Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl 44

The Super Bowl shouldn't be politicized. We already have a political Super Bowl and it's the quadrennial Presidential election only with more thumbs in the eye and chop blocks. But since CBS decided to air a 30 second ad by Focus on the Fags Family, I guess even the Super Bowl is fair game. And Super Bowl 44 comes just barely a year after the inauguration of our 44th President. OK, so I'm reaching here.

But I will say this: I called this months ago, when Indie and New Orleans took undefeated records very late into the season. I knew these two teams would meet in Miami and Mrs. JP can back that up. And if you're a good liberal (at least one who lives outside of Indiana), you'll be rooting for New Orleans. Let's face it: The poor guys need it. Forget about them being the running joke of the NFL for decades on end. They need this after Hurricane Katrina. Just think about how many jobs will be created, how much money a Super Bowl title will bring into NOLA. Clothing and merchandising rights, DVD's, sporting equipment. We here in New England (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics) know a lot about that.

The Colts? The last thing they need is another Super Bowl title and the last fucking thing we need to see is yet another Manning brother in yet another Super Bowl. This makes the third in four years.

No, New Orleans needs this and not in the way that the Yank Me's "needed" a 27th World Series title just because of 9/11. New York wasn't the only place that got hit. People also died in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. The Yankees, contrary to baseball zeitgeist, were never "America's team" and were no more deserving of a WS title than the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees have always been overloaded with overpaid, elitist assholes owned by overpaid elitist assholes like George Steinbrenner. And, as they've proved time and again, when the chips are down, they're not above cheating to level the playing field.

And like Arizona going into that WS, New Orleans has never won a sporting world title. This is their moment in the sun and if they want it badly enough, they will take the Lombardi Trophy from Miami all the way to Louisiana. And I'd guess they want it very badly.

Predictions: It'll be a medium-scoring game on account of Super Bowl 44 boasting two of the most high-powered air attacks in the NFL and two of the best defenses canceling eachother out. Between Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, two of the NFL's best overall QBs and at the top of their game, you could easily see 6-10 combined TD passes. I think it'll be 4-5 total, however

After his miserable performance in the NFC championship game against the Vikings, I wouldn't expect New Orleans' Reggie Bush to suddenly rebound and have a great game on account of the Colt's impressive offensive line. In fact, Bush's entire season has been miserable with just 390 rushing yards and just 735 all-purpose yards. Any workable ground game against a stiff Indie defense will depend on the legs of Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell (the former earning 1095 all-purpose yards, best on the Saints)

As far as experience goes, conventional wisdom will side with the Colts. They won a Super Bowl title two years ago and Peyton Manning is one of the best big game quarterbacks in the NFL. The Saints, OTOH, have only four Super Bowl veterans and cornerback safety Randall Gay, former alumnus of the New England Patriots, is the only one with a Super Bowl ring.

Yet Tom Brady, at the start of the 2001 season, was a 24 year-old, untested 4th string quarterback with exactly one NFL completion to his credit and the Pats hardly had any Super Bowl veterans of their own and, despite Drew Bledsoe, were considered a defense-heavy team with no running game. Yet, behind Brady, who had to grow up very fast on the gridiron, the Pats won their first Super Bowl.

The Saints have a solid, talented veteran quarterback in Drew Brees, who just turned 31 last month and will bring a QB rating of 116, 6 post season TDs and zero picks to the Super Bowl. During the 2009 season, Brees completed almost 71% of his passes. Averaging over 292 yards pg in the regular season, Brees has been remarkably consistent, having thrown a very respectable 34 TD passes in each of the last two. The Saints' offensive attack was the most potent in the NFC, having scored 510 points. Brees also passed for 4388 yards (compared to Manning's 4500).

Indianapolis, OTOH, had the fifth-best defense in the AFC from an opposing point standpoint, having allowed just 307 (or 19.2 ppg) in the regular season. Indie's ground game is weaker than New Orleans'. Despite racking up an NFL-best 14-2 record, they'd gained over 100 yards rushing just four times all year. In their last two regular season games (both losses to the NY teams Jets and Bills), the Colts had gained just 89 yards on the ground combined. You could say that's because Coach Jim Caldwell decided to spare his star players for the playoffs but consider that the Colts' entire team ran for a miserable 1294 yards all season long, with their top running back, Joseph Addai, getting just 828 rushing yards all year.

The Saints, however, had played only four games in which they didn't get over 100 yards rushing (and one of them, a win against the Falcons, was still good for 95). The entire Saints team grabbed 2106 rushing and 4495 receiving yards. Marques Colston, one of the more promising wide receivers, grabbed a very healthy 1074 receiving yards on 70 receptions.

Overall, we're seeing two of the best evenly-matched teams in the NFL, with perhaps the overall defensive edge (Offensive line, secondary and a good special team squad) going to Indie. And don't forget that the Saints, from an opposing point perspective, were in the back half of the pack in the NFC (10th best). With two good offenses and defenses, we could be looking at a very low-scoring or a very high-scoring game.

Personally, I think it'll be a medium-scoring game and the edge will go to the Saints.

Final prediction: Saints 27-Colts 21.


At February 7, 2010 at 1:33 PM, Blogger Cleveland Bob said...

I dig your well crafted analysis, JP. Especially fond of the "if you're a good liberal..." part.

Geaux Saints!

At February 7, 2010 at 6:54 PM, Blogger Jill said...

I hope you're right. After the Jets got knocked out two weeks ago I decided to root for the Saints for all the reasons you indicated -- and because of Scott Fujita who seems to be a real mensch.

Heh. Word verification is "ourpaco".

At February 7, 2010 at 10:02 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Did I call it or what?

At February 8, 2010 at 2:56 PM, Blogger scripto said...

"Did I call it or what?"

Close, my friend, very close indeed. I didn't think there was any way the Saints could win since Manning didn't hit the ground for 3 quarters. I guess the Saints were saving some super secret blitzes for the fourth quarter. That Payton (the one who won) is some sort of genius.

At February 8, 2010 at 3:58 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I believe New Orleans tied a Super Bowl record for overcoming the biggest deficit to win (10 points).

The Manning interception/return for a TD was the back-breaker.


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