just to be clear...
His decision to kick it onsides was stupid. It'd have gone down as the dumbest coaching move this side of 4th & 2 three months ago if Indy recovers and Peyton marches down the field to score. But since the Saints won and Mardi Gras started at something past 10:30 last night EST, folks will hail it as the greatest coaching move in Super Bowl History. What has me as puzzled, is why the Colts chose three straight runs after stopping the Saints on a 4th down attempt late in the first half. I mean, it's not like they didn't march 96 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter or nothing. Oh wait, you mean they did march a SB record 96 yards for a score in the first half? Well damn. Let this be a shining example of how just because you're given the keys to Daddy's Porsche, it doesn't make you a great driver. Unlike Young however, Caldwell crashed.
B2) Indy's receivers were catching everything short of the Ebola and Pig Flu during the season, hence how Peyton got his unprecedented 4th "MVP award. (Yes Peyton, your performance last night especially at the very end ranks you in the same category as Dirk Nowitzki from 2007. Oh and fret not sports fans, with the All-Star Break days away, I will have my First Half Thoughts later this weekend. Since it's not like the Slam Dunk Contest, Sophs beating Rooks and We Don't Play Defense Classic on Sunday will occupy my immediate time. :P) Last night, you had receivers that just couldn't hang on to perfectly thrown passes if their lives depended on it. Collie dropped a critical pass on third down that led to one of two crucial 3 and Outs in the first half. Usually dependable Reggie Wayne dropped the pass late in the contest that at minimum, could've had this final defecit at 7 instead of 14.
C) Allow me to keep it all the way simple here. What we saw last night was arguably one of the worst defenses to ever win a Super Bowl. The Saints weren't overly dominant on defense, as they were in the right place at the right time when Peyton made one really bad throw. They gave up a 96 yard drive in the first half and to be overly honest with ya, the last defense that was that pitiful to give up such a feat...they were blown out of...The Superdome. I mean, they never got to Peyton. I don't think he was even knocked on his ass the entire game. So when your defense for lack of a better term, wins without getting to the QB it's one of two things.
1) The defense was that damn intimidating...(highly unlikely, considering NO's whole Modus Operandi is to basically shoot you until you don't get up no mo')
Or the more likelier of the two...
2) They hung around long enough and capitalized on the one lone mistake Peyton made, then made them pay for it.
In this instance, I'll go with #2.
D) Winning heals all wounds, wipes the slate clean. Losing on the other hand, reminds everyone of what winning had us forgetting. With a win last night, Peyton would've emerged out of a very crowded pack. A pack that includes Hall of Famer Steve Young, future HOFer Brett Favre and after last night...The Real F'N MVP Drew Brees. Only Young, Johnson, Dilfer, Eli, Namath, Williams and Hostetler can say they've never lost a Super Bowl. Hostetler's the only guy on the list who can say he won a 2nd for the other guy on this list, Simms. Schematics I know. A loss now puts Peyton alongside the likes of Dawson, Favre & Warner as guys who have at least two appearances and couldn't seal the deal. In the case of Warner, he's 1-2.
A loss now reminds us that as cerebral as Peyton showed he could be this year, it's this time of the year that tends to get him choked up. It's nights like last night where we're reminded of the guy who until the rules changed, couldn't beat New England because Belichick didn't let Peyton's receivers run wild. It's nights like last night that remind us that his lone ring came at the hands of the Chicago Bears who weren't even in 1986 form (the year after they won the Super Bowl, in case anyone's wonder in which they went 14-2 and were done in by the Skins in the Divisional Round). A loss now reminds us that perhaps, this team might be the Atlanta Braves of the NFL. Team that you love (unless you're a Titan, Jag or Texan fan) and see as giants during the regular season. But when the calendar changes and the game shifts to the high stakes table, their flaws start to show. Make no mistake about it, even with all I've written, this cast of characters Peyton led to Miami may have been more prolific than the one he won it with just four seasons ago.
But that said, it makes that fact combined with the fact that the Saints never once sacked him even more inexcusable. Great QBs make mincemeat of inferior secondaries on stages like this. Joe Montana, is probably the greatest QB I've seen in my entire life. All 29 years of it. While he wasn't constantly on the Super Bowl stage, trust and believe once he got there, it was curtains. Put him against an inferior defense (Miami in Super Bowl XIX and Denver in Super Bowl XXIV, I'm still not sure why the Bengals were able to hang with him, TWICE no less) and he walked away with the trophy and MVP to boot. Great QBs are a rare find. Great QBs are that because it's more than just throwing for over 4K through the air and playing in the Who Gives A Crap All Pro Game. It's about walking the walk and talking the talk. Peyton, is really good. He's cerebral in a way that I don't think even Dan Marino was in his prime. But mercifully for Peyton, he finally laid waste to the AFC East demon that kept him from playoff glory that Marino was unable to do in his career. (Marino, NEVER beat Buffalo after late December.) I'll get more in depth with this in my finale.
But overall, after two absolute nail biters, we were due a blowout or something that passed for it. In retrospect, this may have been the least decisive blowout I've seen in Super Bowl history. So now that I've put the cap on the game itself, I shall project next season as only I can. :-)