With the Super Bowl only hours away, I scanned the roster to see who might be pulling for whom when the Colts and Saints meet Sunday. Ben Sheets is the biggest Saints fan I’ve ever known, but he has moved on. Rickie Weeks attended Southern University in Louisiana, but he lives in Orlando and I’ve never heard him mention the Saints. Craig Counsell was born in Indiana and attended Notre Dame, but he grew up in Wisconsin.
So I tried newcomer LaTroy Hawkins, who grew up in Gary, Ind. as a Bears fan. He said he’s adopting the Colts this weekend.
“My mom, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law are all big Colts fans,” Hawkins said. “So is my daughter. She’s got a Colts flag painted on her wall in her room, and a Shrek doll wearing a Colts jersey. Her grandma got her into that. But I’m rooting for them anyway because I like Peyton [Manning]. I’m a big fan. I know it’s going to be a shootout, but I think defense is going to have to win this game. It’s going to come down to which defense can stop the other offense. If they don’t play defense, this might be the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history.”
Hawkins is planning to watch the game at home with his family. He’s a big Brett Favre fan, and was at the Superdome in New Orleans for the Jan. 24 NFC Championship game. The Saints beat Favre and the Vikings in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl, giving Hawkins even more reason to pull for the Colts on Sunday.
“I don’t have any Saints fans around me right now so I can say this,” Hawkins said, launching into song. “‘Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Colts do! Dat’s who.’”
The Brewers’ resident football fanatic is video coordinator Joe Crawford, who has played in the team’s clubhouse fantasy football league for the past six years. Manning was his starting quarterback in 2009 and the Saints’ Marques Colston was part of Crawford’s receiving corps.
“For me, it’s one of those weird Super Bowls where I like both teams,” Crawford said. “I’m a Peyton Manning fan and I like everything about the guy. But I’m a big Bengals fan, and we’ve had to put up with the same years of negativity and nicknames that the Saints have. They were the ‘Aint’s’ and everything. So, it would be awesome for New Orleans to have the Saints win.
“Either way, it’s a stress-free Super Bowl for me. Usually I’m rooting hard against the Steelers or something like that. This time I get to sit back, enjoy the game and watch the commercials.”
I hope it’s a stress-free weekend for everybody else, too. Enjoy the game on Sunday, and think of it as a sort of ceremonial hand-off to the baseball season. Brewers pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20 and have their first formal workout two days later.