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A Few More Super Bowl Thoughts

I was beaten to the punch here, but let me just add ...

1. The best thing about Super Bowl XLIV to me is that it totally destroyed the pre-game coventional wisdom. Everyone who picked the Colts – everyone – did so because of Peyton Manning. The Colts have Peyton, therefore it's just short of a foregone conclusion they will win. That's what it felt like at least. I picked the Colts, and basing your pick on the team with perhaps the greatest quarterback ever isn't illogical, but perhaps I was too quick to rest secure in that idea – especially after the Jets game. When everyone from Rod Blagojevich to Shirley Jones is picking the Colts because of Peyton, the "analysis" has drifted into cliche.

Why did Dwight Freeney and Reggie Wayne's injuries not seem to matter? Because the Colts have Peyton. The Saints led the league with 30 interceptions this year. Yeah, but the Colts have Peyton. Yes, Manning had two weeks to prepare for the Saints, but did it not matter that the Saints had two weeks to prepare for him? Not if you listened to the conventional wisdom.

So, to see Peyton Manning throw an INT TD that lost the Super Bowl for the Colts was just awesome. Manning didn't even play all that well, either. He threw a duck on a long pass to (I think) Wayne in the fourth quarter that would have been intercepted had the DB just turned around. He also missed short on some sideline routes late in the game. Not a great game for Peyton. The exact opposite of what most people expected.

2. Here's what I said about The Who in our live blog: At some point, if you're going to simply be a greatest hits band, you're pretty much just a cover band. ... On top of that, if you're a greatest hits band and you're not creating anything new, you're basically just prostituting yourself. You're Pavlov's dog – the crowd rings the bell, you salivate.

That was an embarrassing performance by a once-great band that is tarnishing its legacy every time it continues to suit up. Apparently that puts me in the minority, as many of the reviews have been positive. But if "The Brits didn't move much, but they weren't dead, either" is the best you can muster, well, I think my point is validated. Can The Who really be The Who with a drummer who wasn't even alive when the band formed? The Rolling Stones are right there with them.

3. Interesting analysis about the INT TD play here and here. Basically, Tracy Porter just out-prepared, out-guessed and out-played Peyton Manning on that one play.

4. Greg Williams obviously deserves tons of credit. The Saints didn't drill Manning the way they did Favre in the NFC Championship. They just blanketed the secondary and mixed coverages throughout the game. The Colts ran 38 second-half plays. On 37 of those, the Saints used five or more defensive backs. Williams said the gameplan was to switch up their defensive scheme at the half and then again at the start of the fourth quarter. That's ballsy. Basically, to prevent Peyton from cracking the code the way he did against the Jets, the Saints kept changing the code. The Saints defense was huge.

5. Sean Payton has some serious testicular fortitude. The onside kick was gutsy, but more than that, he played the game to win. I got the feeling at times the Colts were playing not to lose. At the end of the half, the Colts went three-and-out on three rushing plays. You can't necessarily fault them for running on first down from the their own 1, or 2nd-and-6 from the 5, or 3rd-and-1 from the 10, but that was the safe play. Same thing in the third quarter when they had 2nd-and-1 at their own 20. Perfect time to chuck it deep. They played it safe to pick up the first down.

6. The heyday of Super Bowl commercials is long gone, but that was a particularly unimpressive lot on Sunday. The only memorable commercial was the "Green Police" ad, and not because it was funny but because it was unintentionally prescient.

7. Why would Jay Leno do an advertisement promoting David Letterman's show?

8. He didn't lead a last-minute drive or necessarily make heroic plays, so Drew Brees' performance might get lost in the shuffle, but it was one of the all-time best in a Super Bowl. He finished 32-of-39, tying Tom Brady's record for most completions, but Brady needed 48 attempts. Brees missed four of his first seven passes, and then of his remaining attempts, one was a spike, another a drop. That means he was 29-of-30 on the rest.

9. Garcon's drop mid-second quarter still looms large to me. The Colts had moved the ball effectively to that point, and that play would have picked up a good chunk of yards. Maybe they wouldn't have scored, but going up 17-3 on that drive obviously would have been huge. Instead they had to punt.

10. Thankfully, the refs didn't suck this year.