The New Orleans Saints vs. the Indianapolis Colts is the Super Bowl most Americans wanted to see.
Almost every football fan has ties to a local team, but once you get past those, this is the perfect game.
This is The Game.
NFL executives know that Americans love offense, which is why they often change rules that contribute to scoring and why they are giggling all over themselves about Super Bowl XLIV in Miami on Feb. 7.
It doesn’t get much better than this. You get the No. 1 teams from each conference, and two of the highest scoring offenses in the league. You get a Hall of Fame in waiting quarterback in Peyton Manning, and the quarterback who challenged him for MVP honors in 2009, Drew Brees.
On one side you have Saints receivers Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Jeremy Shockey. On the other you have Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie.
Some of them aren’t household names yet, but they will be by next weekend.
There are still a lot of broken hearts in New York, Minnesota and even in Baltimore. The Jets had become this year’s Cinderella team, but coach Rex Ryan’s humor and abrasiveness offended a lot of people.
Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre had become the people’s champion of the older generation, but all these Favre vs. Father Time stories had become nauseating.
We didn’t need to see Favre limping his way to the whirlpool. We didn’t need to see him squinting his eyes or smiling for the camera right before the snap. Those countless shots of his wife in the stands watching Favre getting smacked around like a pinata Sunday night were boring.
Instead, we’ll get some inside stories on how first-year head coach Jim Caldwell handled the Colts after his predecessor, Tony Dungy, left.
We’ll also get the All-American kid in Manning, who will probably acquire the best quarterback of all-time label if he wins a second championship. It’s hard not to like Manning. He is so efficient and business-like. He’s probably the best player in the NFL right now, and those touch passes he drops in over defensive backs to his receivers are gorgeous.
Even his commercials are good.
The Favre saga had some romance, but is there a better feel good story in the country than the one in New Orleans? A few years ago, we all watched the images of this city and the state of Louisiana being swallowed up by Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans isn’t all the way back, but it’s rebounding and the Saints have helped to rekindle some hope. Fans chanted “Who Dat, Who Dat,” as gold glitter fell from top of the Superdome, which had become a giant refuge in the days follows Katrina.
If this isn’t America’s team for just a few weeks now, there never really was one.
No player epitomizes the relationship between New Orleans and the Saints more than Brees. He is gritty, tough and has had his own comebacks from several injuries throughout his nine-year career.
Unlike a year ago, there are no Cinderellas here. These were the two best teams with the two best offenses since late July.
It’s a matchup we waited a long time to see.