As the countdown to kickoff begins for Super Bowl XLIV, pitting the Indianapolis Colts against the New Orleans Saints Sunday in Miami, Jim Nance and Phil Simms of CBS Sports are getting ready to cover the game. They sat down with CBS "Evening News" Anchor Katie Couric to answer some questions about the match up.
Katie Couric: Jim and Phil, why do you think the Super Bowl is such an important moment in the collective American experience, if you will?
Phil Simms: That's interesting.
Jim Nance: I'm gonna let the Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl XXI get the first crack at that.
Phil Simms: Wow, that's something unusual, you give me the first word. You know, I think what makes NFL football so successful, there's no doubt about it, that we're trained. It's like going to church on Sunday. You go to church, and what comes after that during football season, it's NFL football all during the afternoon, and we all wanna see that, the finality, the greatness. That's what we really wanna see. I think America loves that, and I think it's just one of the few reasons why it's captivated USA, and the world.
Jim Nance: I think that the National Football League has never been more popular than it is this year. And I think that this game has now taken on the stature that is so big, that it's really a national holiday.
Katie Couric: Phil, the Mannings are royalty, of course, in New Orleans. Peyton is the son of former Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Do you think the city will ever forgive Peyton if he costs them their first Lombardi trophy?
Phil Simms: Oh, I think they will. You know, I think everybody understands when it comes to competition, you just gotta do the best you can. And whoever you're playing for, you want 'em to win. So yes, I think this city will get over that. Peyton Manning even told Jim Nance and I that the equipment guys with the New Orleans Saints, they were baby sitters to him when Archie was playing for the New Orleans Saints. So there is a tremendous connection there. But believe me, the Colts and Peyton Manning, tremendous competitors. I think they're worried about winning the game for themselves.
Katie Couric: Jim, Colts receiver Pierre Garcon and Saints linebacker Jonathon Vilma are both Haitian Americans. How do you think what's been going on in their country will affect them and affect the crowd watching them play?
Jim Nance: Well, for both of them, I believe that they've been very outspoken about where their heart has been. And how they've really been spending this playoff run with mixed feelings because they've been havin' the greatest football stretch of their careers, particularly Garcon. What he did at, he set records in receptions and yardage. I know it's something that-- I think they've done a tremendous job being out, up front and trying to help the cause. But when the game is played, I think they both will internalize it, and they both will do what they've done to this point. They are gonna use it as a source of motivation to play their best.
Katie Couric: For people who haven't been following every football game this season, and that would be me, how would you describe the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of these teams?
Jim Nance: You know, Katie, I just wanna say, I think if you're looking for the headline on this game, I think you can boil it down to this, you know, for the fringe fan. You got the Indianapolis Colts, who are looking for a second championship in four years with maybe the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. But then you have the feel-good story of the New Orleans Saints. The team has never had any success until the last few years, not even close to ever being at this level. And a team that's really taken a community, put us on its back and given a whole community a whole lotta hope. And the whole country has caught on how important the Saints are to them.
Katie Couric: Well said. Jim Nance and Phil Simms, guys thank you so much for talking with us. Have a great time on Sunday.
Jim Nance: Thanks for having us.