The Super Bowl is upon is. Just think if the NFL had decided to play this year’s game in the Northeast and we received the 20 inches of snow that is reportedly heading our way. That might be the NFL’s worst nightmare, and should make them reconsider playing the game in a cold weather city.
Who’s going to win the game? The Colts. They’ve been the best team all season, and they’ve won every meaningful game they’ve played. While not the greatest big game performer, Peyton Manning shouldn’t have too much trouble against the Saints defense, and you just get the feeling that the story of the game is going to be “Manning cements his legacy as one of the greatest QBs of all time.”
The Saints have been good, but I kind of get the feeling that they’re a bit of a “front running” team. They play a lot better when they get a lead. When playing from ahead, the offense can truly open things up, and the defense can look for the big plays and turnovers. In the NFC Championship game, for one reason or another, when the game was close in the 4th quarter, the Saints offense, and Drew Brees in particular, looked very shaky. The only reason they were even in the game was due to Vikings mistakes and penalties.
I think both teams will have at least one early score, but at some point, the Saints offense will slow down a little and the Colts won’t. The Saints will need a big play on defense, but the Colts won’t make the same mistakes that the Vikings did. When the Colts start to pull away, the Saints won’t have an answer.
Score prediction: Colts 38, Saints 20
So now that I’ve predicted the winner, I’m going to take a look back at the Super Bowls I can remember watching and give a very brief memory about each. It’s kind of interesting looking back to see what memories stick with you.
Super Bowl 43 (2009) – Easily one of the most exciting finishes to a Super Bowl, but this game gives credence to my theory that “The NFL wants the Steelers to win.” The last play was ruled a fumble, but looked a lot like an incomplete pass on replays. And yet, the play was mysteriously not reviewed. Keep in mind that this was the final play of the league’s championship game.
Why would the NFL want the Steelers to win? There are a few reasons:
1. The Steelers play in a relatively small market, and they’re proof that unlike baseball, market size does not affect how competitive a team is.
2. They have a large fan base. Much like the Cowboys, a lot of people became Steelers fans in the 1970s because they were the dominant team then. When teams with large fan bases are winning, they get put on TV more, and that generally means higher ratings. Steelers fans also seem to buy a lot of merchandise, and winners sell more merchandise than losers.
3. They want to reward their owners. The Rooneys have been among the leaders of the NFL for decades. The league’s minority hiring policy is called the Rooney Rule since Steelers owner Dan Rooney helped implement it. Unlike Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who always seems self-serving, the Rooneys have always come across as being more concerned with the well being of the league. It’s only natural that the NFL would want their team to succeed.
Because of this, I think the Steelers sometimes get more breaks, and somehow, their record gets artificially inflated at year’s end. Looking at the standings, the Steelers were 9-7 this season. That doesn’t seem right. I could have sworn they only had 7 wins.
Super Bowl 42 (2008) – One of the more dramatic Super Bowls, and a great comeuppance for Boston fans who had gotten just a little too full of themselves here. You’d think that Pats fans would have been comforted by their three previous titles. Based on the looks on their faces after this game, that was definitely not the case.
Super Bowl 41 (2007) – This game raised the old question: What kind of Bears are the Chicago Bears? I think the best answer I’ve gotten was grizzly. And yes, this was a lousy game.
Super Bowl 40 (2006) – The Jerome Bettis is from Detroit Bowl. Before the game, the Seahawks made perhaps the worst choice of Super Bowl intro music ever, picking Bittersweet Symphony. Is it possible for a team to win after getting introduced to Bittersweet Symphony? Fittingly, the refs pretty much handed the Steelers the win here (see?) , and the Seahawks gave up in the 4th quarter. I remember being bitter because I knew the previous year’s Eagles would have crushed these teams.
