The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

America loves an underdog

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The Indianapolis Colts versus the New Orleans Saints would be the most exciting Superbowl matchup.

In addition to the normal blitz of hype and hoopla no matter who's playing, a Colts/Saints contest presents several attractive and intriguing storylines about players, teams or entities fighting back from adversity.

These underdog stories are more than just sidebars. These aspects of the game are part of the rich tapestry and mythology of the NFL.


o Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans has been told and retold. But no matter how many times you've seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke," you will still shed a few tears at the thought of what happened to the city and its people in 2005. The role the Superdome played during Katrina makes the Saints' appearance in the Superbowl all the more poignant. The most remarkable story this season has been how far the Saints have come in a few years and the impact the team has had on the people of New Orleans.

o In a way, Peyton Manning is an underdog among the elite NFL quarterbacks. Despite his consistent success during the regular season, Manning has taken a backseat to Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger in playoff wins and Superbowl jewelry. Peyton's dedication, commitment and likeability are among the highest in the league. A large measure of his crossover support in this Superbowl will be from people rooting for a hard worker returning to his home town to compete against the team his father led for so many years. Toss in a young receiving corps that's overachieved and you couldn't have asked for a better script.

o Drew Brees's life would make a great Hollywood biopic. As my Underdog of the Season, Brees began his career amid grumbles about his short size and weak arm strength. After San Diego made him a lame contract offer, he landed in New Orleans. There Brees has become the heart and soul of the Saints. Usually its defensive players whom you see revving up their teams before games but Drew isn't afraid to show a little fire, unusual for a quarterback.


A Colts - Minnesota presents game presents many exciting angles as well. But Colts-Saints will be one to see and remember, both for the story that unfolds on the field, and the stories that will persist far past February 7.

By Jason Maloni  |  January 22, 2010; 5:57 PM ET  | Category:  Indianapolis Colts , New Orleans Saints Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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