After a tremendous Super Bowl last night, the city of New Orleans and the whole Gulf Coast region have reason to start Mardi Gras now and celebrate. The entire region of New England also has reason to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate as well. There has been a lot of talk recently about the Colts stealing the Patriots’ claim to be the “Team of the Decade” for the 2000′s, being that they had won one Super Bowl and had the most regular season wins. “Experts” had commented that if the Colts won this Super Bowl, they had a legitimate claim to the “Team of the Decade” crown. Well Pats fans, with the Colt loss, the New England Patriots are now unquestionably (though it was never a question in our minds) the “Team of the Decade.” The Patriots’ 3 Super Bowl titles, 4 AFC Championships, and undefeated regular season are accomplishments unparalleled by any other team this past decade.
Apparently, resting your stars at the end of the regular season does not guarantee a Super Bowl victory. Now, the Colts and their fan base cannot even say that they went undefeated in the regular season, and they most certainly could have accomplished that feat. There is no doubt in anyone’s minds that they couldn’t have beaten the Jets and the Bills, and probably could have even snuck in some rest towards the end of both games. The colts have nothing but an AFC Championship, a hollow feeling when they know they could have had so much more. It’s a feeling Patriots fans know well. On top of all that, they now know that they can’t even try to argue that their team was the best of the last ten years. But it goes beyond that.
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston makes an interesting observation, one that ran through my mind and probably the mind of many Pats fans: “Manning is no Brady.” On the biggest stage in the NFL, Peyton Manning made the final costly mistake when he threw the pick 6 to Tracy Porter. Making the big blunder (some call it a “choke”) is something Tom Brady has never done in the Super Bowl. Even the Super Bowl the Pats lost to the Giants, Brady led his team down the field for what was, at the time, the go-ahead score. The defense folded and blew it in the end that game. Here’s how Reiss sums up the Brady/Manning debate as of 2/7/10:
“If you measure a quarterback by how he responds in the pressure moments on the game’s biggest stage, the debate ended with authority tonight.”
One final note: the media double-standard continues. Peyton Manning left the field without shaking hands with the Saints, which, for the record, is fine in my opinion. I don’t think it’s unsportsmanlike at all. You just suffered the biggest loss of your career, the confetti’s pouring down for the other team, they’re celebrating. Who would want to walk over there? He called the Saints players later and congratulated them. I have no issues with Peyton Manning (in this case). What I do have issue with is how it’s fine for him to do it, but God forbid of Bill Belichick or Tom Brady do it. The analysts and bloggers can’t wait to tear Belichick apart if he doesn’t do the hand shake thing, but come to Peyton’s defense. In my opinion, it just brings down their credibility yet another notch.