February 8, 2010
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Peyton Manning in the dumps.

Peyton Manning in the dumps.

 So the 2010 Super Bowl has passed into the bowels of history.   Rest in peace, Colts.

      Time for a fresh, offbeat perspective.

   I assume by now you all count on me for that.   An offbeat perspective.   Well, fear not, sports fans, because I have one.   It has nothing to do with the usual reportage; any so-called “sportswriter” can regurgitate for you that the Saints won, the Colts lost, Drew Brees outplayed Peyton Manning, there was a brain-dead interception that sealed the deal, blah blah blah.

      Here’s my take: the Indianapolis Colts are the luckiest team to ever make it to the Super Bowl.

      There’s nothing wrong with that.   Being the luckiest.   I mean somebody’s gotta be.   I just think it’s beyond interesting to recount all the lucky breaks the Colts got along the way this year; maybe it explains why they lost, even though they were favored, and underscores why they obviously weren’t quite as good as we thought they were.   In other words, maybe one of the main reasons they got to the big game was that they were simply a little lucky.   Or quite a bit lucky.   It happens that way in sports.…though nobody associated with the lucky beneficiaries of good luck wants to admit they lucked out.

      Anyway, let’s take a look at these lucky breaks, in order, break by break:

*    First of all, you may recall that in the 15th game of the season the undefeated Colts, to prepare for the playoffs, “rested” many of their key starters in the 2nd half against the Jets (including and especially Manning) and lost, thus intentionally blowing their perfect season.   This cowardly, weak-ass, slap-history-in-the-face folly precipitated a domino effect that cannot be underestimated.

*    Thanks to being handed a “free” victory they otherwise would probably not have been able to earn on their own, the Jets actually wound up making the playoffs.

*    In the 2nd round of the playoffs the Jets met the heavily favored San Diego Chargers, and beat them.   This is incredibly significant, because the Chargers were the one team in the AFC that matched up well with the Colts.   In fact, the Chargers had swept the Colts right out of the playoffs in each of the last two years.   They also have one of the few quarterbacks in the conference almost as good as Manning; Philip Rivers.   They had won eleven games in a row.   But the lowly Jets—almost as if they were paying the Colts back for taking a dive three weeks earlier and back-dooring them into the playoffs—graciously removed the Chargers from the Colts’ path to the Super Bowl.   Huge.   A very lucky break indeed for Indianapolis.

*    Meanwhile, the Colts’ opponent in the 2nd round, the Baltimore Ravens, were led by an inexperienced, erratic quarterback in his 2nd year named Joe Flacco.   Flacco is not a bad quarterback, but he didn’t have a very good year, and the easiest way to beat a team in the playoffs is if the team you’re playing has an inexperienced, erratic, not very confident and decidedly far from great quarterback with less than two years of NFL experience.   Lucky break.   The Colts won easily.

*    And then, in the AFC title game, the Colts were lucky to get to play—ironically—the Jets.   The Jets, who were only in the playoffs in the first place because of the Colts’ generosity.   Not that the Jets weren’t a good team.   They were.   But they also lost seven games this year.   The Colts were thrilled that they had the Jets in their way and not the much-stronger Chargers.   Lucky break.   In the 2nd quarter the Jets lost their bet running back, Shonn Green, to injury, and the Jets live or die with the running game.   Another lucky break.   Plus the Jets are another team with an erratic, inexperienced quarterback; rookie Mark Sanchez.   Yet another lucky break for the Colts.   Sanchez played well, but could not get the Jets into the end zone in the entire 2nd half.   The Colts won easily.   Seriously, folks, how lucky can one football team get???   (I bet these guys all live in Vegas during the offseason.)

*    And finally, regardless of what you may think, it was a lucky break that the New Orleans Saints made it to the Super Bowl rather than the team they defeated in the NFC title game, the Minnesota Vikings.   The Vikings were the stronger team.   Better running game, better at stopping the run, better defense, more weapons on offense.   They outgained the Saints by over 200 yards in the title game.   They literally marched up and down the field.   But they lost, mainly because the reckless, careless Vikings also made a bunch of dumb turnovers.   These were not turnovers the Saints’ spirited play forced; rather, they were just the Vikes being dumb and careless with the funny shaped ball.   Lucky break for the Colts.

      It’s almost as if the football gods wanted the Colts to get to the Super Bowl.   So then why the hell didn’t they win?

      I think I know.

      Remember in my two most recent NFL-oriented columns, how I excoriated the Colts for pissing on history by not going for the perfect, undefeated season?   For pulling their starters and meekly laying down like dogs with immortality within their grasp?   Speaking of dogs, even my dog was upset by it (Though not as upset as me: ).   Well, my theory is that the football gods conspired to give the Colts every lucky break possible, as outlined above, to make sure they got to the Super Bowl….only to assure that once they got there they would lose.   Football gods are just like any other gods.   They hate to be disrespected.   They do not suffer being scoffed at.   They were angry.

      You saw what happened.   After rolling to an easy 10 to 0 lead, the Colts suddenly became somewhat less than great.   Suddenly less than lucky.   A dropped pass here, a penalty there, an on-side kick that the Saints somehow recovered, a mindboggling Manning interception confounding in its lame, brain-dead character.   I don’t think New Orleans is better than Indianapolis.   Sometimes the best team doesn’t win.   Especially when the gods aren’t on your side.

      But we shouldn’t be surprised.   Because—when you think about it—who would the football gods send to punish the Colts for their blasphemy?   A bunch of bloodthirsty arrogant godless Vikings?

      Or a bunch of Saints?

brad-eastland1meet The Sports Philosopher

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, NFL junkie, and sports nut, in no particular order.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written four novels and over 20 short-stories.    Samples of his fiction work can be discovered within the links below :





One Response to “SUPER BOWL POST-MORTEM; BETTER LUCKY THAN GOOD.…UNTIL…by The Sports Philosopher”

  1. You’re a brillian writer. I enjoyed your take on the Superbowl…almost as much as I enjoyed watching it with you:)

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