Who Dat Nation Gettin Ready to March

Oh, when the saints go marching in
Oh, when the saints go marching in
Lord how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

Jazz bands in New Orleans play this spiritual as a funeral march on the way to the cemetary and after the burial jazz it up dixieland style to celebrate life. Super Bowl XLIV may be a funeral march for the Indianapolis Colts. Lord, how I’d love to be in Miami, oh when the saints come marching in.

The following breakdown explains why the New Orleans Saints should be heavy favorites in this contest:

Quarterbacks. The New Orleans born Peyton Manning is a traitor who fled the state to play college ball at Tennessee. While successful with the Volunteers, he could not win the big one in Miami as a senior falling to the Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl 42-17.  Brother Eli abandoned Louisiana to play college ball in Mississippi,  as did father Archie who tried to atone for his sin by returning to New Orleans to quarterback the fledgling Saints in 1971 but the Saints had ten losing seasons under his leadership. The gods do not forgive easily.

As to the quarterback comparisons, Brees simply had a better season – more touchdowns (34), fewer interceptions (11) and a better completion percentage (70%) than Manning.

Common Opponents. The Saints beat Buffalo 27-7. The Colts lost to Buffalo 30-7. In wins over New England, the Jets and Miami, the Saints averaged 43 points and gave up an average of 15, while the Colts in wins and a loss against the same teams averaged 27 points and gave up 22.

Cities. New Orleans or Indianapolis.  Which city would you rather visit? And who, (but Colts fan) could bet against a city with such spirit, tradition and pride – a city practically destroyed by hurricane Katrina; a city of survivors  with a football team that should be called America’s team.  Who Dat Nation.

Experience.  The Colts are a younger team than the Saints averaging 26 years of age, to the Saints 28. But the Colts are more accomplished. 17 of the players on the Colts roster have won a Super Bowl championship with the Colts. Only 1 player on the Saints roster has a Super Bowl ring. In short, the Colts are young, experienced, overconfident and lack fire. When you already have a ring, the stakes are not as high.

Prediction: the Saints coast to a 42-17 victory. Who Dat nation celebrates in the streets of the Big Easy with a jazzed up version of “When the Saints Go Marching In” led by Professor Longhair raised from the grave.

The Colts Surrendered

The Jets beat the undefeated Colts.  Can you believe it?  While the victory keeps the Jets in the playoff hunt, it was not an impressive win – certainly nothing at all like their 1969 Superbowl III thrashing of the Colts.  In my view, it was an embarrassing win.  True, the Jets had a lot on the line and played with a purpose.  However, the Colts had very little to lose, except Peyton Manning.  Yes, the players wanted to stay undefeated and accomplish what few teams have ever done before, but the coaching staff apparently did not share the same goal.  Did you see Peyton Manning’s face?  He looked incredulous at being pulled out of the game and looked on in utter disgust as his offense sputtered without him.  In fact, I will go on record, for whatever it is worth, and I suspect not much, that the coaching staff wanted the Colts to lose the game.  I think they feared that the team would become overconfident and lose in the playoffs or as happened with the Patriots, lose in the Superbowl.   They wanted to humble the players.  And I guess they worried that Peyton might get hurt.   And watching the backup quarterback play, I can understand their concerns.

If the Jets beat the Bengals next week, they’ll make the playoffs, but it must come as a big disappointment to them to know that Indianapolis surrendered the game in the third quarter by pulling some of their starters including one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game.   The NFL ought to fine the Colts and give a refund to all the fans who attended the game.