For those not aware, I’m a southern California native stuck in the frigid confines of the Hoosier State. For the past six years I’ve had to hear from everyone how great the Colts are. Every season it’s the same thing. Some choice quotes I hear every year: “Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in NFL history, he deserves the MVP,” “No one can beat the Colts this year, they should start engraving the Lombardi Trophy now,” “Tony Dungy is the best coach in NFL history,” “GO HORSE!” “Giddy-up!” “Show your horseshoe!”
Needless to say it took me about three months of Indiana residency to tire of the endless myopia that consumes this state’s football fandom. As a Chargers fan I get it worse than most people because the Bolts have actually beaten the Colts almost every time the two teams play since I’ve been here. And after every game, without fail, I’ve had to hear endlessly about how the officials stole the game from the Colts.
So forgive me if I was laughing last night when Mr. Perfect Peyton Manning screwed the pooch and the Colts blew a 10-0 lead to get beaten by the Saints 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.
As Manning’s errant pass flew into the arms of former Indiana University cornerback Tracy Porter, I suddenly jumped up from my couch and started yelling. I had been largely unmoved all game because I expected another Colts win and more un-ending verbal garbage from this state’s citizenry. When Porter stepped in front of Reggie Wayne, I instantly became jubilant. Here is a transcript of exactly what came out of my mouth: “Holy sh*t! No f-ing way! Run you stupid son of a b*tch, run! Holy crap. Haha, nice toss Peyton, your horse-toothed jackass!”
Bear in mind, there was no one else in my apartment. I eschewed going to a Super Bowl party because I didn’t want to see all those Colts fans so ridiculously happy. Call me bitter (because I am) about my own team’s failings, but I couldn’t stomach another year of hear about how infallible the Colts franchise is.
There are also some things that drive me nuts about the way people in this state refer to the team. News reporters aren’t supposed to say “We” when referring to a team they’re covering. Apparently journalistic, integrity and objective are three, mutually exclusive words in Indianapolis.
Here are the facts:
1. Drew Brees deserved the NFL’s MVP Award this season. There is not one valid argument that can be made in Peyton Manning’s favor. I’m right, I know I’m right and the statistics back me up. Brees had a higher completion percentage, more touchdowns, fewer interceptions and higher quarterback rating and just over 100 fewer yards. What Brees did last night only re-enforces that fact. He was the better quarterback all season and last night was no different.
2. The Saints deserved it. After the first quarter they completely outplayed the Colts in all three phases of the game. Yes, the Colts played well and they can hang their helmets on that, but they were not the better team in the stadium last night.
3. The excuses have already started but I’m shutting them down right now Colts fans, Dwight Freeney’s injury didn’t change anything. Yes, he was hurt and not at 100 percent, but guess what? That’s why you have other guys on the roster, they’re supposed to pick those guys up and fill in.
4. It’s fitting that it was Porter whose interception sealed things. The guy disappointed Hoosier fans so many times with awful blown coverages to kill Indiana’s football team time and time again. He’d make spectacular plays on occasion, but then he’d follow them up with two or three horrible decisions. He disappointed fans in this state again last night, but this time with a phenomenal play.
5. Peyton Manning is not the best quarterback in the history of the NFL. He may well be regarded as such by the time he’s done playing, but frankly I’d take Joe Montana or Tom Brady’s abilities in the clutch over him any day of the week. It’s not a cut and dry selection like Colts fans would like to believe. He may be the best “passer” of all-time, but that doesn’t make him the best quarterback.
6. We should all feel good for the Saints and Saints fans. No, not because of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that it caused (though that’s a nice thought). We should all feel good for them because until four years ago, the Saints were the NFL’s worst franchise. They were what would have happened if the pre-Buttermaker Bad News Bears and the pre-Hanson brothers Charleston Chiefs spawned an unholy love child. I mean, it took the Saints 20 years from their creation to register a winning season. Those fans, that franchise and that city deserve a championship.
So there Colts fans, you have your facts. I’m not a hater and I’m not gloating (I swear, I’m really not) but your team simply didn’t deserve to win Sunday night. Peyton has had problems in the clutch for most of his career and it happened once again last night.
Sucks to have to think about how your team failed on a big stage for the next six months, huh?
Welcome to my world.