BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
As we prepare for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, here are the reasons why the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints should win on February 7.
In the last three Super Bowls I've covered, each quarterback has won multiple titles and padded their Hall of Fame credentials.
In Super Bowl XXXIII here in Miami, Denver Broncos signal caller John Elway retired a two-time champion with a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons, who were piloted by his old coach Dan Reeves. This gave Coach Mike Shanahan his second championship.
Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville saw former Michigan Wolverines QB Tom Brady and Coach Bill Bellichick capture their third titles together with a 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Finally, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who struggled to win Super Bowl XL in Detroit by tossing for only 123 yards passing, redeemed himself with a one touchdown and a 256 yard performance to emerge with a 27-23 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
Roethlisberger's game winning six-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds was one of the greatest games ever, and gave him his second championship, and the Steelers recorded the franchise's sixth crown.
Here are the reasons why the Colts should win:
Indianapolis is the beneficiary of the Rooney Rule which requires teams to seriously interview a minority candidate for head coaching and executive positions. Former Coach Tony Dungy became the first African American Coach to win a Super Bowl by knocking off the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI in a battle of black coaches defeating his former assistant Lovie Smith.
Now Dungy's African American successor Jim Caldwell has a chance to win on the same Joe Robbie Stadium turf.
This is my third Super Bowl where I've seen a team reach the title game for the first time. The Falcons and Cardinals have both lost and Indianapolis is under extreme pressure to win because the Colts bypassed a historical opportunity to go 16-0 by resting their starters in season ending losses to the NY Jets & Buffalo Bills.
The AFC is 3-0 in Super Bowls that I've covered as Denver, New England and Pittsburgh have won the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Here are the reasons why New Orleans should win:
Quarterback Drew Brees is on a mission to make the San Diego Chargers regret that they kept Philip Rivers instead of him.
If Brees leads the Saints to a victory in their first appearance in the Super Bowl, they'll join division rival Tampa Bay with victories in it's initial appearance. The Buccaneers blasted the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII as Coach Jon Gruden defeated his former boss Al Davis.
New Orleans defeated the Miami Dolphins 46-34 at Joe Robbie Stadium on Oct 25, 2009. The Saints would like nothing better than to extend their celebration from South Beach to Bourbon Street giving the city its first major championship against New Orleans native Peyton Manning, the son of legendary Saints QB Archie.
New Orleans spoiled the homecoming of former Saints fan Brett Favre with a 31-28 OT win in the NFC Championship Game. New Orleans would like to continue this against Manning.
For the Saints to defeat future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner of the Cardinals who retired Friday, Favre, who could likely retire this year with his final game like Warner's being played in the Superdome, and Manning; this would be a championship well earned. Warner is 1-2 in Super Bowls and has played in three classics.
Finally, if there is a sentimental choice to root for a team, this would be it. The city of New Orleans has already said it will throw a parade whether the team wins or loses. To see the Saints win a title after the region was battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 would be
Here is my prediction on who will win Super Bowl XLIV based on this formula.
Denver defeated Atlanta by 15 points, New England edged Philadelphia by three while Pittsburgh came from behind to defeat Arizona by four points. The total point differential for all three games is 22 and if you divide it by three games, this equals 7.3.
Therefore, in a shootout of two franchises which have won important games at Joe Robbie Stadium, Indianapolis (14-2) defeats New Orleans (13-3) by a 38-31 score in the Super Bowl everyone wanted to see in the battle of No.1 seeds.
The win allows Manning to join Elway, Brady and Roethlisberger as multiple Super Bowl winners.
Since Shanahan and Bellichick won back to back multiple titles when I attended those games, it's time for a repeat of African American titles. Caldwell would become the third African American to win a championship with last year's Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin being the second.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.