Live from Miami! The Super Bowl blog
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 06, 2010
MIAMI – Yes, we're at the Super Bowl. Colonel Comey's over at one side of the press box, still miserable over his Vikings loss but soldiering one with nothing but a free pass to the biggest game in the world to keep him happy. He's also blogging the game for the Standard-Times of New Bedford, Mass., where he doubles as the sportz edita.
Our cub reporter Bryn Swartz will chime in with postgame news and numbers. And the Chief Troll is in another side of the press box, blogging for you here after his 1,500 mile road trip from Boston to South Florida.
We're not really set up, as you know, for a blog-style format. So we're not posting things in order as they come ... oldest news at the bottom; newest stuff at the top. Here goes ...
Saints 31, Colts 17. Game over. Saints are champs. Once again, in the biggest game of the year, Peyton Manning and the Colts offense comes up empty. The Colts are now 9-9 in the playoffs with Manning at the helm.
Manning and the offense are DIRECTLY responsible for each and every defeat: the Colts have scored just 126 points in those nine season-endeding losses. That's an average of 14.0 PPG, for those of you keeping score at home. And that is not a Cold, Hard Football Fact that you'd associate with the G-O-A-T.
We're break from the blog here and dive into our round-ups soon. Stay tuned!
Maybe I'm nit-picking here, but the G-O-A-T doesn't throw a crushing pick that's returned 74 yards for a Super Bowl-clinching TD for the other team. Don't remember Joe Montana or Bart Starr doing that. But my memory ain't what it used to be.
Peyton needs to go 70 yards in front of a hostile crowd to force a tie in the Super Bowl and secure his place as perhaps the best ever. The Trolls talk about it here.
Saints 24, Colts 17, with 5:42 to play. Can Peyton pull an Eli?
Jeff Duncan of Times-Picayune: Brees 7 of 7 on TD drive, all seven completions to different receivers.
This has been one very fast-moving Super Bowl. Could be over in just about three hours -- no small feat with the 30-minute half time.
Brees now over 80 percent completions ... 30 of 37 ... two completions shy of Tom Brady's Super Bowl record (32 set in XXXVIII).
9:09 p.m. (fourth quarter)
Reggie around left end for 12 yards ... longest run of the night by the otherwise impotent Saints ground game.
End of three. Cold, Hard Football Fact of the first 45 minutes: Brees and Manning have each thrown seven incomplete passes: Manning 17 of 24; Brees 25 of 32.
Colts up 17-16. Not so bold prediction as we hit the stretch run: one team will commit a turnover here in the final 16 minutes, 55 seconds and that team will, necessarily and according to the Laws of Phootball Physics, lose.
If the game ended right now, Addai is the MVP: 10 carries, 79 yards with 1 put-the-RB-through-the-spin-cycle touchdown; plus 4 catches for 25 yards.
His 4-yard TD run gives Indy a 17-13 lead and caps off a H-U-G-E 10-play, 76-yard drive.
Oh yeah, ran into Suzy Kolber at halftime ... TV does not do here justice. She is one very, very nice-looking lady. If I'd only had two more drinks in me, I'd have leaned over and pulled my favorite move: "I wannnaaa kissshh you."
Brees to Pierre Thomas for 16 yards and a TD. Saints 13, Colts 10. This place exploded. It's pretty obvious after the Saints go-ahead touchdown that there is no "Colts section" inside the arena, just isolated pockets of Indy fans surrounded by overwhelming numbers of Saints fans.
In fact, reminds me of the Germans in the Falaise Pocket back in the Big One. But that was in a previous life.
Back to this world: if the Saints hold on to win, the risky onside kick to open the second half will be the biggest coaching trend in football in 2010.
8:23 p.m. (start of second half)
Sean Payton wins ballsy mo-fo of the year award, attempting an onside kick to start the second half ... of the friggin' Super Bowl!!!
We haven't seen a guy double down like that James Bond in Casino Royale.
Crunching stats while Roger and Pete performed at halftime.
Brees: 16 of 22, 164 yards, 7.45 YPA, 0 TD, 0 INT, 93.8 rating
Manning: 10 of 16, 97 yards, 6.06 YPA, 1 TD, 0 INT, 100.3 rating
Pretty good performance by both guys. The difference, of course, has come on the ground:
Saints: 12 attempts, 22 yards, 1.8 YPA, long of 8 yards
Colts: 11 attempts, 72 yards, 6.5 YPA, long of 26 yards.
Addai alone: 7 attempts, 60 yards, 8.6 YPA
The Colts are winning 10-6 at the half, in other words, because they've run the ball better.
Well, the goal line stand is almost (I say almost) moot now. At the end of the day, it's like the Saints simply kicked the field goal on fourth down.
There have been only a small handful of great goal line stands in Super Bowl history, and we might have just seen one of them. The Colts do FLY to the ball, don't they?
Good question in the Fabulous Football Forum: "Are the Colts the new Evil Empire?" The fact that most neutral fans are rooting for the Saints certainly feeds into the argument.
