Toronto, Canada – By Larry Fine
INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Former New Orleans Saints hero Archie Manning has no dilemma deciding who to back when his old team meet the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl on Feb 7.
"I'm going to pull for my son," Manning told reporters outside the noisy Indianapolis locker room after quarterback Peyton Manning had led the Colts to a 30-17 victory over the New York Jets Sunday.
The Super Bowl became a matchup of top-seeded teams for the first time since 1993 when the Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in overtime 31-28 to reach their first Super Bowl and Peyton Manning will get the chance to go one-up on his brother Eli by snagging a second Super Bowl ring.
Older brother Peyton had the early bragging rights when he led the Colts to a 2006 Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears.
The Colts signal caller showed why he is considered the best in the business when he rallied Indianapolis from an 11-point deficit against the blitz-happy, top-ranked Jets defense with three touchdown passes.
STUDY PAYS OFF
Manning, known as much for his fervent preparation as for his pinpoint passing accuracy, said his film study paid off against Jets coach Rex Ryan's defense.
"We grinded on these guys all week hard," said Manning, the NFL's only four-times MVP. "I studied a lot of film.
"I studied the 2005 Colts-Ravens game. You just kind of pick a game and you kind of say, 'I think they might play this defense,'" Manning said about analyzing a defense devised by Ryan as defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
"That is kind of what they did today. He (Ryan) has his style of defense and he goes back to things that work.
"Me and Frank Reich, our quarterbacks coach, and (sidelined back-up quarterback Jim) Sorgi, we grinded on them. They mix it up. They move so many different people around, but the philosophy is somewhat the same and so once we got something that we kind of liked we ran with it."
Manning took the liberty to change plays called by offensive coordinator Tom Moore at the line of scrimmage.
"Tom (Moore) was calling some run plays, and I just kind of got hot and changed them," he said with a laugh. "Tom, as he does, just said 'Hey you're hot. Just keep going.'
"He has no ego when it comes to those things. We just saw some things and were able to expose some things."
His team mates know good things are likely to happen when Manning gets on a roll.
"You could almost tell in the huddle," offensive tackle Charlie Johnson told reporters. "At the line, you just knew every check he was making was exactly the right one. It's like, okay, he's figured it out. We're going to be fine now."
(Editing by John Mehaffey)