Since I cover the Eagles, and the Super Bowl, I'm always interested in what the latter can tell me about the former. This year's lessons were not all that clear.
* If you were hoping to find evidence that Andy Reid should commit more to the running game, this was not the contest for you. The team that ran most effectively lost by two touchdowns. The team that couldn't convert third or fourth and 1 at the goalline won. I could almost hear the late Jim Johnson chuckling somewhere when Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams explained afterward that he wanted the Colts to run the ball to their hearts' desire - killing the clock and cutting down on Peyton Manning's ability to put up points with long strikes.
* I'm not sure Drew Brees' performance teaches us much, either. Sure, it would be great to have a quarterback who completes 82 percent of his passes. No, you're not likely to see Donovan McNabb do that. But would Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick? Sure.
* Probably the biggest Eagles lesson I took out of the game is that you really need to get that o-line functioning as a seamless unit. There was one sack in the Super Bowl, by Dwight Freeney, early, before his ankle stiffened up. After that, both passers were able to go deep into their progressions, sometimes waving blockers out into dump-down routes. I can see McNabb being effective in that type of game.
*The Saints' defensive model in the last two playoff games - you can give up yards and even points, as long as you produce the killer turnover when it matters - might make me look more charitably at Asante Samuel.
*I have to say, the Colts' vulnerability underneath might have cooled my ardor for potential free agent linebacker Gary Brackett, though I didn't go back and study his snaps closely.
*All in all, maybe the Saints teach us that a couple of key free agent signings can make a defense championship-worthy, and that you don't have to be perfect to win, you just have to be able to seize the moment.
Someday, maybe we'll be able to say the Birds did that.
To read our earlier post about Joe Banner, click here.