Super Bowl: More Than a Game
I realize this is an NBA centric blog, but with the Super Bowl fast approaching, the matchup between the Colts and the Saints needs to be addressed.
The last two Super Bowls have lived up to the hype, and this year’s is going to surpass it. This will be the first year since 1994 that both number one seeds made the big game and if anyone watched a lick of football this year they know that these are the two best teams. Also, with apologies to Chris Johnson, the two best players this year were Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. There are so many stories for this game but let’s focus on the main ones.
On one side of the field you have Peyton Manning, The Sheriff, or as I like to call him, The Professor. Whatever you prefer to call him, just know that this game will help determine his legacy. Manning has all the stats and will continue to shatter more as he shows no sign of slowing down. With only one Super Bowl to his name though, it’s hard to put his name up there with Montana, Elway, and Unitas. Add one more Lombardi Trophy to Manning’s resume though, and he officially announces his candidacy for Greatest QB of All Time, and when you compare his stats to the other greats it would be hard to argue against putting Manning as number one. Peyton knows what this game means to his legacy and he knows he has to take advantage of this opportunity. The Super Bowl isn’t something that comes to you every year. Just take a look at Mr. Gisele Bundchen (some eye candy for your pleasure) himself Tom Brady. A couple of years ago Brady was having the greatest statistical year by a QB and was about to lead his team to a Super Bowl title and an unprecedented 19-0 record. The Giants changed all that, and at the start of the next year Bernard Pollard ended Brady’s season just minutes into the first game (go ahead people of New England, throw darts into your David Tyree and Bernard Pollard voodoo dolls). He hasn’t been the same since. Manning has been a model of consistency and durability, but you never know when an awkward landing or a vicious hit will change the course of your career. If Peyton wants to cement his status as one of the greatest, he needs to do it in this game.
The other big story of this game is the New Orleans Saints. This is a team that used to be called the Aints and their fans did this. Now, the former punching bags of the NFC are on the verge of delivering the first professional championship to New Orleans. Of course this story is more than just about a football team. It’s about a football team uniting a city and lifting it’s spirits. Cynics will wonder if sports can lift up a city and my answer to them is a resounding yes.
There is something special about sports. I know it is cliché, but sports are more than just a bunch of games. My belief is that sports represent what we want the whole world to be like. You take what God gave you, work hard and dedicate yourself to your craft, and in the end you will be rewarded. Of course, our world doesn’t always work this way; but, anytime we see Drew Brees throw a perfect pass up the seem, or see Kobe stare an opponent down and nail a 3 with a hand in his face, or watch as Pujols works the count in his favor and deposits a 3-1 pitch into the upper deck, it makes us believe for a second that the world does work that way. It turns us jaded grown ups into wide-eyed kids who believe anything is possible. The people of New Orleans suffered through a horrible situation. Most of them were hard-working individuals who were just living their life and trying to support their family. While most of the city of New Orleans is rebuilt, the Saints are rebuilding the people of the city. A team once referred to as the Aints is a football powerhouse. Fans who used to put bags on their heads have turned the Superdome into the greatest home field advantage in pro football. If that’s possible, then one has to believe that anything is possible.
Sports also has a way to bring people together from all different backgrounds. Sports is the reason this blog exists and one of the reasons a black guy, a white guy, and a Nepalese guy became such great friends. You might not know anything about that guy at the bar, but if your favorite sports team is on the TV and you notice him cheering for them, you automatically want to start a conversation with him…and you do. If said team pulls out a victory you give each other awkward high fives and drunkenly yell out how great the game was. When you see that same guy out in public a couple days later you probably don’t remember what his name is, but you definitely remember he is a fan of your favorite team. People bond over sports the same way the Seinfeld gang bonded over making fun of that overweight guy in the season finale. We treat our favorite team or favorite player like our kids, to some degree. When the team or player succeeds we become elated. When they don’t, we become disappointed. Yet, we stick with them no matter what. This article from ESPN’s Bill Simmons proves this point to a T. It’s kind of heart breaking reading those peoples’ responses.
I’ve met a few people who compare the effects of sports to the effects of love. Why is that when your significant other continually makes the same mistake, and knows they are making a mistake, you take them back? Because you hope the last time is the LAST time and after that everything will be the way you imagined. Well let’s hope the LAST time has already happened for New Orleans and at least for one day everything will be the way they imagined.