THE TEAM OF Destiny program - the most revered prognostication system in NFL history - is broken. The last few seasons, I've stunk up the joint more than I've wowed the masses; frankly, if I told you the sun set in the West, you should bet your government-subsidized farm on it setting in the East, or maybe not setting at all.Ah, but how quickly things can change, like a Rex Grossman pass en route to being picked.Usually, I find a doormat franchise and pronounce it improbably Super Bowl-bound. But this year is different. Instead, I have found not just one, but two traditional winning teams which - hidden in plain sight, as it were - are destined to meet in Super Bowl 47.Yes, these are solid teams, but no one expects either to make it to the February finale. I know otherwise - for I am Couch Slouch, a post-modern Newtonian/Euclidean/Keynesian NFL savant with a beanbag-infused brilliance not seen since Theo van Gogh shepherded brother Vincent through the political minefield of Western European art dealers.Ladies and gentlemen - and Rex Ryan, if you're reading - I give you the Denver Broncos vs. the New Orleans Saints.Mock me if you will - heck, I wake up most mornings and hear the mocking before I have one foot out of the Murphy bed - but I'll take my chances on Peyton Manning and Drew Brees against the field.You don't think Peyton is motivated this season?He got dumped by the franchise he lifted out of the doldrums in favor of a better-educated, better-looking young stud. He's been written off because of a serious neck injury that would reduce most mortals to throwing popcorn in the stands rather than taking hits on the field. And he's been eclipsed by younger brother Eli, who now has twice as many Super Bowl rings.I have nothing against Eli Manning - he's crafted a really nice career and grown into a clutch performer under the bright lights amidst the swampy marshes of New Jersey - but I am tired of hearing this notion that he's a superior signal-caller to his big brother.
If Super Bowl rings are our only measuring stick, then Trent Dilfer was a better quarterback than Dan Fouts.Has Peyton been mediocre in the postseason? Absolutely. But Eli's Giants also have had greater defenses than Peyton's Colts, and Peyton's never had a run-of-a-mill receiver make a once-in-a-lifetime catch off the top of his helmet while falling to the turf.Plus watch all the games, people: Peyton operates with the precision of a heart surgeon; Eli is more of a traffic cop wandering around looking for expired meters.Peyton and his Broncos are Super Bowl-bound this season.Down in New Orleans, Bountygate has gutted the scorned Saints, leaving the team coach-less, general manager-less, linebacker-less and, supposedly, soulless.
Ah, but when everyone hates you - the gift Gregg Williams left the Crescent City - this bands you together closer. Every Saint will walk out onto the field with a scarlet letter on his jersey; this shame will translate into a determination unmatched since Tom Arnold tried to win back Roseanne's heart in the summer of '94.
Sure, the team is head-coach-challenged at the moment: Sean Payton, suspended for the season, was replaced by Joe Vitt, who was suspended for the first six games and replaced by some guy who doesn't even have a headset.Still - though I have no inside information - I firmly believe Payton will be coaching the Saints every weekend and most weekdays.What, you think he's going to be at Ikea Sundays shopping for rattan chairs?If you believe Payton is going to have zero contact with his team, I've got some luxury condos in Mexico backed by Donald Trump I'd like to show you. Osama bin Laden ran al-Qaeda for years out of a mountain cave in Afghanistan with two cans and a string, a fax machine and a basic cable package; with today's technology, Payton could be calling plays from the Curiosity rover on Mars.So trust me, we're looking at the first-ever Teams of Destiny Super Bowl between the Broncos and the Saints. I'll have an EXACT FINAL SCORE for you a week before the game.Ask The Slouch
Q. Are the Washington Nationals' Zimmerman boys - Ryan and Jordan - the first successful brother teammates since Frank and Brooks Robinson? (Mitchell Shapiro; Rockville, Md.)A. Neither Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann nor Frank and Brooks Robinson are brothers. But your errant inquiry reminded me of baseball's foremost sibling teammates, the Alou boys - Felipe, Matty, Jesus and Boog.Q. Why are today's superior conditioned athletes immediately put on the disabled list for six to eight weeks every time they fall down? (Ed Shade; Hurricane)A. And every time they do take a tumble, they land on their wallets, which should break the fall.Q. If the Mayan calendar were another two feet in diameter, do you think it would say anything about the Houston Astros winning the World Series? (Ray Bohannon; Katy, Tex.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!