Third and 4 ... Manning throws a gorgeous pass under a heavy rush to a wide open Pierre Garcon for a huge gain! ... and then he drops it. Maybe if Garcon had spent more time working on his hands instead of trying to help the people of Haiti, he might have caught the ball.
I was told that the auxiliary press box basically makes you a second-class citizen among the media covering the game ... but all the Yahoo! sports guys are to my right and Adam Schefter of NFL Network is to my left. So it can't be that bad. Who's in the regular press box? Ghandi?
Dwight Freeney tears down Drew Brees on 3rd and 4 to kill a Saints TD threat. Didn't some fat guy who loves pulled pork sandwiches and Carrie Underwood say on the air all week that Freeney probably won't be a factor in the Super Bowl? What's that guy doing these days?
7:07 p.m. (start of second quarter)
I'm no coach ... but I think this would be a good time for Sean Payton to plot out a scoring drive for the Saints.
Well, that was pretty much a championship drive: 11 plays, 96 yards. Indy running the ball: Joseph Addai for 16, Addai for 11, Donald Brown for 4, Addai for 26, Brown for 4.
We got an idea. Keep handing the ball to Joseph Addai.
Indy is dominating on the ground ... and right now IS the more balanced team.
Addai for 26 yards on 3rd and 3. WhoDat Nation: "Uh-oh!"
If the Colts drive from their own 4 and score here, it will be a very early "uh-oh!" time for the WhoDat Nation.
My theory before the game? The winning team needed balance. Yet so far, neither team seems to care. As of right now, seven passes, two runs by New Orleans; nine passes, two runs by Indy.
Shot this video as Carrie (yes, we're on a first-name basis now) did the national anthem. The flyover rocks!
show video here
6:40 p.m. (first quarter)
Manning out of the gate: 6 of 7 for 53 yards. If he were any sharper to start the game you could use him to skin an alligator.
Dom was right ... it is DEFINITELY a huge crowd in the Saints advantage ... you could hear the difference the second that Peyton Manning got behind center for the Colts.
Nobody does pageantry like the NFL and the US of f*ckin' A.
Dusk now in Miami ... field lights just started to come on.
Hard to believe, considering Texas is the nation's biggest football hotbed, but in about a half hour Drew Brees will become the first native of the Lone Star State to start a Super Bowl at quarterback.
Just a note to the Dade County Sherrif's Department. That fat dude you'll soon see rumbling across the field at Carrie Underwood during the national anthem ... the one with the Cold, Hard Football Facts t-shirt, black hair and the Valentine's Day card in his hand ... that's not me. Could be anybody, really.
Dom, the NFL editor from SI.com, claims it's 70-30 Saints fans in the stands. I've haven't really been paying attention. I'm plotting a romantic way to let my feelings for national anthem chanteuse Carrie Underwood be known on national TV. But I'll take him at his word.
Newsflash! It's perfectly sunny and in the high 60s here in Miami. Who would have guessed it?
All the players are out on the field now ... Colts just came out en masse, a moment ahead of the Saints.
Big reaction from the crowd: Drew Brees, Marques Colston and the Saints receiving corps out for warm ups.
I haven't felt this much anticipation since I saw that first road sign for Moore's Barbeque back in North Carolina.
Bold prediction we'll probably regret: Darren Sharper will secure his place in the Hall of Fame with two picks today in the Super Bowl.
NFL just released inactives.
Saints: QB Chase Daniel; RB Lynell Hamilton; LB Anthony Waters; G Jamar Nesbit; TE Darnell Dinkins, TE Tory Humphrey; WR Adrian Arrington; DE Paul Spicer.
Colts: K Adam Vinatieri, WR Sam Giguere, TE Colin Cloherty, DT John Gill, OT Michael Toudouze, G Mike Pollak, DE Ervin Baldwin; DT Fili Maola.
Must be killing Vinatieri to miss the Super Bowl. Guy never really got a shot to prove himself.
Saints kicker Garrett Hartley is the first out out on the field in full uniform. He's practicing 50 yarders right now and drilling them pretty easily.
Considering he's just 23 years old and has attempted just 24 field goals in his career, and considering he might be called upon in four hours to, you know, deliver the city of New Orleans its first championship in anything but boozing heavily, you figure he needs all the practice he can get.
Also, reports coming out that Dwight Freeney is in fact active ... what that means, I guess we'll find out.
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. (two hours 'til kickoff)
I'm up in the auxiliary press box, Section 253, Row 9, Seat 20. That's essentially in the northwest corner of the stadium, behind corner of the Colts end zone. Here's the view from my seat.
The Colts sideline is directly in front of me. Colts fans are behind them to my right. So far, the Colts section is filling in a bit more quickly than the Saints section. My man Dom Bonvissuto, the NFL editor at SI.com, is here to my left. Colonel Comey is across the way to my right.
A smattering of members from both teams are out in sweats, stretching on the field.
