In my last correspondence, I told you all about what was wrong with this year’s Super Bowl. What’s right with the game deserves equal time, so here goes …
Drew Brees led the NFL in touchdown passes this season. Peyton Manning was the league’s Most Valuable player. It could be rightly argued that each means more to his respective team than any two other players in the entire league – including the elderly #4 in purple.
But the goodness goes beyond that. These are two guys who are genuinely fine, upstanding people. They seem to always do and say the right things – and manage to stay off the rap sheet. What a concept!
Brees signed with the Saints four years ago when he could have gone to teams that were then far more glamorous than the Saints, who had recently suffered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He felt it was his calling to play there, and he and the Saints fans have developed a unique love affair for each other. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards four years in a row, including a mind-boggling 5,069 in 2008.
Meanwhile, Manning came into the NFL as the the top selection in the 1998 draft – and he has more than lived up to the hype. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards 10 of his 12 years, and has NEVER thrown fewer than 26 touchdown passes in any season, including his rookie campaign. The son of Archie Manning, ironically the Saints’ best-ever signal caller until Brees came to town, Peyton may very well go down as the best to ever play the game if he continues on his current pace.
This is a rare year. I will be happy with either team that wins the big game, largely because of their quarterback.
NOTE: Speaking of quarterbacks, kudos to Kurt Warner, who announced his retirement from the Arizona Cardinals today. Another of the league’s true gentleman, his was a true rags-to-riches story. Warner went from bagging groceries to the Arena League to NFL stardom, and he certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame. I think he gets there eventually.