If you’re going on vacation to some remote island where all you’ll be doing is sipping frozen drinks and relaxing on the beach while staying completely out of touch with the real world for the next two weeks, you should be thrilled with the Super Bowl XLIV matchup awaiting you upon your return.
The rest of us, unfortunately, can only moan about what could have been.
Rather than getting 14 days of Rex Ryan-isms, TMZ following the boy wonder Mark Sanchez’s every move and of course, endless Brett Favre talk, we’ll have the Indianapolis Colts with Silent Jim Caldwell and Peyton Manning talking to us about hard work and discipline on one side and the New Orleans Saints with their standoffish coach Sean Payton and his not-quite-ready-to-be-a-media-darling quarterback Drew Brees on the other. The best chance we have of avoiding an incredibly boring two weeks is if Manning becomes the new Tiger Woods. Of if he slept with Tiger too.
The Jets could have made the buildup to Super Bowl XLIV infinitely more interesting. Last week, I kept comparing the AFC Championship Game to the Massachusetts Senate race. The Jets were the team that came from nowhere, the team that only qualified for the playoffs because the rest of the conference choked over the final month of the season. But they got a little lucky, started to gain some steam and before you knew it, people were actually picking Gang Green to pull off the upset in Indianapolis. The Jets were Scott Brown. Which made the Colts Martha Coakley, although not even Coach Caldwell is as bland as her. They were the traditional powerhouse that paid no mind to the much less established Jets, so much so that they sat their starters in week 14, inadvertently helping them qualify for the playoffs.
Somehow the defense-first Jets became more appealing than Manning and his Colts. I even found myself cheering for them yesterday. I don’t know what it was about the idea of Rex Ryan having to answer questions like, “Tyrannosaurus Rex or Pterodactyl?”at Media Day that made me smile so much. Not to mention, two weeks of Ryan could very well have provided us with twenty years of great beer commercials. Two weeks of Caldwell will only force us to drink beer to excess.
On the other end, we could have had the Bizarro World situation of Favre in a Vikings uniform with the chance to win another Super Bowl ring. Because of all the focus on his many retirements in recent years, I don’t think people really remember just how much Favre meant to Green Bay and what a dagger it must be to see him wearing purple and gold. I mean, how many parents in Wisconsin used to scare their children with threats like, “if you don’t clean your room, Brett Favre will sign with the Vikings” and how many children believed them?
That alone would have made the Vikings a more interesting story than the Saints. Of course, it’s not as though an entire city rallying around a football team following a devastating hurricane isn’t compelling; it’s just that Favre is simply the most polarizing athlete in the world today – maybe ever. Willingly going to Minnesota might make him the biggest traitor in sports since Babe Ruth.
That’s not to say we won’t enjoy the game we have. We will. What’s not to like? For the first time since 1993, the No. 1 seed from each conference we’ll meet in the season’s final game. We get to watch the top two quarterbacks in the league squaring off in a shootout capable of challenging the 49ers/Chargers for the highest scoring Super Bowl of all time. All signs point to this being a classic.
It’s just the next two weeks that concern me.