Below is a guest post by Sarah from her blog Real Women Watch Football. Give her blog a visit if you like what she’s written.
As everyone knows, the Indianapolis Colts are playing the New Orleans in the Super Bowl on Sunday. So what has been the focus of this game since day one? How the Saints have finally gotten to their first Super Bowl or how New Orleans has rallied around the Saints this season, giving it a new life after the city was all but demolished by Hurricane Katrina a little over 4 years ago? No, of course not. The focus is the Manning family.
For anyone who hasn’t turned on a television for two weeks, let me briefly explain why. The Mannings are to New Orleans as the Kennedys are to Massachusetts (minus all the tragedies).
Archie, Peyton and Eli’s father, was drafted by the Saints (2nd overall) in 1971 and played for 10 years there. While the team never had a winning season, good old Archie played his heart out while he was there, despite having an awful team. In 1972, he led the NFL in passing yard, he was the UPI’s NFC Player of the Year in 1978, and he was in the Pro Bowl in ’78 and ’79. Even though he didn’t end his career as a Saint (he went to the Oilers from 82-83 and the Vikings from 83-84) he made his home in New Orleans. All three of his sons, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli grew up in New Orleans, graduated high school there, and I can only assume, were/are huge Saints fans.
As I said, the Mannings are royalty in New Orleans. Saints fans actually love the Manning family so much that they root for the Colts (I don’t know about the Giants—see my side note). There are a lots of #18 Colts jerseys and apparently during the 2006 Super Bowl, when the Colts played the Bears, many people in New Orleans decked out their houses out in blue and white. I can guarantee you that those blue jerseys have been put away and there will be no houses in blue and white come Sunday.
Side note: When Archie and his wife returned to their house in New Orleans after Katrina hit, they found that someone had broken into it. Archie had a bunch of signed jerseys from Peyton and Eli and the looters took all of Peyton’s; None of Eli’s. When I read this, it brought me more joy than I can explain in words.
So when the Saints won in overtime against the Vikings to go to the Super Bowl, who was the first person interviewed? Archie. Everyone wanted to know what team he would be rooting for February 7th, his favorite team or his
favorite son. Of course he chose blood and will be cheering for the Colts. As will Cooper Manning, the oldest Manning kid whose football career was cut short due to a narrowing of his spinal canal. At least Cooper is being honest about the whole thing, saying, “it’s going to be a little awkward.” He is friends with Drew Brees and his kids are huge Saints fans. I can just see it now, the Saints will score and Archie and Cooper will jump up in excitement and then remember that they have to cheer for the Colts. They will slowly sit down and say, “you’ll get that back,” will doing a victory dance in their heads.
As a die-hard Patriots fan, when I set out to write a post about the Manning family, I had the intention of going off about how they are the bane of my existence and have brought me great pain and suffering and how I enjoy seeing one of their own play their favorite team. Instead, I have sat here and written about their love for the Saints, the Saints love for them, and how this game is bittersweet for them. God damn it. I have no idea how this happened. This makes me hate them even more.
The Manning family has won this round but let me just say that when it comes to Sunday, I will be full heartedly cheering for the Saints, for many reasons.
1. The Saints do truly need it! They’ve never been to a Super Bowl, let alone win one.
2. Peyton and the Colts have already won a Super Bowl (reminder: Brady has won 3, which, as of now, is more than the entire Manning family combined). Stop being selfish Peyton! In order to maintain his royal status in New Orleans, Peyton should throw the game in a non-obvious way. That would perhaps make me like him more. Ehh..probably not.
3. It would be a great way to start Mardi Gras. Technically Mardi Gras doesn’t start until the week after, but I think they would make an exception and just start it Sunday if the Saints won.
4. My brother goes to school at Tulane (for all you people who don’t know where it is, it’s in NOLA) and he says the city has gone Saints CRAZY. After the Vikings game and even the police officers setting off fireworks. The Saints have become his second favorite team and well, I love my brother and it would be awesome for him to be there when the Saints won the Super Bowl. I was at school in Boston when the Red Sox won broke the curse in 2004, so I feel that the Saints winning would be only fair.
5. I HATE THE MANNING FAMILY AND WANT PEYTON TO LOSE!