SUPERBOWL XLIV PICKS

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Well, it’s finally here. We’ve finally reached that point in the season. The SUPERBOWL: whether you’re a compulsive gambler with a serious problem (by the way, for those of you in that category, the Colts are favored by four points – get to your bookies now!), or you actually like the sport of football, this is definitely one of the best events of the year, especially if you take the game far too seriously (guilty) or if one of your teams is actually playing (also guilty).

To answer your questions, yes, I’m a big Colts fan. No, I’m not from Indianapolis. No, I’ve never been accosted by a Patriots fan whilst at school here, although there have been plenty of close calls. And no, I didn’t just JUMP on the bandwagon a few years ago.  The Colts have always been one of my two teams. I’m not one of those fans; I repeat, I am NOT one of THOSE fans. Believe me, I know how it feels to lose; I call myself the self-appointed bad-luck charm for my hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers. 2002, the year I began to fully understand and appreciate football for the powerhouse sport it is, was the last time the Niners were even remotely good, pre-Alex Smith. Even now, I am still as much of a devoted 49er fan, no matter how bad our season record, as I was when my dad dressed me up as Steve Young for Halloween when I was six (he couldn’t find a Joe Montana Uniform). My father breathes 49er football, and I’m an only child.

Yes, I am a girl. Yes, no need to ask: I definitely know the game and I know what I’m talking about. I drink out of a mug from ESPN zone, and I have my Peyton Manning #18 jersey freshly laundered for the big game next Sunday. I can spit out NFL statistics like it’s my job, I watch 49er YouTube videos from our glory days before I was born, and this year, I beat two of my male friends in a playoff pool. Yes, do I think Mark Sanchez of the Jets is hot? FINE, you got me, YES, I do. But am I fully capable of making well-reasoned predictions for Superbowl XLIV? I certainly think so.

So, let’s get down to the football. The Indianapolis Colts will face the New Orleans Saints in Miami, Florida on February 7, 2010. Both these teams certainly deserve to play in the Superbowl, and have given fantastic showings this season. This is the first Superbowl appearance for New Orleans, which is incredibly exciting for them. Congrats to them; you go, Drew Brees. But even so, I’m here to say that I predict that the Indianapolis Colts, who won the title for the 2006 season, are going to win Superbowl XLIV. You may ask, is she biased? She must be biased. She just said she’s the biggest Colts fan ever. And I’ve read on the Huffington Post that President Barack Obama picked the Saints to win. Is this girl un-American? Wait, is she a communist? WHO does she think she IS?

Gees, okay, calm down. No, I’m not a communist. And I promise I am trying to be as unbiased as possible when looking at the numbers. Will this be a good game? Oh yeah, I think it will be a great game. These are the two best teams in football. And my conclusion? I think the Colts are going to win, and I think I’ve got the proof to back it up. These are my four big reasons why I think the Colts will win Superbowl XLIV:

1. The Colts have ten recent years of postseason experience. It seems like the Colts just won their last Superbowl title. In fact, they won their Superbowl in 2007 in MIAMI (in the rain), which means that the Colts and Saints will be playing on the field where the Colts beat the Bears back in 2007. Although Tony Dungy is no longer head coach and WR Marvin Harrison has since retired, the team is predominately the same as it was in 2007, with a few good rookie additions. This team has experience in the post-season, and most importantly, on this field and if it rains, can there be any doubt?

2. And what can you say about Peyton Manning? He’s been in the postseason in all but one of his years in the league. He has started every game he has EVER played; he’s won the NFL MVP award four times, and has a 95 Career QB rating. He’s a born leader, has the reflexes of a cat, and he can snap a ball faster and more accurately out of the pocket better than anyone in the NFL. In 2009, he was named ESPN’s NFL player of the decade. THE DECADE. And he arguably is one of the best quarterbacks of all time (the best since Montana?). Brees is an outstanding quarterback who has had some exceptional seasons, but he’s going up against maybe the best of all time. Peyton’s done it before, and I think he’ll do it again.

3. It seems that the Colts have mastered the art of variety. I personally was very surprised how much pass and rush variety that the Colts showed during their playoff wins against the Ravens, and later the Jets, this year. Manning’s offense is capable of moving the ball against any opponent, with an array of outlets. When coverage on WR Wayne and TE Clark is too tight, Manning goes to his rookies Garcon and Collie, both of which have had great numbers this year. Although the Saints can move the ball better on the ground, the Colts have all-star RB Addai, who has 10 TDs this year, as well as rookie RB Donald Brown. Manning knows how to spread the ball between his receivers, which I think will leave the Saints constantly surprised how he’ll move the ball next.

4. In the postseason, the Colt’s defense has really surprised me, as well as the offensive line. We are all so used to Peyton having to make good, but split-second decisions to move the ball, because his offensive line usually doesn’t give him enough time to scan the field well. I was very surprised in both the Ravens and Jets games how much time Peyton had to decide where to throw the ball, as well as the incredibly small number of postseason sacks. Peyton is finally being protected; if the Colts offensive line can continue this, and the defense can hold the Saints to a small number of scores, Peyton will do the rest.

SO, if the Colts’ team plays up to its’ ability, I believe that the Colts will be victorious. The Saints are a great team; Brees is fantastic, so is Reggie Bush, with or without Kim Kardashian. If the Colts play poorly or make big mistakes, which I have seen them make (Peyton can be a butterfingers), the Saints can easily pull this victory away. It’s THAT close, and this matchup is THAT good. If perfect football is played in Superbowl XLIV, then I think the Colts will be triumphant. I guess I look at it from a fan’s point of view. I want to see perfect football because I appreciate the sport; two fantastic teams playing up to their fullest abilities and having the better team winning because one team is in fact, SUPERIOR. BUT, we never get that kind of football; someone fumbles or gets sacked from behind, or misses a clutch field goal or has an off day, but hey, a girl can dream. And with that, enjoy the game and of course, GO COLTS!

Colleen Berryessa ’11 has a Colt .45 for anyone who thinks the ‘Aints are superior.