Sadly, from my perspective, there are no pulled-pork sandwiches in the arena. At least none that I've found yet.
This is it! Just got over to the stadium a little while. EVERYTHING is rigid and run like a machine. The security, even for the media, was intense. In fact, it rivaled anything you face at an airport: frisked by security, all bags examined, metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs. The whole nine yards.
In any case, I'm here ... and it will be all football from here on out.
Went to the Taste of the NFL Friday night. It basically works like this: there's one celebrity from each NFL market representing all 32 teams (two from New York City), along with an ex "legend" from each team signing autographs at the table.
It's actually quite the event and one of the hottest tickets in town. And, at $500 to $1,000 a head it raises a ton of money for charities.
I was actually working on a piece for New York magazines foodie website, Grub Street, which covers five NFL cities: New York, Boston, Philly, Chicago and San Francisco, so spent most of the evening at those tables. The Eagles were represented by Jerry Sisemore; Patriots by Gino Cappelletti, Giants by Bill Ard, Jets by Freeman McNeil and 49ers by Eric Wright, proudly displaying an autographed "4x Super Bowl champion" team helmet.
The Dolphins had two players: Mercury Morris and Earl Morrall. This being Miami and all, they also attracted the longest lines. Morris, at one point, abruptly stood up and announced to everybody that he had to piss.
Spent a few minutes chatting with former NFL player Jim Miller, who sported the Super Bowl XXIX ring he won as Tom Brady's back-up with the Patriots in 2004; met Dick Yuengling, the owner of the nation's oldest brewery; and ran into a guy who has my dream job: he's the national spokesman for Frank's Red Hot and Yuengling beer. His name is Kevin (pictured here) and he owns East Village Tavern and Bowl in San Diego.
Here's how pathetic I am ... chefs from every great restaurant in the nation are serving food. The wine and champagne are pouring freely for everybody. And I keep sneaking over and bumming Yuenglings off the guys stuck in the corner with the Buffalo wings.
The Bare Naked Ladies closed out the event by playing some of their old classics and pimping their new album.
For a bunch of scrawny guys, it seemed like they tried everything at the event. They also agreed with me on the best dish of the evening (other than the chicken wings): the cold-smoked duck from Jack's Firehouse in Philadelphia.
Some other winners: the butterscotch habanero bread pudding Sunset Grill in Nashville; and the coconut shrimp beignets from MiLa in New Orleans.
Tooled around Ft. Lauderdale ... cool town. Also wanted to take in the fan scene. I fully expect, like most people, that Saints fans will rule the arena on game day.
But so far, didn't see much evidence of that on the streets of Ft. Lauderdale. If anything, there were more Colts fans on the streets than Saints fans. Found that a bit surprising. I also got my picture taken with Peyton Manning. He looks much taller and skinnier on TV.
That's OK. He said I'm short and fat, even by the short, fat standards of your average web-publishing troll.
Pulled into town Thursday night and headed over to the media center in Ft. Lauderdale. The first you notice about the Super Bowl is that every star, semi-star, football legend, and anonymous player in the country spills into town for the game, as if the entire nation was tipped up sideways and every rolls toward the southeastern tip of the country.
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock were rolling out of a limo when I arrived at the media center for the first time. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was getting out of his ride the next time I showed up at the door.
Jones is one of the few people I've ever seen who simply looks filthy rich. Just something about him. I was born to look like an obnoxious drunken street urchin panhandling outside Starbucks. Jones was born to look rich.
The road to Miami Part 3 (Thursday)
Last leg of the trip: Kingsland, Georgia to Ft. Lauderdale. Could not let the day pass without another barbecue pit stop in, appropriately enough, Daytona.
The road to Miami Part 2 (Wednesday)
One part of the road trip was that if gave me a chance to visit every roadside barbecue joint off of I-95, like Moore's Barbecue in lovely Kenly, North Carolina, smack dab in the middle of the state. Real hick town. I fight right in.
The menu had burgers and dogs and thinks like that. And then something that simply said "barbecue."
I asked the girl "bahbacue what?"
"Pork?," she said ... as if I had just asked her to tell me what planet we lived on.
"Does any sauce come with it I said, pointing to the steel tin of shredded meat?"
"It's already in there," she said, with the same incredulity of a mother lecturing a child.
Despite her demeanor, it was pretty damn good: and at $1.99 probably the best deal of the entire trip. If I had a freezer in the bed of the truck, I would have purchased 50 of them.
The road to Miami Part 1
Yes, I drove from Boston to Miami. Yeah, seems crazy. But there were good reasons for it that I don't need to explain here.
I know Washington D.C. got hit this weekend with a massive snowstorm. But when I rolled into town Tuesday night, people were already complaining about the record snow. Then I woke up Wednesday morning to find that that the Pigskin Ford pick-up was covered in six inches of snow.
The deep freeze continued for hundreds of miles south: there was still snow on the ground and icy ponds most of the way through North Carolina. Here, look, see for yourself. This "welcome" center was actually like 100 miles over the border.
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