While there may be different names, jersey numbers, or unsung heroes who rise to acclaim, here are the four names the media is immediately prepared to sell Super Bowl week.
Indianapolis: Peyton Manning (QB)
NY Jets: Rex Ryan (Head Coach)
New Orleans: Drew Brees (QB)
Minnesota: Adrian...oh who am I kidding? Brett Favre (QB)
However, here are the four names you might want to be singing instead. For their difference-making abilities are criminally unsung.
Jeff Saturday, despite the juxtaposition of this picture, is an all-too-forgotten staple in the decade-long run of the Colts. Calling out formations and MIKES, even before King Peyton at times, is just a part of the reason why he anchors this underrated offensive line to continued success. With a guy named Pouha lining up in front of him, Saturday won't make the mistake of breathing easy that Kris Jenkins isn't lining up this weekend. Jets fans (ahem) know that smacking around Peyton will only happen if his veteran center fails to keep things in order on the offensive line.
New York Jets
Alan Faneca was one of the biggest free agent fishes in the 2008 summer class. While 30-year old Pittsburgh Steelers who play the offensive line don't get much acclaim, he's perhaps the best guard the game has seen this decade. He's surrounded by Pro Bowlers and All Pros named Ferguson and Mangold, who owe a lot to Faneca for their continued steady play and recent "offensive line" stardom. Sometimes landing the best free agent, not just the biggest name, is the coup a GM needs to build and reputation and, of course, a winning football team.
New Orleans Saints
You want to beat quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and even (gasp) Mark Sanchez...put constant pressure on them. Hit them in the mouth - with or without the football - and make them think twice about standing tall in the pocket. Take their trusted offensive lineman and turn him into a giant question mark that annoys the quarterback like no other that Sunday afternoon. While the name Will Smith immediately conjures up anything but a 13-sack defensive end; nevertheless, this man will need to have a personal meeting (or 3) with Favre on Sunday, in order to let the aggressive Saint secondary make enough plays to allow their own QB enough possessions to put up the points necessary to secure the franchise's first ever Super Bowl appearance. What a run-on sentence that was!
We'll try to ignore that Favre-guy. (Trust me, it won't be too hard.) I'll stay away from Sidney Rice's emergence, Percy Harvin's migraines, and McKinnie memories triggering the Love Boat theme song. The Vikings, long before the 40-year old Golden Boy (dang!) and A.D. (or should it be A.P.) racked up double-digit touchdowns with relative ease, had a suffocating run defense and two interior lineman NOBODY wanted to see. They're All Pro-talent standing right next to each other. Scary, huh? Good thing the Saints rush to the outside quite a bit. Or is it? Eventually, you gotta test these guys. Unfortunately for you, Kevin and Pat Williams don't like losing the battle in the middle of the interior line.
A few more names are sure to pop up. I didn't even mention Revis Island...until now.
What names do you think will be mentioned more often than most might expect???