I am scheduled to fly to New Orleans today to judge the finals of the Tulane Sports Law Moot Court Competition. What a time to go, smack in the middle of the Saints winning it all and Mardi Gras. I wonder whether I'll find a town that's hung over from the Saints victory or just revving up for Mardi Gras. The answer, of course, is both.
The Saints are the winners, no doubt about that. However, there are some who have to be feeling sick about the result, mostly due to their own mistakes coming back to bite them by the hand of Drew Brees and the loveable Saints. Those feeling ill as a result of what happened last night include:
The Colts. Of course, they did not play poorly and in one of the most tired phrases ever uttered, they played "well enough to win." However, that "well enough to win" would be for a regular season game against an average opponent, not well enough to win against the Saints. Dropping passes, whiffing on onside kicks, missing field goals, questionable coaching decisions, etc, all doomed the favored team. Again, the norm for the Colts is that those kinds of mistakes can be easily overcome by the greatness of Peyton Manning, but not against the opportune Saints.
The Vikings. They possess a superior defense to the Colts and were done in against the Saints by mistakes two weeks ago. The Vikings also played "well enough to win" but also did enough to lose, as did the Colts. Although it sometimes comes off as disrespecting the winner, the truth is that most games are lost rather than won. With credit to the Saints, the Colts and Vikings lost their games as much as the Saints won them.
The Dolphins. Drew Brees wanted to be a Dolphin, but it was not mutual. As much talk about the "calling" he felt from New Orleans and the wonderful efforts he has done with the city, he preferred Miami to New Orleans when he was a free agent in 2006 after being shunned by the Chargers. Coming off a serious shoulder injury, the Dolphins put Brees through an exhaustive medical exam and chose quarterback Daunte Culpepper and his balky knee over Drew and his shoulder. Culpepper played four games for the Dolphins while Brees - who they could have had at hello - won the world championship on their home field.
Jim Irsay. The Colts owner publicly proclaimed that he would make Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL. That bravado sounded good in the midst of the recent love fest for Manning. Now, not as much. Manning will now have his 9-9 postseason record brought up when that deal, which may approach $50 million guaranteed and $140 million in total value, is negotiated. The lavish deal will also take place against a backdrop of ownership grumbling about player costs rising much faster than revenues.
Other notes from the Super Bowl:
Why did it seem like there were so many Super Bowl commercials with doughy guys in their underwear? As 100 million people gathered to watch some of the fittest people in the country compete, we were interrupted by a bunch of "before" pictures of guys in their tighty-whiteys standing around. Not the image you want and I can't even remember what the ads were for. Kudos to Google for its minimalist yet powerful message. They sure do get it there, don't they?
Jimmy Johnson is promoting a male-enhancement product. I won't go there; wonder why he did.
No labor talk in this column, but you can join me next Wednesday for all you need to know (and some you don't) about the new way of doing business in the NFL