Colts or Saints …Colts or Saints …?  I really can’t make up my mind this year.  Two outstanding quarterbacks, two class organizations, nobody on either team I actively dislike …

Colts or Saints … hmmm.

I don’t have to pick a team before the Super Bowl.  I’m not placing a bet with a bookie or anything like that.  I wouldn’t even know where to find one.  I’ve belonged to a regular-season football pool for about 20 years, but that’s with a small group of friends.  Usually we’re months late sending out the checks to the winner … you can get away with that when you’re reasonably sure no one’s going to pay you a visit with a tire iron.

In a typical year, including 2009, I come in second-to-last.  If the guy who’s nearly always last ever quits the pool, I’ll have to recruit someone from Sweden to replace him; otherwise I risk being the yearly recipient of the booby prize:  a VHS copy of “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the only real mistake committed by the 1985 Bears.

I’d choose Sweden only because I once attended a wedding party where the groom was from Sweden and, since the party was in someone’s house on a Sunday, most of the men spent part of the day watching football. A couple of the Swedes admitted they were confused and asked us to explain the rules.  We gave it a shot, but soon realized football is actually an impossibly stupid game, at least if you try to explain it to a foreigner.

Stupid or not, I like football and enjoy it more when I’m emotionally involved in the outcome.  According to certain feminist researchers, this means my wife is in danger of receiving a beating if my team loses.  That story hit the press many years ago, and it prompted one of my football-pool buddies to respond to a game-changing interception with, “Damnit!  If my wife was here, I’d pop her right in the mouth!”  We then felt compelled to explain to the turning heads around the bar that he was making fun of an article in the newspaper.

Anyway, my wife’s in no danger, even when the Titans start a season 0-6.  The only football-frustration injuries I’ve ever caused were to myself, and most of those happened while Rex Grossman was the Bears’ quarterback.  Eventually I realized if I kept slapping myself in the head every time he became the leading passer for the opposing team, I was going to end up with a flat skull.

But back to the issue at hand … Colts or Saints … Colts or Saints …? 

New Orleans is the sentimental favorite, of course, providing inspiration to the long-suffering victims of Hurricane Katrina and all that.  Plus they’re the underdogs, and sports fans love to cheer for an underdog.  I did too, until I realized cheering for the underdogs in an NFL game just because they’re underdogs is actually kind of stupid.

I came to that conclusion while watching the Patriots-Ravens game in the playoffs.  I realized I was rooting against the Patriots simply because they’ve been so dominant for so many years.  Yes, I was cheering against success.  When that occurred to me, I managed to avoid slapping myself in the head, but I did stop and ask, What am I, some kind of football socialist?  It’s not faaaaaaiiirrr that some teams are so good?  Gotta spread the wealth around and all that?

The NFL already levels the playing field through drafting rules and salary caps.  There’s no football equivalent of the Yankees, buying their way into the World Series every other year.  That’s why the Packers, from little ol’ Green Bay, can end having a better season than the New York Giants.  Teams like the Patriots are dominant because they draft well, trade well, and coach well. (Tom Brady was the 199th  player drafted in 2000. Any other team in the league could’ve had him.)  Cheering for an underdog in the NFL a bit like supporting a mechanic who does sub-par work:  poor guy probably needs the business, you know.

So I don’t really care about the underdog status, which leads me to back to … Colts or Saints …?  Colts or Saints …?

I should probably hold a grudge against Indy for beating the Bears in the Super Bowl a few years back, but I can’t.  I like Indianapolis. In my standup days, I used to perform there for two weeks at a time, every spring and every fall.  I stayed in a condo downtown, so basically I lived in Indianapolis for a month each year.  It’s a great little city.  I even had a girlfriend there for awhile.  Between her and the consistently great audiences, I have nothing but fond memories of the place.

So, Colts or Saints … ?

It would help if one of the teams had a spoiled brat on the roster I could root against.  In the Jets-Chargers game I was rooting full-throttle for the Jets.  I don’t have any warm fuzzy feelings for New York or the Jets, but I always root against San Diego.  When I lived in Los Angeles, it annoyed me that San Diego had an NFL team and we didn’t.  (It also annoyed me that San Diego is a picturesque city with a real downtown while L.A. pretty much sucks.)  But now I root against San Diego because Phillip Rivers reminds of every jock I couldn’t stand in high school:  talented, immature, and arrogant.  I was delighted his team not only lost, but lost because he threw an interception within sniffing distance of his own end zone. 

