Even though Peyton Manning has been bounced from the postseason by five different franchises, the Patriots are his nemesis. Sunday, he gets another chance to shake that simian from his back.
Great. Just great.
Oh, what could be better than being bombarded with graphic after graphic about Manning's postseason ineptitude, specifically against the Patriots? If that isn't enough, how 'bout stat after stat describing the strategic genius of Bill Belichick and overall brilliance of Tom Brady? Hard to sleep with so much excitement on the horizon, isn't it?
Well, here are a few stats sure to be sprinkled throughout the week:
• Peyton Manning's postseason career against the Patriots: 0-2 record, 50 completions, 89 attempts, 475 yards, one touchdown, five interceptions, 51.5 passer rating.
• Manning's combined total of college and professional championships: zero.
• Number of titles won by Dan Marino: zero (likely courtesy of Boomer Esiason).
• Number of titles won by Esiason: zero (likely courtesy of Marino).
• Brady's postseason career: 12-1, 274 completions, 452 attempts, 2,985 yards, 19 TDs, eight interceptions, 86.9 passer rating.
• Tony Dungy's record in conference championship games: 0-2.
• Belichick's record in conference championships: 3-0.
• Belichick's IQ: roughly 300.
And so forth and so on.
Nothing wrong with those numbers, except they're just variations of the same stuff we've heard in the playoffs for the last umpteen years. Peyton's allergic to January. Brady has led more men to the promised land than Moses. Dungy's not animated enough to win in the postseason -- so say soothsayers like Mike Vanderjagt -- unlike Belichick, who spends his offseasons trailing Lil' Jon's tours in a tricked-out Escalade.
So what should football fans do to break the monotony of another week in the playoffs' version of "Groundhog Day"? Here are a few ways to maintain your sanity -- or share your insanity, should you be wired as such -- while getting beaten over the head with the same ol' same ol'.
Your favorite talk show host, Johnny Too Loud, asks if Manning has what it takes to win The Big One (a rerun of his January 16, 2006, show). What should you do?
Call Johnny and change the subject with a far more important question: "When is it OK to do another man's dance?" If that discussion doesn't last for the rest of the show, call back and ask if grown men should be bustin' moves in public in the first place. Such philosophical quandaries can't be solved in a day, let alone one show.
The guys at the water cooler begin reciting what they read in the latest "Is Belichick smarter than Manning?" column in the paper, which sounds a lot like something written two years ago. Is there a way to shut them up without getting fired?
Ask them if they read a great piece about whether Dungy, one of the most influential defensive minds in the game, has something special cooked up for Brady. Tell them it should be easy to Google. Then stop by their cubicles five hours later. Chances are they'll still be looking.
Your favorite message board starts a thread called "The Agony of the Feet," a debate of whether Manning can stand in the pocket against the Pats' pass rush. How do you make it stop?
Time for a red herring. Write a post asking if anyone heard the rumor that if the Colts and Saints make the Super Bowl, Archie Manning will work as a correspondent for "Cold Pizza" while wearing a jersey where the left half is blue with a white "1" and the right is black with a gold "8." It's preposterous, but possible, making it the perfect diversion.
The two-headed monster that is Bradichick says it feels disrespected because it's an underdog for the second consecutive week. How can you offer Bradichick some much-needed perspective?
Using a can of Coors Light as your press pass, crash Belichick's press conference and ask when a man in a cut-off hooded sweatshirt has ever commanded respect without pulling a pistol.
You: Hey Coach, why'd you do that to your hoodie? Belichick: Well, you can't cover everything.
What if overdosing on the Colts and Pats makes you wish you were put out of your misery?
Don't do anything hasty. Remember, either Rex Grossman or the New Orleans Saints will be in the Super Bowl. The end of the world is probably near, anyway. Might as well work on getting your story straight for the apocalypse.
You've made it to Sunday. You've survived, right?
For now, yeah. But it'll be best to root like hell for the Colts, just in hope that you don't have to go through this ever again. Plus, the questions about Manning are far more compelling than "Can Belichick outsmart Rex Grossman?"
And if that doesn't work?
Blame it on Marty Schottenheimer.
Bomani Jones is a columnist for Page 2. Tell him how you feel at firstname.lastname@example.org.