Now that the NFL is down to two teams, the big question remains -- who the hell is going to be rooting for Indianapolis?
Let's examine the options.
On the one hand, you have a town (not a city) full of pasty Midwesterners, a burg that only has an NFL team because the owner of one of the league's storied franchises bolted in the middle of the night for greener pastures. And if there's one place with pastrues, it's Kicksville, Indiana, otherwise known as Naptown.
On the other hand, you have New Orleans.
Indianapolis is going for its second title in recent years. New Orleans has been in existence since the LBJ administration and haven't won anything. It took them two decades to have a winning season, something Texans fans should read with horror. So who to root for -- the recent champions, who always make the playoffs even in one of therir "bad" seasons, or a team that's been inept but loved for generations and was 3-13 only five years ago?
It would take a New York Yankee fan to root for the Colts.
If Peyton Manning didn't make funny commercials and have a nice performance on Saturday Night Live, he'd be absolutely hated outside of Whitebreadville. The vast, vast, vast majority of NFL fans are highly annoyed at having to endure the Manning routine every play, which consists of a bad-mime performance of pretending to call audibles at the line, all clearly heard in the politely quiet Indy home stadium. The other key part to this routine is listening to the announcers praise his enormous intellect as he does this. Even as the ensuing play turns into a one-yard dive off tackle.
The Saints' QB, Drew Brees, is more of a gunslinger. At the very least, he doesn't spend 20 seconds before evry snap Acting with a capital A.
Breees has also become a Saints icon for his intensive efforts to rebuild the city. New Orleans is still recovering from Katrina, of course, and it's never far from anyone's mind. Saints coach Sean Payton, in accepting the trophy last night at the Superdome, noted that recently the place had holes in its roof and was wet, but it wasn't now. If you need a feel-good story for a Super Bowl city, they don't come much better than the Saints.
The Colts, on the other hand, live in Indianapolis. If anything newsworthy ever happens there, we remain unaware of it.
The victory party for the Colts would no doubt be held in their stadium, where people would file nicely to their assigned seats. There'd be a pre-ceremony prayer, entertainment by a Toby Keith cover band, which would remve any semi-offendng lyrics except those that .disparage foreigners, and speeches would be met with politely enthusiastic applause. This would all be followed by a covered-dish potluck supper.
New Orleans, we're thinking, might do things differently.
The choice is clear -- for the next two weeks, it's Who Dat time for America.
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