But what’s not to like about Drew Brees or Peyton Manning?  They’re both the polar opposite of Phillip Rivers:  mature and humble, despite all their talents.  Brees raises money to help restore New Orleans.  The community loves him.  But they also love Manning, who grew up there.  After Hurricane Katrina, Peyton and Eli Manning chartered a plane and flew relief supplies to the area —  they paid for everything and even got down and did the dirty work, loading and unloading the plane along with everyone else.

Colts or Saints … ?  Nope, I really can’t decide.  I may just have to flip a coin.  Heads, Colts.  Tails, Saints.

No, wait … Heads, Saints …

5 Responses to “Colts … No, Saints … No, Colts … No …”
  1. Jan says:

    I’m afraid I’m a bit biased – as a Texan who has moved to the midwest (is Ohio considered the midwest, or the northeast? – anyhoo, we’re right next door to Indiana), I’m afraid I’ll be rooting for the Saints.

    I suppose I should be grateful I didn’t take a beating after the Cowboys lost to the Vikings, but I think my husband was too busy lying in an embarrassed, quivering heap in the middle of the living room floor at the end of the game to get up enough energy to do it.

    I’ve wondered myself how states like Ohio can be in the midwest, while Tennessee — which is farther west — is in the southeast.

    Considering that the Cowboys not only lost but were thoroughly thumped, I’m glad you’re not in the hospital. I guess your husband is among the few non-violent male football fans.

  2. Chad Wallace says:

    Tom, you underestimate yourself, and grossly overestimate the NFL. It has devolved into a game where both teams play ‘not to lose’ rather than try to exploit weaknesses and ‘play to win’.

    There’s handful of basic offensive ‘sets’, and defensive coverages and watching from home you can pretty much predict every play before it happens. Actually, based upon the down and yards to go, especially in the NFC, before they get to the huddle you can nearly always determine what play the offense will call (especially if Ron Turner is calling the plays!).

    I’m hopeful that Mike Martz will generate a little unpredictability to the Bears this coming year.

    Hey, I loved the super bowl shuffle! Their only mistake was making it with some money hungry (lady dog) that spends her entire life making sure no unpaid copies ever get posted on the internet for any older Bears fans to enjoy. Check it out – you won’t ever find it, and if you do, it’ll be gone in an hour!

    I love Peyton Manning but I’ll be pulling for the Saints – any team that intentionally tanks a couple games at the end of the year like the Colts did deserves to lose. Hopefully their season ticket holders will revolt and perhaps not renew their tickies.

    3 last philosophies>
    1. Miami Dolphins always got the benefit of officiating and scheduling because Shula was head of competition committee.
    2. Weeb Eubanks was a god
    3. Tight ends. well i better not put that one on here. Remember that old philosophy?

    Tom, if I recall correctly, isn’t the top of your head already kind of flat?

    1) Agreed; I’ve been calling for Ron Turner’s head for years. 2) It was the side of my head that was in danger. 3) That really honked me off when the Colts didn’t go for the perfect season. 4) I won’t mention your theory on tight ends if you promise to forget the lyrics to some of my songs.

  3. Be says:

    Nah – I take my violence out on the Dog. After the past few years the poor bastard is down to his last leg. Da boys better win it all next year or Scooter really will have an embarrassing name.

    That’s it … I need a dog.

  4. Jeanie Campbell says:

    Argh! Tom, please! I am a San Diego native (although we live in Northern Colorado now) and a Chargers fan all the way. It’s not their fault that Al Davis is a spineless wimp and moved the Raiders back to Oakland! And, ok, Phillip Rivers is a brat, but Drew Brees played for the Chargers, did he not?? So, it’s the Saints on Sunday!!

    Al Davis is, uh, colorful, isn’t he? Go Saints! And Colts!

  5. Auntie M says:

    So… gonna change the title of this post now?

    Ya know, it’s strange. I was sure I was neutral on this one, but once the Saints fell behind by 10 points, I started wanting them to catch up and cheered when they pulled ahead.

    Great game, any way you look at it. I love it when the Super Bowl is in doubt right up until the end. We’ve had a few of those lately. Sure beats those 30-point blowouts.

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