Sunday, January 21, 2007

Super Bowl XLI

It will be the Colts and the Bears in Super Bowl XLI. While I have nothing against the Bears, I think most of the country wanted the Saints to advance to the big game. The better team won though - and big. I listened to a bunch of it on the radio, but I didn't really miss anything. The second game was far better. In that AFC game, Peyton Manning and the Colts got down 21-3 then marched back. Many times, it looked like they weren't going to get it done. Even after the Colts scored to take a 38-34 lead, I found it hard to believe that Tom Brady wouldn't pull off another comeback. I looked at the clock and said, "Too much time." It might have been, but we'll never know, as Brady threw an interception. What a tremendously enjoyable and, at times, bizarre game.

The Colts will likely be the favorites, but don't underestimate da Bears. I'm happy in that A) The Patriots won't be in the game (I'm just sick of them) and B) I have no rooting interest. Just give me a good game now.

For the Bears, it's their first appearance since the Super Bowl Shuffle year of 1985, culminating in their blowout of the Pats in Super Bowl XX. For the Colts, it's their first visit to the big game since Super Bowl V, when they defeated the Cowboys 16-13.

I'm watching the Colts postgame ceremony right now. A few thoughts - it's hard to root for the Colts, only because of the cowardly way the Irsay family pulled the Colts out of Baltimore in 1984. But time heals all wounds - Baltimore got the Browns (in almost the same way that the Colts left) and renamed them the Ravens.

Also, and this will be a big story line - the fact that when Lovie Smith got the Bears into the Super Bowl, he became the first African American coach to lead his team to the big game. Then when Tony Dungy (a former Steeler, I might add) brought the Colts in, this became a game that will be coached by two African Americans. That's great, and it's a nice story, but stop the madness. I knew it would be a question worth asking - Terry Bradshaw asked Smith while Jim Nantz queried Dungy. Both admitted they were proud but both showed the class that they bring to football. That's what it's all about - not the color of their skin. They weren't hired because of it, and they're not better or worse coaches because of it. Good for them. They are PEOPLE worth rooting for, not causes.

Is it just me, or is it a little tougher for Saints fans, knowing that they lost to the Bears, but also watching their icon, Archie Manning, walk around with a Colts AFC Champion hat on?

Oh, what's the deal with both Jim Irsay and Tony Dungy playing the God card? Did God decide it was time for Peyton Manning to play in the Super Bowl? Is He sick of the Pats also? Just curious.

I wish more athletes would do like hockey players do. When they win the conference or league trophies, they don't touch it. They want no part of it, because they only want to touch one thing: the Stanley Cup. That's only one of the many unappreciated things about hockey: the superstitons. Today, coaches and players raised the trophy high, which I can't blame them for, especially since it's the last time, in the case of the winners, that they will be at home in front of their fans.

Now how about the warm and cozy interview between Solomon Wilcots of CBS and Bill Belichick? I wish I had the transcript, but it was embarrassing, and made Coach Happy Pants look like a fool and a sore loser. I guess Belichick hasn't quite learned how to lose yet.

Lastly, and not entirely completely unrelated to these games, it appears that the Steelers will hire their first African American head coach, when they announce that Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin has accepted the job. This at least according to Jay Glazer on FoxSports.Com, and after a wild weekend in which ESPN and Sports Illustrated said that Tomlin was the guy, only to have many denials surface. Early Sunday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said that sources revealed that Russ Grimm, the Steelers assistant head coach under Bill Cowher, would be named head coach.

For my money, I wanted Grimm, simply because he would continue to preach the Steelers 3-4 defensive scheme. They have several players signed just because they play well in a 3-4. Tomlin comes from a 4-3 scheme, which most NFL teams have. Also, Tomlin will want to bring in many new assistants, which Grimm likely would not have done, since he worked with most of the existing staff. That won't be cost effective for the Stillers. Time moves on, I guess.

The Steelers will introduce Tomlin at a Monday news conference. By the way, Tomlin is 34, which was the same age as Bill Cowher was when he took the job. While I wanted Grimm, I'm pleased with Tomlin, and who am I to question? Since 1969, the Steelers have had two coaches, and won a record five Super Bowls (trademark).

Start the Super Bowl Madness!

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