The story lines for Sunday’s much-anticipated Super Bowl match up between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts are numerous.
Can the Saints defense slow down Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his precision passing game? Will Drew Brees and the Saints offense be able to put enough points on the board to match Manning and the NFL’s second-ranked passing attack? Does New Orleans running back Reggie Bush have another game in him like the one he had in the NFC Championship Game against Arizona? Who Dat?
To Saints fans in Mississippi, does it really matter? For them, the only story line is the fact that the Saints are playing in a Super Bowl for the first time in their checkered existence.
A few interesting notes on Super Bowl XLIV:
- The Saints won a franchise record 13 regular season games. They led the NFL with 510 points, ninth most in league history.
- Brees had 4,388 passing yards this season, his fourth consecutive 4,000-yard season. He has not been intercepted in the playoffs.
- Bush became only the second player in postseason history with a rushing TD and a punt return score in the same game when the Saints pummeled Arizona in the NFC Championship Game.
- Manning, the NFL’s only four-time Most Valuable Player, is trying to become the first reigning MVP to win the Super Bowl since Kurt Warner in 1999.
- Colts tight end Dallas Clark needs only 74 yards receiving to surpass three other players for most yards by a tight end in postseason history.
- Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell is the fifth rookie head coach to appear in the Super Bowl.
Here’s a sampling of opinions and predictions on Super Bowl XLIV by cross-section of Mississippi business newsmakers:
Randy Watkins, tournament director, Viking PGA Golf Classic: “I’m actually torn between two loves – the Saints and Peyton Manning. I’m pulling my guts out for the Saints but Peyton is the best player in the world. He’ll be the difference and pull it out for the Colts. Colts 38, Saints 27.”
Reid Guy, executive director, American Subcontractors Association of Mississippi: “Being a Dallas Cowboys fan, I’m not really rooting for either team, although I’d like to see the Saints win. But I do like Peyton Manning. However, I do believe the Saints are going to win. Saints 31, Colts 27.”
Mara Hartman, spokeswoman, Entergy Mississippi: “The Saints are going to win. My company is headquartered in New Orleans and a Super Bowl win would be a big boost for the community and our area. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Saints will win by three points in overtime. Saints 38, Colts 35 in overtime.”
Marty Milstead, executive director, Mississippi Home Builders Association: “Actually, I was pulling for Brett Favre and the Vikings (in the NFC Championship Game) against the Saints. But I like the Saints in this game. I think the New Orleans defense will make the necessary adjustments to slow down Peyton Manning and the Colts offense. It will be a close game. Saints 31, Colts 28.”
Howard Ballou, news anchor, WLBT TV-3: “Living here you can’t help but have an affinity for the Saints but make no mistake, I am a Cowboys fan first. The Saints will have to bring their ‘A’ game to win. Peyton (Manning) has proven what he can do in a Super Bowl – he’s been there and done that. The Saints cannot afford to make mistakes. In a low-scoring squeaker, I’m predicting that (Saints receiver) Marcus Colston will grab a TD pass in the last minute. Saints 21, Colts 14.”
Kay Wise, events coordinator, Associated Builders and Contractors of Mississippi: “I’m not really much of a football fan but I’m hoping the Saints win for their fans and the city of New Orleans. Saints 35, Colts 33.”
Alan Turner, publisher, Mississippi Business Journal: “If Peyton Manning has a good day, I believer the Colts will win. If he’s off, the Saints will win. Colts 31, Saints 21.”
Debra Baughman, co-owner, Squench’s Tattoos: “These are two really good teams and I am torn. In fact, some in my household are big Saints fans and the other part loves Peyton Manning and the Colts. Personally, I hope the Saints win but…Colts 34, Saints 30.”
Jason Mamaril, manager, Sports & Co,: “I am neither a Saints or Colts fan. Colts 34, Saints 24.”