ESPN had an interesting take on the Patriots success recently. During their morning broadcast, they asked the question; Do the Colts have hard feelings on the Patriots getting all the attention in 2007? Here's what they found out.
Earlier this week on ESPN's First Take program, their guest was Archie Manning, father of Peyton Manning (Colts) and Eli (Giants). Being in a unique position of having two of his sons playing in the playoffs, the elder Manning was asked for his opinion on both sons' successes.
The hosts asked Manning a number of questions about Peyton's success, and eventually steered the topic to the Colts postseason run and if they enjoyed being under the radar as defending Super Bowl champions with the Patriots soaking up most of the media attention in the AFC.
"I kind of think they like where they are," said Manning. " They've been kind of under the radar."
The Colts were the favorites to win the Super Bowl before the Patriots made a splash in free agency by signing Adalius Thomas and trading for Wes Welker. Even after that, the Colts remained 7-1 favorites as the Patriots were considered to be close, but not quite on the same level. Vegas listed their odds at 10-1.
Everything changed when New England traded for Randy Moss on Draft day. New England jumped to the front of the oddsmakers books and remained there as they piled up impressive win after impressive win.
Manning tried to explain how well the Colts are doing despite all of their hurdles.
"With all of the [Colts] injuries, they're kind of playing with their JV unit there, but they're still winning games."
The Colts won the AFC South division with a 13-3 record losing to three playoff teams: New England, San Diego and Tennessee.
Due to their record the Colts earned a bye week, and then they play the highest ranked remaining seed in the playoffs at home in Indianapolis. Archie believed that would enable them to have a better chance for a rematch against the Patriots.
"They have a game (in Indianapolis) and there's a chance they'll have to go to New England," Manning said as he reflected on the possible rematch.
But the former NFL star wasn't concerned about the Patriots records-setting season. He believes that the Colts coach can guide the team to meet the challenge. "Tony Dungy does a great job with that football team," Manning explained.
When the subject of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady breaking the NFL single season touchdown passing record came up (Peyton held the old mark of 49), Archie downplayed any notion of jealousy or disappointment on his son's behalf.
"Tom and Peyton are good friends," he said. "Peyton gave tom a call (after the record) to congratulate him."
Although the ESPN hosts tried to give the impression that the Colts could be envious of all of the attention Brady's Patriots have received, the elder Manning wasn't about to let on if that was the case. The Colts barely beat the Patriots at home in the AFC Championship last season, needing a historic second half comeback to do so. They lost to New England 24-20 in week nine when the Patriots managed their own second half comeback.
There's little doubt that playing in New England is enough to worry about without providing the Patriots with more bulletin board material.
It's also one reason why Dungy rested his starters in the final regular season game, choosing to pull Peyton after two series, and the rest of his playmakers shortly thereafter.
If the Colts are gain to travel to New England - as father Archie anticipates - they're going to need all their attention on the game, and none of it on the press the Pats have received.
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