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2-Point Conversing: Super Bowl XLIV

Credit: Photo by Aquamelli
Who dat? The man that will bring New Orleans its first Super Bowl?

Steven Waye and Eric Karlan offer their opposing viewpoints on who will win Super Bowl XLIV: Peyton Manning's Colts or 'dem New Orleans Saints.

Be sure to check BrooWaha every week to discover the most controversial sports stories and debates in Steven Waye and Eric Karlan's 2-Point Conversing. In the meantime, if you do not already have an account with BrooWaha, sign up to contribute to the Conversation by posting an Extra Point of your own below the article.

THE FIRST POINT...Why Steven Waye envisions immortality for Peyton's Colts

I have finally made my peace with Peyton Manning. He’s a hard guy to like: the smarmy Visa commercials, the neurotic rain-dance he performs every time he steps up to the line and changes a play, the five-head and first-day-of-kindergarten haircut that make him look like a preppy horse; these things are a lot for a fan to overcome. But over the years, the guy has just worn me down with his excellence, both on the football field and in his SNL skits. As annoying as he is, he gets the job done just about every time, with robotic precision.

It’s to the point where Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams has basically admitted that his game plan consists of blitzing the hell out of him and praying that one of his guys land a knockout punch.

"This guy's got a great clock in his head,” says Williams. “The big thing is that he throws the ball so early that we're going to have to do a good job of finding ways to get to him and when we do get to him we're going to have to make sure he gets a couple 'remember me' shots when we get there.

When you put too much of that type of worry on a warrior’s mind, he doesn’t play all out. If it happens, it happens. And the only thing you’d like for me to say is that if it happens you hope he doesn’t get back up and play again.”

Good luck, buddy. As Williams himself recognizes, there’s no one in the game better at beating the blitz than Manning, possibly ever. If you rush him, he can drop it underneath. You drop guys back in coverage and he shows you that “laser rocket arm” is more than just a memorable catchphrase.

And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to take anything away from what the Saints offense has done either. They have a host of weapons and one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league delivering the ball. But their defense, outside of fantasy stat sheets, is atrocious. They’ve given up a ton of points, and the most yards in the league. Williams helped mitigate those weaknesses by scheming well, and his boys in the secondary responded with 10 defensive touchdowns, lead by veteran safety Darren Sharper with 3. Plus, they hit hard and hit often, their nastiness contributing to the retirement of Kurt Warner and sending Brett Favre home with at least as big of a headache as he’s bound to cause the Vikings front office this offseason.

But if they’re counting on their astounding propensity for takeaways to take down Peyton Manning, they might as well do away with whatever semblance of subtlety left over after Williams’ comments and club Manning in the knees before the game. As we’ve heard so many times before, having Manning in at quarterback is like having your Offensive Coordinator out there on the field, managing the game. The man takes care of the football like it holds the secret to reversing hair loss. (So maybe I haven’t gotten over the forehead, but c’mon…have you seen that thing? It’s ENORMOUS.)

So expect a great game. Expect a shootout. Expect the Saints to come after Manning with all they’ve got. But don’t expect Manning to crumble; there’s no quarterback alive I’d rather have running my offense during the Super Bowl. Even if I don’t really want him playing with my kids.

GOING FOR TWO...Why Eric Karlan sees serendipity for the Saints

Forget about the numbers for a minute. Forget about how Drew Brees dazzled against defenses all season long. Forget about how the Saints defense significantly improved as the season progressed, turning New Orleans into a two-dimensional team. Forget about how Reggie Bush has emerged as a prolific kick returner.

Pundits and fans can point to any number of statistics in their arguments for why the Saints will win the franchise’s first Super Bowl this Sunday in Miami. But New Orleans has an intangible infinitely stronger than any shrewd coordinator or dominant lineman.

Some will thank God. Some will declare destiny. Some will see serendipity

What you call it is simply semantics. The Saints have higher powers on their side.

When New England’s dynasty comes to the Superdome on Monday Night Football and gets embarrassed in front of a national television audience, you know the Saints are blessed.

When Washington’s Shaun Suisham botches a 29-yard game-sealing kick in front of his home crowd, you know the Saints are fated to win it all.

When Minnesota, on the verge of kicking a conference-winning field goal, gets penalized for unthinkably having twelve men in the huddle, putting Brett Favre in a situation to throw an ill-advised across-the-body pass that gets intercepted, forcing overtime where New Orleans wins the toss and soon after the game, you know it’s just too good to be true.

