Evil hoodie vs. saintly Dungy

TIM DAHLBERG

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

The last time the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts played, no one much cared about the battle of good versus evil. There was, after all, a spot in the Super Bowl at stake.

No such reward looms this afternoon in Indianapolis. But if you don't have money on the game and don't have either Tom Brady or Peyton Manning in your fantasy league, you can always root for the saintly Tony Dungy against the less-than-saintly Bill Belichick.

Maybe that whole morality thing is highly overrated. This is football, after all, not croquet.

There are reasons to root for the Patriots. Including a few you may not have thought of:

- America loves a bully, and these guys are the biggest bullies since Mike Tyson. They run up the score, run over opponents, and pretty much treat everybody like Barry Bonds treats clubhouse attendants. Surprising they just don't steal the football and go home.

- The very real possibility Randy Moss still has issues. Imagine what might happen if Brady overlooks Moss wide open in the end zone for the go-ahead score with a minute left.

- Proof there really is better living through modern chemistry. Sure, Rodney Harrison had to sit four games for using performance-enhancing drugs, though, of course, it was all really a big misunderstanding. Then again, if he can slow down the passing game of the Colts, who in New England really cares what he's taking?

- Everyone likes a winner, and Boston fans are no exception. Does it get any better than having your baseball team win a World Series and then see your football team all but clinch a spot in the Super Bowl? Actually, it could if Boston College ends up in a BCS game, and the Celtics play as well as they're supposed to with Kevin Garnett.

- Less Peyton Manning in your living room. Hard to imagine an athlete playing in Indianapolis being overexposed, but Manning has made more commercials than Robin Williams has movies. The whole self-deprecating humour bit is no longer all that funny, and does anyone really believe he and Reggie Bush spend their days playing practical jokes on each other?

Not convinced? OK, then here's a few reasons, other than getting 51/2 points on an undefeated team playing at home, to root for the Colts:

- Their coach might be the ultimate good guy in the game and, even if he isn't, he's still a lot better guy than Mr. Hoodie. Tony Dungy also knows how to win with class, something the Belichick has no clue about.

- Beating the Patriots should give Indy the home field advantage up to the Super Bowl. If the Colts get that far, it also means the AFC team will only be a 10-point favourite in the Super Bowl instead of a 16-point favourite over whatever sacrificial lamb the NFC sends to the game.

- The 1972 Miami Dolphins will be able to put some champagne on ice. A few members of the team get together every year and share some bubbly when the last undefeated team finally loses a game, and this might be the last real chance for any NFL team to beat Belichick's juggernaut.


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