It seems as if I have written quite a bit here over the past 15 years about the Super Bowl and Peyton Manning. My justification(s) is that the Super Bowl is an event — something akin to an American holiday — worldwide. The number of television viewers alone for tomorrow’s game is a lock for an all-time high. The over/under for viewers, who knew that they had one, is 117 million-to-114.4.
The match-up of the teams in Super Bowl 50 seems destined to be one of the great championships since Super Bowl I. The No. 1 offense and No.1 defense in the NFL will tangle. Two great quarterbacks will also meet on the field, Carolina’s Cam Newton and Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. When I talk about destiny, I am not saying that this 2011 post I wrote was something of foreordination. Coincidence was the theme. You read this past post and you can decide whether this game was happenstance or was if it was in the stars. That is, if the piece doesn’t first drive you insane before you reach a conclusion.
The linked blog post shows my admiration for Manning partly out of empathy because he has had a history cervical spine problems, as does his oldest brother, Cooper. I don’t know about brother Eli Manning’s neck. I think he might have had neck problems. Eli Manning, of course, is the New York Giants QB who twice led the Giants to Super Bowl wins. That is one more than is one more than Peyton can claim. Cooper Manning, the eldest of the Manning boys, was recruited as a high school wide receiver by Ole Miss but had to sit out of football the for the rest of his life due to spinal stenosis. I underwent surgery for a stenosis and currently have one though my doctors at the VA hospital say surgery on this one (which would be my third) could hurt more than help. Peyton has had four neck surgeries. I didn’t think he should have returned after his last operation, but he did and now he’s playing with a chance for his second Super Bowl championship.
Another reason I write this about Sunday’s big game is that this first one for some time in which the game interests me as well as the “Super Bowl” for TV advertising.
As well I wish well for the head coach and defensive coordinator for Denver. Gary Kubiak was fired after seven seasons with my team, the Houston Texans. His firing came after his earlier leaving the field on a stretcher for what was later determined as a blood clot. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips took over as head coach the rest of the season. Both of these coaches eventually reprised their roles as head coach and defensive coach when hired by Denver. Both of these coaches had histories with the Broncos. Kubiak played as a backup quarterback for the Broncos, playing second-fiddle to QB John Elway. The Hall of Famed member Elway is now general manager and executive vice president of the Broncos. As for Phillips, one should ask where this native Southeast Texan hasn’t coach. He was defensive coordinator some 25 years ago in Denver and head coach for about a year. You would have to check Wikipedia to see whether all three, Kubiak, Phillips and Elway, were together at what was known as Mile High Stadium. This this link contains an entertaining article about Phillips. He is not as outspoken as his storied Dad, coach Bum Phillips who coached the then-Houston Oilers. The late coach is a beloved folk figure in Texas. Both father and son graduated and coached in the area where I live. So they are beloved figures here in Southeast Texas.
Finally, I am writing about the big game on Sunday because I can. Plain and simple, I don’t have to check with an editor who wants me to work on a weather story. I’m not being paid to write this, so I think that allows me to write whatever the hell I want. ¿Comprende?
I would like Manning, Kubiak and Phillips to win this Super Bowl. There is speculation that Manning, 39, might retire after this game. One wonders how much longer Phillips, at 69, will go on as a defensive wizard. He did express interest a couple of years ago in head coaching, but not in an interim role as he did at more than a couple of NFL teams.
I have yet to speak of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who led his team to almost a perfect season last year. He’s exciting say some. Excitable say others. He likes to dance, in the end zone and even after running for a first down. A lot has been made of his race, as he is an elite group of black quarterbacks. Many wish he wouldn’t dance. I don’t know if that will happen. The question is, how many times will he dance?
If Denver can pull off the upset win one might just see Peyton and Wade cutting a rug.