There’s something in the Mississippi water. There’s a silent spirit roaming Bourbon Street. There’s a storybook ending in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

In an age of sports where fantasy-obsessed fans crunch numbers ad nauseam and owners subscribe to a Moneyball mentality, we often overlook the crucial importance of chemistry, personality, and basic confidence. While the Saints do not enter Sunday with an unblemished record, they wield perfectly positive thinking. They know that, in spite of oddsmakers and expert predictions, they are supposed to win this Lombardi Trophy.

Impossible to quantify? Of course. Unbelievably important? Absolutely.

There is a reason this Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the first since 1993 to pit the number-one seed from each conference against each other. There is a reason so many wild card teams have won, let alone reached, the Super Bowl in recent history. Challenges during the regular season fuel fires to avenge disappointments and disprove doubters.

The Indianapolis Colts are prone to succumbing to what I call A.B.C. – the Atlanta Braves Complex. They breezed through the regular season with potent professionalism, but have not developed the heart or charisma to win on the big stage.

Despite earning the NFC’s top seed, the New Orleans Saints are the complete opposite. After decades of dismal displays, this Saints squad has lifted the spirits and hopes of an entire city still wallowing in the aftermath of Katrina. Every game has been special, every victory relished. Clutch plays and inexplicable luck have turned the Saints and their city not only into believers, but into knowers.

I know how this story will end, too.



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2-Point Conversing is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on 2-Point Conversing: Super Bowl XLIV

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By JJFCPA on February 02, 2010 at 08:04 am

I just hope that the game is more interesting than the half time show. If it is not, then I will spend 30 minutes watching - the period after the 2nd quarter and before the start of the 3rd. Go Saints!

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By Billotto on February 10, 2010 at 08:34 am