Super Bowl 39 (2005)- Ah, the year the Eagles finally returned to the Super Bowl. I made a point to go to the house of an Eagles fan, thinking that we’d be among likeminded supporters, only to find that he invited over a bunch of Patriots fans. I should have left on the spot. A huge regret in my life, but I did learn from the experience, and I will now go out of my way to not watch the game with fans of the Eagles’ opponents. The following year, I attempted to watch NFL Films’ highlights of the game, but got so angry about the Eagles taking too much time on the 4th quarter scoring drive that I had to stop.
Super Bowl 38 (2004) – The first show I ever watched in HD, and it had the famous wardrobe malfunction at halftime. This was the coming-of-age moment of DVRs, and the last time a live broadcast took a chance. For all of those reasons, this might have been the most important day in television history, since its changed the industry in so many ways.
Super Bowl 37 (2003) – I was so bitter about the Eagles losing the NFC Championship Game that I wasn’t even sure I would watch. It was a lousy game, but afterwards i did watch the premiere episode of Chappelle’s Show, and THAT was hilarious!
Super Bowl 36 (2002) – Never play the Super Bowl drinking game (I don’t recall the exact rules) if you want to pay close attention by game’s end. We got so drunk that we couldn’t distinguish between real game action and replays. The huge upset makes less of an impact when you can’t see straight.
Super Bowl 35 (2001) – I wasn’t too pumped for this game, as I had just started working full time the week before and I was annoyed by both the Ravens and Giants’ fan bases. I did make some killer nachos and cleaned up on the squares pool, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
Super Bowl 34 (2000) – Sure the game had an exciting ending, but the most lasting memory is that one of my fraternity brothers had the same haircut as Kurt Warner’s wife.
Super Bowl 33 (1999) – There was a big argument at the fraternity house about whether we should watch MTV’s Celebrity Death Match or WWF’s Halftime Heat during halftime. Death Match ultimately won out, and I began to bet on the outcomes of the matches. I think I won.
Super Bowl 32 (1998) – Or as I like to call it, my drunkenest Super Bowl ever. When the game ended, I did some sort of bizarre victory dance with an Australian guy I had just met. And then realized I had a school assignment due the next day that I hadn’t done. Who assigns work to be handed in the day after the Super Bowl???
Super Bowl 31 (1997) – The first Super Bowl I watched in college (aka, the first time I could drink while watching). Beer commercials seem more poignant when you’re actually drinking beer. I also got to watch the entire game and not go home at halftime which I considered to be a huge improvement.
Super Bowl 30 (1996) – I was not a big fan of the Super Bowl at this time. The games were usually lousy, the Cowboys kept winning, and because my mother was a teacher, we had to leave the Super Bowl party at halftime! The game between the Cowboys and Steelers would have been a great scenario for the NFL if anyone thought the Steelers had any chance of winning.
All the years before this kind of blend together. A lof of years I don’t even think I watched much of the game. A few random memories:
– Not sure what year someone said the classic line: “Why does Stevie Wonder always get such good seats at the Super Bowl? They could put him in a closet with a radio and it would have the same effect!”
– In hindsight, Scott Norwood’s field goal was a long attempt. It was 47 yards! Not a chip shot by any means. Did he really deserve to have Ray Finkle based on him? Anyway, if he had made that kick, would that have changed the outcome of the next three Super Bowls which the Bills also lost? Probably not. Every year, the team that played the Bills was a lot better than them. The Bills just had the fortune of playing in a weak AFC.
– It’s kind of odd that everyone looks at John Elway’s career so much differently now since he won two Super Bowls late in his career. Growing up, he was THE “can’t win the big one” QB. Because Elway was able to win the championship in the twilight of his career, Eagles fans still hold out hope that Donovan McNabb will one day lead the Eagles to a title. Not unless they get a new coach, and that probably isn’t going to happen.
– Once again, why did they stop doing the Bud Bowl??? I’ll do a more detailed commercial analysis next week that will talk about this year’s commercials and commercials from years past.
Enjoy the game!