Well, I got one of my Indianapolis Wish List items: the Colts made it to the Super Bowl. The question before me now is will the Colts win the big game?

I could talk about the running tandem of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes or the money of Adam Vinatieri’s leg. I could talk about this being a team of character and heart, how we’ve gotten rid of grumblers and bad eggs and have only become stronger. I could talk about the defense finding new life after being told by so many that they couldn’t. However, that would require the kind of sports expertise beyond my casual brand of interest. To my mind, though, this game boils down to two men: Dungy and Manning.

Coach Tony Dungy joined Chicago Bear’s coach, Lovie Smith, in making Super Bowl history by being the first black coaches to lead their teams to the Super Bowl. One more barrier broken, another cultural advancement achieved – and another step toward this not being an issue. In the NFL, where nearly 70 percent of the players are black, only seven of 32 head coaches this season were black. The NFL has aggressively fought for diversity and their efforts have paid off. Save me your blather about affirmative action, covert racism is something difficult to root out. People are people and still cling to those they are comfortable with. We aren’t quite to the colorblind utopia we all hope for and keep talking about. Should either of these two friends, Lovie or Tony, win, we will be one step, on a still long journey, closer.

QB Peyton Manning has finally proven he can win the big game. In the AFC Championship game, he exorcized a lot of demons. He came from 18 points down, went through arch-rivals: coach Bill Belichick, QB Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots. However, he is still an elite quarterback haunted by the ghosts of Dan Marino: incredible individual talent that has yet to win the championship ring. He has nothing left to prove to his critics, but he is in need of the last measure of greatness. Should Manning win the Super Bowl, however, everyone should shut up.

I like our chances. In the end, I just want Dungy and Manning with championship rings to signify what we already know. They are men of integrity, passion, and greatness. Of prodigious talent and quiet dignity. Part of a team who play the game and win the way they should. And they can do it on the largest stage available. In other words, go Colts!

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