First off, let it be known that this will be raw; not much time at 4 in the morning for proof-reading, spelling perfection or any kind of real time for re-structuring of sentences; this is blind mind venting through my fingers and if I really wanted to get too technically perfect my neck muscles would suffer more than they are at this moment. I'm locking up right about now, in fact. So bear with me; I will structure a beautifully-written piece down the line for Ed's eyes, Steve's, Eric's...but this ain't the time gentlemen. I decided halfway through that I don't want this to be a saved-until-tomorrow thing, even if it comes off as fragmented, disorganized or even sarcasticly benefited by my own sense of survival in a virtual sea of much better writers; that being all of you. I'm wing-dingin' it lads. Steve, you silver-tongued devil. I really like your imagery and the generally smooth way you put words together; your prediction of a New Orleans victory, which has indeed and so beautifully been made real by Mr. Drew Brees, who I loved here in San Diego a long, long, long, LONG time ago, but no less important to the score as the final horn went off...I witnessed one of the most mystifying defensive performances I've ever seen thrown at a Peyton Manning-led team; maybe EVER, and I'm convinced that he was truly confused by whatever the hell the Saints were showing him for most of the game, especially in the second half; when, of course, he was even able to get off the bench and get back into the game. He sat for what?....25 minutes or so at some point? Want to beat Manning?...keep him off the field, which is what the Saints offense did quite well, then their defense followed suit in many of their defensive stands. They squeezed the field down to a more manageable size; they forced the best QB on earth to really have to SEARCH for open men. And an on-side kick to open the third quarter? WHAT? BALLS don't even describe Sean Payton's leadership brilliance in that game; audacity would be closer to a correct definition. For your predictions up-front of who you saw winning the game and your ability to keep the often "overly-sappy" Katrina/Saints related poetry to a minimum, I commend you Mr. Karlan and I liked your choices of the words necessary to frame your views, but you stopped short of trying too hard to be yet another Katrina poet who "tries way too hard" sometimes to capture the immediacy of the tragedy and squeeze it all into metaphors that tie the Saints somehow to the storm and any emotions attached to those painfully shocking days that played out for all of our eyes back in 2005. OF COURSE New Orleans residents cried in the wake of the noble victory; hell, I cried myself and I was just watching the game on my old 50" DLP from Christmas of '05, or was it '04? Funny thing is...I had a 55" LCD/LED 240HZ Vizio still in the box but was too scared to set up two days before the game; I didn't want to hit a snag and be watching it on some 24" or something if my brain imploded. Better the safe route; put it off and go with the "old girl." Hey, life is tough when you're a great writer; people don't know you yet and for obvious reasons no one's offered me any kind of "book deal" having written not much more than moster e mails to my friends and fellow sports enthusiasts, other than one small article in here, yet I just know that there's some literary genius under my surface and shouldn't great wordsmiths like myself be worth at least a 55" experience for a Super Bowl? But no one volunteered to be my tool, so to hell with them all for not coming over and offering their tech services the day I bought the big boy. But what the hell, we all saw the game no matter what we watched it on. And has anyone ever wondered about those rare fools who somehow screw up the night before the Super Bowl and do something dumb enough to land themselves in the drunk tank and REALLY have it bad in the HD department. Wait...no high def in most jails you say...?....what is this, the dark ages? For those of you who remember I was the one who rambled on about the hypocrisy of the Hall of Fame voting committee and how Mac and the boys should indeed be allowed in, and I disagreed with only one point from the Karlan take if you remember; I caved to the asterisk being an option. Sure, I've rebelled against it in the past and always thought any talk of Maris's 61 (with an asskissrisk) was absurd despite the 162/154-game arguments. But I say....let 'em in voters; yeah, they sinned but amphetamine use by major leaguers in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties wasn't? Anyone ever read Rose's book? I admit I haven't but if I'm not mistaken there were these little green pills they used to refer to as "greenies" and last time I checked, they also called it SPEED! Not just then but still. So my turnaround compromise involved favoring the option of having the players receive their due and if the only way that can ever happen is to attach some little punctuation tool to identify the era as tainted and zeroed in on as specifically as "The Steroid Era"... go for it! But for God's sake don't exclude them for something that closely resembles day long passed. Prelude: "Excuse us Mr. Aaron, we've decided it's only fair to do a retro investigation into any alleged use of amphetamine use by players who have been inducted into the Hall sir and we were wondering if you wouldn't mind assisting us in our investigation. We're scheduled for October 20th after the last World Series game so please assist us sir." Fast forward to the witch hunt: "Mr. Aaron, do you perhaps remember any of your fellow major league baseball players maybe seeming a little "jittery" or possibly seeing any "wild-eyed" team mates who may have seemed to be staying up extra late at night and have you noticed if any players actually may have stayed up all night for that matter sir? Let me ask you a direct question Mr. Aaron; have you ever personally seen Eddie Matthews, one of your teammates and a co-member of the Hall of Fame, show any of those signs or symptoms sir? Take your time Mr. Aaron, we have many names to cover and let's just focus on Mr. Matthews for right now; no pressure but just for your knowlege Hank, now that the 2010 PRE-STEROID ERA/RETRO AMPHETAMINE TASK FORCE is now in session and you're being taped if you don't mind, what can you remember and help us with. And remember sir, we're focusing on the early 1950s through the end of the 1980s so we realize you can't shed much light on the late '80s, but please do the best you can sir." The gavel sounds in the background. "The congressional hearing will now recess for lunch and re-convene at 1:30 PM." Okay, pretty out there...I agree. But has anyone ever really thought about such a thing? But really, how outlandish is it, really? I mean, where would one start? Anyone ever consider whether Mantle ever took a "pep" pll or two one time after five cocktails in some Manhattan lounge with Whitey, Yogi and Billy? Hmm. "So you say sir that Roberto Clemente once chewed coca leaves in Puerto Rico in 1961 during the off-season, Mr. Blanco? Do you recall any other details sir?" Get the picture? Far-fetched, not realistic enough of a possibility, the players are all ready IN so they're free and clear, just like in a courtroom; not guilty means you get to go, prisoner number 34471. End of story. Free to go. Can't bring the guy back and re-try him 17 years later unless someone's got the balls to test the system with some kind of DNA evidence but the last time I checked, that's against the law in most states. Am I right? Like I said....I'm just zinging this thing out so I can go get some sleep; no carry-over thought for morning. I want to start tomorrow fresh. So cut to the chase! All these HOF inducteees played in that earlier era: Drysdale, Carlton, Podres, Spahn, Musial, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Jim Rice, Mantle, Mayes, Williams, and the list goes on and on and on. The obvious point being...did any of those players take any kind of illegally obtained stimulants that may have led to extra energy, a more aggressive attacking of the ball as it crossed the plate, were there 5 for 6 games that were influenced by anything that made the heart beat faster or assist a tired body in getting past the blahs of the late-August heat of Kansas City, St. Louis or Philadelphia, or for that matter, were any of Ricky Henderson's stolen bases ever the result of speed or cocaine? Ok, I know that many of those players mentioned had squeaky-clean reputations and I'd maybe bet my new 55" that Eddie Matthews probably never took pep pills or "greenies" but do I really know for sure? Or if he ever did, how long did he continue to use, despite his good character and seemingly faultless demeanor? ENOUGH! It's either a legit point of it may seem absurd, but there is a point to be made; I realize that in the current world of sports that exists, the Jim Browns, Mickey Mantles, the Henry Aarons, the Wilt Chamberlains of the world all did their share of partying in their respective days and I know one thing; people partied forty years before needles to the