OK, so Bush didn't turn out to be worth anywhere near second-pick-in-the-draft money. So the guy New Orleans picked 106 spots later, guard
More about that in a second, but I want to make one thing clear: I don't like a bunch of things from the Colts' performance in the Super Bowl, and I hated the run-run-run series at the end of the first half. That's when the best two-minute quarterback of our lives was handing the ball to
But even with that call, it's too easy to say the Colts went conservative all game and that's why they lost. Not true. They lost because
Now, about the Saints. Look at the decisions they've made since the
So when Payton walks through the locker room at halftime and tells key kicking-team members they're trying an onside kick for the first pre-fourth-quarter time in the 44-year history of the Super Bowl, we should not be surprised. It's Payton's M.O. And in a time when so many teams in the NFL play not to lose, let this be a lesson.
This game ought to be cause for celebration in Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Buffalo and all those places where fans are down and think they don't have a chance. Now the Saints, when Payton took over four years ago -- that was a team that didn't have a chance. Post-Katrina, we didn't know if the Saints would last another two years. That was one bad ballclub. I remember going to training camp that summer in Millsaps College and thinking ... well, I'll let Loomis pick up the story.
"You went to our camp in '06,'' he told me at the Saints' victory celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel around 1 Monday morning, "and you said, 'This is the worst team in the league.' Didn't you?''
"I think I did,'' I said.
Loomis beamed, because he knew what he and Payton did. They rebuilt a team in a city that was braced to lose it, somehow convincing enough good players and coaches that the team was worth building in such a fluid environment. There's a moral in there for so many teams in so many other cities. Hire smart people. Trust them to make bold decisions. Back them, even when the tide of public opinion rushes against you.
It's a great, great story. I'm so glad I've been able to cover it over the years.
Let the discussion begin about the first game of the 2010 season. The NFL season will open on NBC Thursday night, Sept. 9, at the Superdome. The Saints' schedule is not a very attractive home slate, except for two games. Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis ... not good. So I'll give you the only scenarios the NFL and NBC Sports czar
Now for your Super Bowl and Hall of Fame e-mail:
Hmmm. A few people have asked about that, and I guess I'd say this. The Patriots went for fourth-and-two at their 28, up 34-28 with 2:08 to play against the Colts. Belichick thought it wise to go for two yards there instead of giving the ball to the Colts after a punt. The difference there was about 42 yards, I'd guess -- the Colts getting it at the New England 28 or 29 rather than at their own 30, approximately, after an average punt. So if they failed to pick up two yards, they'd be giving Manning a very short field, versus making him drive 70 yards.
On the onside kick, the object was the same -- prevent Manning from having a possession. But there were 30 minutes left, not two. And if the kick had failed, Manning would have gained 30 yards, approximately, if you estimate Indy would have gotten the ball at about the New Orleans 45. So I think the gamble wasn't as big as Belichick's, though I think the comparison is apt.
This was the 40-year anniversary of Dawson and the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl. It had nothing to do with the fact that Brees was in the game. They picked Dawson before the Saints won the NFC Championship.
I realized Manning did not hang around to shake hands with the Saints on Monday morning while reading the paper. I didn't see it Sunday night. Yes, I believe Manning should have sought out Brees on the field and shaken hands with him. That was the right thing to do. I also was told yesterday that he found Brees after the game and congratulated him. You seem pretty angry about this, by the way.
I know the league has considered this. I think it all revolves around when the NFL believes it can get the best TV numbers, and analysts say the audience would be higher on Sunday night than Saturday night. By the way, if the game were on Saturday, it would certainly be in prime time, as it is on Sunday.
Well, if a
Corruption? Be careful there. I don't see it. As far as players being on the wrong side of the committee members, I can't speak for 43 others in the room. I can only speak for myself. And let me just say there was no love between me and
I'm really excited about it. Thanks.
Ouch. I'll have to make sure to incorporate "Brett Favre'' into my first column from South Africa. Seven times.