A lot of you don’t have time to obsess over every aspect of the Colts-Saints Super Bowl. You’re just there for the food and the commercials, we get it. But maybe at your social occasion, you’ll be required to talk about it anyway. Worry not! Here’s your quick and easy guide to the five major story lines in the game. Memorize this, and you’ll feel smarter about football than you actually care to be.
Peyton Manning is a robot. We’ve been enjoying Slate’s rundown of stories about the bizarre nerdy genius that is the Colts quarterback. He, as always, will be a gyrating, spastic fool, and he will prove once again that he is the best quarterback in NFL history who is endlessly dull to watch. When people praise a quarterback for playing football like it’s chess, they ignore that watching someone play chess is not fun.
Drew Brees is the exact opposite. Think of Brees as Brett Favre without all that you hate about Brett Favre. Brees has the same excitement and vigor for the game, but he subtracts the self-aggrandizement, the eye for operatic drama, and the interceptions. Of all the Saints, Brees is the one who has embraced the spirit of New Orleans — its citizens and its tourists. Brees once threw 73 passes in a college game and then apologized afterward for not throwing more. You have to love a game like that.
The Colts have no depth. Indianapolis is famous for its stars-and-scrubs system of roster management, promoting rookies from within, making them earn their spots after years of service. This is fine, but it makes the Colts inexperienced beyond their starters. Injuries can destroy this team, and we don’t just mean at the quarterback position. (Though if you see any Curtis Painter, the Super Bowl will already be over.) The Saints beat the Vikings and the Cardinals in the playoffs because they were tougher, meaner, and more violent than their opponents. That’ll be the plan this time, too.
Reggie Bush is good again. After years of (perhaps unfairly) being considered a bit of a draft bust, Bush has turned mean, aggressive, and awesome in the playoffs. You’ll be seeing a lot of him, along with his girlfriend, who is some sort of reality-show person we don’t understand. Bush is the one true game-breaker on either side: There will be plenty of big plays with two high-powered offenses, but if there’s a lightning bolt that changes everything, it’ll be Bush who provides it.
Listen to people smarter than us. Football Outsiders has a definitive, all-encompassing Super Bowl preview with more research and detail than anything we could provide. If you’ve made it this far in our preview, you might as well go read that. And enjoy!