Monday, February 5, 2007


Congrats to the Colts for their first Super Bowl in twenty-seven years, and to the city of Indianapolis for their first major championship. Indy is the kind of city to whom you'd joke, "I like you no matter what Chicago says about you," because it'd be worried about that sort of thing. But I really do like it. Nice city, nice people, and really into their sports. I was there during one of the Pacers' playoff runs in the 90s, and at a supermarket, as I was checking out, the clerk said, "So how about that game last night?" It was assumed I'd watched it (I had), and we shared a happy moment remembering the Pacers' win.

In the aftermath of the Super Bowl, a few things keep coming up in the media that don't quite fit with our experience of the game (watching with an overwhelmingly pro-Colts crowd and two longtime Colts fans):

* Peyton Manning deserved the MVP. So says John Clayton, with Schlereth, Jaworski, and Theismann concurring in the sidebar. A popular joke, echoed in our home, was that Rex Grossman deserved the MVP--for the Colts, of course. And Peter King, of course, can't wait to jump on the bandwagon. Maybe they saw a different game than we did, or than Dan Shanoff (who picked our consensus, Dominic Rhodes, though I personally wanted Bob Sanders to get it). This is my favorite bit, from an AP article about why Manning deserved the MVP: "He led them on a drive to a field goal, then put them ahead when Dominic Rhodes scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. He expanded the lead by setting up Adam Vinatieri for two second-half field goals, and the defense took care of the rest with Kelvin Hayden's interception return for a touchdown." In other words--he didn't make any mistakes in getting the rest of his teammates in position to score. I guess the defense didn't get as much credit because the Bears' offense was supposed to be sub-par, right? Well, except for the running game, which was supposed to shred the weak Colts defense. How many first downs did the Bears record in the first half? Three? From the perspective that there wasn't really a single outstanding performance by a Colts player, I suppose you give the award to Manning by default, as the quarterback is always the most valuable player to his team, but we thought there were other worthy candidates this time around.

* Prince's halftime show was awesome. I guess. If you like that sort of thing. The best moment for me was laughing at the silhouette, first because it was clearly an attempt to make himself look taller ("I'm the biggest man in the world!") and then because of the startlingly blatant positioning of his oddly-shaped guitar.

* The game was boring. Granted, we were watching with Colts fans, but the rain made for terrific drama, and I don't find turnovers boring. If you thought this game was boring, as some did, even folks we like, then I don't know what you're looking for in a football game. Maybe some dramatic catches would have been nice, but come on. Compared to last year's, or 2004's snoozer between the Pats and Panthers, this was a great game to watch. It might not have matched up to the AFC Championship, but honestly, what could?

Special shout out to one of my favorite columnists, King Kaufman of Salon, who not only agrees that Rhodes should have been the MVP, and thinks the game was pretty entertaining, but doesn't mention Prince at all.


Freelancer said...

Mike Celizic makes a compelling case for Peyton for MVP. It wasn't just winning by default, as we've kind of implied. It's more that he's quarterback but also co-offensive coordinator. Yeah, Rhodes and Addai made a lot of yards on the ground, but who called the running plays? Peyton. Plus, I should be thankful. Had Rhodes gotten the MVP, the detractors would re-set the bar and say 'Well, he won't be TRULY great until he wins a Super Bowl MVP'

Tim Susman said...

True, but now they'll just say he didn't deserve to win it. People who want to believe he's not a great quarterback still will. If he wins three more Super Bowls in a row, they'll say that he did it with more talent than Montana or Brady, so clearly he's not better. Whatever.

I recognize, by the way, that this was more or less inevitable barring a stupendous performance elsewhere, just as it was clear that picking Deion Branch as MVP in 2005 was mostly to avoid giving Tom Brady three MVPs. It has been nice to read more and more articles about how Rhodes and Addai deserved to split the MVP, but at least Rhodes got into the Disneyworld commercial, and Addai? He's a college national champion and a Super Bowl winner and he's not even 24. I think he's pretty happy.