For the first time in many years, the Super Bowl will feature the two #1 seeds from each conference and both teams were still undefeated at 13-0 earlier this season. The New Orleans Saints joined the Indianapolis Colts in claiming their conference championships by winning as exciting a conference championship as there could be with a stunning 31-28 overtime victory over the mistake-prone Minnesota Vikings. Earlier in the day, the Colts stormed back from a 17-6 deficit to dominate the second half and won 30-17 over the New York Jets.
While New Orleans lost the statistical battle with the Vikings, they won the all-important turnover category, which usually decides most games. The Vikings had a chance to win it in regulation but Brett Favre made just another of his big game gaffs in throwing an interception at a point when he could have ran for enough yardage to put his team into field goal range with seconds to go. Alas, he threw the pick and when the game went into OT, the Saints won the toss and Favre never got another chance to touch the ball.
Over in the AFC, the Jets came out of the gate strong and gave the Colts all they could handle for 30 minutes. However, the underrated Indy defense slowed down the Jets run game enough to force QB Mark Sanchez to the air and he just could not compete with Peyton Manning, who picked the Jets secondary apart little by little, especially utilizing rookie Austin Collie and second year player, Pierre Garcon for key big gains.
As far as the Super Bowl matchup, this looks to be what the best game could have brought us fans as the story lines abound with both teams. Manning will be spoken about in terms of the best QB of all time if he can add another ring to his already bulging resume. The Saints are playing for a city and region that finds solace in the distraction from the suffering they've endured since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area. Had the Vikings won the game, the story of Brett Favre would have made the matchup just as inviting to the media, who will likely hype these stories to a nauseating level.
For a change, it appears that this Super Bowl may live up to the hype, however, with both teams boasting high powered offenses behind tough, solid QB's. Don't be surprised if this comes out as the highest scoring Super Bowl of all time and gives us as much last second excitement as last year's game did. Now comes the two week lull, separated only by the super exciting Pro Bowl, where we get our final chance to see the Ravens purple and black on the field before we head into what I call "The Void," which is the period of time between the last game and the NFL Draft, which is in late April.