As we near the grandest stage in all of sports, two teams vigorously prepare for battle. Super Bowl XLIV will pit the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts against the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints in South Florida.
These teams have already proven that they have what it takes to compete among the elite, and on Sunday they will compete of the Lombardi Trophy. As if the standalone fact that this is the Super Bowl wasn’t intriguing enough, there a few key storylines that make this game even more interesting.
Both quarterbacks have the ability to change the way people say their name with a win on Sunday. Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Colts, has the ability to establish himself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback to ever play the position. Manning, the four-time NFL MVP, has a chance to win his second Super Bowl in four seasons. Drew Brees, on the other hand, has the opportunity to seize the moment and solidify himself among the elite quarterbacks of this decade. Throwing for more than 25 touchdowns five out of the last six years, all he needs now is a big rock on his finger.
A Super Bowl Victory for the Saints could do wonders for a city that’s still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many families had all of their belongings destroyed and their lives as they knew it shattered to pieces. One of the few things that still holds this city together is their Saints. A Super Bowl win will bring out the best of “Who Dat Nation” and untie the city as a whole.
One of the most crucial situations concerning the actual game is the status of Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, who has a badly sprained ankle. As one of the most versatile DE’s in the league, his health and participation are vital for the Colts. The tag team of Freeney and Robert Mathis gives the Colts their superb pass rush. Without Freeney, New Orleans will be able to focus solely on Mathis, giving Brees ample time to hit guys like Marques Colston and Devery Henderson downfield. As of now, Freeney is still questionable as to whether he will be able to go at all on Sunday. Colts fans are hoping that he will at least be able to play on passing downs, and Freeney has said that the pain in his ankle is gradually subsiding. We’ll be anxious to see what his condition is come Sunday evening, but Colts fans will breathe much easier if Freeney is a go.
Regardless of the way these storylines play out, it is safe to say that most people, those without a dog in the fight, are wishing for simply a good game. In my mind, the last two Super Bowls were nothing short of spectacular, and Super Bowl XLIV is shaping up to be just the same.