* Be sure to enter our Super Bowl Challenge, located here.
Scott Feschuk Last games 0-2 Playoffs 5-5 Season 131-129-6
Scott Reid Last games 1-1 Playoffs 5-5 Season 133-127-6
Reid: Let’s begin by looking back at Media Day at the Super Bowl, the sort of cringe-worthy spectacle of excess that makes one wonder if maybe Thomas Malthus was on to something. It’s a guilty pleasure, stripped of all pleasure.
This year’s particular highlights were threefold.
First, move over Susan Boyle: Dwight Freeney’s Ankle is the world’s newest reality-TV superstar. Not only were players, coaches and unsuspecting citizens assaulted with endless questions about the status of Dwight Freeney’s ankle, but NFL Network filmed its every flip-flop-encased movement with the kind of intensity usually reserved for white Bronco’s owned by Al Cowlings.
An hour in, it was pretty clear Warren Sapp was set to burst a cornea over the lack of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) for Mr. Ankle. (UPDATE: Dwight Freeney now claims that his ankle is benefitting from being unwrapped and soaked in sunshine of Miami’s sandy beaches. Bite that, Dr. Sapp.)
Second, Peyton Manning: Not a Man. Not a Quarterback. But a Walking, Talking High Expectation. Could there be any loftier pedestal upon which the American sports media could elevate the Colts Super-QB? The spread may be six points. But to watch Media Day you’d think that anything short of six TDs, 500 yards and a display of Tiger-esque sexual potency would be deemed a letdown. Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback who ever played. He can best his opponents, charm the world and defeat climate change. Trust me. As anyone who has ever lied his way through the e-Harmony questionnaire can attest, high expectations are a recipe for disaster.
Finally, the unintended parody of NFL Network’s privileged access. What could be more satisfying than having Deion Sanders iced by Reggie Wayne after bragging to the camera that unlike the 2,000 other accredited media schleps, the NFL Network correspondents could crawl up next to the principals and fire off questions whenever they saw fit. Wayne pretending that he couldn’t hear Deion screaming ‘Hey Reggie, what’s your dope on Dwight’s ankle?’ was one of my two favourite images of the week (the other being Jay-Z’s face when Beyonce referred to him publicly as her husband – like a dude who’d been shot in the crotch with monogamy gun).
New Orleans (plus 4.5) vs. Indianapolis, Miami, 6:28 p.m. ET
Feschuk: I love endless, tedious chatter as much as the next person (does not apply if the next person is Ken Dryden) but I’m bored of Super Bowl Week. I’m bored of how great and terrific everyone supposedly is. Bored of hearing that Peyton Manning just might be greatest quarterback of all time. Bored of hearing about how Drew Brees is not just a quality QB and leader but also the heart and soul of New Orleans, a man who heals communities with his actions and cures leprosy with his farts. Rex Ryan would never have stood for this love fest.
What this game needs is a villain – someone to be the bad guy, to wear the black hat. Sadly, Scott Norwood is busy being still locked up in my basement, so I nominate Jim Caldwell. Would it kill the Colts’ coach to stand before a microphone, crack a Kim Kardashian joke, assail the manhood of Jeremy Shockey and then loudly ask, “What’s the deal with that thing on Drew Brees’s face?” We’re dying here, sinking slowly into the goo of hyperbole and hagiography. We need someone to say something he’ll regret for the rest of his life, but that will make things marginally more interesting for us.
As for the game itself, Peyton Manning has been on a roll, picking apart the Ravens, toying with the Jets and beating two Donald Trumps at eating cookies. You can’t deny that kind of destiny. The Saints will start strong but in the end Manning will pull their defence apart like a delicious golden double-stuf Oreo and rapidly lick the stuf out of them before reluctantly devouring the cookies themselves, which are okay-tasting but not as good as the stuf part, in my opinion. Pick: Indianapolis.
Reid: It’s a bit unfair this year because I already know the outcome of the game. The other night I had a dream. Not only did the Saints win, but Peyton Manning was knocked out of the game late in the first half. Best of all, Katy Perry couldn’t find any underpants and decided to wear me instead. So you see, logically, I am obligated to believe the first two things will come true if I am to maintain my faith in the third. (And I want to be honest with you: The third thing is pretty important to me).
Breaking it down a little more methodically, I feel confident in four observations about Superbowl XLIV.
First, the Colts are being overestimated. They’ve got no running game to speak of. Their pass rush is going to be eunuched without Freeney. Their corners are uber-vulnerable. And sooner or later at least one thing has to go wrong in Peyton Manning’s life.
Second, Sean Payton is a huge difference maker and he’s flying waaaay under the radar. Dude can call a game the way Randy Rhoads could swing an axe. He will put 14 points on the board through sheer smarter-than-the-other-guys-ness by the end of the first quarter.
Third, I will really not dig Tim Tebow’s pro-life, Up-With-Jesus commercial. And you know, if God was that much in his corner, wouldn’t he have made buddy a drop-back pocket passer?
Fourth, Reggie Bush will cough up the ball at least once. It’s an inevitability. So my advice to New Orleans is build it right into your game plan. Roll with the flow and just keep giving Thomas and Colston pee-lenty of touches.
Over the past few years, we’ve had some dandy Super Bowls with close finishes and stunning results. Frankly, we due for a boner. I predict New Orleans wins this comfortably. Peyton Manning will watch the second half from the pain table. And Katy Perry will be the happiest woman in my imagination. Pick: New Orleans.