So apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend. Really? Already? I thought they were taking 2 months off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl just so we can build the proper amount of hype and build up. Two weeks of beating us over the head with the same stories or then finding new and even more meaningless stories to hit us with just isn't enough. Thank god there's a 9 hour pregame at least.
The only good thing about having 2 weeks until the Super Bowl has been the NFL Network running the "America's Game" series, which counts down the best 20 Super Bowl teams ever with 20 one hour shows. If you love football you have to find a way to watch this. NFL Films is as good as it gets for showing off its sport, and nobody else is close. The depth, the interviews, and of course all the film is just awesome. I don't even like or care about most of the teams they've shown, but to see it and learn about what made the Steelers or Cowboys of the '70's great has been interesting. I also understand now why Raider owner Al Davis still believes in "Just Win Baby" and throwing the deep ball and everything else because of his 1976 team. That was a crazy team (throughout the hour it also shows just how good a coach John Madden was), but it worked for them and won. The things that worked for that team won't work in today's NFL which explains why Davis shouldn't be making decisions for the Raiders anymore, but at least now I understand why he is the way he is.
The other thing the America's Game series gives is perspective, which is something that can be applied to Peyton Manning and the Colts. I've never been a big Peyton guy, believing that he's been showered with praise and adoration by anyone and everyone without having ever won a title in college or the pros. My belief was that he was the Alex Rodriguez of football, that he'd be the greatest regular season quarterback of all-time, but would never ever win the big game. The win against New England 3 months ago or 2 weeks ago or however long ago it was that they actually played a football game in the AFC Championship, was a big win for Manning, but it'll mean nothing if he doesn't win Sunday. However, after watching America's Game shows about the '76 Raiders and the '98 Broncos (also nice of them to show the Gary Anderson miss again vs the Falcons. Thanks for that kick in the unmentionables) I no longer believe he can't win the Big One. Maybe you didn;t know this either, but before the 1976 season, the Raiders had lost 6 AFC Championship games. 6! They were a team that had a tag that "couldn't win the big one". And of course the Broncos of the late '90's talked all about how Elway was hearing the same things Manning's hearing now about being a choker and never being able to come through when it counts. Then in the twilight of his career, an aging Elway wins two Super Bowls, which had much more to do with Terrell Davis and his supporting cast than his own play, and yet because of the Super Bowl win he's now looked at as one of the greatest ever (and rightfully so).
Manning could win this Sunday like Elway did and cement his place already as one of the all-time greats. Or he loses and continues in the Dan Marino class of "great but never won a Super Bowl." It's not fair, because Manning IS a great quarterback, but that's the expectations that come with the position. Oh and I also heard Manning complaining at media day about getting too much credit or too much blame for the Colts' success: um Peyton? When you're in every commercial on TV and are the face of not only your team but the league, you can't complain about media criticism and getting too much attention. If you don't like all the attention then do what Tom Brady did and stop doing commercials. Really it's that easy.
Having said that I hold no ill will towards Peyton and will gladly admit I was wrong about him if he wins. But that's still a BIG if.
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