Indianapolis Colts. Super Bowl champions. After seeing the team fail in the playoffs year after year, I didn’t expect they would ever win. But they convinced everyone they were the true champs with an impressive postseason performance, quieting all their doubters with win over archrival New England and a Super Bowl blowout over the Bears. With all the doubt and criticism that Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy have withstood for so long, I think this franchise truly deserves a Super Bowl title. But an intriguing question is, how did they get here? How could this team finally lift up their play and win a championship after six years of postseason failures?
Lovie & Dungy Make NFL and Black History
There was an old proverb that I once saw on a wall at one of my local bakeries that read, “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right.” Now of course they were referring to bread, but that really struck a nerve with me. One, because I was there to buy a loaf of rye, and two, it made me think about the number of African-American coaches in the NFL. I have been watching NFL football for a substantial amount of years and that statement really hit home and made me rethink my views about the coaching position in the NFL. Now with the success of Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts and Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears, both Black men and head coaches, leading their teams to the Super Bowl; maybe its time to say “If it ain’t white, that’s alright.”
I thought the Patriots-Chargers divisional round clash was a great game. It had a lot of bizarre plays, an exciting ending, and plenty of star power. But yesterday’s AFC Championship was like that to the tenth power–an intense game with plenty of momentum changes, almost like an episode of “24.” The Colts’ 38-34 victory over their archrival Patriots was one for the ages, a game that any true sports fan who watched it will remember for the rest of his life.
Super Bowl XLI is sure to be the most over-hyped event in history—that is, until next season. Every year the annual event swells in size not only in vewership, but in money and exposure as well. Add in a mix of uncommonly juicy storylines, and you’ve got a media and advertising giant on your hands. But before you get caught up in things like pioneers in African-American coaching history, superstars like Peyton Manning and Brian Urlacher making it to their first Super Bowl, and other issues of a trivial nature, first consider the impact of this event on important things like advertising and the opportunity to make a TON of money.
Last week’s divisional playoff games were an absolute riot. Like most years, those four games provided a weekend of football that is hard to top. Every game featured big-time surprises, and all but one had down-to-the-wire endings. Could anyone have predicted that both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would have sub-par games, yet their teams would still win? This is what the playoffs are all about: discovering things about each team that the regular season could not show, answering all questions, and delivering an undisputed champion. The Final Four is set, and each team absolutely deserves to be there.
It’s still weeks away, and I already feel like Super Bowl XLI is going to be one of the most boring sporting events of my lifetime.
By David J. Cohen
The playoffs have a different feel this year than in recent years. In those years there were clearly defined contenders and pretenders for the championship. However, this year the playoffs seem truly wide open. This year the playoffs are centered on three inexperienced quarterbacks: Tony Romo of the Cowboys, Rex Grossman of the Bears, and Philip Rivers of the Chargers. If they can rise to the occasion their teams will make the runs expected of them. If they falter, proven veterans will seize the day.
The NFC is the perfect example of what parity has done to the league. It has made teams competitive which have been awful the year before. With parity, you can go through Hurricane Katrina one year and earn a bye the next. Parity has also made mediocrity a premium. The 8-8 Giants are in the playoffs, and teams like Green Bay were still in it going into the last week of the regular season. The playoff picture in the NFC is murky, with no clear cut choice. With that said, here is how it should play out.
Week 7 might have been this year’s craziest for the NFL. A 62 yard field goal on the final play of the game? A 31-13 home loss for a team that went 10-0 on their turf in 2005? A win for the Raiders? What’s going on with the NFL? There are some questions that can be answered though. Here they are:
Bill Polian may well hold the secret to the success of the Indianapolis Colts, whether or not Peyton Manning is pitching or Marvin Harrison is catching. No matter, Polian might well be the last living testament to the idea that Horatio Alger can still succeed. Maybe the Colts will follow?