Crystal Ball Sees Rout of Saints in Super Bowl
And wasn’t that a great NFL regular season? Man, there were so many good teams, good players and good human-interest stories. It was a football nut’s dream. So now comes Super Bowl XLIV next Sunday. Who’s going to win? Who better to ask than my crystal ball? It’s not a pleasant task talking to it but duty calls and even if it’s wrong, (something it never admits to) it can at least give us some idea of the game.
SO I HELD my nose, took it out of its drawer and started to put the question to it. Before I could speak, it growled, “What now?” Then it surprised me and suddenly brightened up. “Hey,” it said in a happy tone I had never heard before, “How ‘bout them basketball Miners? Boy, oh, boy, winning at Memphis and following that up with another road win was unbelievable.”
I cut in, “Yeah, sure, but Memphis doesn’t have coach John Calipari anymore.”
It growled, “There you go, cutting down the Miners again. You should be happy.”
“I am, I am,” I replied meekly. “I’m not cutting them down. I was just pointing out a fact.”
BEFORE IT could say anymore I went on. “I’m not here to talk about the Miners. I want to know who you think is going to win next Sunday between Indianapolis and New Orleans.”
That got its interest. It cleared its throat, harrumphed, and said, “Well, yes. I’m glad that you appreciate my expertise.” I was about to say something unsavory about its “expertise” but held back.
It went on: “I’ve always said that to win a national championship in any sport a team needs offense, defense and coaching. Miss one of those three and you’re in trouble. Miss two, you’re a loser.
“I WATCHED the NFL playoffs very closely and was impressed with some very important facts. One is that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is much better than the Saints’ Drew Brees.
“The Saints were lucky to beat Minnesota. Quarterback Brett Favre would have whipped the Saints if his teammates could have quit fumbling. Man, what a bunch of butterfingers. And Brees looked just like an ordinary quarterback the second half.
“NOW TAKE Indianapolis coaching. Manning is as cool a quarterback as has ever tossed a pigskin but just as impressive is how the coaches stopped the New York Jets in the second half. That took some great adjusting at halftime.
“With such a super star as Manning on the team, coach Jim Caldwell gets too little credit but he’s obviously a very smart fellow.
“OKAY, SO let’s put it together. I said every champion needs offense, defense and coaching. Indianapolis wins all three over the Saints.
“Manning is better than Brees. The defense is better than the Saints. And as good as the Saints’ coaching is, the Colts’ coaching is better.
“I’m telling you, this could be a rout. The latest spread favors Indianapolis by four or so points. What a steal. The Colts figure to win by at least two touchdowns.”
I WAS STUNNED. “Two touchdowns?” I said. “Are you crazy? That’s too much. I mean, there are so many intangibles, so many crazy bounces in sports. Anybody can have a bad day, including Manning.”
The crystal ball snarled at me. “I didn’t tell you all this to argue with you. If you’re smart, you’ll go out and make a bundle on my prediction. But I guess you’re too stupid to do that.”
I told it I didn’t bet on football. “That figures. You’re such a goody-goody. You make me sick. Put me back in my drawer.”
I did, gladly. And I slammed the drawer shut in the process.
Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org online at www.raysanchezbooks.com