Super Bowl XLIV was as close to a perfect Super Bowl as I think that I could have ever asked for. I would have truly been happy with either team winning. This had to be the first time that this was the case. There have been those times when I hated both teams (AKA the Broncos vs. the Falcons or the Raiders vs. the Bucs). However, the 2010 match up was featuring my favorite NFL player (Peyton Manning) against my favorite NFL team (the New Orleans Saints).
Yeah, I said it: New Orleans is my favorite team. No, I am not a bandwagon fan. No, it is not because of Katrina. No, there is not some sappy story of why I chose that team to be mine. I am actually sort of embarrassed to share with you why I initially became a fan. Sometime during my eighth grade year, about sixteen years ago when no one ever thought of being an “Aints” fan, I decided I needed an NFL team to cheer for. I wanted to be different. I wanted to pull for a team that never won. That no one had ever appreciated. I am guessing that I did this just so that when they would be good I could look genius – which has paid off this year – I just did not perceive how long I would actually have to wait (New Orleans has only had two playoff wins before this season). I went out that very day and purchases a hat and never looked back. If you know anything about me and my sports allegiances, it is that I am loyal. Through thick and thin. However, I am also incredibly pessimistic. I did not see this one coming. I never do. But I am glad that it finally came.
That being said, my love for the Saints pales in comparison to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Not even close. This difference is probably due to a few factors. First, I came to love the Dodgers and the Irish largely because of sentimental reasons: I heard my Dad tell my Grandpa Buller in 1986 that he grew up as an LA fan – and I wanted to be just like him (he has sense sold out and began cheering for the American League Seattle Mariners). My passion for the Irish was solidified when I watched them upset Florida State in the early 1990s – the final college football game that I saw with my Grandpa Farley before he passed away. They went on the next week to be upset by Boston College and watch as their championship season slipped through their fingers. If (and hopefully when) Los Angeles wins their next World Series or Notre Dame takes home the national trophy, I have to admit that I will do nothing less than cry tears of joy. I will love every minute of it. I can’t say that I was even close to being that excited for New Orleans. Surprised. Shocked. Pleased. Proud. But no tears. I will enjoy this off-season. I will wear my jersey (that my brother bought me a couple of Christmas seasons ago). I have now received just a small taste of what it will be like for my other teams – and I like it.
Whatever you do, don’t call me a bandwagon fan. My name is not Troy Farley (my brother changes teams like they are underwear). The Irish and the Dodgers have not won a championship since 1988 (and only have a combined three titles in the thirty-one years I have been alive). Don’t even get me started on the New York Knicks (who I starting pulling for purely based upon the fact that they were the Anti-Michael Jordan). I should point out, however, that it seems that God is a New Orleans fan as well. Wasn’t it King David who once cheered, “As for the [S]aints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3, ESV). Of course I am speaking tongue in cheek. Here are a few general thoughts about New Orleans Super Bowl Championship season. I would love to hear your thoughts in return:
* Drew Brees is a class act. He is not Manning. He is not one of the greatest ever. But he one of the greatest right now. I appreciate his attitude. His service. His leadership. It is a refreshing change from what we usually expect in pro sports today.
* The Super Bowl win was good for the city of New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast. However, it was a diversion and not a solution. Victories are temporary. Let’s not forget to pray for the people of that region and to give to local churches and relief organizations still committed to rebuilding that city (such as Convoy of Hope).
* This loss does not tarnish the legacy of Peyton Manning. John Elway lost three before he finally (and tragically) ended with two wins. Brett Favre is 1-1. Dan Marino never hoisted the Lombardi trophy over his head. Manning is still in his prime. He already has one ring. Let’s not miss what very well could be the greatest quarterback of all time (and surely the smartest) just because we have unrealistic demands. In the era of free agencies, I would argue that to have two Super Bowl wins today is equal to Montana having three or the Steelers having four. He has great odds of getting at least another one before all is said and done. Besides, more rings does not always equal being greater. Troy Aikman with three trophies was not better than Brett Favre. John McMahon? Williams with the Redskins? Eli Manning beating Tom Brady? I rest my case.
Just for the record, my prediction for next year is that the Colts will return to the Big Game and enjoy a Super Bowl win over the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s be honest, the ‘Boys losing is almost as sweet as the Saints winning. I would be remiss if I did not end this blog with . . . Who dat?