Hi, my name is Glenn Warciski. I am excited and fortunate to be joining the staff of Ultimate New York Giants.
For most of my life, I lived in New Jersey. Each Sunday in the fall and winter, my Dad and I watched and rooted for the Giants. Needless to say, my first game at Giants Stadium was “The Fumble.” Despite giving the game away to the Eagles, I was hooked as a fan. My life’s journey has brought me to New Orleans, Louisiana. Since I am living in the Who Dat Nation, the area is in a black and gold frenzy. Coupled with the start of Mardi Gras season, the party is in full swing today. There is black and gold everywhere. People are wearing Saints shirts at home and at work. Some people have their houses decorated with all sorts of Saints paraphernalia. The Saints have brought the city of New Orleans together. A team which has been synonymous with losing is on the cusp of winning its first Super Bowl Championship. It is a fantastic story.
Will it have a fairy tale ending? Not according to former Colts head coach Tony Dungy.
Dungy thinks the Colts will win Super Bowl XXLIV convincingly. Dungy is basing his prediction on the Saints performance in the NFC Championship game. “Minnesota is playing in New Orleans, they turn the ball over five times, have two or three stupid penalties and still lose in overtime. I don’t see how it’s going to be close. The Colts aren’t going to turn it over seven times.” When I informed family and friends about Dungy’s prediction, they scoffed at it. The response I received- “Glenn, of course, he is predicting a Colts win. He was their head coach.” Even though I agree and I think the Saints will win on Sunday, Dungy’s belief has a kernel of truth. Let me take Dungy’s thoughts a step further. From the Super Bowl coverage coming out of Miami, the focus has been Saints defense versus Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. What is getting lost in the conversations is the running game. I have not heard anything about the Saints defense stopping the Colts running game. Clearly, this will be the key to the game. If the Saints give up a significant amount of rushing yards, indeed, Dungy’s prediction will come to fruition. I have seen most of the Saints games and the Saints defense has had difficulty stopping the run. The Saints were ranked 21st in rushing defense. The great equalizer for the Saints has been their exceptional turnover ratio. They are a plus eleven which is third best in the league. Their opportunistic defense has offset their rushing defense shortcomings. In the Super Bowl, the Saints face a Colts rushing offense which is averaging 80.9 yards per game. This number places them last in the league in rushing. Can the Saints porous run defense shut down the worst rushing offense in the NFL?
This Colts team reminds me of the 1981 Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers. Bereft of a running game, the 49ers were able to make this weakness a strength against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. During the regular season the 49ers leading rusher was RB Ricky Patton who gained only 543 yards. San Francisco head coach Bill Walsh on his first Lombardi trophy acknowledged the decision to run the ball was the difference maker. “The Bengals were throwing every conceivable blitz at us,” said San Francisco head coach Bill Walsh. “We didn’t want to get stopped by those blitzes. We went to our running game and our trapping game and that made the difference.”
If the Colts are prudent with their use of the running game, they could get them their second Super Bowl Championship in three years.