The NFL Super Bowl Picture: Would The League Have It Any Other Way?
The NFL playoff picture looked so boring at the start of Saturday and it pretty much stayed that way. Saturday included wins by the Saints, which many expected, and the Colts, which even more expected. Followed by Sunday in which we saw wins from Minnesota, which many expected, and New York, which very few expected. A breakdown of sorts, shall we….
Who Dat Saints – They started the season so hot and created a media buzz that could choke a whale, on the brink of an undefeated year. The Cowboys barge into the Dome and put a hole in the sails. They go on to lose a few more and the country writes off the New Orleans Aints. Why? As if the Saints lost everything they had prior to the Dallas loss? Although the Cardinals were more than a touchdown underdog against the Saints, we all knew the easy money was on the Saints. The Cardinals were unpredictable, up-and-down, and coming off a draining win against the hungry (but not hungry enough) Packers. Not to mention, the New Orleans Saints have very quietly become America’s new favorite team. Ever met a person that said they hated the Saints? Can anyone really say that? They have the support of America behind them and no one would down the Super Bowl if the Saints were involved. And just to help their case, the Saints defense is playing well and their offense is prolific.
Indianapolis Colts – Whether you like him or not, people like Peyton! He’s easily the best quarterback in the league and perhaps the most intelligent passer we’ve seen. Are the Colts necessarily flashy? I would argue no. However, audiences enjoy the happy feet of Peyton Manning and his last-second audibles, which leave defenses simply, well….defenseless. The Colts’ defense is faster than most people give them credit for and the coaching staff for this team could be the brightest in the playoffs. Would the country really not tune into a Super Bowl that included Peyton Manning? Doubtful.
Minnesooota Vikings – I think we all saw this coming. Even before Brett Favre took the field in purple, everyone claimed that the Vikings were just one decent quarterback away from making a Super Bowl run. Soooo, they get a better-than-decent quarterback and land ol’ ageless! Brett has been nothing but spectacular this season, aside from the off-season distracting crap, and he has really made everyone on the Minnesota team better. Take Sidney Rice for example. This kid was about three hairs short of being labled a “bust”, if not labled so already, and suddenly he becomes a Hall of Famer’s favorite target. The Minnesota defense may be a little overrated but they showed otherwise against the Cowgirls and their sissified offensive line. This team controls their own destiny. Picture this: Brett Favre, age 40, leads Vikings in Super Bowl. Whether you’re a football fan or not…is anyone gonna miss the ‘Wrangler Guy’ in the Super Bowl? No way.
New York J-E-T-S – And finally we have the New York, underdog, never-had-a-shot, rookie coach-havin’, rookie quarterback-havin’, no good, stinkin’ Jets. Who’d-uh-thunk-it? The San Diego Chargers were apparently built to win the Super Bowl and the time was now. But then they realized that their head coach was Norv Turner…and that guy couldn’t win a tee-ball game. The New York Jets were told all year that they “couldn’t” and they were told all season that Mark “Sanchise” couldn’t get it done. And now look! The Jets built themselves on the classic football frame – defense and running the football. Now the Jets are in the AFC title game and looking to make history. Would anyone miss the playoffs with an underdog like the New York Jets in the Super Bowl? Um, yes. Although the Jets retain a strong and very supportive fandom, they wouldn’t draw the largest crowd.
So here we sit. Who will be playing in the Super Bowl? I’m no prophet but I predict two scenarios ( not hard to determine if you think about it )…
Indianapolis Colts v. Minnesota Vikings – This one makes the most sense for me. Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks going head-to-head in America’s largest sporting event; who’d miss this? Football people like Peyton and Brett, or at least have respect for their game. And non-football people know Brett and Peyton for their Wrangler and Visa ads, respectively. And did we mention Brett Favre was 40? Every middle-aged man in America will be watching this game and rootin’ for the ol’ guy, even if this is their first ever football game! Rogaine might as well go ahead and buy the largest advertising spot if Brett and the Vikes make it to the Bowl. And can us football fans really make a case that Peyton Manning doesn’t deserve a second Super Bowl ring? This is the best match-up for the audience and the NFL’s pockets.
Indianapolis Colts v. New Orleans Saints – It’s hard for the league to go wrong this year. Even if Minnesota and the original Viking himself, Brett Favre, don’t make it – America’s favorite team will. We all love the Saints! And wow, what a story! A natural disaster literally leaves the historic city of New Orleans in ruins and the fight to rebuild is a long and hard process. The New Orleans Saints have never been so talented and have never given so much to their city. And now, when all their chips were down, the New Orleans Saints make the biggest rebound in history (all statistics aside) and make it to the Super Bowl to represent everyone who is not a Colts fan! And taking on the Saints is the future Hall of Famer that some may call “the best player to ever play the game”. Needless to say, everyone will be watching except maybe a few less uninterested females due to the non-appearence of Brett Favre.
And that’s pretty much it. The league has allowed the underdog Jets to stay in it this long just to make sure that audiences tune in to see if they can “really pull it off”. But in the end, the NFL won’t allow a small-market underdog make it to the Super Bowl over the likes of Peyton Manning and the Colts. The New Yorks Jets are a great story, don’t get me wrong, and they have been absolutely sensational thus far. but the league will have no more. Unfortunately the Super Bowl picture can be too sweet and the NFL’s pockets can be too heavily stuffed.
And with that being said – would the League have it any other way?