Super Bowl 44: Who Should Giants' Fans Root For?
If you're a football fan, you probably already know who you're rooting for. But for the select few Giants fans who are still weighing their options, trying to decide who to pull for in Sunday's big game, I have picked five reasons to root for the Colts and five reasons to root for the Saints.
Like the undecided voters in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, undecided rooters can view this slide show as the Super Bowl version of a presidential debate. Except much less important.
5. Colts: The Shockey Factor
If you're one of the many Giants fans who were rubbed the wrong way by the manner of Shockey's exit from New York, watching him win a Super Bowl ring only two years later in New Orleans is probably a tough pill to swallow.
Although everyone involved says there is no ill-will anymore, some people may still feel that the way he forced his way out of New York was more than a little selfish.
5. Saints: The Shockey Factor
Fans who still have a place in their heart for Jeremy Shockey can root for him even in another uniform. His rugged style of play has not changed since his move to New Orleans, though unfortunately, neither has his propensity for being banged up.
Shockey has said many times that he has no hard feelings towards the Giants organization and fans, so why not root for a former Giants' draft pick who helped the team make the playoffs on numerous occasions, including the 2007 Super Bowl season.
4. Colts: Local Product, Gary Brackett
Linebacker Gary Brackett makes Rutgers fans proud each year. Brackett was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2003, a move that has worked out brilliantly.
The Glassboro, New Jersey-born middle linebacker is a tackling machine who has become one of the most important parts of the Colts defense. He was a prolific high school player at Glassboro high school, as he was twice selected to the All-South Jersey team, the All-Group I team, and the All Tri-County Conference team.
He is also an all around good guy; he won the NFL's Humanitarian of the Year award in 2009 for his work with a children's charity he founded.
4. Saints: Local Product, Marques Colston
Giants fans on Long Island have probably heard of Hofstra University, which for years had the closest thing to a respectable football program on the island (Bill Cosby did a standup routine about his days playing on the Temple football team, who were manhandled every year by the bigger Hofstra team). That was, until this year, when the school shockingly canceled the program.
Meanwhile, Marques Colston has developed into a star wide receiver at the pro level after the Saints selected him in the seventh round, 252nd overall, out of Hofstra. Since then, Colston has set a record for most receptions in a players' first two years.
People say that New Yorkers love to root for the underdog, but really, everyone loves to root for the underdog. A Super Bowl win for Colston would be a true underdog story, and doing it the same year his alma mater's football program folded would be an even better story.
3. Colts: Local Product, Dwight Freeney
Giants fans living in New York State may be fans of Syracuse University. Although they have had one of the ten worst football teams over the last five years, they used to have a proud football program.
One of the better players to make the jump from Syracuse to the NFL is defensive end Dwight Freeney, who has become the AFC's elite pass rusher. The 11th pick overall in 2002, Freeney has made the Pro Bowl five times, including 2004, when he led the NFL with 16 sacks, and 2005, when he won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
3. Saints: NFC
From 1985 to 1997, the NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls. Since then, the AFC has won 9 of 12.
A Saints win will put the NFC back into power, and could get the senior conference back on a long winning streak, hopefully highlighted by many Giants wins.
2. Colts: Pierre Garcon
Drafted out of Division III powerhouse Mount Union in the sixth round, this Carmel, New York-born wide receiver has made huge strides in his second year. He caught 47 receptions for 765 yards and four touchdowns, and had a monster AFC Championship Game against the Jets. Garcon is the most successful current NFL player to come from a college that has won 10 Division III national championships since 1993, making him a unique underdog success story.
But Garcon, who is of Haitian descent, will be playing this game with his friends and family on his mind. Obviously, the terrible tragedies that occurred make things like football seem trivial. But maybe, if only for a few hours, a Colts win will help brighten the day for his family and friends back in Haiti.
2. Saints: A Man Named Payton
Saints Coach Sean Payton was the Giants' offensive coordinator responsible for fixing Tiki Barber's fumbling problem. He was also the man in charge of an offense that dropped 41 points on the Minnesota Vikings en route to an NFC Championship.
He was known as a hard worker who spent long hours game-planning, sometimes sleeping at the stadium on off days. He has a lot of respect for the Giants organization and is thankful of the opportunity they gave to him. Aside from that, he just seems like a genuinely nice guy.
There were many people who hoped that Payton would eventually become the next head coach of the Giants. In retrospect, I'm glad this did not happen (for obvious reasons), but I will always appreciate what Payton did for the Giants in his short time here.
1. Colts: A Man Named Peyton
If you watched the Colts defeat the Jets in the AFC Championship, you probably saw Eli Manning rooting his big brother on. Two years earlier, Peyton visibly rooted on Eli and the Giants against the Patriots in Super Bowl 42.
If that's not enough reason to like Peyton, remember what happened the year after he won his first Super Bowl (I'll give you a clue: It probably made you happy). Maybe Peyton winning his second ring will give Eli extra incentive to get his second (although, if he really needs extra incentive to win a Super Bowl, he probably shouldn't be playing in the NFL). Either way, it can't hurt, and everyone loves a good sibling rivalry.
Plus, Archie's rooting for them.
1. Saints: Ultimate Underdogs
There are only a handful of teams that have never made a Super Bowl, and the Saints are one of them. It's been a trying existence for the Saints franchise, but the New Orleans fans have never given up.
Even after the tragic events brought about by Hurricane Katrina, the fans have looked towards the Saints as a source of strength.
Over the past few seasons, the Saints players have responded by raising their level of play to heights never seen by this franchise. For so many reasons, it's hard to watch this team and not root for them.
A Super Bowl victory would be so meaningful and important to the city of New Orleans and to Saints fans everywhere.
The Saints franchise and the city of New Orleans are the ultimate underdogs. Everyone loves the underdog.