GUILBEAU: Lost in the mix is Peyton vs. Rex

What would Al Campanis have thought of Sunday's Super Bowl pairing of the first two black head coaches to make it to the big game?

Apparently, Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy have the "necessities" to lead a professional team into the Promised Land.

 

The 20-year "anniversary" of Campanis' idiotic statements about blacks in Major League Baseball is approaching on April 15. Campanis, who passed away in 1998, said blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps a general manager."

 

Campanis, who was the GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time, was soon rightfully fired. Less than a year later, Doug Williams became the first black to start at quarterback in the Super Bowl, and he made John Elway look unnecessary as he threw for a record 340 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-10 win over Denver.

 

Now it's Lovie, an upstart in just his third season as a head coach. And it's Tony, the Cover Two expert who has always been one of the more cerebral and consistently winning coaches in the NFL with as many disciples as angry white man Bill Belichick, who often doesn't have the necessities to answer a question like a man – black or white.

 

But there will be more history made Sunday, though less significant. Lost in the Lovie-Tony story is the fact that the Super Bowl will match the first pairing of Southeastern Conference quarterbacks since 1977 and the first SEC quarterback to start the game since LSU's David Woodley and his Miami Dolphins lost to the Washington Redskins in 1983.

 

When the Bears beat the Saints last week, Chicago's Rex Grossman out of Florida became the first SEC quarterback to reach the game as a starter in 24 years. He will go against Indianapolis' Peyton Manning, who was a Tennessee Volunteer.

 

An SEC quarterback has started in the Super Bowl eight times, including the first three with Green Bay's Bart Starr out of Alabama in 1967 and 1968 and the New York Jets' Joe Namath out of Alabama in 1969.

 

But only once have two started the same game. It was 1977 when Oakland's Ken Stabler, also out of Alabama, beat Minnesota's Fran Tarkenton out of Georgia.

 

Grossman is the young upstart in just his first full year as a starter and only his fourth in the league. Manning is the veteran in his ninth year and has been the best quarterback in the NFL for years.

 

Grossman was thought to lack the necessities to get this far. He put up some horrible numbers throughout the 2006 season, but he did not blow games 15 times. He completed only 11 of 26 passes in the Bears' 39-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, but unlike Saints quarterback Drew Brees, he did not fumble or throw an interception.

 

Manning supposedly lacked the necessities to win the big game like his rival Tom Brady. The New England Patriots won three Super Bowls under Brady and Coach Belichick.

 

In truth, Brady has usually been surrounded by a better and more complete team than Manning has.  Manning finally slayed Brady, Belichick and the Dragon last week with a last-minute touchdown drive for a 38-34 win, thanks to an interception thrown in the final seconds by Brady.

 

Lost in the story of Manning's redemption was Brady's and Belichick's choke. Brady, who yelled at his receiver after the interception when Brady was clearly to blame, should have been intercepted the series before. But the Colt player dropped it. Captain Comeback also was held to a field goal with 3:49 to play instead of bringing his team into the end zone.

 

Belichick, meanwhile, did not have the necessities to hold a 21-6 halftime lead.

Sunday's Super Bowl will be even more proof that the SEC is the nation's best football conference. The conference has produced five national championship teams since 1992 - Alabama (1992), Florida (1996), Tennessee (1998), LSU (2003) and Florida (2007).

 

Now, after a long drought, the NFL is putting good quarterbacks in the league, and two have made it all the way.

 

Now, if the league could just produce a coach with enough necessities to not embarrass himself in the NFL.

 

APOLOGY: It was a mistake to lump former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher with the list of lying coaches detailed in last week's column. According to those who were close to Fisher's move to Florida State, he was honest about it.

 

---

 

Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com  or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and occasionally USA Today. You can contact him at gguilbeau@gannett.com.


Tiger Blitz Top Stories