butt, and who can really say steroids are any more dangerous, performance-inhancing or tainted the game of baseball any more than uppers, downers, muscle relaxers, powders (yes, even the fifties had shady areas players probably found themselves drinking at some bar in. They even had hookers back in those days! Lucy, Desi, tell me it ain't so. No really, ENOUGH Bill! So, drag this whole thing back to the now, the "asterisk factor" scenario would offend me much less than not having some of the game's greats essentially waiting for some possible but unpredictably cruel last-minute reprieve IF they were indeed "good boys" and stood tall in front of a cluster of network mics and bawled like a baby and said endless "I'm sorry I stuck needles in my butt, I didn't mean to. I didn't know it was wrong at the time, or illegal for that matter." And you know what? A lot of that stuff wasn't at the time but it sure raised eyebrows thanks to Canseco basically ratting off his fellow players because baseballs were boinking off his head and bouncing into the seats for home runs. I guess he figured if he was gonna miss out on the Hall, he may as well drag a few guys down with him. Okay Pete, we've decided to re-consider your 5,000-plus hits and we've decided that even betting on the game of baseball has it's punishment and maybe you've just paid your penalty over the past 15-plus years. "So you're finally IN Pete"....and ten minutes later he succumbs to his last dying breath because he's been on his death bed for a month! Great! A full ten minutes to enjoy the moment! //// But back to football, please don't mis-read my seemingly insensitive and low tolerance for Saints/Katrina poetry. Some of what I've read has brought tears to my eyes and has been beautifully written by perhaps those who even wrote some of it in attics and rooftops of flooded homes in the Lower 9th, but of the word symbology and imagery simply contain too many pretentious assumptions for my liking that sound repeatedly the same; "dark waters, lost souls, the house of pain, Saintly princes who will conquer, or HAVE conquered the wildest winds of misery' or the rising waters of courage that have awaken men from their misery and the prince of GOOD, Drew Brees has heard our cries and thus has prevailed" I just rattled that off but my point is I just think much of the dialogue has been much more insensitive for all the wrong reasons than what most very poor people actually felt during those horrid days and don't always necessarily all thos who were legitimately hurt beyond any journalism degree or study of Keats could ever cover. I think Katrina and the Saints are perfectly suitable vehicles for endless poetic attempts at capturing the imagery but less attempts at poetic genius from afar and more acceptance that the government basically has forgotten the Lower 9th even exists anymore and anything Drew Brees did for the city, as much of a virtual "saint" as he has been to the many seriously wounded New Orleans folks who sufferered badly, all came down to him holding his child in the post-game, tears welling in his eyes, and the wonderful pride he must have felt for what he had given such a forgotten city who have done very well in fighting back. Symbolically, Drew Brees IS the knight in shining armor, but in reality, he was just one seriously accurate quarterback who led his team to a very impressive victory and was on the same page as his genius head coach throughout! Is he a hero? OF COURSE! Should more mystical poems involving moss, bayous, dark waters and death be endlessly written well into the future? I say let the poetry cool down for a few weeks so we can all enjoy such a pride-builder for a city who really needed it. For nine years I lived there, I loved there and I had so many friends in the Lower 9th i can't even make a list of them all at this time; I was in Las Vegas doing an apparel convention when Katrina slammed Bay St. Louis or somewhere within ten miles either east or west of that point. With me there at the Las Vegas Convention Center that week were about 7 or 8 guys who owned homes in the 9th Ward and it didn't take much more than a couple of days for them to see from the network feeds out of their beloved New Orleans just how homeless it appeared they all would be in the weeks and months to come and from over 1400 miles away and no way to even get into their city, which was deeply underwater, there they sat in stunned silence, watching Brian Williams of NBC do his best to soften the pain. They remained in Vegas, they worked through the horrific reminders of the imagery they saw nightly on television, and they made their best attempts to be brave around other tradesmen who knew how much hurt they were feeling but no one had the slightest list of words or emotional suggestions to even put a dent in anything that could remotely be deemed even close to being able to touch such deep pain. No poems were written at the time, I know that much. So when I use the term "overly-sappy" The gentle poetry that is was attempted all these years later and with a New Orleans team on the verge of having something to finally build pride from, the endless poetry began to hit the newspapers all across the world like clockwork and the sports writers with those papers were all once again doing something along these lines: "the muddy surge of life's true king, oh dark waters that rose and washed our lives away, we thank you for setting free the ghosts of our church, our dome grief, our bridges of sorrow, our only saving grace, a cool Brees that led the down-trodden, the lost, the beaten-down to this blissful end." The Saints have won not just a Super Bowl; they have won over the hearts of an entire nation!" Okay, I understand that may seem out-of-bounds but I just rattled that off my tongue just now. I cried with enough New Orleans natives when Katrina kicked them in the teeth, I heard about the cleaved kitchens, cut in half by huge up-rooted trees, I hugged many a brother who had water levels at twelve feet and everything we all take for granted like our sound systems, HD TVs, record collections, furniture, pets, the scum, the muck, the snakes, rats, dead bodies in places I used to walk past hundreds of times a day in the New Orleans Convention Center, which essentially became a mash unit/death chamber/crackhead's nightmare/a raped woman's reality. I didn't experience Katrina's hell but I could only relate with those I knew, loved and spent time with in the very homes that were flooded into nothingness and I felt their pain from having walked the streets, knowing of the city's charm, and imagining the pain and suffering from the dryness of a Vegas hotel room and then later in my conveniently dry western bedroom my house on a mountainside. No flood waters will ever find me but aren't I the lucky one? Not everyone has been so blessed. It's after the fact here early Wednesday morning and it's finally sunk in; the New Orleans Saints are the NFL Champions a few old New Orleans buddies have assured me that my years in their city and watching Archie Manning get sacked ten times a game more often than I want to remember makes me an official "honorary homer" if for nothing more than surviving the experience there after flying in once from LA one Mardi Gras Day way back on Fat Tuesday, 1978, and nine years later I was somehow still alive, not completely mentally challenged from the over-medicating, too many Hurricanes, the fruity kind I might add, and anyone who can make it through a stretch in a town that alive and decadent in all the right ways starting from the French Quarter on down to some Cajun whipping up some gumbo made of Alligator meat, okra, coon, corn, and a hundred other things some young long-haired lad from sunny Southern California left his sandy beaches and Eukalyptus-scented warm breezes and traded all that for a lesson in southern living and a little grand excursion into an entirely different culture which included some very poor and pigeon-hole people who had to wait a very long time for water some 19 years after I had left for the West Coast again and any memories I have of that grand old town brought me to tears this past Sunday. Drew Brees and his baby were all the poetry I needed in my world. William Danford, San Diego, Ca. ///// Please accept this post-message disclaimer of any imperfections in my punctuation, spelling and the like; I've all ready mentioned sending it as is and I realize this isn't proper protocol for covering up for the laziness of reading this entire thing and dialing it into perfection, if that's even possible. I take my writing seriously but I also know I have a lot to learn about every facet of this fine craft and I enjoy all of your efforts and will appreciate any feedback any of you may have in response to my many takes on things. So friends....I will click the mouse now knowing full well that I should spend a few hours cleaning this up but when you go all night to write something it's oftentimes better to pump it out, send it, and tomorrow is another day. That's how I've chosen to do this so.................end of message and now.......CLICK!

