After reading the initial gut reactions of the media in the hours after the NFC title game last Sunday, one would think that the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 will be a mere formality.
Peyton Manning, in his diamond-studded chariot and golden flowing robes will throw for 688 yards and 12 touchdowns in a grand and glorious victory.
The Saints might as well even not show up.
Thanks, John Clayton. Thank you, ESPN experts.
I'm exaggerating, of course. But you would think that at worst, folks would hint at a shootout.
But no. The portrayal in the media hints at a much wider gulf than what Vegas says (the Colts were initial four point favorites).
Why is it that the gritty-at-best New York Jets were a "threat," but the high octane Saints are predicted to get shellacked?
Granted, there are stories out there that do, indeed, favor New Orleans. But I'm talking about the big picture and overall perception.
The media are essentially looking a gift horse in the mouth, in my opinion. Remember a few weeks ago, when both Indianapolis and New Orleans were 13-0, the first time in history two teams had done so at the same time?
This Super Bowl was the dream matchup that most of us were sure wouldn't happen. "Too good to be true" was no doubt the prevailing sentiment.
But not now. The Colts stumbled at the end because they rested starters.
The Saints, on the other hand, were a team in serious trouble, remember?
However, after marching through the playoffs, people are still convinced that they're not for real, it seems.
True, the Colts dismantled two tough defensive teams on their way to Miami. But how exactly will Manning fare against an under rated Saints defense that made future Hall of Famers Kurt Warner and Brett Favre look terrible?
Don't forget, Warner and Favre were playing their best football when they ran into the Saints. It wasn't like they were washed up game managers.
I'm not saying that Manning won't eventually figure out the Saints' scheme. I'm not saying the Saints are a lock for the Lombardi Trophy.
I'm just saying it's going to be closer than most folks—at this point, anyway—seem to think.
The press may be charmed by his Oreo commercials and "aw, shucks" charm, but there's still a tough game to be played.
It could very well be Drew Brees in the annual post-Super Bowl "Got Milk?" ad.