This Super Bowl should have been moved to the Superdome, if only to highlight the epic Quarterback battle between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. New Orleans is the City of the ‘Aints, the infamous paperbag fans, the years of Coach Mora and the kinship of the Manning family. Then followed Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The City of New Orleans deserves the celebrity and spectacle, never mind the revenue that a Super Bowl will bring.
Both Drew Brees and the Manning family have been deeply involved in the storied history of what is an epic American city, living a fairy tale story this year.
The highlight of this game is the legacy of the Manning family, led by Archie, against the valor of Drew Brees. Archie Manning, former Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, brought excitement to the city, where there was none. Archie Manning drafted in 1971 by the New Orleans Saints, after a stellar career at Ole Miss, became one of the favorite sons of the city of New Orleans.
Archie raised his family, among them Peyton and Eli in New Orleans before sending them off to college and NFL stardom . Peyton and Eli have done what Archie was not able to do, win NFL Championships. In lieu of the success of the Saints franchise, the Manning family is one of the more storied New Orleans sports families.
In August of 2005 the City of New Orleans was hit with one of the most devastating natural disasters, when Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the city, with thousands being displaced from their homes, and scores losing their lives. The Superdome was nearly destroyed.
In 2006, Drew Brees signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints and thus started the march to the playoffs under the leadership of Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees. Since joining the Saints, Brees has brought credibility and became the missing piece in their desire to become an elite NFL franchise. Other pieces were added before and after Brees’ arrival, but his leadership and ability has been the key to their success.
As much as his leadership on the field has been important to the Saints success, his off field involvement has endeared himself to the citizens of New Orleans, and Americans alike. This is a fan base that has always supported its team, even through the difficult years. Brees has helped bring a sense of purpose back to the city, and has been aided by other prominent figures. Drew Brees has been called “an athlete as adored and appreciated as any in an American city today.”
Peyton also has a history with the Saints organization as well. While in high school, he would attend Saints training camp with Archie Manning, who was a Saints sportscaster at the time. During one training camp interview, then coach Jim Mora, Sr. told reporters that Peyton Manning had the best arm of anyone in training camp. Of course at the time, one of the Saints Quarterbacks was sitting out due to a contract dispute.
Nevertheless, Peyton Manning was viewed by many as headed to NFL prominence.
This game comes down to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, an endearing story, and a wonderful backdrop to this game. Both quarterbacks possess a cerebral nature that sometimes leave opponents and teammates alike befuddled at their skill. Combined with their natural athleticism and desire to win, they provide the ability to have teammates take their game to new heights.
My view of this game is to simply enjoy the thought and analytics that both quarterbacks will show. While neither is flawless, and both can be beaten, they are a pleasure to watch for the football purist. Peyton understands his team’s offense to such a great extent, that his game calling at the line of scrimmage is unsurpassed.
Drew Brees has the ability to put the ball in exactly the perfect spot, where only his receiver can catch the ball. His attention to detail has finally brought him to the pinnacle of his game. A Super Bowl victory for him would be the culmination of all his years of hard work and studying the game. One can say that he deserves to win Super Bowl 44, not only for past struggles, but for the City of New Orleans.
The countdown has begun, the wings have been ordered, and the tables have been set. Let the footballs fly and just have fun watching this game. It promises to be one of the best yet.