Monday, January 18, 2010

Historic Super Bowl In The Making

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

The Minnesota Vikings and QB Brett Favre finally erased some of their bad memories of the Dallas Cowboys by blasting them 34-3 in the Metrodome Sunday.

Here is what we have to look forward to in the next few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl on February 7, 2010.

The Vikings (13-4) travel to the Superdome and face the New Orleans Saints (14-3) in the first ever NFC Championship to ever be held in this historical venue. It's only fitting that we have a matchup featuring the top two seeds.

The 40-year old Favre returns to the building where he won his lone Vince Lombardi Trophy on January 26, 1997 with a 34-21 victory over the New England Patriots. Favre, who played his collegiate career at Southern Mississippi and was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, is 363-531, 4,202 yards for 33 TD's and just seven interceptions in 2009.

In Sunday's win over Dallas, Favre was 15-24, 234 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Favre's four touchdowns was the most in his post-season career and he earned his first playoff win over the Cowboys.

Including the post-season, Favre has played in 307 consecutive games. During his 19-year career as of week 17, 2009, Favre has thrown for 69,392 yards, 497 TD's, 317 interceptions, 9,811 attempts and 6,083 completions.

Here are some more interesting numbers.

Thirteen years ago when he won his Super Bowl in New Orleans, the cost of a 30 second commercial was $1.2 million. The Neilson Ratings were 43.3 and the market share was 65.

Pat Summerall and John Madden were the broadcasters for his historical win on Fox. Joe Buck and former Cowboys QB and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman will be televising this contest for FOX.

In Miami, the No. 13 jersey of Dan Marino is retired at Joe Robbie Stadium. Marino's 61, 361 yards in 16 seasons used to be the all-time NFL mark before Favre broke the Super Bowl Titleless performer's record.

My first Super Bowl was XXXIII in Miami on Jan 31, 1999. The Denver Broncos, who defeated Favre a year earlier to win their first championship, knocked off the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 as Hall of Fame QB John Elway retired a two-time champion. Now Favre, like Elway, has a chance to win his second title on Marino's old playground.

Going into Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Saints QB Drew Brees, at the age of 31, who played at the same university as Miami Dolphins legend Bob Griese, Purdue, has put together an excellent career of his own.

In 2009, Brees is 363-514, 4,388 yards, 34 TD's and 11 interceptions. During his nine-year career, he's 2,697-4,164, 202 TD's and 110 interceptions for 30,646 yards.

Brees turned down the opportunity to sign with the Miami Dolphins and play for Coach Nick Saban and chose to accept the challenge of playing for first time Head Coach Sean Payton in 2006.

In their first year together, they advanced to the NFC Championship but lost to the Chicago Bears 39-14 at Soldier Field as the Saints amassed four turnovers. On that Sunday, January 21, 2006 afternoon, the Saints had to deal with a cloudy, snowy day with the temperature 28 degrees. Despite the loss, the Saints would be greeted warmly by a grateful region that had appreciated their efforts on the field and in their ravaged community due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The weather at the Superdome in Saturday's 45-14 rout of the Arizona Cardinals will be the same against the Vikings. Against the Cardinals, Brees was 23-32, 247 yards, three TD's and zero touchdowns as he out performed Arizona legend Kurt Warner.

Regardless of whether it's Favre or Brees, if the Indianapolis Colts (15-2) are able to defeat the surging New York Jets (11-7) Sunday, this could be a historic Super Bowl.

Manning won his first Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Joe Robbie Stadium as history was made in the first game ever coached by African Americans featuring Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith.

Another African American is at the helm for the Colts as Jim Caldwell is under pressure to win this Super Bowl when he chose to not make a run at a 16-0 season as the Colts lost their final two games to the Jets and Buffalo Bills in an effort to rest their players, plus avoid injuries while getting others healthy.

Nonetheless, Manning, who is an 11-year veteran has compiled 50,128 yards as of week 17, 2009. He'll either face his hometown team New Orleans, whom his father Archie played for when the franchise was known as the Aints otherwise, it will be a match-up against another NFC North team in the Minnesota Vikings.

At the rate Manning is going, he should pass Marino's yardage mark in 2.5 seasons. But having won a Super Bowl in Marino's playground, now he has a chance to win a second one at Joe Robbie Stadium at the age of 33, the same Super Bowl as Elway's second. If Favre wins his second, it will come in a regular season where he threw for 33 touchdowns.

If Favre doesn't reach the Super Bowl and the Saints make it for the first time it will be a great story for the region which was battered by Hurricane Katrina but more importantly, the list of teams to have never reached the Super Bowl will be down to four.

How ironic will it be that as was the case in Super Bowl XXXIII, that an NFC South team could be making it's first trip to the Super Bowl in South Beach.

No matter what scenario plays out, history is destined to be made in South Florida. If an NFC team wins the Super Bowl, the Saints will either be 1-0 or the Vikings will be 1-4.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.


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