Before we name our Meast and Least of Super Bowl XLIV, allow us to bestow the first-ever Larry Fitzgerald
Memorial Honorary Meast of the Playoffs on – who else? – Tracy Porter, who singlehandedly saved a grateful nation from a Favre Super Bowl appearance and a second Fetushead championship. It is silly for us to think we could pay tribute to Porter commensurate with his deeds, but we have tried with the video above. Felicitations, good sir. We are forever in your debt.
Your Meast of the Super Bowl is Saints head coach Sean “Riverboat Rumpher” Payton.
Not all of Payton’s gutsy calls were necessarily smart ones. The 3rd and 4th down running plays in the red zone late in the second quarter were highly questionable, but it took serious stones to come back from that and attempt an onside kick to open the third quarter. In fact, his strategy seemed diametrically different from that of the Colts, who turtled on their final drive of the first half then relied on the same obvious calls they made all year when they had to make a play late. Their only daring move was also one of the more idiotic: trying a Matt Stover field goal beyond 50 yards. The Ravens let Stover go because he lost his range. The guy is still reliable inside 40, but he hasn’t made a kick of that distance since 2006. You might as well have called a designed rollout for the first with Peyton. Diptard Colts fans have tried to defend the Stover call by saying he was making kicks of over 50 in pregame, because that’s certainly no different than trying it during a game. Sean Payton hits on 20, Jim Caldwell stays on 11.
Finally, after they campaigned for it for an entire season, we’re pleased to inform Colts fans that Peyton Manning is the Least of the Super Bowl.
Naturally, Peyton Manning apologists and Colts homers are laying blame for the second quarter stalled drive and the Peyton pick-six respectively on Jim Caldwell and Reggie Wayne. And Pierre Garcon dropping a pass. True enough, Caldwell may have made the call to run on 3rd and 1. But isn’t it always belabored by pretty much everyone that Manning is the de facto offensive coordinator on the team, and that he is free to audible when he sees fit? Moreover, at that point in the game, the Colts had been running at will against the Saints. Peyton saw no reason to change out of the play, just as he didn’t go for pass plays on the previous two downs. He accepts some of the blame. As for the pick-six, Peyton the genius got outsmarted by a 23-year-old second-year cornerback. Three plays either, one of his passes was jumped and nearly intercepted by a Saints defender. Do you respond to that by going to a route you’ve been trying not only all game, but all season? Well, that’s what Peyton, who’s supposed to be five steps ahead of the defense, did.
All year Peyton thrived on pulling out the last minute win, made it look effortless. Had you asked any Colts fan what would happen if Manning got the ball back with five and a half minutes left down a touchdown, they’d bet a tureen of meat sauce that Peyton would absolutely drive down the field and score. Except he didn’t. Is it unfair to hold him to a different standard? I would argue it’s not, given that’s the expectation that everyone, even Peyton himself, holds him to. Pey-Pey played an overall solid game, no doubt, but he sucked when it mattered most. He threw a pick-six with three and half minutes left. He failed when he had a 1st and goal inside the five on the following drive.