It's that time of the year again, where two football teams clash to decide which one is the best in all of civilization. This year, it's the Indianapolis Colts, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, taking on the New Orleans Saints, led by their quarterback, Drew Brees. While every other football prognosticator, both professional and amateur, look at each team's strengths and weaknesses to preview the game and pick a winner, we here at The Canon Review have taken a slightly different approach. We have decided to play video games to pick the winner.
Now, you're probably thinking that that has been done, and it has. The crew at Electronic Arts simulated the game on Madden 10, and the Saints ended up winning 35-31. There are probably many people out there that have fired up their copy of Madden and plugged in these two teams to see what would happen. Well, we will too, but that's not all. See, we need to have a more unique perspective than a simple simulation of Madden 10 would provide, we need another 1 or 2 different sources. So, I decided to play my copy of Madden 05 Collector's Editon for the PS2, and a Tecmo Super Bowl mod featuring rosters from the 1985 season. The matchup will be Colts vs. Saints, and, since it wouldn't be as fun if I just let the CPU battle it out, I took control of the Colts in Madden 05, and the Saints in TSB 85. That way, we can get a truly unique viewpoint of the big game.
First, I played Madden 05. Why Madden 05, you ask? Well, I'm not entirely sure, after all I do have more recent football games, but Madden 05 was as good as any Madden game ever made, and besides, I don't really care for the more recent Maddens (The most recent one I have is Madden 08 for the Xbox360, which is ok, but I think the Madden games on the XBox and PS2 were better, just a personal preference). I did make a few roster changes before the game, trading for players that were on the game already (i.e. Drew Brees went from the Chargers to the Saints, Darren Sharper went from the Packers to the Saints, etc.) but I did not create any of the players that weren't on the game. So you won't be seeing Reggie Bush, Pierre Garcon, Antone Bethea, and many other key players. Instead, I just left the rosters where they were, so in this Super Bowl 44 preview, your MVP may very well be former Saint wide receiver Joe Horn or something like that. I didn't change the rankings of any player on this game, which really hurt the Saints, as key players such as Brees and cornerback Jabari Greer hadn't developed fully yet, so their rankings are much lower than they are in this year's game. Interestingly, the only Colts I had to acquire were kickers Adam Vinateiri and Matt Stover, the rest of the players were either already on the team or not yet in the league. The Colts, even with Manning, are a very young team, so they have a great chance to go to multiple Super Bowls in the next few years until Peyton retires. But I digress, I took control of the Colts, played the Game in Miami, and off we went.
The results were not encouraging for Saints fans, Brees' first pass was an interception by cornerback Nick Harper (now on the Titans). On the next play, Manning fired a bullet pass to Dallas Clark (a current Colt, by the way) in the endzone for a 34-yard touchdown. The Saints scored field goals on their next two drives, but the Colts scored touchdowns on the next two, making the score 21-6. The Saints used the deep ball effectively in the first half, and drove all the way to the 3 yard line. However, in a play that pretty much ended the game, Brees threw an out attended for Joe Horn, but the pass was intercepted by Jason Craft (now out of the NFL) and he returned the pick for 97 yards, giving the Colts a 28-6. I refused to let up throughout the game, and the Colts won going away by a score of 58-23. I even ran up the score in the final minute of the game, as Manning found former All-Pro wide receiver and current Philadelphia street lord Marvin Harrison for a 71 yard touchdown. For the game, Manning went completed 22 passes on 29 attempts, threw for 419 yards and 4 touchdowns. This in spite of an 18 yard loss on a screen pass where running back Edgerrin James (last of the Seahawks) foolishly ran backwards in a futile effort to avoid tacklers (that was dumb on my part). Current Colt WR Reggie Wayne caught 8 passes for 135 yards, Harrison caught 5 for 104 yards, and Dallas Clark caught 3 passes for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. Manning was named the game MVP. For the Saints, Brees threw for a lot of yards (395), but also threw 3 interceptions and only 1 touchdowns. Neither team could run the ball with any effectiveness, so it became a passing battle, and nine times out of ten, Peyton Manning will win those types of battles.
For any body who ever play football games on the Nintendo, you know that Tecmo Super Bowl is the bees knees. Quite frankly, it is one of the funnest sports games ever made, and even today, is a hoot to play. Thanks to the efforts of websites like knobbe.org, there are many different hacked roms of Tecmo Super Bowl available for download, and a few months ago, I download a pack of 100 or so different versions of the game, all with different rosters and features. I could have played a 2009 mod with the Saints and Colts, but what fun is that. Instead, we went back to 1985, a time when both of these franchises were anything but super.
in 1985, both the Colts and the Saints finished the season 5-11, so this should be a pretty even matchup. As it turned out, my mad skillz and the Colts' lack of offensive balance or talent proved to be a major factor, as the Saints shut out the Colts 33-0. The Colts, for some reason, ran the ball 4 times throughout the game, in spite of the fact that they had the immortal Mike Pagel at quarterback and receivers that no one cares to remember. Due to this, the Saints secondary had a nice day, as all 4 members (Dave Waymer, Johnnie Poe, Terry Hoage, and Frank Wattelett, is anyone is curious) each had an interception. The Saints pass rush was also fierce, racking up half a dozen sacks. Rickey Jackson, who was just elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, had two sacks, 1 of which was a safety. The Saints' QBs were not effective, but journeyman halfback Wayne Wilson was, running for 169 yards and three touchdowns on just 8 carries. In the real world, Wilson never rushed for that many yards in a game during his nine year NFL career (his high was 160, which is more than most running backs can say, I suppose). Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell, who in 1985 was just about finished, ran for 85 yards and 1 touchdowns. The average of the two games so far is Colts 29, Saints 28. It's awfully close heading into the third game.
The third game was not played by myself, instead my brother Ben volunteered his services and simulated the Colts and the Saints on Madden 10 for the PS3. If he hadn't of done that, I would have probably played NFL Quarterback Club for the Genesis or something, so at least Ben has spared me of doing that. Anyway, the results of his simulation was not good for the Saints, as the Colts won the game 27-12. The score was 13-12 at the end of the third quarterback, but virtual Manning quickly erased all doubt, throwing two touchdowns in the 4th quarter to seal the victory. As was the case in Madden 05, Manning was an unstoppable force. completing 25 passes on 31 attempts for 402 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas Clark was Manning's favorite target, catching seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Also, like the game in Madden 05, both teams struggled running the ball, as both teams combined for 60 yards on the ground. Drew Brees did okay for the Saints (256 yards, 1 td, 1 int) but it wasn't nearly enough.
So, averaging the three games, my Super Bowl prediction is that the Colts will win, 28-23, which remarkably enough, sounds reasonable. I was thinking the average would be something silly like the Colts winning 75 to 2, but no, the football video games, whether contemporary or classic, know what they are doing. Or maybe they are totally wrong and the Saints will blow out the Colts. Only time will tell.