Sunday, November 21, 2010

History Is a Process, Not a Pop Quiz

Today's game between the Patriots and Colts should have a noticeable but not decisive impact on the 2010 NFL season. Win or lose, the Pats will continue to be prime contenders for their divisional title and a bye in the playoffs. Win or lose, the Colts will continue to struggle to win each game, yet remain slight favorites to win their division.

I expect the Pats to win, and by a wider margin than is customary in this rivalry. New England is demonstrably a better team than it was in 2009, the Colts are slightly but demonstrably weaker, New England is playing at home, not away as it was in 2009, and the final score of that game was 35-34. This adds up, to me at least, to a situation where an Indy win would be a real surprise, if not a shock. It's never shocking when the Colts win.

What will NOT happen today, and what cannot happen in any single football game, is any change in the historic status of quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. That train has sailed. Each man is and will remain regarded as one of the two best QBs of their era and two of the five to 10 best of any era. That will be true if the final score today is 59-0, and the loser throws six interceptions.

One would like to think we have gone beyond childish arguments over these two nonpareils. It's like arguing over what's better, Thanksgiving dinner or a cold beer after 18 holes of golf on a hot summer day. They're both great!! We're lucky to have both in our lives. Pats fans wouldn't trade Brady and Colts wouldn't trade Manning and both sets of fans are right.

Brady and Manning are linked in history, and will remain so. About the only way one of them could alter their historical memory for the worse is to go out and hang on for almost a decade trying to regain their lost youth as Brett Favre has done. Having dealt with both men more than once, I'm sure they're each way too smart for that.


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