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By Billotto on February 10, 2010 at 09:03 am

I just read it over again; yeah, I had some continuity issues, a couple of mis-spells and an occasional drifting thought that went nowhere but I feel stronger after having written it and if no one likes it or even CARES...I'm okay with that too. But how about this? "I have NEVER taken any steroids in my life." And do you want to know what else?....I'm telling the truth. Actually, I think a guy 61 maybe SHOULD get on some low levels of juice, of course monitored by a professional. I see pamphlets all the time in doctors' offices that touch on how some men experience drastic reductions in hormone levels, as do women so I guess there is a place for steroids after all but we all know what WASN'T the place for them; that's right...Major League Baseball. I need sleep! To hell with anymore words; I'm fried!! William Danford, AKA Billotto

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By Billotto on February 10, 2010 at 09:07 am

Let me know what you think out there in the "real" world...not just the world that's I let thoughts and words leak out of. I'll write more if you ladies and genlemen wish. Is it really only four days till pitchers and catchers or is it eight? Man!....the Yanks just beat the Phillies about 7 or 8 weeks ago, right? Or so it seems sometimes. OK. ...... FINITO!

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By Billotto on February 10, 2010 at 09:18 am

One last note; I think I lumped Johnny Podres in there as a Hall of Famer and I'm pretty sure he never was inducted. I may be wrong but I think that was my only major gaffe, name-wise. Now I AM hitting the sack; i's 7:05 AM for God's sake! Danford.

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